The concept of ‘Motel’ is one of the most important parts of American lodging or accommodation industry. Motels, often referred to as mom and pop lodging, traditionally situated along highways across the United States, offering only short-term park and stay facility, has largely lost their ground after enjoying a prime time in mid-20th century. However, things have started changing for good now. In last couple of years, one can see thoughtful efforts to preserve some of the old motels to bring back the glory they once had.
So, How’s the new-age motel different?
Today’s motels, refurbished or brand new, have retained the ‘motel like atmosphere’ when it comes to their characteristics, but have many more things to offer to their guests.
It is no more just about spending a night. In fact, they are now offering food and beverage facilities, too. Wait, when we say food and beverage, it is not just any food and beverage, most of them are working with local celebrity chefs to have in-house restaurants. In short, motel owners today have understood the changing dynamics of the accommodation industry and have evolved accordingly.
Considering all these trends, it would not be wrong to say that motels today are competing against branded hotels to attract travelers, sell more rooms, serve guests efficiently to stay competitive.
Managing a motel is not an easy task especially when, as a motel owner, you have to rely on a relatively smaller workforce. It is not even advisable to hire more employees, as it would eat into your profits. So, the mantra here is to automate your daily operations. And, this only possible with a smart motel software.
Here is how you need to go about selecting a motel management software considering all your requirements
Must-have features of a motel software you need to look for
Make sure that your motel software is on cloud
Hospitality technology landscape has evolved to become cloud-first platform. With a cloud-based PMS software for motel, application implementation is faster and thus helps your motel to go live quickly. As you don’t have to spend on a server, additional hardware or on hiring an IT team, you can reduce your software ownership cost. Plus, you don’t have to pay anything extra for software upgrades as these are completely free. Not to forget that staff training is another expense you will avoid considering how easy to implement and use these cloud motel softwares are!
It should help you manage reservations from your front desk
For example, your motel is located on the famous old Route 66 (Will Rogers Memorial Highway), one of America’s most frequented and loved driveways. Ideally speaking, your property will get bookings via walk-ins. You might also get reservation requests over the phone. And, if you have a website and have listed your property on OTAs, you will also generate some amount of bookings via them. This is where the motel software should help you efficiently. Your motel management software also doubles up as a motel reservation software, allowing you to manage reservations from the front desk.
It helps you organize your bookings coming from the above-mentioned sources along with their check-in and check-out dates. This data gives you can clarity on how many rooms are booked, vacant, ready to occupy or even how many of them under maintenance. You can also offer faster check-in and check-out to your guests using the motel software.
It must allow you to streamline housekeeping tasks
The housekeeping module of the motel software should work in complete sync with your frontdesk. Once a guest checks out of your motel, the system will mark the room as ‘dirty’ or ‘needs cleaning’. You can assign the housekeeping staff to clean the room, and the same staff can mark the room as ‘clean’ once they are done with it. The frontdesk staff can see the room status from the front desk console and can check-in other guests.
It should help you generate direct booking via your website
The motel management software should come with a motel booking system that can be integrated with your website. Thus, it facilitates your guests to book directly with you on your website. The more direct booking you get, the more you get to save on OTA commission. Most importantly, you can create special packages by adding your spa or wellness facilities and sell them via your website, too. This helps you generate more non-room revenue to increase your overall profitability. Not only this, an integrated motel booking system can get you direct bookings from your Facebook page.
It should help you with a real-time inventory distribution
In this era of online travel and accommodation booking, you can’t ignore the power of OTAs when you plan to compete with branded hotels in terms of getting more reservations. So, when your motel is connected to say around 5 OTAs, you can’t simply update your inventory on all of them manually. Because, it is time-consuming and can lead to errors. And, if you don’t update your inventory across all sales channels, it would lead to overbooking and double booking which ultimately results in guest dissatisfaction.
In this case, a motel software that gets integrated with a channel manager can save you. The two-way connect between the motel software and channel manager allows you to update your inventory and rates on all the connected OTAs in real-time. This means, whenever you receive a booking from any of your sources, this integration updates the same across all the channels. This works the same when you cancel or modify a booking, too.
Ultimately, this helps you save time, ensures efficient distribution to keep availability and bookings up-to-date, increases your motel’s online visibility while getting you more reservations.
It should assist you to manage multiple POS outlets
Now as a new-age motel owner, you just don’t offer bed, you also offer food and beverage facility via our in-house coffee shop or restaurant. You even may plan to add a gift shop or a mini bar 6 months down the line. But, how will you manage them without a proper software. Here too, you would need a motel management software that helps you to set up unlimited Point Of Sale (POS) outlets to earn more non-room revenue. If you prefer, you can post any POS charge directly to the guest rooms to collect the same along with the final settlement. Most importantly, this helps you avoid financial loss by avoiding error.
It must offer you reports
You need to have the right set of reports on your motel management to gain insights. In this case, the motel PMS that you select must help you run night audit with utmost efficiency. Additionally, the motel software should offer you other key reports like reservation by source, daily revenue report, arrival & departure report and you motel occupancy analysis report, etc.
It should help you with marketing activities
A smart motel software captures all your guest details so that you can leverage the same for marketing activities to promote your offerings on special occasions. Suppose, your motel is closely located to the venue where the Illinois Route 66 Motor Tour happens every year and you plan to take advantage of this occasion to attract more guests.
In this case, the motel management software should help you reach out to your target audience by integrating with an email marketing solution. You just need to prepare a promotion pitch, highlight your special offerings, extract the guest email database from the motel software and press the send button. You are done!
Managing a motel becomes a cakewalk with a right motel software in place. While it helps you save time and man-hour by offering you extensive automation, it also helps your sell more rooms to earn more revenue.