Hotel management tools are no longer as difficult to access as they once were, with cloud computing bringing enterprise-level management to the masses. Shortly after property management system (PMS) providers began offering web-hosted software, a number of other digital tools have taken to the cloud. Revenue management, customer relationship management and distribution systems are all now available on monthly-subscription based models, hosted on dedicated servers.
This migration was by no means an overnight journey – events unfolding over the last decade have been forging an ‘environment’ in which hospitality tools can communicate with one another and contribute to better overall management of the property.
Integration is the key here. Real-time integration. With global tourism reaching new heights every year, hotels need the fastest tools to manage the unpredictable volume of requests seen today.
Let’s take a closer look at how integration between systems is enhancing the functionality of existing technology, while also simplifying hotel management:
Automated Revenue Management
Room rates need to be adjusted and tweaked periodically to maximize occupancy while maintaining optimal RevPAR. In order to do this, a number of factors need to be analyz ed before each change in rate – such as the day of the week, booking-pace patterns, cancellation trends, and so on. With international tourism growing, global elements need to be considered in addition to regional aspects. Revenue management systems have been nothing short of revolutionary in their functionality – by quickly evaluating all the data and projecting an ideal rate, hoteliers could get the best possible price at anytime. Yet, without a way to integrate the revenue management system to the PMS, all these rates would have to be manually updated on all channels. Real-time integration between the PMS and revenue management system enables auto-updating of rates whenever required.
Seamless Inventory Updating
With the massive reliance that independent hotels place on the internet and the sheer volume of online bookings being made today, the odds of encountering double-bookings has never been higher. And yet, this is an issue that most hotels today don’t need to bother about anymore thanks to real-time integration between channel managers and the PMS. Channel managers ensure that any change in inventory due to new bookings or cancellations is immediately reflected on all channels, eliminating any possibility of multiple bookings. Without real-time integration, it would be far more difficult to avoid a problematic scenario and in a setting where hundreds to thousands of bookings are being made every second, there’s absolutely no room for even a minor delay.
Improved Guest Feedback
Every hotelier today knows the importance of having a strong online presence, backed up by a solid reputation. Credibility is the currency of online bookings and it’s no surprise that guests will almost never book in a hotel that has bad reviews on social media platforms or TripAdvisor. Building positive reviews is critical to an independent hotel’s long-term success and TripAdvisor’s new Review Express tool offers hoteliers a better way to collect reviews. However, by integrating with the property’s PMS, the system can notify the Review Express tool whenever a guest checks-out. This prompts the system to send out a previously prepared review request to the guest. The tool can also be set to send reminders if the individual has not reviewed the property within a certain window.
Simplified Accounts Reconciliation
Compiling and then analyzing bank records and hotel folios can be a time-consuming, error-strewn process when done manually. Even with a dedicated accounting system, hoteliers will need to spend a lot of time reconciling the separate sets of data. This is where integration can make a huge difference in the accounting process – since the hotel management software holds all the records regarding the hotel’s revenue and other financial information, managers can save a lot of time and bandwidth through integration between the two systems. This also makes it easier for reconciliation of all accounting records such as booking revenue, point-of-sale revenue, OTA commissions, and so on with bank statements.
This level of integration was never possible with legacy hardware and even today, companies that still employ these systems need to spend large sums of money developing propriety systems for all their needs.
Smart integration has had a massive impact on hospitality and its application is so widespread in the industry today that it’s easy to take it for granted. The simple truth is, no hotel can afford to abstain from this technology and continue to compete on a global scale. Not today at least.