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.

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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.

The 5 Most Important Features of a Property Management System

By M Dave

Just as your guests need certain amenities like beds and showers; your hotel needs a Property Management System (PMS) with certain features and capabilities. A PMS is the centrepiece of technology at any hotel and represents a significant investment critical to everyday function. Its features and capabilities allow it to be just that. Here are five essential elements that every modern PMS should include:

  1. Flexibility – This is a broad, but important, element of a modern PMS. Hotel management today demands flexibility from its tools. Your PMS should be able to seamlessly adapt to changing business needs as quickly as they arise. Whether you need to adjust configuration, focus on a new market, or take your PMS mobile to bypass the front desk, your PMS should offer the flexibility to adapt to changes.
  2. Cloud or on-premise – From data security to data backups and beyond, the benefits of a cloud-based PMS are numerous. Whether you go with a privately-hosted solution or a system purpose-built to live in one of the public cloud providers, eliminating costly and complicated on-premise hardware is a win-win. However, for those properties that frequently experience connectivity challenges, it is essential to choose a PMS that offers offline capability or the option of on-premise installation.
  3. Interfaces – No property management system can function as an island. Modern hotels require multiple systems to manage every facet of their business and your PMS should be a central hub to communicate between all of the different systems. Ensure your PMS has real-time communication with all mission-critical applications to eliminate bottlenecks and discrepancies in data between systems that can lead to inaccurate information, poor customer response times and missed opportunities.
  4. Online Booking – Direct booking from your own website represents the most important growth channel for most properties. Reservations through your own website not only provide the best revenue opportunity, but also allow you to develop a closer relationship with the guest. Your PMS should be able to provide a seamlessly integrated online booking channel, preferably without commissions or per-booking fees.
  5. Easy to Use – A modern PMS should be easy to use with minimal training required for proficient use. Like today’s Smartphone and gaming system interfaces, your PMS should be walk-up-and-use simple for every user at your property. Even better if the PMS can distinguish between users by role or login and present to them the information they need most. Sophisticated systems simplify PMS use, guiding the user though their tasks and workflow without requiring lengthy training or memorization.

These features may seem simple, but without just one of them your PMS is not performing to its best potential for your hotel. Some great PMS in market that are worth considering on the budget end apart from the most common ones are mycloudhospitality (http://www.mycloudhospitality.com/) , WISH.NET (www.prologicfirst.com) and Guest line (www.guestline.com)

How to Choose a Property Management System for Your Small Hotel

By M Dave

Are you considering buying a property management system for your hospitality business? A PMS is a significant component that will keep your business running smoothly. Taking some time to examine the various features and aspects of property management systems will ensure you select a PMS that will do the most for your hospitality business and help keep operations running smoothly and effectively for years to come.

Considerations when Buying a Property Management System (PMS) for Your Small Boutique Hotel

Here are 6 factors to consider as you begin the process of shopping for a new property management system (PMS) for your small boutique hotel:

  1. Security Features – Will it help us protect our guests’ data and support our efforts to prevent any potential security breach? In case of breakdown will it be able to back up the data.
  2. Reputation – Is the system provider a long-standing, reputable company committed to the unique needs of the hospitality industry? Have they been working in this industry in different countries?
  3. Configuration Flexibility – While the initial system configuration is important, also important to consider is the system’s flexibility in accommodating your ever-changing business scenarios. Configuration flexibility translates to ease of use, extensibility and a greater return on investment. If the property management system offers limited configuration flexibility, it may cause daily challenges because it cannot accommodate a variety of offerings.
  4. Integration possibilities – How well does this PMS play with other systems? Software that is limited in integration possibilities will leave operations challenged in going above and beyond in guest service and make your daily tasks more onerous.
  5. Functionality – What are the key functionalities and features that distinguishes certain software from another? What are the features that will best serve your operations? It is far too easy to be impressed by the bells and whistles and cool features that in the long run do not actually serve in helping you better manage your business and increase revenue.
  6. Training & Support – Does the company have a strong team with solid hospitality experience? Do they offer online and onsite training as well as crucial support for the transition? What kind of software support can you expect? Hospitality is a 24/7/365 industry; it’s important that assistance is available whenever problems arise to limit disruptions to your business.

Since this is a cluttered market of PMS a few names that do stand up and tick all the above factors are companies like Prologic First for a good comprehensive budget PMS system and Micros and i-tesso for hotel who seek more luxurious and expensive system. However both systems almost have the same features and work pretty much the same, leaving it just to a matter of choice and most important finances.

Prologic First’s Android POS Technology

An Objective View on POS Software Available to London Restaurants 

For most restaurateurs, the topic of food and beverage/POS is not necessarily the most ‘enthralling’. Okay – we get that Android Tablet POS technology is not as sexy a topic as a Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux wine, and perhaps not as tasty as a leg of Parma Ham imported from Italy… And yet a restaurant’s POS is one of the more expensive items in which one must invest and is something that often is a key asset to improve a restaurant’s operations, customer service and weekly takings. With that in mind, who wants to talk about fine wine and gourmet ingredients now!?!

The way in which restaurants are often forced to choose their POS software is through costs. Michelin-starred restaurants or ones with robust finances supporting their operation can easily consider leading POS companies like Tissl, Tevalis, Micros or NCR.

These companies look after many prominent London restaurants and it is widely known that their clients swear by them. Their customer service and support are unmatched and they enjoy third party interfacing with reservation management companies like Open Table and payroll modules with companies such as Fourth Hospitality. Some of them also bundle hardware and software packages to makes the lives of their clients easier.

So really… Why would a restaurant consider using anything but companies like Tissl, Tevalis, Micros or NCR? Well, for starters cost is among the main reasons. Due to their exorbitant prices, the software provided by such companies becomes unaffordable for restaurants on smaller budgets.

As these companies are to London restaurants, Prologic First is to hotels and restaurants in Asia and the Middle East. We are a dominant force and our customers enjoy cutting-edge technology, leading customer service, relevant 3rd party interfacing and more.

Our London operation is vastly smaller by comparison – meaning, we cannot compete with the dominant UK brands on many levels.

So what is our proverbial feather in our cap? Prologic First can offer London restaurants the same – if not better – quality technology as Tissl, Micros, etc. (i.e. the same software enjoyed by our many clients in Asia), but we simply cost less and will continue to as we increase our foothold in Britain.

Our customer service and support are not yet at the same level as our competitors, if you believe you require 24-7 customer service, Prologic First’s current London offering may not be right for you. But if the highest quality, most user-friendly software available for a vastly more affordable price is an attractive prospect, Prologic First may be just what you are looking for!

Our customers still enjoy top-notch customer service, relevant 3rd party interfaces, helpful hardware software bundles, a comprehensive back-end system, that we are confident is superior to virtually anything available in Britain and – of course – our cutting edge Android POS technology, Android Touché.

Just as deciding on a restaurant wine list, picking your POS system involves choice and careful consideration. If you want the Ferrari of F&B software, the choice – for the moment at least – is clear. But if you think you may want to drive something that looks, feels and smells like a Ferrari, but cost a bit more like a Fiat 500, Prologic First will have some attractive solutions for you!