Category Archives: Software

Optimize Hotel Management with ‘Just Right’ Payment System

“Do you accept credit cards?” 

What is your answer when your guest asks you such a question? If you accept digital payments, you are on safe grounds, Mate! But if, you are cash-only, or not-yet-mobile-payment-friendly, then it is going to be a tough ride for you ahead. Because that guest might not taste your finest food or not stay at your coziest room. Hotel management is out of style for you. Why, just because you do not offer modern payment options.

Cashless! People are going frenzy over this lately.
Cashless payments, cashless transactions, cashless business and cashless nation!

Undeniably, demographic of contemporary consumers shows that, most of the consumers heavily use mobile wallets and plastic cards. To serve such client base- hotels and restaurants must adapt systems or software that offer cashless services.

Hotel management made easier with cashless payment

Recently in India, announcement of banknote demonetization set entire nation to a state of hysteria. The unanticipated ‘Cash Crunch’ made the entire nation look for an alternative of cash and explore cashless payment system. Having said that, it is an irrefutable fact that majority of the sectors are troubled by the drive at a considerable scale. As a part of cash-driven economy, Indians prefer making cash payment. So do the business owners! But with the changing times, the business processes are bound to change.

Showing tangible signs of recovery, Indian businesses and consumers, both are on their way to fight ‘Cash Crisis’ with technology having their back.

By and large, hotel industry and tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in India and internationally as well. The drive towards going cashless has impacted day-to-day affairs of people; compelling them to put a limit on spending cash money down the drain. Presumably, hotels and restaurants with ‘Cash only’ mode are at loss of a king’s ransom.

Tourism, Hotel industry and F&B are innate components of any country’s economy. Hence, although this transition towards cashless country appears unpleasant as of now, it holds positive consequences in longer run.  

Hotel and restaurant businesses have no choice but to adapt to this digital evolution. In the end, it will only reward them with quicker and transparent transactions, satisfied millennial clients, and improved services.

So, what happens if your business is still ‘Cash-only’ or ‘Not-ready-for-mobile-pay’:

Meanwhile, when ratio of plastic to cash money transactions is at peak and number of ‘Saved Cards’ has grown by 30%; people in your region too are definitely going for digital payment methods. Or simply this cash crunch would oblige them to use hospitality products that let them use other payment options. Do you think you are ready?

  • Owing to a fact that higher cash spending is seen at restaurants, both standalone and hotel restaurant might face interim slowdown in revenue if they are not next-gen yet.
  • People willing to pay with non-cash payments get irritated over inconvenience.
  • Consumers might buy lesser with cash as compared to higher non-cash purchase.
  • Loss of prospect guests.
  • Paperwork and bookkeeping still remains to cause further headache.
  • Cash money stored basically means your security at risk.

And benefits of going cashless with technology

  • Optimally improved service and efficiency
  • Reduced human errors and labor costs
  • Flexibility in receiving orders and payment for them,
  • Increased guest satisfaction and loyalty
  • Eliminated hassles of dealing with manual payment process
  • Above all, you get to promote a cashless economy.

What is futuristic alternative of accepting cash payments?

Simply install a hotel management software and/or a Restaurant Point Of Sale software that allows you to offer modern payment options.

As technology in hospitality is the new extravaganza, operators implementing hotel management software to manage daily operations at hotels and restaurants are increasing day by day.

Conventionally, technology influences everything from attracting guests to enhancing services, and best thing, it provides myriad of alternatives for accepting cash payment from guests (young generations in particular). Ultimately, this creates a potential for more streamlined, secure and transparent transaction system.

Implement a right payment system, that allows your guests to make payment how and when they want to, while providing a superior experience.

Which software to use? Why?How? This is all you need to read:

In exponentially growing industry, hoteliers and restaurateurs have to stay updated with technology that help stay ahead of pack and grow.
Here we are presenting a collection of must-have and nice-to-have solutions that make hotel management easy as pie and help you optimize and deliver world class services.

A hotel management software: the tech way to serve your guests!

Install a hotel management system that is lightweight, easy to use and automates all your daily operations and offers your guests all the convenience of choice for making payments. Ideally, you need hotel software that allows you to accept payments via cash, credit/debit cards, wallets while not missing those globally popular payment gateways. Besides, accepting digital payments in multiple currencies, if available would be a cherry on cake. Thus, keeping you up-to-date with everything related to payments.

Online Booking Engine: Bookings right from your hotel website

When your guests can book online with you, they must be able to pay online too.

Select a booking engine that allows the bookers to make direct payments, credit card and online banking (net banking too). Besides, best Booking Engine is responsive to work flawlessly for smaller screens, with quick and simple booking process to avoid booking abandonment. Going a step further, using booking engine you can even display rates in different currencies and allow guests to make payment in the currency of their choice.

The Restaurant POS system that you must have at your place

Your restaurant needs a Point-of-sale system, that can speed up service, reduce manual errors, manage all order types, track orders, simplify billing process and all that you need at your restaurant. Importantly, payment should be effortless with multiple payment options of Cash, Debit/Credit Card or Loyalty/Reward Points. Additionally, integration with payment gateways and third party loyalty systems would further facilitate payment process.

Loyalty points

Did you know that you can create your own small transaction system by launching Loyalty and Reward programs? Yes, in such programs you can enable your guests to earn points on various deals at your restaurants. Guests can later on redeem those collected points with you and get discount benefit of your service. This in a way increases influx of guests and engagement too. Isn’t it so cool?

Everything summed up

Definitely yes, you need to adopt various cashless modes of payment to save yourselves from loss of business. You need to automate everything to ace hotel management.

However, you don’t need to follow others blindly like a sheep. Talk to your guests, observe them and engage with them, ask them what they need; what they prefer most from you. Then and only then, make a decision and move ahead with the ‘just right’ technology.

Connecting with each and every hotelier’s requirement of operations automation and ease of payment collection, we have it all under one roof. Employ eZee hotel software and it’ll take care of everything for you.

We have integration with more than 83+ payment gateways around the world. Special regional integrations include PayPal, CCAvenue, Atom, PayTM, SagePay, Stripe, PayUNigeria, BML, Valitor and more. Check out which payment gateway in your region is available with eZee.

Mobile First Index for Hotel Website: Reinforce Your Efforts to Foster Rank & Bookings

Hoteliers!
Do you have a hotel website?
And you try to get more visitors there?
As well you pay attention to online website bookings?

Well then, it’s time you have to listen to what Google has to say. Why? Because, recent announcement from Google demands change in the way you have been building up your hotel website and online bookings.

Just a couple of days back, Google declared that they are going to carry out an experiment that would transform entire search results we get for our queries (of course, to provide better search experience)! Tech gurus call it ‘Mobile-first Indexing’. According to announcement, the ranking system that currently looks at desktop versions of a website, will now primarily consider mobile version of a website to rank it in search results.

What does this mean?

In a nutshell, Google will consider what does your website look like when viewed from a mobile device in order to rank it in results. (I know you just picked up your phone to check it ) System will bring those web pages higher in search results that provide most useful content and superior user experience on mobile devices.

Blog Mobile First Indexing for hotel websites

Mobile First Index: Game-changer enters the spotlight now!

Following this announcement, Google is introducing latest ranking system that is mobile-friendly and is mindful of content that performs better on smaller screens. Mobile-optimized web pages are indexed and used for displaying search results for both mobile and desktop users.

Why hoteliers need to pay attention to it ?

Well, since you have a hotel website and you always try to keep it on higher ranks in search results; you need to pay a close attention to this.

What hoteliers can do to stay firm in this transition from desktop to mobile websites?

  • Square one: Are you present there in mobile world?
    If you are already up-to-date with mobile-ready website, you do not have to change anything. Still you better how does your hotel website appear on smaller screens!
    Well, if you don’t have a mobile-optimized website yet, get a one ASAP. Preferably, you need to pick a responsive web design for your hotel website.
    This means, your website will adjust itself according to screen size and type of device to deliver uniform experience; without having to build different website for different screen sizes. Relieving, isn’t it!
  • Load time and relevance do matter, because
    Load time and relevance do matter To check load time of your property website, you can try using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. You can even get Custom Recommendations to increase your website’s speed. For more information and tools, check this out: How to Create a Better Mobile User Experience
  • What about content?
    When people say Content is King, it holds true always. Ensure that your website contains up-to-date quality content that helps it rank better. It is recommended to keep the content and links of mobile version similar to desktop version. You can use Read More links to put adequate content on smaller screens.
  • Don’t have a mobile site? Don’t mess it up in hurry, take your time to make an accurate one!
    Never launch a broken or incomplete mobile site, it would only hamper your search result rankings. Take good time to properly build it.

Mobiles bring in-store revenue: How this index shifting affects Bookings for a hotel website

Your website is a mechanism that popularizes your brand and transforms visitors in guests; a source of revenue that you cannot afford to bypass.

Google is aiming to make web browsing easier and well-suited for mobiles, by introducing this index. At bottom line, it helps businesses increase mobile visitor traffic on their website. Your mobile website will be primarily used for search engine indexing, which clearly implies that if you don’t have a mobile friendly hotel website;
then your rankings will be affected and consequently ‘bookings’.

Moreover, you might even face reduction in website traffic, also, even guests who reach your website on mobile will not convert and abandon booking process due to poor experience.

It is high time for you to measure the impact of mobile searches done by bookers.
Run the test here to see how does your website appear on mobile

Researches have shown that hotels with mobile friendly websites have higher chances of boosting mobile conversion rate to 5% or above. At such times, an excellent (Responsive!)Booking Engine can prove to be a booking booster. Read how-

  1. Clear and simple booking process and forms
    A quick 3-step booking process to instantly and easily book a room at your hotel from smartphones.
  2. User-driven appearance and UI to fit mobile browsing
    A responsive booking system that blends beautifully with your website theme and contains responsive structure, would provide matchless user experience.
  3. Instantly loading on smaller screens
    It should take no time to load and work smoothly, giving splendid booking experience to mobile bookers.
  4. User Engagement
    Compelling user friendly booking environment makes a visitor stay longer on website, thus reduces chances of booking abandonment.

Alternatively, if one website (your own, of course) is not enough for you; if you want to get more visibility; then you must consider flaunting your inventories on Online Travel Websites. Trust it, this way you can attract global traffic of guests at your property. Wondering how you can do this? Simple, get a Channel Manager and get set with all those highly popular travel sites right away.

 

Importantly, though started on a small scale, this whole update is in Testing Phase as of now. Hence, you might see the minimal effect initially.
It will take a couple of months for Google to completely launch this index. Meanwhile, you can prepare and arm yourself with knowledge and tactics to rank higher in Mobile First Indexing.

Behind the scenes: Where this all started

Mobile is incredibly changing and dominating the way people access web content. In recent times, the number of people hitting a Google Search from mobile devices has already surpassed the number of desktop searchers. When you want to know more about something you right away look at that smart-phone next to you, don’t you?

Well, Google knows it all. Hence, to make search results more useful, Google is now emphasizing ‘mobile-first factor.’ Therefore, if your website delivers poor user experience to mobile visitors, warning bells should ring in your head.

How mobile is taking over: These stats are enough to say it all

This recent research by Google makes it very clear what role mobile plays in shopping behaviour of millennials. They are more likely to shop for hotels and accommodation on a smartphone right away. These figures tell it all,

2/3 of young travellers plan antire trip on smartphone

66% millennial travelles search for flights and hotels on smartphone

64% millenial travellers book a hotel room from smartphone

Leisure Travelers & Business Travellers

(Source: Millennial Travelers: Mobile Shopping and Booking Behavior)

Now, you cannot overlook power of smaller screens anymore when it comes to capture the Let’s-book-it moments of millennial travellers.

The End Note

For industries like hospitality, dependent largely on digital consumer channels; very soon mobile will be everything. The way number of mobile users in bookings and travel shopping is booming, you should definitely pay heed to your digital appearance on mobile devices to keep up momentum.

Afterthought:

Right now, somewhere your guest is looking at your website from his smartphone to book at your property. Go and see for yourself how does your website look on that smartphone!

A brief guide to differentiate your hotel online from others

As much as we would like to believe it, but converting the lookers into bookers on the internet is not about offering the lowest rate. Being a part of the lowest rates race is the easiest thing that a hotel can do, but the repercussion of reduced margins is surely going to adversely impact a hotel’s long-term strategy. What is imperative is to provide a distinctive experience as well as an unparalleled service to your guests even before they arrive!

What is imperative is to provide a distinctive experience as well as an unparalleled service to your guests even before they arrive!

 

Revenue per available room (also known as RevPAR) is a key index for hoteliers since it’s one of the ‘Key Performance Indicator’ that suggests how weak or strong the hotel’s income is based on their current sales strategy. Moreover, hoteliers must keep in mind that RevPAR does not essentially go up when the numbers of bookings are maximized by lowering the room rates. Too much dependency on the OTAs also lowers the margins thereby diluting your brand by keeping the potential travel planners away from your hotel’s website.

designhotel-final2

Thus, a differentiation strategy based on your brand, the facilities you provide and your location will entice new guests to your property. If a potential guest visits your website and finds it confusing, there is an immediate action to shift to your competition’s website and even book there. To avoid the loss of a potential guest, following are the 5 fundamental rules that will help hoteliers to get an edge above competitors and ensure maximum occupancy all year round.

Exhibit your hotel properly on website

Displaying your hotel on the website doesn’t only mean posting some pictures or images and write some catchy texts below it. The visual content you post must reflect the value that your hotel has to offer. Even the smallest detail will help to allure your guests. Almost all hotels display a ‘Photo Gallery’ option, but in order to stand out, your pictures should communicate a story to involve your prospective guests. Make sure that your hotel’s page loads right away in just two seconds, because the clients are usually impatient and more so, if they are using a mobile.

Offer attractive promotional deals

You can offer certain promotional deals that are valid only when reserving a room through your website. You can even choose some reputed offline agencies which can book certain packages for you by offering a deal to guests that they will not find elsewhere.

Putting these two efforts will upscale your sales through your channels and even increase the probability of returning customers.

Reward your loyal guests

Nothing works best than creating a sentiment of loyalty within your customers. Run a ‘Reward Redemption Program’ to get more reservations from your frequent guests. Keep the loyalty program module enabled on your hotel reservation software. Surprise your loyal guests sometimes by providing them an exclusive offer of a free additional night stay if they book for certain number of days.

Utilize your funds in specialized channels

It is important that your hotel is ubiquitous on the most relevant distribution channels in your market. An integrated software can help managing these channels fruitfully. Integration shouldn’t be overseen since managing several apps and sources of data can get ineffectual and ultimately costly.

Call-to-action

Once the user finds exactly what he is looking for on your website, he would like to make a purchase decision and thus, it is significant that he is immediately provided with a necessary ‘Call-to-action’ or a ‘Book Now’ button.

A ‘Reservation Button’ must be all the time or most of the times be clearly visible on a mobile or a computer screen. A prominent ‘Call-to-action’ button will help you keep the potential guests engrossed on your website rather than driving them to an OTA page, because once they go away from your website, there are all chances that they lose interest in your property, and ultimately book some other property from somewhere else.

At the end of the day, being non-identical suggests that you are not just executing standard operating procedures but also interested in providing out-of-the-box, pleasant experience to your guests. It lets your guests know that you are actively managing a guest experience that makes your hotel distinctive, especially from the guest point of view, which ultimately rewards both you and your guests!

Tips to woo the travelers with ‘Social Media’ engagement

Social media has changed the conventional pattern of marketing and sales across all business segments and even the hospitality sector is not untouched in this regard. With the enormous impact of social media in today’s marketing practices, the hospitality industry is quickly moving towards ‘Technological Sociability’. So, what exactly does this mean? Social media usage is a growing practice which majority of hotels are following with the intention of turning social communication into data. Hotels are seeking out newer tools and technologies extensively that empower them to evaluate and manage social activity for their online reputability.

 

Social media is not just about attracting guests to your property, but it is also an integral element to foster relationship, share value and engage with the guests

 

With innovative and creative ways to captivate guests in conversations, hotels can use this channel as a substantial marketing tool to build strong brand rapport. These days, social media is not just about attracting guests to your property, but it is also an integral element to foster relationship, share value and engage with the guests.

Let us observe these eye-opening statistics on travel planning of guests via social media –
Roughly, one in five travelers refers social media for accomplishing the travel plan (and these figures are ever increasing), including:

Destinations: 27%
Hotels: 23%
Leisure activities: 22%
Sightseeing: 21%
Meal options: 17%

Now that you know that significance of social media engagement, we bring to you some simple yet innovative and very useful tips for better guest engagement on social media:

TAP THE SOCIAL NETWORKS THAT YOUR GUESTS ARE FOND OFF

To assist your guests online efficaciously, it is important that you are aware which social networks they are spending time on! This is the basic and most important factor to engage and interact with your customers. This knowledge will help you yield a superior customer service experience thereby empowering you to reach the target customers exactly at a time when they need your response the most!

DO TEMPTING PROMOTIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Hardly would there be anybody who is not fond of using social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and this itself is a huge opportunity for the hotel management. You need to come up with irresistible promotional offers that catch the eye of these masses and they are tempted to book! In order to strike a super impressive social media campaign, you have to be very particular about right balance of timing, onlookers and attractive deal.

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ENCOURAGE YOUR GUESTS TO INTERACT ON SOCIAL NETWORKING PLATFORMS

As a prospective client, you would be more convinced if you happen to see the feedback of the previous customers. The same goes for your guests. It is very important to be able to motivate the guests to post reviews about your property on your social media page, TripAdvisor or Yelp. They can even post the pictures of your hotel on your Facebook page or Instagram and share their experiences of staying in your property. Whether it a positive or negative feedback from the guest, make it a point to reach out and respond to them on time. Ignoring a feedback on social media would be a grave mistake.

Apart from this, proactively keep a watch on the mention of your brand on different social networks and conscientiously try to be a part of that conversation in order to connect with the customer pleasingly and convincingly.

POST CREATIVE TRAVEL RELATED CONTENT TO LURE NEW FOLLOWERS

Aspire for a cordial communication style and design, create engaging contents for your social media posts to coax in new fans and followers. Avoid being too formal on social platforms without leaving the authenticity and decency. Wit and humour related to your industry can also entice new people to your profile or page thereby providing them with entertainment value.

ENGAGE IN PAID SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS

Exploring the option of paid campaigns on social media will not only expand your engagement with customers, but also grant you to get the most out of your online marketing plans. In most of the cases, the option of paid campaigns generate very effective and engaging results because through that, you are targeting a broader base of customers who are likely to have strong interest in knowing about your business. You can also embed the social media plugins to your hotel website to increase your followers on these widely used networks.

Social media is surely going to stay here as a vigorous marketing tool for the hospitality industry for a predictable future. In all possibility, the prediction seems to be quite optimistic for hoteliers who are all set to welcome the industry trend of social hospitality for engaging with guests, enhance their brand recognition and subsequently yield greater ROI.

Benefits of an All-in-One Hotel Management System

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.

When hotels have several siloed applications, there can be a possibility of complications that may cripple the growth due to its severity.

 

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.

Rate ParityMaintain 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.

 

 

 

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-bookingsoverbooking

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.

 

 

Boost your online room sales with a truly assimilated hotel management system.

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.Frustration of handling multiple vendors

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.

Best-in-Class solution

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

Training for multiple systems is difficult for the hotel staff and they often find it difficult. Training for an integrated hotel management system is not just easy, it’s just good business.support

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.

Integrated hotel management systems like eZee Absolute and eZee FrontDesk are transforming how hotels run their operations, enabling them to transcend growing pains that hindered their progress of unlocking the next level of profitable growth.

 

Try All-in-one Desktop PMS

Try 360° Online Hotel Software

This article was originally published www.on eZeeFrontdesk.com

Expert Q&A: Importance of Mobile Booking Engine

One of the biggest trend today in the industry is the rise of mobile bookings. More hotels are starting to take advantage mobile bookings and experiencing a rise in their bookings. Taylor Short, market searcher at Software Advice, who recently did a report on Hotel Booking App User Interface. The report included eZee Reservation’s mobile booking capability and strengths of its User Interface.

eZee Reservation - Mobile Booking Engine

In our first ever Q&A session, we spoke to Taylor short who shared his views on mobile booking engine and eZee’s mobile booking engine.

What are the key factors for a good mobile booking engine?

Travelers are tethered to their phones more than ever, and use them for all kinds of purposes on a trip. Offering functions like real-time rates and information about the area in a convenient and streamlined way is the best way to deliver value through a booking engine.

On what basis or standards did you narrow down the top 5?

When narrowing down the list of best mobile booking interfaces, I put myself in the shoes of a traveler and looked for a system that is eye-pleasing, simple to use and full of useful features—something I would find invaluable while traveling.

Should hotel focus more now on mobile marketing?

Absolutely. Mobile bookings are increasing as more and more travelers use their phones or tablets to plan vacations and trips. Hotels can draw significant business from these consumers by offering an engine that makes bookings fast and easy.

What should hoteliers look for in a mobile booking engine?

Hotels should prioritize two main factors when developing or choosing a booking engine: breadth of functionality and ease-of-use. Users should be able to access every function necessary to make their booking, such as maps, local information and a press-to-call feature, all while being simple to navigate.

What did you like most about eZee’s mobile booking engine?

The first thing I noticed about eZee Reservation’s mobile booking engine is its clean interface and large buttons that clearly show what functions are available, as well as the photos that hotels can use to maintain consistency throughout the booking process.

Where do you see the trend going in next couple of years?

I think mobile booking will be an increasingly important revenue channel for hospitality in the future, and the ones that standout will be those who offer potential guests the most convenient, feature-rich option.

About Taylor Short
Taylor Short is a Managing Editor at Software Advice, where he does market research on hotel management systems. Before joining Software Advice in Fall of 2013, he worked with various newspapers covering local government and freelanced for Reuters News Agency.

[This article originally appeared on ezeetechnosys.com]

Legacy Hotel Software v/s Cloud PMS

The hospitality industry is ever evolving, replacing the manual management with various automated software technology is one of the most predominant change in the market. Particularly, for efficient property management, the developing technology has contributed two types of hotel management solutions. The foremost is the widely accepted and locally installed desktop based hotel management solution while the other explores the power of SaaS and cloud computing and is a web-based PMS. Thus, hoteliers are no longer bound to one type of management system, they are given an opportunity to analyze their own requirements and select the most appropriate for their property.

Even though, both solutions have demonstrated their efficiency and benefits, not all of them are right for all hotel type and choosing the most beneficial PMS for the business can be a daunting task. To aid hoteliers to select the accurate software, eZee has researched few foremost requirements from a hotel point of view to explore the pros and cons of both servers based and online property management software.

Desktop Vs Web PMS

Maintenance and specific requirements

System-computer-icon  A desktop PMS requires a comprehensive and detailed infrastructure in terms of technological requirements like spectacular hardware, local servers and different license for each hardware. However, a legacy PMS is not dependent of internet connection and can be very useful in remote areas with low connectivity.

1439829229_icon-132-cloud One of the greatest advantages of an online PMS is that it requires no special installation or downloads. All it requires is a browser and a favorable internet connection. As a cloud PMS can be accessed from anywhere, hoteliers can run the front-desk functions even during power cut of with the help of a laptop, tablet or even a smartphone. Moreover, as all the functions are run on the cloud the software needs no specific hardware or even an IT personnel for maintenance.

Easy accessibility- anytime, anywhere

System-computer-icon A legacy system has the advantage of being locally installed and doesn’t rely on the remote server, thus all functions are robust even during downtime. Correspondingly, it ties the user to a particular machine and shuts down completely during electricity cut off.

1439829229_icon-132-cloud As discussed earlier a web-based hotel management system requires no special downloads and can be accessed anytime and anywhere, using any type of device be it desktop, tablet or mobile. As a result, you can use from the remote location while traveling or in the case of multiple properties, where you can retract reports and other data of any of your properties sitting far away.

Favorable financial estimate

System-computer-icon The majority of installed front-desk system a very heavy number of detailed and complex features making the solution significantly more expensive than a cloud solution. Moreover, the periodic maintenance, upgrades and requirement of IT staff members can further increase the expenses.

1439829229_icon-132-cloud A cloud PMS offers a significant reduction in capital investment, mainly due to its low costing technology and subscription-based pricing strategy. Adding to the advantage, a majority of online hotel systems are robust and require no download, no installation, no service and not even an IT personnel. However, in the long run, the cost sometimes can be either equivalent or more when to compare to the cost of a legacy system.

Feasibility and proficiency

System-computer-icon A desktop PMS is incredibly complex and exceptionally detailed, offering a myriad of integrated third party solutions. It is always available due to the local installation, and can effortlessly manage any type of property including full-service hotels.

1439829229_icon-132-cloud Alternatively, online property management solutions are easily upgradable and are up to date with the latest market trends. As a result, they integrate effortlessly with a variety of other solutions like a channel manager and booking engines leading to an enhanced online exposure.

When it comes to choosing the correct PMS for your hotel, it all depends on a type of operations you run. Cloud technology has come a long way in automating various time-consuming manual tasks. The introduction of this revolutionary technology transformed the face of hotel management and a lot of properties are migrating from a legacy PMS to cloud PMS. If you own a small, independent hotel or a small B&B, a cloud hotel software should be perfect for you. Nevertheless, if your property is large and requires more detailed functions, the complex yet sophisticated technological infrastructure of the locally installed hotel management solution is a tried and tested way to go as well.

[This article originally appeared on ezeetechnosys.com]

Hotel Management Software Buyer View | 2015

Hundreds of hospitality professionals contact Software Advice each year to find software that meets the needs of their properties. Digging into these interactions provides us with a great deal of insight into industry trends and buyer behaviors.

In this report, we analyze a random sample of buyer interactions from the past year to uncover the factors that drive new hotel management system (HMS) purchases.

Key Findings

  1. Hoteliers want to replace systems or automate daily duties: 34 percent are replacing a current HMS while 25 percent seek new software to replace pen-and-paper methods.
  2. Many buyers seek more advanced, integrated software: Those replacing an HMS primarily say it lacks functionality (13 percent) or doesn’t integrate with other systems (12 percent).
  3. Hoteliers seek to maximize their exposure to online travelers: More than three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents ask for online booking functions.

Introduction

In response to increased demand for lodging, bolstered by a growing class of millennial travelers, the U.S. is in the midst of a hospitality construction boom. This boom began a few years ago, as the recession tapered off: New hotel construction jumped by nearly 50 percent between 2012 and 2013, increasing about 16 percent more in 2014.

Overall travel spending has slowed in the first quarter of 2015, but it’s still rising by 2 percent annually, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. And U.S. business travel is expected to reach $295.7 billion in 2015—in due to the growth of millennial travelers, who take an average of three more trips each year than older age groups, and are 62 percent more likely to extend business trips into vacations.

This data paints a lucrative picture for hospitality companies—but without adequate software in place, they’ll be ill-prepared to handle the growth. Using an HMS can help:

  • Streamline daily tasks, such as checking guests in;
  • Manage reservations effectively; and,
  • Facilitate online bookings.

In this report, we’ll explore these and other benefits by looking at the current methods, common pain points and most requested functionality among a sample of prospective HMS buyers.

34 Percent Use Software, One-Quarter Use Paper-Based Methods

When asked what methods they use to manage their hospitality business, the largest percentage of buyers (34 percent) say they already have a hotel management system. Another one-quarter use pen-and-paper methods and 16 percent say they have no system in place at all.

Prospective Buyer’s Current Methods

Prospective Buyers’ Current Methods

Travelers today expect a certain degree of personalization when staying in a hotel. Many companies use software to handle daily tasks so they can focus on adding a human touch to guests’ stay. A software can streamline the check-in and check-out process, generate financial reports, manage housekeeping staff and more—freeing the general manager to greet guests and address their needs.

A PMS can also store and organize guest data to help hotel staff provide personal touches. A general manager might notice, for example, that a guest orders a particular wine during their stay. When that guest books another stay in the future—even if it’s at a different location of the same hotel brand—the manager can review the guest’s information and leave a bottle of the wine in their room.

Scott Sussman is the hotel and marketing director at The Peacock Inn; a 16-room independent luxury hotel with a fine dining restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey (part of the Ascend Hotel Collection by Choice Hotels). He says he’s surprised that so many buyers are using manual methods because software offers so much in terms of the “sheer organization” of reservations, guest information and distribution of hotel rates.

“[Software offers] organization not just for today and tomorrow, but for months ahead,” he explains. “It gives you the ability to handle rates and see what’s coming up.”

In this way, an HMS can help hoteliers prepare for the growth that’s expected to continue in the market.

Many Buyers From Independent Hotels Seeking Online Booking Engines

Among those replacing an existing HMS, the top response, at 14 percent, is that it’s missing necessary features and functionality.

Others say their system isn’t user-friendly (13 percent), or note that they would like an integrated system (12 percent)—meaning they want a comprehensive HMS that can perform all necessary functions, instead of using different systems for different tasks.

Top Reasons for Replacing Existing Hotel Management SystemTop Reasons for Replacing Existing Hotel Management System

Of those who cite missing features, one-quarter says they would like a system with an online booking engine. Our demographic information may help explain why an online presence is so important: 34 percent of buyers in our sample are from independent hotels while those from motels make up the second-largest percentage (16 percent). A combined majority of buyers’ properties also have fewer than 50 rooms. (Charts can be found in the Demographics section below.)

As we’ve noted in past reports, millennials are the travelers hotels want to attract most. According to data from the Pew Research Center, they also make up the largest age group in the U.S. workforce—and many of them have now reached a comfortable position in their careers, with more time and money to travel for both business and pleasure.

Boutique and independent hotels offer the type of authentic experience millennials seek, as opposed to the corporate luxury hotel offerings that dominated the hospitality industry decades ago. In response to this demand, the boutique hotel market is booming: It’s expected to grow by about 6 percent per year through 2019, according to a report by IBISWorld.

So, we can see that independent hotels are aware that having an online presence is important to attract new guests, especially millennials. They must maintain consistent rates across all online travel websites, where millennials are likely to read hotel reviews before booking. An HMS with functionality to add an online booking engine to the hotel’s website can help achieve these goals.

On an average, a traveler reads between 6-12 reviews before making a booking, making the online booking engine a crucial part of the PMS. The brand promise and expectation should be carried onto other travel websites, and it’s important for them to have a booking engine to maintain rate parity. Rate parity—meaning a hotel’s rates are consistent across all distribution channels, such as Expedia and Orbitz—is especially important when competing with other hotels in the same area.

Majority of Buyers Seek Online Booking, Reservation, and Housekeeping

Overall, more than three-quarters of buyers in our sample (both those with and without software) are looking for an HMS with online booking capabilities, while 75 percent request reservation management.

Housekeeping management (61 percent) and front desk management (58 percent) rank third and fourth in terms of desired functionality. Top-Requested Hotel Management Software Functionality

Top-Requested Hotel Management Software FunctionalityTop Reasons for Replacing Existing Hotel Management System

Reservation, housekeeping and front desk management are all core applications every hotel needs to access on a daily basis. Hospitality staff must ensure that reservations are entered into the system, that housekeeping staff is organized and on-time and that guests are checked in quickly. Aside from pure organization, these HMS applications offer several additional benefits.


Use Case: For example, below we see the reservation Stay View in eZee FrontDesk color codes for reservations can be customized—here, we see in-house guests in purple, future reservations in green and out of order room in peach. This offers a high-level look at reservations for a month ahead, allowing management to make decisions based on occupancy. Maybe a manager sees that multiple corporate groups will be arriving in a few weeks. This could prompt him to divert some housekeeping staff to clean and prepare an additional conference room. Alternatively, she might notice that many families with children are staying soon, and add more kid-friendly options to the breakfast menu.

A color-coded Stay View in eZee FrontDesk

eZee FD Stay_View

Managers can use housekeeping management functionality to keep track of which rooms are clean and ready for check-in, which are currently being cleaned and which haven’t been attended to. Overall, this helps hotels more efficiently prioritize cleanings, so guests always arrive at a clean room on time. Also, with mobile devices in hand, housekeeping staff can update a room’s status immediately after cleaning, adding to the real-time data in the system. Below, we see a PMS screen showing the status and availability of rooms and which worker is assigned. This allows managers to make informed decisions so that guest satisfaction isn’t impacted by a dirty room.

Housekeeping view in eZee FrontDesk

eZee FD House Keeping View


Finally, online booking engines give potential guests the ability to book a room from a hotel’s website, which feeds the reservation data directly into the HMS. As an added bonus, online bookings made directly through a hotel’s website allows the hotel to avoid the 15 to 25 percent commission it must typically pay online travel agencies for each booking.

Sussman reiterates how important online booking is in today’s hospitality industry.

“No one wants to call anymore,” he says. “People want to do things online, without talking to anybody—so having that option available is huge.”

Conclusions

The data provided by the HMS buyers in the sample confirms overall trends in hospitality today: Independent hotels are popping up to attract the millennial crowd, and they want to aggressively market themselves online.

Buyers should make sure the software they purchase can help them stay on top of daily responsibilities, such as managing check-ins, room cleanings, and reservations while also offering crucial online booking engine functionality.

With daily tasks streamlined by software, hotel managers can spend more time on increased personalization, which requires careful attention to individual guest behavior and habits. Travelers today expect a seamless experience—one that hotel management software can help provide.

Demographics

As mentioned above, the demographic breakdown of the sample shows that 34 percent of buyers are from independent hotels, followed by 16 percent from motels and 14 percent from inns.

Prospective Buyers by Property Type

Prospective Buyer Size, by Number of Rooms in Property

Prospective Buyer Size, by Number of Rooms in Property

Prospective Buyers by Property Type

The statistics in the above article were originally researched and analyzed by Software Advice.

[This article originally appeared on ezeefrontdesk.com]

Features Guide for a Property Management System

Property Management Systems help hotels to manage their day to day operations with higher efficiency and heighten the quality of service they offer to the guests. A good property management system simplifies the diverse operations via features which the staff performs on a steady base.

We are going to cover key features which an hotelier should look for in any good Property Management System.

Front Desk Operations
The very basic of the operations in any property regardless of its type or size is the Front Desk Operations. A good system will allow easy check-in and checkout process for the staff. Just like any other operations, the front desk staff may have to make changes to reservations such as room change, change dates, assign rooms, and so forth. This should be relatively easy to carry out in a secure system, the modifications should take immediate effect and should make the process easy and not hinder it.

blog_features_guide

Booking & Reservations Management
Booking and reservations are important functionalities of a hotel management system. Traditionally, hotels received bookings from limited sources such as travel agents and direct bookings. Today, the story is very different as bookings come from a diverse range of sources such as hotel’s website, travel websites, business source like a corporate clients and airlines, travel agents, etc. The system should be able to handle walk-ins, bookings from online travel agents, traditional agents, business sources and from the corporate website with ease. An efficient system will easily distinguish between the different sources and update the records for future reference.

Billing and Payments
Stability is of the utmost importance when it comes to billing and settling payments with guests. Guests today use multitude methods of settling payments, the system should accommodate multiple payment methods per reservation including cash, credit cards, check and online payment gateways. In addition, it should have the ability to post adjustments, advance deposits, split receipts, extra charges, settlements, folio printing and taxes. The staff must be able to check and modify tasks related to billing and payment at any time according to changing requirements.

Housekeeping
Housekeeping is another central characteristic which an hotelier should look for in a PMS. The important thing an hotelier should look for in housekeeping is the flow of real-time information. The housekeeping module should highlight the status of rooms and provide the ability to delegate chores to the housekeeping staff.In addition, built-in inventory management for cleaning supplies and linens is always a plus.

Reports
A good system should offer the different departments the ability to generate a diverse set of reports. Given the diverse set of hotel operations and different departments working together, it is imperative that every department is able to generate reports according to their need. These reports can help management to make sound decisions and also help them build better sales and marketing strategies.

Third Party Interfaces
A good hotel management system needs to integrate and work successfully with a multitude of third-party hardware and software. The interfaces for your hotel will depend on factors such as the size of hotel, facilities offered and operational style. A standard hotel today usually have PABX, Door Lock, ID scanners, cash drawers, payment gateways and financial accounting software. It is always beneficial to go over beforehand how compatible the PMS is with third-party or they are exposed to new ones.

Conclusion
Traditionally, the hotel software came with features that covered basic hotel operations. Today, choosing the right solution for your hotel is more complex than it has ever been as the processes have become more complex. At the final stage, a good Property Management System should provide solid features that satisfy the requisites of the hotel and should be easy to adjust and carry out. Another key factor is the software provider, the provider should possess the industry expertise and experience and provide high-quality post-sales support.

A good Property Management Software is the key to your hotel’s success.

[This article originally appeared on ezeetechnosys.com]