The new year is right around the corner, and hoteliers are planning their budgets already. As part of their budgetary plans, hoteliers are looking for upgrades to help them run their hotels more smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. Hotel management software sits right at the center of these annual plans.
The property management system (PMS) is the backbone of any well-managed hotel property. A new PMS software debuts each year with new features and attractive price points. However, you should choose a hotel management software that fits and adapts to your business’s evolving business needs. After all, you will rely on your system to assist you in making critical business decisions.
All hotels need hotel management software. But not every hotel management software can fulfill that need. Here is an HMS software buying guide to help you understand what hotel management software can do for your business and how to choose one.
What is Hotel Management Software?
Hotel management software can serve a multitude of functionalities spread across guest-facing, customer-facing, vendor-facing, and contractor-facing modules. These include complete management software, property management software, reservation handling software, hotel operations software, customer relationship management software, and more. There are multiple categories of hotel management software, and every category has a variety of service providers at different service levels and price points. Cloudbeds is a complete hotel management system software. Orderlina offers easy management of menus, ordering, payments, & tipping. innRoad, on the other hand, emphasizes booking management
Your first task is to create a list of features of hotel management software that can benefit your establishment. Depending on your needs and budget, you can decide which category of hotel management software you should opt for. It might sound overwhelming at the outset, but once you break down the tasks into smaller, direct questions, the choices become almost obvious. Let us show you.
Is It Necessary to Opt For Hotel Management Software?
Before you answer this question, you must ask yourself another question: do you want to stay relevant and competitive in the market? If you think “No,” you don’t need to read further. If your answer is “Yes,” you must also say “Yes” to hotel management software.
Hotel management systems are crucial for hotels that want to optimize everyday business tasks – both necessary and repetitive. By collecting data, HMS software can automate most processes, which ensures that activities that consume time can now be executed efficiently, quickly, and more effectively. For instance, Orderlina allows hotels to manage their menus and ordering more effectively, especially in the post-COVID climate. As the software takes over the mundane tasks, you and your staff can dedicate your time to serving the guests better and improving your business.
Here is how hotel management software can help your business.
Increase Productive Time for Staff
Hotel management software will automate billing, reservation, staff scheduling, and other administrative tasks. In fact, it will also provide you with reports on employee productivity, customer behavior, and more. As you free up your staff, they can move on to more valuable tasks contributing to your growth and expansion.
Improve Online Presence
Hotel management software can help your customers discover your property and make a booking without any active intervention from you or your staff. So, your business can stay available to your clients 24X7. Hotel management software like Orderlina can also ensure that your customers get all the information they need about the food your kitchen offers at all times.
Better Customer Relationship
The hotel management software will start your customer journey on a positive footing. Moreover, it will free up your staff to serve your guests better. Even after the customer has left, a hospitality management software can follow up with your guests so that they keep visiting your business.
Uptick in Bookings
The eventual goal of a hotel booking software is to improve your hotel’s bookings. Whether it’s analyzing the data and presenting better rates during off-seasons or optimizing occupancy during a rush, hotel management software can help you increase revenue for your business.
Features of Hotel Management Software
What are your expectations from hotel management software? It is your expectations that will help you zero in on the features of the hotel management software that matter to you.
Take a Reservation for You
Software like RoomRaccoon can take direct online reservations, block rooms, handle cancellations, and do more for independent hotels. For walk-ins, Orderlina can completely manage your food orders and deliveries. Imagine how much a small boutique hotel can save by using such technology.
Manage Your Front Desk
You don’t need a staff member sitting at the desk at odd hours and checking in guests. A hotel management system software can do it for you.
Depending on your hotel management software, you might be able to integrate it with your existing CRM system. You can use the data collected by the software to make better business decisions.
Handle Your POS & All Billing
You can provide your guests with a seamless interaction with uniform POS across all billing counters. They will appreciate the prompt and consistent service. Different types of software, like Cloudbeds, Little Hotelier, Orderlina, and more, offer basic to advanced features.
Finding the Right Hotel Management Software
Before committing to a hotel management software, you must understand your typical business needs. Your management should brainstorm and answer questions that can lead you to the best technology solution. Here are some questions that matter:
Know the Software Provider
- What is your experience in the field, and who are your existing clients?
- How will your product return on the investment I make in it?
- How does your product fulfill each of my hotel management needs?
Understand What’s Included
- What is the timeline of the onboarding process, and what is included?
- Do we get a single point of contact or a customer support number?
- How much downtime to expect, and what’s the standard response time?
Integrations, Security, & Upgrades
- Which products are you integrated with backwards and forwards?
- Is your product scalable, and can it integrate with other products in the future?
- What does your security report card look like?
- How frequently do you update the software, and how many free upgrades are included?
You can modify these questions to suit your hotel’s unique needs. By asking such questions, you can find the hotel management solution that fits your needs perfectly.
You should also look into online reviews written by previous customers. Some of the top-rated software include Cloudbeds, RoomRaccoon, Orderlina, ResNexus, and ThinkReservations, among others.
What Should You Pay for Hotel Management Software?
That’s a loaded question. Not all hotel management software solutions are created equal. After all, they all vary in features, data captured, quality of insights, degree of support, number of active users, and many other factors. However, if you really want us to put a price range on the software, we will.
There are many payment schedules for hotel management software that you can opt for. You can choose a pay-per-room model, a tiered model, or a one-time license. While smaller boutique hotels opt for the pay-per-room and tiered models, bigger chain hotels pay for a one-time license. Also, cloud-based hotel management software offer cheaper solutions with subscriptions.
You can also test the waters by using free versions of these software solutions. Orderlina is one of the few service providers that offers a free plan. They have a starter package that is free to use, and then there are monthly premium packs to suit your various needs.
A Custom Solution vs. a Standardized One
Now that you know, understand, and appreciate the utility of hotel management software, it’s time to pick one. Many options and versions of HMS software are available in the market. So, should you choose a standard solution or commission an expensive custom solution?
The answer is: it depends on your size.
If you are a national or multi-national chain of hotels, you need a custom solution that meets your typical needs across different geographies and operations. If you need hotel management software for small hotels, bread & breakfast, you will do well with basic software with scheduling, payroll, and occupancy functionalities.
What’s it going to be?