Cloud-based hotel management software: a primer for hoteliers & innkeepers
Increasingly, hoteliers and inn-keepers are turning towards cloud-based software solutions to manage bookings and inventory, set rates and parameters, and integrate with third-party applications and online travel agencies (OTAs). Here are a few things to know about cloud-based hotel management software and systems.
What is cloud-based hotel management software? Cloud-based hotel booking software refers to software used by hoteliers primarily to facilitate room bookings and manage rates and inventory — often across channels. Data is stored and backed up in the cloud (as opposed to a static server or a virtual private network), allowing users easy access to data and systems without the need to invest in hardware. Larger properties may need to consider a PMS (Property Management System) or POS (Point of Service Software) for integration and management of gift shops, coffeeshops, and other departments in a Hotel.
“A smart cloud booking system should also incorporate automated ways for you to work with local business allies, adjunct travel sales people, and savvy event coordinators.”
Why use cloud-based hotel management software? Hotel management systems based on the web provide easy access to and control of data, from any device, anywhere in the world, without the need to rely on physical servers. These systems can also be used with ease across operating systems and platforms. Unlike with traditional software systems, there’s no need to worry about potential hardware failures, as all data is backed up automatically and hosted virtually. And while some worry about the security of cloud-hosted data, all the major cloud hotel management providers have advanced technology systems in place to ensure that data is properly encrypted and protected against possible security breaches.
How to choose the best software for your property: When choosing a cloud-based hotel management software provider, hoteliers should come prepared with a number of questions. First, does the provider specialize in properties similar to yours? Naturally, an innkeeper with a five-room B&B would be better served by a provider focusing on small properties rather than a company focusing on multinational hotel chains. Take a look at some of the software company’s clients and see who they are serving.
Second, check for cross-device friendliness. Does the technology work on tablets and mobile phones or are their issues with scrolling and resizing? Also make sure to look into what kind of support is offered. Are there tutorials, message boards, and around-the-clock support staff to help with tech questions?
How does the software integrate with third-party websites, namely OTAs? Does the integration go both ways? When a room is booked through a third-party, is the inventory updated automatically? And when a change in price or inventory is made at the hotelier’s end, are partnering OTAs automatically notified?
The Webdirexion Hotel Marketing Solutions team has been reviewing a number of well-known cloud hotel booking providers in the industry with an eye on the following key progressive advantages for our hotel clients:
- How much time does the solution save Hoteliers? Here we look at integrations for automatic updates from sales at OTAs, integrations with Accounting software, and marketing software. Done well, these integrations save time via automation and can cut down on related costs where, for example, a CPA can assist with bookkeeping at large, instead of a manager having to drive to meetings, etc.
- How well does the system facilitate promotional deals for prospective guests? Here, we like to see the ability to automatically have the system adjust room-rates for shoulder and off seasons, plus manually offer the ability to sell gift certificates and group options.
- How well does the system facilitate promotional deals with partners? A smart cloud booking system should also incorporate automated ways for you to work with local business allies, adjunct travel sales people, and savvy event coordinators. For example, when you can partner with a wine tasting or jazz festival in your local area and offer an embed on their website of your booking engine in return for a percentage of the revenues it’s a win, win, win. Festival attendees find an easy way to book rooms; the event promoters appreciate a new supporter and additional revenue; and your hotel or inn can use this tactic to increase occupancy rates via joint promotions with events in off seasons.
For help selecting the best cloud-based hotel management software solutions for your property’s needs, or for additional information on how to best market your property on the web, please feel free to get in touch with the Hotel Marketing Solutions Team at Webdirexion. Email us at InnTeam@Webdirexion.com or call (888) 974-9522.