Many independent hoteliers have to deal with constant problems due to lack of resources and small budgets. Limited resources can lead to a variety of problems, especially when existing resources aren’t being managed properly.
Poorly Managed Operations Can Lead to Disasters
Limited staff can lead to overwhelmed employees who simply don’t have the time to handle all the tasks at hand and are unable to be in two places at once. At the front desk, this could mean an executive not being available to interact with guests and help them check in because he or she had to rush off to put out a “fire” – i.e. a room not being ready for another guest because the housekeeping staff is spread far too thin.
This “fire” was the result of the housekeeping staff receiving erroneous information on which rooms needed to be ready earlier than usual because of an early arrival. The front desk executive then had to deal with the problem at the last minute because he or she wasn’t aware of the progress of the housekeeping staff because of the lack of an efficient reporting system.
Another example is if a guest calls the front desk to complain about receiving the wrong order from room service. They requested a dish with no peanuts due to an allergy but there were peanuts in the dish. This is a massive error and could have had disastrous consequences, so the front desk executive goes to the restaurant to see what happened. It turns out that the person who took the room service order also doubles as the sous chef and was in a rush to finish a previous order, so he forgot to make note of the peanut allergy. In the meantime, a guest arrives to check in, but there is no one at the front desk.
These aren’t unusual issues, and many more errors can occur as the result of your staff being spread too thin. Unfortunately, most hoteliers aren’t in the position to hire more staff. But even if they were, should they?
Not necessarily. In fact, in many cases, what independent hoteliers really need is a little automation. Many tasks can be automated using specialized software, which will free up staff to be more available for guests, reduce errors, and streamline your operations – all without affecting your bottom line.
Great Staff Plus Great Tools Create a Recipe for Success
No matter how great your staff is – and great staff is essential to making a hotel profitable – if they don’t have the right tools to support them, they won’t be able to deliver. That’s where a property management system comes in.
Property management systems, or PMSs, are vital because they can handle a wide range of tasks, including all hotel administration, inventory management, sales, reservations, and more. Thus, a good PMS will integrate operations and thereby streamline the various processes.
For example, a good PMS will have a comprehensive front desk interface, which will make reservations simpler. It will also allow your staff to efficiently assign, report and manage housekeeping operations. You’ll be able to set up unlimited point of sale (POS) terminals, which can then be used in the various areas of your hotel from the restaurant to the front desk. A system like this will also synchronize all operations with accounting, making it even easier to track and monitor your hotel’s financial situation.
The role of the PMS is not only to free up your staff’s time so they may focus on the guests, but also to significantly reduce errors and thereby improve the guest experience. The better the guest experience is, the more likely it is that your guests will return, thus increasing retention rates and improving your bottom line.
The biggest advantage of a PMS is that it can do all this for a fraction of the cost of hiring more people. Even if you were to take on more staff, they could never truly compete with an automated system that doesn’t make mistakes. A PMS will never “forget” that room 25 has been booked and can’t be booked again for 4 days, for example.
Independent hoteliers whose staff are multitasking and spread too thin because of lack of resources needn’t worry because a PMS can streamline operations and improve bottom lines significantly by reducing errors and freeing up staff to focus on guests. This leads to a better guest experience, which leads to more repeat business and a significantly improved bottom line.