It takes a lot of technology and software to run a business in 2017. Software as a service has transformed small businesses by providing powerful software at competitive price points. SaaS platforms are ever changing and regularly add new features at no extra cost. Now there are more options and services tailored to small and medium-sized businesses. Finding the right solutions takes time and effort, but thankfully there are sources dedicated to reviewing and suggesting software.
There are hundreds of different types of software, but which are the essentials in 2017? We compiled a list of the six most popular types of software for independent hotels today.
How to Research Software in 2017
You know those pesky online reviews your hotel has to worry about? Well there are companies out there dedicated to professionally reviewing software solutions and allow users to review them as well. One such site is FinancesOnline, a SaaS software directory. They conduct thorough reviews of different solutions. Through their site, you can compare different software solutions before you sign up for free trials or make a purchase.
Every business has unique challenges, so we suggest always testing out a new software solution before taking the plunge. Thankfully there are more resources available today to research new solutions in one place. The internet is a big place, so using one of these online directories will help you research and explore the various options.
Popular Software for Hotels in 2017
Property Management Software
Obviously we believe that a property management system is among the most important software solutions necessary to run a hotel. A PMS helps keep everyone at your property running efficiently. From reservation management to reporting, a good PMS automates laborious daily tasks. When you can let software automate the simple tasks, you can focus on your hotel’s high-level strategy like yield management and reputation management.
There’s a lot that goes into a hotel’s property management system. We outline all the benefits for hotels on our new page here.
Revenue management and pricing intelligence have become increasingly more important and available in today’s market. Independent hotels who are serious about creating more dynamic pricing strategies now have the ability to do so. A solid revenue management tool helps bring together a few different pieces.
At its most basic level, a revenue management system pulls in data from multiple different sources including your own channels, your competitors, and general market data. Then after pulling in that data, it will offer actionable insight into how to attractively price your rooms.
Revenue management systems allow you to track data on a whole new level. They allow you to see which rooms and segments sell best at different times of day, the week, and year. During any given season, the most popular days and times change. Using a combination of your data, market data, and competitor data you’ll be able to stay ahead of market trends.
After making suggestions, the software should highlight what the benefit of following the advice will warrant.
Email Marketing Software
Email remains one of the most effective ways for a hotel to reach their guests before, during, and after their stay. Email can be a lucrative marketing channel for you and there are hundreds of solutions of there for you. Since email is not new, there are many viable solutions for all price ranges.
Most hotels send confirmation emails after someone places a booking, and usually an email a day or two before the arrival date. Basic email systems can handle those emails.
And now, there’s easy-to-use software that can help power more dynamic email campaigns that are triggered by certain events. For example, if you have an email list of previous guests, you can use that to fuel a marketing campaign directed at increasing return guests. Using an email software, you can send emails and trigger more emails based on their actions or inactions. So, if they click on a link and continue to browse your website, you can send them one email. And if they don’t even open the email, you can send them a different email. Autopilot is one of our personal favorite systems out there. It’s easy-to-use and has a visual layout that makes it easy to understand who receives what email.
Accounting software populates and keeps track of all your properties expenses automatically. While good property management systems have reporting functionality built-in, it’s important to have detailed accounting books for both personal and tax reasons.
Some of the most common features needed for an account system include everyday organization for expenses, cash flow for managing incoming and outgoing money, invoicing for clients/suppliers/etc., tax preparation, payroll, and more.
Find an accounting software that connects to your property management system in order to accurately track all your guest-related revenue, commission, taxes, and related revenues and expenses.
A property management system generally doesn’t keep track of all the money coming in and out of your business, so it’s essential to find accounting software that integrates with your other systems. Quickbooks and FreshBooks are two of the most widely used accounting platforms that allow businesses of all sizes to keep track of their revenue and expenses.
Reputation Management Software
Reputation management has become a necessity when it comes to managing and maintaining your hotel’s online reputation. Our philosophy is that you should attempt to respond to every online review, both positive and negative. All negative reviews should be first responded to publicly to show any potential guests that you make an effort to address guest issues.
Different reputation management software, like TrustYou, allows properties to proactively take control of their online reputation. With TrustYou, you can send post-stay follow-up emails, monitor major online review sites, and access meta scores to keep track over time. P.S. all Cloudbeds myfrontdesk customers have access to a free TrustYou Stars Lite subscription.
Social Media Management Software
Social media management can be a handful. With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, it can be time-consuming and inefficient to update each platform every day. Social media is important to any content and direct booking strategies your hotel may have, so posting consistently is important! Use software like Hootsuite or Buffer to organize and schedule daily posts.
Finding the right software for your hotel in 2017 takes some time and effort. But thankfully, there are resources available to help you find the best tools for your business. With the rise of software as a service, we expect hotels to benefit for many years to come.