For Independent Hotels there are a lot of different options when it comes to choosing a Hotel Management System. Maybe you are not using a system, maybe you are not using the right system. Do you use an all-in-one solution? Do you use a separate PMS, Channel Manager and Booking Engine? How do you decide which is the best option for you? At RoomRaccoon we think it boils down to “the 6 C’s”
CLARITY of Pricing
Understand what your system will cost each and every month. Transparency is key. If a solution does not include their pricing on their website, why not? What are they not telling you?
Look for a solution that offers a fixed monthly price. Watch out for booking fees and hidden charges. A number of market leading solutions won’t ask for lengthy contracts or notice periods. These solutions place faith in the fact that you’ll remain a customer because you are provided with a good system and service rather than because of contractual obligation.
COMPREHENSIVE Property Management System
Firstly does the PMS offer the functionality and usability you require from your solution?
Whether your priorities are virtual online check-in, yield management, branded tax invoices, custom reporting, corporate booking modules or simply an easy to use one-click calendar - understand what matters to you and clearly communicate this to any solution you are considering.
Increasingly Independent Hotels are using a range of services and software to run their hotels. Your PMS should be your central hub to coordinate these services. You should be able to choose which Point of Sale or Access System you want to use and this should integrate directly with your PMS. Solutions that only offer their own modules and restrictions are being phased out in favour of free market choice. Integration driven PMS’s are the future. Work with your chosen Accountancy, Reputation Management or Revenue Management System and automate functionality from your PMS.
No hotel should be manually posting invoices to their accounting system. Nobody wants to be manually adding F&B spend in their bar / restaurant to their PMS. Automation through integration is the answer. Finally make sure you only ever work with a CLOUD based solution. Accessing your system at any time, from any device should be a prerequisite for all businesses.
COMMUNICATION with the Guests
Ensure your system enables you to deliver the right information to your guests at the right time. Customisable messaging can save time and improve performance. It is part of your hotel branding and guest experience, whether it is:
- Initial information to guests in your instant booking confirmation;
- Reminding guests of important information in the pre-arrival;
- Upselling optional extras and driving room upgrades through virtual online check-in;
- Incentivising your guests to re-book with returning discount codes post-stay.
CONVERSION through the Booking Engine
Direct is best is when it comes to bookings. If your booking engine is not converting, it is not working.
There are a range of tips and tools available to help aid conversion from direct discount pop-ups, dynamic price adjustments to making sure the booking pages match the look and feel of your website. Above all else your booking engine has to make it quick and simple for guests to book. People are inherently impatient. Convoluted processes or too many clicks and potential bookers will abandon.
According to Booking.com more than 60% of people looking for accommodation on their site will visit the hotel website directly. Is you current Booking Engine doing enough to convert these opportunities?
Your distribution strategy should involve working with a wide range of Online Travel Agents. Booking.com are undoubtedly the market leaders but you should maximise your exposure by working with a range of other global sites like Expedia, Agoda, Airbnb, TripAdvisor and HRS.
You may also want to consider more niche OTA’s that focus on specific geographies or types of guest. If you run a luxury hotel, you might want to consider Mr & Mrs Smith. If you run a gay friendly Bed & Breakfast, Misterbandb should probably be on your radar. If you operate in a tourism hotspot or want to work with corporate travellers, you should be connected to a Global Distribution System, like TravelPort.
You need to work a Channel Manager that supports your distribution strategy. In terms of stability and access to enhanced functionality, Booking.com has a select number of Premier Connectivity Partners across the globe. Channel Managers boasting this accolade are amongst the market leaders. Above all else, avoid Channel Managers that want to charge you a fee for bookings received.
Customer service should be simple. No call centres, no ticketing systems, no additional charges and no limits to your access. If you have a problem or need help you want to be able to speak to a real person and get your matter resolved quickly. The best way to verify the product and their customer service is to look at their ranking on Hotel Tech Report or seek testimonials from existing customers.
At RoomRaccoon we put “the 6 C’s” are the forefront of our business. We offer all of the features mentioned above and much more. If you are looking to work with a Hotel Management System for the first time or if you don’t think you are getting the most out of your existing system. Talk to us. Let us give you a demo of RoomRaccoon so you can make the comparison. We think you’ll be impressed.