While information technology continues to advance at a pace that few can keep up with, luckily for hoteliers, hospitality technology isn’t far behind. Over the last decade, the hospitality sector has witnessed a large number of PMS, Channel Managers, web booking engines, guest feedback systems and other software products inundate the market with new features. Many hotel owners ensured that their hotels are up-to-date to take advantage of the latest technology and implemented these stand-alone software tools. For a hotel, a property management system integrated with a channel manager and web booking engine is a necessity to seamlessly manage the hotel operations and room inventory distribution. Rather than employing various disparate systems to accomplish multiple tasks, hoteliers should always seek out as few systems as possible that are integrated tightly.
Unfortunately, many hotels have various disparate software applications installed at different points in time in various functional areas, resulting in inefficiencies and integration challenges. Here is a summary of the five main issues that can hinder your business growth if you run a hotel with disparate hotel management system and how to avoid them:
Real-time business controls
When your hotel’s software systems are not synchronized, you have multiple overlapping databases, reports and dashboards and it’s not easy to get a view of business performance within a single time frame. Reports showing performance across your operations, online distribution, marketing, service, and offline bookings are crucial to give you an integrated view of your hotel’s operations. Most hotels do not venture out to gather this information regularly because of the sheer amount of time involved in the process. Hence, the decision-making process is either slow as the hotels depend on inaccurate information or in order to save time they take rash decisions completely based on instinct. Choose a hotel management system which allows you to integrate all functions of your hotel business and displays all reports in a centralized dashboard.
Maintain rate parity and centralized rate control
Hotels cannot risk having differential rates on various online channels. Bottom-line, it hurts credibility and attracts heavy penalties from OTAs. An integrated PMS and channel manager ensures room rates are evenly distributed all over the online marketplaces, thereby minimizing the rate-parity issue to a great deal.
Diminishing double or over-bookings
Through a consolidated hotel software, channel manager and web booking engine combo, your online room inventory is updated and distributed in real time basis to diminish double/overbookings to a great extent.
Manage guest reservations
These days OTAs offer free cancellations and amendments, so guests can cancel/amend their reservations at any given time. If a hotel is operating on systems from different vendors, these amendments/ cancellations create a lot of uncertainty. Many a time, when such amendments are not recorded in PMS from OTA or Channel Manager, this leads to a frustrated guest who when they arrive at the hotel, realize that front office has no information about their booking. Sometimes, hotels receive bookings from OTAs, and later guests get in touch with the hotel and amend the booking as well which is reflected in the PMS but if you have different distribution vendor, there is a great possibility that your distribution software will not have any information on these amendments. So further if anything changes from OTA side, it creates anarchy. Thus, the best way to manage these issues is to have integrated hotel management systems to ensure data is synced across systems.
Integration complexity and cost
With disparate applications from multiple vendors, hotels have to invest an enormous amount of money in order to properly integrate, maintain and acquire newer editions of these applications. Newer versions lead to increased maintenance costs as more valuable IT time has to be put in the integration and upkeep of the different versions. Moreover, hotel owners juggle between multiple vendors for support related issues. Eliminate all these hassles, by implementing an integrated hotel management system from a single vendor or system aggregator.
The frustration of managing different vendors
Dealing with multiple software vendors for purchases, contract renewals and payments every month isn’t easy. Communicating with multiple support teams isn’t a piece of cake either.
Take a step back, think if you want to spend your day managing vendors or taking care of your guests?
Integrated solution providers are more responsible and you wouldn’t run behind multiple vendors for resolution. If there is an issue, the integrated solution provider will fix it, no questions asked. When you work with an integrated solution provider, you have one contract, one invoice, one support number. Life can be that simple!
Key pillar to hotel’s success- Guest Satisfaction
With fierce competition, it is essential that hotels provide an exceptional guest experience or risk having guests take their business elsewhere. When the hotel staff has access to better systems, they are able to devote more time to welcome and delight guests.
Sometimes it makes sense to choose standalone products when a single hotel management system doesn’t have all inclusive functionality for every module. In that case, choose a hotel management system vendor which sells both stand-alone solutions and integrated solutions. You may choose to add new modules whenever the need arises.
System and staff training
Missed opportunities and distribution delays
When you distribute inventory from Channel Manager to OTA, there is a delay of a nanosecond, when you have to update from PMS to Channel Manager and Channel Manager to OTA, your delay will be doubled. If you distribute allocated inventory on your channel manager and PMS vendor is different, you can’t distribute your live inventory. So let’s say a hotel has 10 standard room, but they decide to distribute only 5 on OTAs, now consider out of those 5 you have 3 rooms sold. But in total you have 7 rooms available to sale. Now a group of people looking for 4 rooms, your hotel will not be listed in guest search on any OTA. You are missing business opportunities.
Although a large number of hotels rely on sophisticated systems to instigate positive growth, many hotels are trying to grow as well as the fight against sky rocketing maintenance costs of disconnected systems causing process bottlenecks and management issues.