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.
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.