We’re in a Golden Age of hospitality technology. Independent properties and hospitality professionals have an opportunity to elevate their brands by giving their guests a more personalized experience. From check-out to post-stay, independent properties should harness technology to create this connection and sense of trust with their guests.
One such technology is a point-of-sale (POS) system. A POS is a broad term for a terminal that accepts payments from customers. It can be physical, such as at a hotel restaurant where cards are processed in-person, or virtual, like a front desk taking an off-site guest’s payment details over the phone.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of a physical POS for Independent hotels, hostels, and bed and breakfasts. Even small properties can take advantage of simple technological upgrades like adding a POS to their property. Here’s how.
The benefits of a POS for hotels
Any property that has food and beverage operations, a spa, or even a concierge selling in-destination activities, needs a system to sell these items to guests. In the past, staff would have to add on-property charges by hand to a guest’s folio. These manual methods took up valuable staff time and left room for error. These manual entries also prevented management from capturing data around guest spending patterns.
Today, a hotels’ POS can (and should!) be directly connected to your property management system. This provides some clear benefits for hotels:
- A seamless guest experience. No matter the size of your property, you can offer your guest the convenience of a seamless experience — after all, today’s guest expects it! A POS automatically adds room service, restaurant bills, bar tabs, spa expenditures, and other on-property expenses to a single folio. The guest then pays only once, at check-out.
- Expanded service opportunities. With a mobile-friendly POS, your staff can take orders anywhere: by the pool, in the lobby, at the spa. Wherever guests are, your staff can clinch incremental revenue.
- Better billing. Manual reconciliation of on-property expenses creates room for error. A POS reduces the possibility of human errors and improves guest satisfaction by providing faster service and more accurate billing.
- Useful reports. A standalone POS surfaces new insights about guest behavior. Since you can view all of a guest’s spending on a single folio, you can determine which profiles of guests are the most lucrative. Do certain channels deliver higher-spending guests? What are your seasonal trends? Do certain guests over-index on F&B spending? Many new questions can be asked, answered — and acted upon to better match supply to demand.
What to look for in a POS for your property
In addition to inventory and staff management functionality, here’s what to look for when searching for the best POS for your independent property:
- Integration. The last thing you want to do is add another manual task to your workload. Eliminate any POS that doesn’t integrate seamlessly with your existing property management system. It’s this integration that simplifies billing for both yourself and the guest, as well as creating a single profile that enables proper personalization. Processing payments in two separate systems and isolating guest information silos are not beneficial to your hotel’s operation.
- Mobile capability. If you’re chosen POS doesn’t provide a full-featured mobile experience, you’ll limit your future options. It may not always be realistic or feasible to install a tablet terminal; a mobile POS gives your employees flexibility in how they serve guests.
- Cloud-based. You want a cloud-based POS for the same reasons you want a cloud-based PMS: It’s a lot cheaper and more reliable than on-premises systems that require steep upfront investments and ongoing maintenance.
- Pricing. Exorbitant fees are never welcome. Your chosen POS vendor should be your ally, not your enemy. Don’t settle for anything less than fair and transparent pricing that reflects the features and functionality you actually need.
- Loyalty. Some independent properties attract a sizable local crowd. Whether it’s a freelancer friendly lobby or a lively happy hour, some properties may benefit from a POS with built-in loyalty. Locals may not be staying overnight — but it pays to encourage them to return regularly.
Smaller properties don’t always have access to the deep pockets that fund the latest hospitality technology. Investing in a modern point-of-sale empowers your staff to deliver a seamless experience on par with much larger properties. In addition to an improved guest experience, you’ll also gain operational precision and make more accurate data-backed decisions. It’s a win all around for properties that sell more than just room to guests.
The top Cloudbeds POS integrations
The Cloudbeds Marketplace currently integrates with five partners: Lightspeed, Poster, Tabology, Torqus, and #HOTTAB. When used together, these PMS/POS combos allow guests to charge their bar/restaurant tab to their room. The PMS sends onsite guest information and room numbers to the POS, which allows the POS to post items and charged directly to the guest folio. Slick! Check out the Marketplace here.