Hotel management software is moving from spreadsheets to the cloud. Instead of putting software on your computer, hoteliers today manage their business from web browsers. This helps keep their technology up-to-date, and gives them greater flexibility.
But not all hotel management software is made equal. Let’s explore the four essential pieces you need for your property.
1) Property Management System (PMS)
A property management system is what you need to mange the day-to-day activities of your hotel. This is what your front desk operator will log into to check a guest in and out. A quality property management system has an attractive interface that is easy to use. Your employees can drag and drop guests to move them to different rooms or switch dates. You can change rates and see your day’s progress. Use a property management system as a control panel, where you manage all aspects of your property’s daily needs.
Myfrontdesk is our PMS. It can power properties of all sizes, and it can connect to the software you already use.
2) Channel Manager
A channel manager is the software you use to connect your property to online travel agencies (OTAs). Hotel management software just doesn’t work without a powerful channel manager. It interfaces between your PMS, booking engine, and your desired online marketing channels. When your guests book on Expedia, it’s the channel manager that sends this information to your PMS and booking engine. A channel manager keeps your available inventory up-to-date on your website and booking engine. It prevents overbookings.
3) Booking Engine
An Internet booking engine is the final piece in the puzzle. It’s what completes your suite of hotel management software. This is what allows you to take direct reservations. It saves you time by reducing the number of phone calls your team has to answer. It turns your property’s website into a conversion engine that turns lookers into bookers. What’s more, it gives you the freedom to accept bookings without OTA commissions.
A good booking engine will integrate with your PMS and channel manager. When you change rates in your PMS, it should automatically share these new rates with your booking engine. It should also be easy to set up.
Mybookings is our commission-free booking engine. It works on any marketing platform that accepts HTML. You can place it on your website and your property’s Facebook page. We have integrated it with our PMS and channel manager. This ensures that the exact vacancy status remains the same for your property no matter where you sell your rooms–from your website, OTAs, or elsewhere.
Your website is an important part of your hospitality management software strategy. It’s the main place where you will take direct bookings. It’s also your marketing face to the world. Due to The Billboard Effect, even guests who find your property listed on OTAs will visit your website. They want to see photos, read your story, and to see if you have any special deals. This is a great opportunity to snag them as a direct booking instead of paying OTA commissions.
Invest in your website. Setting up your website is cheaper today than ever before. See our list of channel partners to find website developers that integrate with our software.
How to Choose a Hospitality Marketing Software
Find One Seamless Package
Your software must fully integrate with your existing marketing channels. Each piece must talk with one another. A channel manager is useless if it can’t talk to your PMS. It may connect to all your favorite OTAs, but if it can’t update your PMS that a guest has booked a room on an OTA, then it is worthless.
The Cloudbeds suite of hospitality management software does just that. Myfrontdesk, mybookings, and myallocator integrate seamlessly with each other. But let’s say you already have a PMS you like, or a booking engine that you like, and you don’t want to change how you do business. That’s no problem. We have forged partnerships with the world’s leading PMSs and booking engines. This makes myallocator as flexible as possible. Myallocator not only connects to more OTAs than any other channel manager, but it also connects to more PMSs than any other channel manager.
Avoid Software Commissions
As we explained in a recent post, there is no reason you should ever pay commissions on direct bookings. Those guests come to your website and book from your website. No one else earned that. You did. So no one else deserves a commission.
Mybookings is completely commission-free. You keep 100% of every dollar that passes through our booking engine (sans taxes, of course). We strive to empower hoteliers to establish their brand and make the most from their investment.
Find Software Developers Who Maintain Their Software
Software is frequently abandoned. This is one of the biggest problems with WordPress, for example. Plugin developers get excited about software, and make something like a bare-bones booking engine. But software developers often get bored with their own products and abandon them. This is why we see countless plugins that haven’t been updated for years.
When selecting hospitality management software, choose a developer that has been in business for a few years. Choose one that has many existing clients, and that has a thriving business. Go through their product update logs and see how often they make changes. If they don’t update the product often, then that is a warning sign.
At Cloudbeds, we have a team of software engineers that works tirelessly to innovate. We improve our suite of hospitality software with monthly updates. Request a demo to see everything we can do for your business, and let us know what you’d like to see us make in the future.