How independent hotels can tackle all challenges with the right Cloud Hotel PMS in place

cloud hotel management system for independent hotels

In this blog post, we will be discussing how independent hotels can reduce hotel operating costs with a cloud-based hotel management system. But since lowering costs directly relates to profits, we will also be looking into how to increase hotel revenue with a PMS.

BUT FIRST THINGS FIRST…

The efficacy of a property management system is largely a function of how the hotelier uses the system to suit the needs of the type of property he owns.

Simply put, the needs of one hotel is different from every other. For successfully leveraging your PMS, you need to learn to use its features to your benefit- regardless of whether you are a chain, a boutique hotel, a guest house or a backpackers’ hostel.

Before we get started with understanding how independent hotels can make the most of a cloud-based PMS, I’m going to take a slight detour, to give you a deeper context.

IT’S A WIN-WIN WORLD

The hospitality industry is a mosaic of different types of accommodations. And as a hotelier, understanding these various types is crucial to your business. This is because, each of these property types comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Where one falls short, the others come in. Meaning, there is place for every type of accommodation in the industry, but that’s not to say that there is no competition! When you know the pros and cons of every other type of accommodation, you are in a better position to see how you can cash in on opportunities. And no other property type has as much flexibility in doing so, as the independent properties do.

HERE’S HOW INDEPENDENT PROPERTIES TAKE THE LEAD

Independent hotels have an advantage over chains when it comes to the following aspects:

  1. Undivided, unifocal attention
  2. Time-sensitive decisions: Be it strategic or tactical
  3. Define their own “it” factor
  4. Better equipped to handle customization/personalization
  5. Higher chances of staff empowerment & guest-centricity
  6. More liberty in resource allocation
  7. Flexible revenue management strategy
  8. Fewer decision makers or stakeholders
  9. No obligation to abide by “brand guidelines”

These are all factors that can add immense value to independent properties. But like we already discussed, every property type has its pros and cons, and independent hotels are no exception to this.

THE INEVITABLE OBSTACLES FOR INDEPENDENT PROPERTIES

  1. Reputation is at stake- every day with every guest
  2. Minimal scope for increasing wallet shares of customer
  3. Constant pressure to build awareness & visibility
  4. No luxury of relying on “brand image” to attract guests
  5. Loyalty programs are practically impractical
  6. Increased expenditure on OTAs: OTAs tend to charge independent properties more commission, owing to their “independent” status (read: “unbranded” status)
  7. Higher risk of revenue loss as the concept of “rooms” is perishable, by definition

There are, evidently, other challenges faced by independent properties. But those are functions of the type of independent property- business hotel, beach-facing leisure hotel, a family-run inn on a mountain, etc. We’ll save that discussion for another day.

For now, let’s get to the crux of this blogpost. Can these challenges faced by independent hotels be tackled by a cloud-based hotel management system?

A big, resounding, “YES!”

If you dissect each of these challenges, you will see how they all translate to monetary consequences. Businesses run with the motive of profit-making and anything that is a threat to your profit needs immediate attention. Now that we’ve recognized the commonality, addressing them with a single solution becomes that much easier.

SO, HOW CAN INDEPENDENT PROPERTIES OVERCOME THESE CHALLENGES?

By implementing an Independent Hotel Management Software, better known as Property Management System.

To understand the full extent of how a cloud-based PMS can help independent hotel owners increase hotel revenue and take appropriate cost saving measures in the hotel, we need to see how the PMS addresses each challenge.

1. Reputation is at stake- every day with every guest

A comprehensive cloud-based PMS allows you to put guest satisfaction at the centre of your operations. Since guest satisfaction is multi-factorial, let’s dig deeper into all the ways in which a PMS addresses this issue.

How a PMS can help your independent property:

  1. By connecting your PMS with a channel manager, you will establish a real-time connectivity between the PMS and OTAs. This real-time communication ensures that no room is double-booked, no reservation goes unnoticed and no overbooking hassles. Overbooking can potentially tarnish your image and dealing with that is one of the top priorities for any hotelier.
  2. A PMS makes inter-departmental communication at your property transparent and centralized. This helps in ensuring that no guest request is ignored or missed out on. When you deliver everything that the guest expects, your hotel reputation is bound to improve.
  3. Integrating PMS with a review management tool lets you stay on top of what your guests are saying about your property on review sites, like TripAdvisor. Being proactive in responding to reviews will help you garner more credibility and possibly, more potential guests!

2. Minimal scope for increasing wallet shares of customer

Agreed, independent hotels don’t have as many return guests as chain hotels do, simply because most of them don’t cater to business travelers. But that doesn’t mean that they cannot increase wallet share of every customer by upselling or cross selling!

How a PMS can help your independent property:

  1. A PMS helps you upgrade the guest to a better room or to a better package with the click of a button. Get your staff to tactfully upsell rooms to customers who show the potential or willingness to do so!
  2. The other big advantage with having a robust cloud-based PMS like Hotelogix, in place is that it allows you to have unlimited POS connected to the system. Meaning, cross selling becomes a cakewalk. Activities or services, POS are a great source of increasing revenue. By offering guests options that they cannot resist, you can diversify your sources of revenue without depending solely on rooms.

3. Constant pressure to build awareness & visibility

Chain hotels have it easy in this aspect because they don’t have to put in as much effort in building awareness. However, one of the simplest ways for independent hotels to get over this hurdle, is by simply being more visible on OTAs.

How a PMS can help your independent property:

  1. A PMS allows you to be visible in as many OTAs as you’d like (and can afford). A simple click on the PMS dashboard lets you update inventory and room-related details on OTAs (thanks to channel managers).
  2. The rise of metasearch engines has empowered independent hotels to a great extent. The approach is similar to that of an OTA, when it comes to being listed on a metasearch engine. The biggest advantage independent hotels enjoy on meta search engines is that apart from displaying rates of your hotel on multiple OTAs, they also list the price mentioned on your website. This could help drive higher direct bookings which can act as a cost cutting measure for your hotel.
  3. You can also nurture your association with guests who have stayed at your hotel in the past via the online hotel reservation system. You can send emails from the PMS, asking them for feedback on how they’d rate their stay with you and how you can improve their experience, etc. This not only keeps you relevant to them in this age of blink-and-miss attention span, but also helps gain their trust. This is crucial to motivate them to come back to you as return guests as well as spread the word about your property in their online/offline social circles.

4. Loyalty programs are practically impractical

This is quite literally the reality. Most independent hotels are stand alone properties with little or no chances of guests returning. (Unless you are a city hotel catering to business travelers.) But who says loyalty programs are the only way to increase revenue! Embrace the other extreme by opening your doors to people who are constantly on the lookout for ‘new’!
Millennials to the rescue! Millennials are all about exploring the unexplored. You need to find that one thing that sets you apart from the other independent options and use that as your bait to attract millennials.

How a PMS can help your independent property:

  1. How you can increase your hotel revenue with a PMS in this case is by creating guest-specific packages. Have I told you Hotelogix gives you complete liberty in customizing packages? Get creative, get empathetic and get started with defining your millennial packages! Throw in special student discounts, offers, promo codes in there. But be aware that you will have to deliver on what you promise, because this demographic is not one to quietly tolerate shoddy experiences!

5. Increased expenditure on OTAs

OTAs tend to charge independent properties more commission, owing to their “independent” status (read: “unbranded” status). We are not here to settle if this is biased or not- this is just how it is. But what we can do, is make the most of that expense called commission.

In the digital world where more and more guests are internet-dependent for all their travel-related searches, OTAs are a boon for improving visibility. Guest reviews play a major role in how visible you are to your guests. The better your reviews, the higher up you’ll be visible on the list.

How a PMS can help your independent property:

  1. Send emails to all your guests asking them for a feedback on their stay with you and respond to the reviews you receive.
  2. Add travel website widgets (TripAdvisor, for example, allows this) to your website and allow reviews from the review site to be visible on your website & vice versa. More reviews, better ranking, remember?
  3. Having more reviews on your website also prompts guests to directly book through the website. This way, you avoid paying commission to the OTA altogether and isn’t that just ideal!

6. Higher risk of revenue loss as the concept “rooms” is perishable, by definition

Chains have the parent company to cover up for any losses they may incur. Their attachment to room selling isn’t as grave as an independent hotel is. For the latter, every unsold room counts and can impact their revenue. Complacency is not an option.

How a PMS can help your independent property:

  1. With the help of certain rate and business intelligence tools integrated to your cloud-based PMS, independent hotels can price their rooms intelligently. It empowers you to use the powerful dynamic pricing strategy.

7. No luxury of relying on “brand image” to attract guests

This is true. No denying this. Today’s review-dependent traveler would much rather go with a hotel with which they share some familiarity, than to a completely new one of which nobody knows. This could be a setback for you, but the good news is that not every traveler is looking for a “brand” experience. A chain property comes with a defined service pattern which is consistent across all properties of the chain. And not everybody appreciates experiencing the same stay over and over again, despite travelling to different destinations! This can act as a golden opportunity for independent hotels to cash in on!

How does a cloud-based PMS help in this regard, you ask?

Well, an online reservation system cannot help you in becoming a brand. But here are the things it can help independent hoteliers with :

1) Increasing direct bookings

2) Increasing OTA bookings

3) Saving several man-hours, a week

4) Streamlining operational processes

5) Taking informed decisions with 100+ reports

6) Managing online reputation

All these and so much more.

Hotelogix has transformed several hundreds of independent properties across 100+ countries. These hotels have improved operational efficiency and have witnessed a boost in their revenue within couple of months of implementation. If you too are looking for a system that can handle all your challenges and address them, your search ends here. Hotelogix has you covered.

cloud hotel management system for independent hotels

Divya Bhat

Divya Bhat is a content strategist and writer with over a decade’s experience in journalism and marketing. Apart from working with some of India’s leading media houses, she has also worked as a French language translator. An avid Customer Experience enthusiast, she is also passionate about the Travel & Hospitality industry. You can reach out to her at divya.bhat@hotelogix.com

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