Hotel Management Software Features
While customers are relaxing and having a great time, the staff have to deliver a number of errands without any delays, mistakes, and miscalculations. For this, they need a swift, stable and secure software equipped with all the necessary features.
Let’s take a look at features you might want to see in each of the modules.
Guests usually start interactions with a hotel from booking a room. That’s why the reservation module should be taken seriously during hotel management software development. It adds and stores reservation details (e.g. check-in dates, rooms numbers, personal customer details) in a database and transfers this information to the front-desk platform so staff members could review it.
Most popular features of this module include online booking engine, reservation means, and channel management.
1. Online booking
Hilton Hotels encourage customers to book rooms directly from their website instead of using third-party distribution channels like Expedia or Booking.com.
According to the latest research, almost 700 million people will be booking rooms online by 2023. As for this year, 580 million travelers prefer online reservations over contacting hotels by phone or email. In addition, guests often book activities (pool service, Internet space, game rooms, bowling alleys, etc.) in advance on the very same website.
Despite a large number of OTA services, many hotels prefer independence and offer to book rooms directly from their website. Or they combine OTAs and booking from their site. We’re going to cover OTA services in more details later on.
This is how a booking engine works:
- The system checks available rooms and shows possible check-in dates to users.
- As users choose a hotel room and pay for it, a confirmation letter is sent to the indicated e-mail address.
- After the completion of the operation, booking details are transferred to staff members.
2. Reservation processes
Once a management system receives a reservation request, it marks a number of days the person stays for. This allows hotel employees to check and update room statuses, cancel registrations, and issue receipts when necessary. Finally, it helps staff with checking guests in and out, making the process automatized and saving clients’ time.
According to customers’ wishes, hoteliers can also edit reservation details: change check-in or check-out dates, book additional room services, mark preferable transportation means and so on.
3. Channel management
Hotel Mantra The Observatory (Australia) achieved a 300% growth in booking requests over one year by using channel manager software. They simply quit manual OTA management and turned to distribution platform.
Channel management is used for synchronizing inventories with various Online Travel Agencies like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia, Galileo.
To take advantage of custom hotel management software and interact with various OTAs, developers should integrate the HMS with them via APIs. Two-way API integration ensures the delivery of up-to-date information over all channels.
Additionally, to make the booking process as seamless as possible, it’s important to provide OTA partners with full access to vacancy data. So when customers use Booking com or any other platform, they will see all available rooms and can take them.
Note that distribution agents work with a number of hotels and if your system is not running properly they may decline the partner request form your hotel. Thus, prior to sending it, make sure that your software works in a decent way and all important elements (rates, rooms availability, payment methods) are fully configured.
Analysis & Monitoring Features
It doesn’t matter if the hotel employs five or five hundreds of staff members – there is the necessity to monitor how well they perform. Same thing with profit. The use of custom-built hotel management systems allows drawing personalized reports at the end of a specific period and keep finances under control.
1. Income management
Marriott International which is the first hotel chain that used income management, increased its sales from $150 to $200 million. Revenue management has a great potential of boosting sales. Imagine the results when combined with a custom-built HMS!
Revenue indicators are vital for monitoring the overall financial situation and taking actions to maximize profitability. Although OTAs and showy marketing campaigns do help to increase the revenue, it’s still important to monitor everyday expenses and income to understand what exactly led to gains or downfalls.
The revenue management helps to monitor competitors’ prices, services, marketing campaigns, and activities they offer. Additionally, the system takes into account future events and monitors the cost of hospitality services to offer best pricing strategies.
2. Building reports
In the end of a specific time-period, hotel management might want to collect information about staff performance, some details about their guests, data delivered by custom hotel property management system and so on.
The main advantage of this feature is that you can create any report depending on the metrics you’d like to check. For example, if the system is connected to OTAs you can understand whether the partnership is successful or it’s the right time to look for other partners elsewhere.
3. Extra services monitoring
Pantone Hotel offers drinks, delicious breakfast and late-check out right on the booking page. Works for customers and brings additional profit to owners!
If the hotel has additional facilities (e.g. cafes or restaurants, spa-centers, swimming pool, car renting services), guests may want to try them. Extra services monitoring is an additional hotel management system feature. It’s applied for managing guests’ activities by tracking which services customers used the most and which ones generate more profit.
This is extremely useful for automatization of all transactions and for keeping them in one place. Moreover, the system can be built in a way to automatically apply all the gained discounts so hotel managers won’t need to ask customers to show a discount card. Everything can be checked right away.
Staff Management Elements
Hotel management systems not only process customers’ requests but work with internal clients too. If previously managers had to use phones to contact employees and write down what task is assigned to whom, now all that can be done in a single application with just a few clicks.
So let’s review the most important features related to staff management.
1. Tasks delivery
Meliá Hotels International staff were using MS Excel to track tasks, and printed reports out on paper. Sure, there was no way to monitor latest project status in this case. That’s why they decided to switch to task management system, tracking progress, and getting real-time updates.
In order to streamline business processes, you obviously need to assign tasks to employees and track their progress. Managers can now organize the workflow way more efficiently as they don’t have to contact each person. Instead, they assign specific tasks to certain people via the application.
By using HMS, front office managers can make a list of cleaning tasks for maids to check. At the same time, the maids no longer need to wait for a ‘cleaning hour’ and can prepare rooms for next customers as soon as previous ones have checked out.
Hospitality property management software keeps the list of things that require repairing or replacement. So when staff faces an issue of a broken chair or a stolen towel, they can easily report it and come close to problem resolving in no time.
2. Back-office management
Prior to applying HR solutions, Royal Marine Hotel in Dublin had employees sign in at the reception desk, and there was no way to track their breaks, absenteeism or late comings. Using Advance Systems software, they managed to improve staff efficiency, reduce the number of errors and administrative costs.
Staff management is one of the key features of a hotel management system. As it’s possible to integrate custom HMS with staff management channels, you will always be aware of all internal interactions. Managers can easily enter information about distributed shifts, salaries, sick leaves, vacations, and days-off of employees into the database and review it when needed.
Interactions With Customers
Customer interactions are important in any sphere, especially in hotel management. That’s why hearing guests’ reviews, offering new services according to their tastes and preferences and making sure the customers are satisfied with your services are the key parts for your success. Guest relationship management is another use case of a hotel management system with a few in-built features for this purpose.
1. Customer data management
Best Western Hotels & Resorts switched to cloud-based HMS in 2015. Keeping customer details on hand and thus applying personalization approach, the hotel chain saw a 143% increase in downloads of their mobile app. And there was a 10% increase in email clicks as well!
Whether guests have appeared in the hotel for the first time or are long-term clients, it’s a good idea to collect more details about their habits, preferences, driving means, the purpose of visit and so on. All this can help personalize the customer experience and offer them entertainments and services for their taste.
If a customer stays at a hotel for business trips a few times per year, information about their needs and preferences can be used the next time they book a room. It’s easy to note and pass information that customer, perhaps, needs a Wi-Fi enabled work area, book a conference room for them, or other area for their needs.
An elaborate hotel management system database design is key to storing all the details in one place. Thus, if you’d want to collect guests’ contact details, preferred payment methods, type of rooms booked, total spendings, etc., this feature is the right choice for you.
Keep customer details at hand and access them anytime
Using HMS, you can keep customer details in one place
2. Notifications and surveys
Hilton staff sends email to inform subscribers about honor member accounts and their benefits reaching different audience segments. No wonder they have 70 million members enjoying the program!
Confirmation is the first thing customers expect to receive once they get over with booking and complete the payment. This is an affirmation of everything going as planned and the sign saying it’s nothing to worry about.
Being a valuable tool for communicating with customers, notifications are usually sent at all stages of their stay:
- Prior to the arrival
- During the stay
- Shortly after check-out
First, customers receive a notification regarding the booking process, payment confirmation, and list of additional services ordered.
By the way, hotels often mention the best attractions of the city, nearby cafes, places worth visiting, etc.
During your guests’ stay, you may inform them about best offers and discounts the hotel provides, promote extra services and give a list of the most popular dishes in the hotel restaurant.
Once the guests have checked out, you may ask them to provide feedback by taking a survey or writing a short review.
In addition, offering a discount for the next visit is a good gesture.
3. Issuing invoices
Guests may ask for an invoice after checking-in, and it is expected to be issued fast. The custom hotel management system has to provide all the information regarding recent payments and have secure payment methods to keep all the details safe.