In a fast-paced industry facing a high demand for personalized, high-quality services, scattered operations, poor customer experiences, and non-compliance can cost you dearly. Read more on how the right hospitality software can help you manage the business better.
Multiple, disconnected hospitality software solutions can be detrimental to the success of your business. While you might think you’re ahead of the game with an expansive range of hospitality software, your technology suite might not be serving you as well as you imagine.
From bookings and property management to guest data, payments, and marketing, your teams need to work in unison to ensure overall operational efficiency. If your teams don’t have seamless access to the information they need, they’re flying blind. This results in unproductive and inconsistent operations that affect your bottom line.
If you’re using multiple hospitality software solutions, that’s really no solution at all. So while the task of slimming down your hospitality software suite seems daunting, the reality is that simplifying and streamlining your operation yields a very worthwhile return on investment.
This guide will help you identify what needs to go, what needs to stay, and what needs to change. We’ll walk you through a seamless process to ensure day-to-day productivity isn’t affected during the transition, so you can start seeing great returns right away.
Why More Software Is NOT the Answer
With so much operational information captured in separate hospitality software suites, here’s why too many applications are detrimental to your business.
Life as a hotelier is filled with hundreds of distractions on any given day. Besides time-consuming routine tasks, there are also last-minute guest requests, complaints, events, emergencies, and a never-ending list of maintenance issues.
From locating the correct reservation and identifying available rooms to tracking and processing payments, property management, and regulatory compliance, your teams need to keep track of a vast range of tasks simultaneously to ensure smooth operations.
Throw in staffing shifts, seasonal marketing, OTA integration, and finances, and the need for task automation and system integrations becomes even more apparent.
A glitch in any part of the chain of operations affects all the other parts. When systems function separately, inconsistencies are already highly problematic when they surface.
Double bookings, check-in delays, incorrect room allocations, and non-compliant safety standards are all avoidable with automated and streamlined cross-departmental communication.
Add the extra challenge of labor shortages, and task automation becomes even more important. With fewer manual tasks and faster, more accurate processes, your current staff can work more productively and efficiently.
Managing daily operations with slow, error-prone manual processes can tarnish the guest experience.
In addition, when data systems operate independently from one another, it significantly increases the administrative load and slows down every consecutive course of action.
For example, when your online booking channels are not connected to your reservation system, reservations need to be entered into your system manually. You then also need to update availability across all other channels.
The delay between the actual time of reservation and updated availability puts you at risk for double bookings. In the same way, manually updating availability for canceled bookings can lead to low booking rates or charging clients for stays that never happened.
Consider the importance of efficient guest check-in to set the stage for a happy stay. When guests arrive, a successful check-in experience entails quick identification of clean, vacant rooms. If your housekeeping and front desk systems are not integrated, guest check-in will be an inefficient, delayed, and disorganized process.
Disconnected systems also lead to billing inefficiencies. Whether it’s the mini-bar, breakfast, room service, or shuttle service, guests don’t like it when they’re charged incorrectly for things they did not use. And you don’t like it when they’re not billed for things they did use.
Lack of Personalization
When it comes to creating a remarkable guest experience, there’s another important, and somewhat new factor at play: personalization.
Customers have become accustomed to personalized experiences across their daily lives (think Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify). They also expect this level of personalization when they travel. Guests don’t want to be just another reservation number; they want to feel like valued customers.
If you want to be a market contender, personalization needs to form a key part of your strategy going forward.
Whether your hotel has 100 or 1000 rooms, it is unlikely that you remember who checked in two weeks ago, never mind last year. To then still remember which room they liked and what they were allergic to is an improbability.
You need hospitality software tools that easily allow you to ingrain personalization into every repeat visit. Automated hospitality software will allow you to harness guest data, forming the backbone of personalization.
An integrated hotel management system is essential for avoiding unnecessary expenses. Failure to implement such a system can result in several issues, including billing errors, chargebacks, and double bookings. Manual data transfers can also lead to errors, which can be easily avoided by automating administrative tasks.
Without a management system, maintenance resolution may be inefficient, leading to more significant repairs that are more costly. Regulation non-compliance may also result in fines or lawsuits.
Furthermore, inefficient shift schedules may cause over or under-staffing, resulting in poor budget allocation. Finally, software subscription and maintenance costs may increase without proper management, and compatibility issues may lead to data loss or errors.
A terrible customer experience doesn’t only mean that your guest will not return for a second stay; they could also leave an online review advising others to avoid your establishment. A poor reputation is difficult and costly to recover from.
Disconnected systems cause problems at the core that negatively affect every aspect of your hotel business. Making smart and timely decisions is impossible when you lack holistic insight into your operations.
While this all seems somewhat grim, the solution is straightforward. Automated hospitality software can solve all these issues. An integrated system combines all the data you need, allowing your teams to streamline operations, improve the guest experience, minimize mistakes, and drive increased revenue.
How to Identify What You Have vs. What You Need
Like a large living organism, each part of your establishment should function coherently with other parts for streamlined service efficiency. Your hospitality ‘organism’ needs a central ‘brain’ that gives out commands and receives feedback from all its parts.
Choosing the right central hospitality software system is crucial to maximize productivity and reduce unnecessary costs. Not sure where to start? Follow these steps.
1. Identify Your Primary Goals
Before you search for the right hospitality software, you need to identify your goals. What issues are you trying to address? This might include a better customer experience, increasing productivity, better budget control, or improving health and safety compliance.
Now ask: What capabilities does your software need to solve the identified issues?
2. Evaluate Your Needs and Identify Platform Capabilities
Define the tasks that you need to accomplish with the hospitality software. This will help you determine whether or not a particular solution offers suitable features and capabilities. Consider some of the following aspects:
Do you need a scalable platform?
Does the software automate tasks and notifications?
Do you need to locate housekeeping staff in real time?
Does the platform generate reports and data analytics?
Can you access operational insights from anywhere at any time?
Do you need to relieve language barriers among employees?
3. Capture Your Team’s Insights
Your team consists of the people on the ground who interact with guests daily. They know the most pressing and recurring problems and can give you valuable insights into what’s needed to improve operational efficiency.
4. Compare Costs and Features
Once you identify exactly what you need and what you want to achieve, you can start comparing hospitality software features that meet these requirements.
Good hospitality management software should:
Cover at least 80% of your needs
Be scalable with your business growth and future expansion
Allow integration with other channels and CRM systems
Offer data security
Have a user-friendly interface that is easy to learn and use
Offer ongoing support
Making the Hospitality Software Switch
Many businesses use inefficient, outdated software solutions because they dread the transition phase.
Yes, the transition will take some effort, but in the long run, the payoffs are monumental for your employees, guests, and your bottom line. By tackling the transition phase with a well-organized plan, you can ensure an exciting—rather than daunting—process.
While every establishment may differ in its approach according to the features they’re replacing or upgrading, the following steps are key for successful hospitality software implementation.
1. Establish a Transition Plan
While the saying ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ has become somewhat cliché, it couldn’t be more true when executing a software overhaul. The first phase of your transition is the planning phase. This involves establishing the requirements and scope of the transition as well as how you’ll communicate the entire timeline to your team.
2. Establish New Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
When effective SOPs are in place, any business will experience improved quality output, employee productivity, and efficiency. Effective SOPs also minimize miscommunication.
Although this sounds like a massive job, it’s a fairly straightforward task. Start by identifying the processes in your current SOP that are working well for business operations and those that are not. Update any outdated SOPs, then start formulating and adding new sections.
The order of workflow and chain of command will likely stay the same in most cases. However, how employees communicate, the speed at which they respond, and the actions taken before, during, and after activities will change.
Ensure the new SOPs are available and easily accessible to all employees in a digital and/or physical format.
3. Assign New Roles
Consider assigning some staff members to lead the rest of the employees as they learn and use the new hospitality software. These team members should be trained first and familiarized with the new protocols.
This way, they can help staff members with questions or problems after the launch. It will also benefit the leads to establish a relationship with the software provider support team to iron out inconsistencies without delay.
Essentially, these well-trained leads should be your go-to personnel for ground-level staff to help them transition easily and encourage them to fully use the application features.
4. Backups and Integrations
Before you initiate any changes, ensure to back up critical data on old systems in case of an emergency that requires restoring functionality. Test the software integration with your tech stack before a real-time rollout.
This step is critical to a successful launch. The more training you provide before the final rollout, the smoother the transition.
Training is also key to enabling your workforce to grow in their careers, knowledge, and performance while maintaining best practices and established procedures. It also minimizes incidences due to staff errors.
Your employees must have access to a user manual and a detailed log of settings and integrations that apply to their specific functions. If language barriers are sometimes problematic within your workforce, try to provide manuals in multiple languages to ensure an adequate understanding of the new protocols.
Start training in stages. Inform employees of the software rollout and give them some background on what it will entail. Have a knowledgeable in-house or external trainer to go through all the updated SOPs, new application use and functionality, and employee responsibility in using the application. Be open to questions and answers from your team.
Follow up with departmental sessions and create customized videos available to employees to recap the new protocols. This allows them to review protocols periodically and is a good way to retain training information.
Yes! The Switch Is Worth the Effort
With the fees, administration, and security threats of managing a complex landscape of disconnected software solutions, switching to a tech solution that integrates multiple functions into one streamlined approach makes smart sense.
You want a brand that offers a hospitality software solution where you can manage the majority of your complex and diverse processes in one unified platform.
Capabilities to Consider
Forget switching between booking capacity calendars, employee shift schedules, maintenance logs, and staffing budgets. The right hospitality tool enables hotel leadership teams to manage operations, maintenance, budgets, employee schedules, and guest requests in a single hub.
You don't need to be onsite if you want to check any area of your property operations. You can log in from anywhere to assign tasks, manage schedules, and stay abreast of day-to-day operations. In addition, you can access on-demand data-driven reports and real-time budget insights.
The customizable platform offers tiered levels of access. Managers can access a customized dashboard with operational and budget overviews. Employees, on the other hand, are assigned access only to features necessary for their specific roles.
Hospitality employees can clock in and out, view and manage work tasks, and communicate on mobile devices. Customer requests can be relayed to the closest staff member on shift for efficient resolution.
Your housekeeping team can communicate with the fr
ont desk from anywhere to inform them of room readiness, maintenance progress, and unexpected issues or delays.
Regarding maintenance, immediate task assignments ensure problems are quickly addressed. This prevents costly repairs at a later stage and links the task responsibility to a specific individual on shift. Effective maintenance tracking further allows you to stay on top of health and safety laws.
Don’t Forget An Integrated Training Tool
What if we told you that besides managing your full operations remotely from a single platform, you could also offer your full staff compliment ongoing training and education on their mobile devices?
A powerful all-in-one hospitality software empowers your teams by enabling you to train staff and engage employees with videos, quizzes, and live chat. Whether you’re implementing new safety protocols, launching a new tech solution, or updating SOPs, you can allow your team to grow with regular training. This shows them that you value their contributions in the business and that you want to foster career growth as well.
Slim Down Your Suite and Bulk Up Your Bottom Line
In a fast-paced industry facing a high demand for personalized, high-quality services, scattered operations, poor customer experiences, and non-compliance can cost you dearly.
Managing all operational tasks in a single hub reduces inefficient administration, miscommunication, security risks, billing errors, and task duplication. Not only do you and your team-save countless work hours and money, but your guests receive a better experience too.
The longer you wait to transition away from a costly, unsystematic, and inefficient tech stack, the more you lag behind competitors already operating at twice the efficiency.