Evolution of PMS within the Hospitality Industry Catering the Needs from Big To Small Hotels

By M Dave

Irrespective whether your hotel is a small boutique hotel with 20 bedrooms or a magnificent luxury hotel with 100+ bedrooms, having a comprehensive multi-functional Property Management System (PMS) is critical for every hotel entity. The market is flooded with plethora of PMS which are designed to meet the needs of small and big hotels alike. However the big dominant players in market like Brilliant (i-Tesso) and Opera (Micros) have very robust systems designed to more suit the operational needs of large hotels, but practically we can’t really use those PMS to streamline daily operations at small and budget hotels.

The main issues being that most of the features will be redundant in small hotels and it will also involve heavy financial commitments by small hotel owners. If one actually analyses it makes more sense for small hotel owners to reinvest into expansion plans within their hotel to make their property more competitive Hence, the question is do small and budget hotels with about 20 bedrooms really need any kind of PMS?

The answer to this question is ‘Yes’. All big and medium hotels can afford to go for a robust property management system to look after their operational aspects including guest bookings, online reservations, food and beverage costing, accounting, report generation, sales and marketing, HR and payroll, maintenance management and quality management. But on the other hand a small hotel needs to have a PMS which would help them to automate some core day to day basic operations.

With small hotel business gaining ever increasing importance every year, due to their great customer service and quirky style, they have become a very significant part of the service industry in last few years. Small technological companies like Prologic First have seen this market potential and tapped it with very innovative software’s like mycloud hospitality (http://www.mycloudhospitality.com/).

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This software helps small hotels to have a comprehensive PMS and at the same time is very friendly to their pocket. Such software just requires a tablet or a computer along with internet connection to just get started with managing their properties with features like accounting, POS, reservations and reporting all on a single screen. This will help them to tackle their operational issues like lack of skilled manpower, higher attrition rate, revenue leakage and pilferage due to the absence of proper accounting software, customer care and inventory management.

Loads of such software’s are available now in the market like mycloud hospitality, Room master, sabee app etc. The good thing about the cost of such software’s is that they are available on a monthly payment plan with as little as £2 per rooms. Some notable features about mycloud hospitality software that I came across while researching to give an idea is as below:

  • Little or no up-front investment and quick start-up
  • No long term contract and easy exit option and
  • Low investment, low risk
  • Quick implementation
  • Needs little or no training
  • Secure access from anywhere
  • High availability
  • A comprehensive Front Office service
  • Round the clock support

This highly user-friendly and scalable software is capable of streamlining and automating operations for small hotels just as they need it. So, if you are facing some operational snags while running your small hotel operations, you may consider trying a free demo of mycloud hospitality software by Prologic First or any such software available in market which is a smart way to manage your properties.

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Interactive Restaurant Experience – What Happened to Conversations?

Restaurants have gone through so many iterations over the years.  They were initially designed to nourish travellers.  Up until recently, we enjoyed a restaurant for perhaps a quick meal, a celebration, a prelude to romance or maybe a lavish display of gourmet indulgence.  The restaurant had so many roles – we loved the ambiance, the menu, the lighting, the aromas, presentations, the fare, the location, the servers and chefs.  Beyond the nourishment, we had the opportunity to interact with our dining companions – to   talk sports, business, opportunity, love and life in general.  The engagement, the conversation was just as important as the meal for many.

Now, our dining relationship has moved to the interactive – essentially platforms and activities we could do by ourselves in our homes on our lap tops and tablets, snacking on Fritos.  The restaurant is a cuisine arcade!

It is pretty remarkable the leaps we have made in terms of that Customer Dining Experience in such a short time.  The technological interactive applications such restaurant mobile POS were noted in an earlier article.  We actually used to interact with each other, our server and other diners.

Our relationship with restaurants has changed dramatically.  We have seen it in the fast food and casual dining elements.  For fast food, the emphasis is on speed and accuracy.  In the casual dining realm it is more about guest control and access to all sorts of things which interrupt any conversation stream.  It goes beyond ordering and paying for the meal.  I can now tap into television, movies, music, on-line poker, send messages and the like.  I can do all that just by myself and not involve my table mate(s), who may be just as busy on his/her/their mission for access.  And, this is a world-wide phenomenon.

Just consider a restaurant in Dubai, where the establishment “… has installed interactive tables that allow guests to swipe through the menu update their Facebook status and even order a taxi home.  At this Restaurant in Dubai, interaction with wait staff is minimal, as diners can browse the digital menu, place their order, and watch chefs prepare their meal via ‘chef cams’ by using the touch screen tabletops.  The interactive tables also allow guests to customize their decor and choose from a range of images and patterns for their desktop ‘tablecloth.’  While waiting for their meal… guests can catch up on current news, check in on their Facebook messages or send greetings and virtual cards to diners at other tables.”  Connected – yes; digestible – maybe not!

So, has the conversation gone the way of service?  You be the judge.  May I interrupt your Facebook entry and have the salt, please!

Three Key Ways to Infuse Technology into Hotel Operations

By M Dave

From check-in to check-out, digital innovations have the potential to enhance every aspect of the guest experience. Many forward-thinking hoteliers are leveraging cutting-edge technologies and platforms in order to remain competitive in the digital age of hospitality. Following are three key ways to infuse technology into your hotel operations:
tech-in-hotel

Hotel Apps – Hoteliers are realizing that digital apps can be great tools for helping guest’s access hotel information and customize their experience. They are offering apps to help guests to upgrade rooms and offer discounts as well as convenient mobile booking options. Some hotel apps even allow guests to notify the concierge before arriving at the door step, setting up room service, nearby restaurant reservations and more amenities right from their mobile devices.

 Social Media – An active social media presence allows you to engage with customers, stay on their radar, build loyalty and buzz for your brand. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest enable hoteliers to share images of hotel facilities and cool on-site happenings. Visually appealing posts can also give potential guests the opportunity to see what your property has to offer before making the commitment to book a room. Facebook, in particular, is a great social tool for hoteliers as it offers a booking engine that allows guests and travels agents to select and book rooms directly from your page.

Keeping it Mobile – Today’s digital-friendly customers’ research and book on-the-go. They expect hoteliers to keep pace with their “real time” needs. Innovative hotels are finding ways to do just that by placing roving “digital ambassadors” in their lobbies armed with iPads to help speed up the check-in and check-out process. Some properties have upped the digital ante even more by allowing guests to virtually check in 24 hours ahead, receive a bar-coded email confirmation which they can later scan upon arrival to receive their key.

There’s no doubt that guests are expecting smart hotel technology solutions that help make their hotel experiences more convenient and pleasurable. Don’t have a disconnect with your clientele! Keep technology top-of-mind in order to attract guests and remain competitive in the digital age of hospitality.

Right Property Management System is Key to Your Hotel’s Success

Ask any hotelier and all will unanimously agree that a hotel management system plays a vital role in their hotel’s success. Good hotel software enables its users to store information about guests, retrieve it to personalize the guest experience, and on the whole, ensure the guest has a wonderful stay. At the back-end, the importance of hotel software is even more emphasized.

mycloud-copy

The front office module, point of sale, accounts receivable, banquets and conferences, restaurant module, housekeeping, inventory, HR and Payroll, along with a host of other modules and apps must all be interfaced and work in sync with the PMs systems.

Information stored in these modules helps the management to generate important reports that facilitate planning and decision-making. While the software is critical to the smooth operation of a hotel, most general managers will also agree that it is this part of technology that gives him the severest heartburns.

The hotel software market is full of options, and each vendor claims his software is the best. However investing in the right hotel software is a complex task and most hotels spend months deliberating on their investment. Unfortunately, hoteliers excel at their core skill, delivering to guests a world-class hospitality experience, and sometimes get ‘talked’ into making a wrong decision on the software they adopt.

How does your hotel ensure it is making the right decision when it invests in hotel software? Here are a few pointers that can help you get started: –

  • How Many Modules Will Your New Hotel Software Offer?

If your hotel already uses a software and are considering an upgrade, ensure the new software automates all the processes your old software does, and more. An important question to ask would be the number of modules your new hotel software will offer. Many times, a software vendor could simply be offering you a Front Office Module. This means, you will have to additionally invest in purchasing, licensing and maintaining the back-end modules. This could turn into an expensive investment. An ideal scenario is when the vendor offers you a comprehensive property management system with both the Front Office and Back Office modules, fully integrated. There are broadly two types of integration – internal and external. This is explained below.

  • Does Your New Property Management System have Third Party Products Merged into it?

A comprehensive property management system is both time consuming and expensive to develop. Many software vendors acquire smaller companies and merge these third party products to make up their property management system. These software products may have integration issues, and can become major hurdles for your staff when they use the modules. Numerous integrations also means you could spend long hours networking and interacting with multiple vendors. Check with your provider that the software has all been developed by them, is well tested and is being used by hotels similar to yours.

 

  • Is Your Hotel Software Compatible with Third Party Software?

All hotel property management systems need to integrate with a host of third party hardware and software. This may include a credit card payment gateway, door locking system, EPOS to name a few. Ensure the software you plan to adopt is compatible with other products. Review this list carefully to ensure the software you are buying is compatible with a large number of third party hardware, if not, this could get restrictive and influence your other partnerships.

  • Does Your Property Management System Help You Enhance Your Revenue?

Gone are the days when hotel software was simply a data storage and report generation tool. Today, hotel software has grown to do much more, such as, help hotel leverage the tremendous power of the internet, enable a hotel to manage channels, plug into solutions like a channel manager, revenue manager, online reputation manager, business intelligence tool and more.

Other points you may want to review about your potential software vendor is their experience in the industry, size of their presence, domain expertise developing niche hotel software and the quality of their post-sales support. This is especially important as your hotel runs a mission-critical operation. Apart from large vendors like Itesso and micros the market also has some innovative vendors like Prologic First who have been in the industry for over 15 years. They boast some robust hospitality centric products offering a complete hotel solution including back office and front office. They are also fully integrated with leading EPOS and channel manager systems which will make life easier to enter into business with them for any hotelier who is looking for less hassle.

iPad or Android? Who Wins?

Apple’s iPad versus Google’s Android isn’t so much of a David vs. Goliath as much as a Hercules vs. Samson – both technologies are innovative and offer users a range of super cool functionalities. We would say that they are so equal that it is pretty tough to determine which is the better in absolute terms.

Therefore, before deciding which tablet you purchase, let’s assess what you envisage its purpose will be – for personal use or for your restaurant and managing its mobile Point of Sales system.

If accessorising is your thing, it is difficult to look beyond Apple’s iPad. Let’s face it – these tablets look very cool and they work very nicely to let others around you know just how much of trendy person you really are! Though, it must be said that the higher end Android tablets are rather beautiful themselves!

People tend to get into tablets to take advantage of apps. iPad offers users an ungodly quantity of them – just under 1 million, a figure that completely and utterly dominates Android’s offering. These apps range from entertainment, including mindless games like Angry Birds to useful/educational ones.

Buying an iPad is also a rather straightforward process – that is assuming you that you want to shed out more than £300for a tablet! Only Apple makes iPad which means that you are guaranteed the anticipated level of quality – naturally if your device is faulty, the Apple Store will fix it or replace it usually for free!

It is therefore self-evidently clear that iPad is a rather ideal bit of tech for one’s personal use for the above reasons – however do any of these items have any value for the restaurateur looking to catalyse her/his business with mobile POS? Probably not.

How about Android?

Android Tablets try to compete with iPad on various levels – some on looks and sophistication. A Samsung tablet, for instance –is just as trendy and offers as good – if not better – functionality as iPad.

Other Android Tablets compete on size, given that a major plus of a tablet is portability. Sony Xperia, for instances, is unbelievably thin, virtually the same size as the iPad Air 2.

Finally there is price – this is one area in which Android blows iPad out of the water and which may be of interest for restaurateurs looking to save a bit of money. Any iPad that is even worth owning will set you back at least £300 whereas an Android HP Slate will cost around £79.

On other useful item offered by Android but not iPad is that the former is typically compatible with pen drives.

So where does this leave us? Both iPad and Android are really good devices that offer a range of practical and entertainment purposes. This blog would go as far to give the nod to iPad as the preferred tablet for personal use.

But for restaurateurs looking to get into the mobile POS game, is there any need for a deeply expensive bit of hardware that can access 1 million apps? Probably not!

This blog recommends that restaurateurs consider one of the lesser expensive Android tablets for mobile POS technology. Sure, they may not look as cool as iPad and you may not be able to access that latest app, but really the only purpose for your restaurant’s tablet will be to run the mobile POS technology, right? The good news is that mobile POS tech like Prologic First’s Android Touché will work just as well on a cost effective Android Tablet as on a fancier, expensive one.

In conclusion, both technologies are fantastic, but unless you want to put a bunch of £300+ tablets in the hands of your staff in a chaotic restaurant setting, probably best to set your sight on Google’s Android technology.

5 Common Mistakes when Choosing a Property Management System (PMS)

By P Kumar

We make decisions every day, but we tend to consider our bigger decisions more cautiously. Choosing a Property Management System (PMS) is no different. There are several factors that play into making the right decision when selecting your new PMS. But nevertheless some factors can be easily overlooked if you don’t know what to look for. Avoid the following five common mistakes, and get the most out of your company’s investment –

  1. Choosing by price alone – The old axiom of “you get what you pay for” generally also holds true for Property management Systems. The least expensive system may be unsuitable to manage your business and the headaches it causes may not be worth the money saved. Choose a PMS based on functionality, flexibility and usability. Optimize your investment by selecting a cloud PMS instead of an on-premise system, and use a SaaS pricing model instead of one-time upfront costs.
  1. Opting for more system than you need – There are some very large, comprehensive Property Management Systems on the market that offer a mind-numbing amount of features and detailed functionality. Unless you’re running a very complicated resort or hotel, you may end up paying for functionality that you’ll never need to use.
  1. Not choosing modern technology – Technology for hotels evolves constantly. To best position your business for future trends, choose a system built on a modern platform, which will ensure that you can enjoy a long and prosperous relationship with your PMS. Explore and compare cloud based PMS with traditional on-site Client Server solution. Both come with their own advantages and caveats.
  1. Moving too quickly – The process of choosing a new PMS can be lengthy. First you need to identify your needs, evaluate the different contenders, sit through demonstrations and sift through pricing and competing proposals. It can be tempting to try and expedite the process in hopes of implementing it in advance of your busy season. Give yourself ample time to go through the process and, if needed, delay your decision in order to give your company time to choose the best fit.

 

  1. Not revisiting your business practices – Many of your existing business processes, such as setting rates, may have been established several systems ago. Selecting a new PMS is an opportunity to modernize your business practices. You may find greater efficiency and greater revenue potential by choosing a system that will allow you implement some changes to your business.

Avoiding these common mistakes will make your PMS selection process much easier, and ensure the system is one that is not only worth the investment, but is the best investment for your hotel.