5 Ways a Cloud Property Management System Directly Increases Hotel Revenue

Hotel technology has come a long way in recent years. Expensive, inflexible legacy systems have given way to agile, affordable cloud property management solutions that have liberated independent hotels by leveling the playing field with the big brands.

Through data centralization and automation, cloud property management systems streamline and modernize daily operations to improve workflow and put the guest experience front and center, resulting in more effective staff and happier guests—which are, of course, key ingredients for financial success at any property.

But let’s take an even closer look at how a cloud property management system directly impacts the bottom line. Here are five ways a cloud property management system (PMS) increases hotel revenue.

Real-time Reporting Drives Profitable Business Decisions

Tracking reservations, occupancy, pricing and revenue data is key to analyzing hotel performance, identifying trends and steering any property toward success. But many properties aren’t making use of their data, primarily because they don’t have easy access to it. Without an automated system, significant time must be dedicated to manually gathering and organizing the numbers—and that’s time most lodging operators simply don’t have.

One of the major benefits an automated PMS brings to lodging operations is data transparency, making current hotel data accessible at any time for more accurate forecasting and timely decision-making. Gone are the days of manually compiling spreadsheets and punching numbers into calculators—your cloud PMS does it all for you, collating data in real time as transactions occur.

With just a click of a button, management can instantly generate reports to identify patterns and make informed pricing, distribution and marketing decisions at the right time to maximize revenue.

Flexible Rate and Package Management Powers Sales

Along with data transparency, modern cloud property management solutions offer comprehensive rate and package management tools that empower hotels to profit from their data by implementing more responsive pricing strategies.

Whether creating packages or special rates, adjusting standard rates or offering last-minute discounts, a reputable cloud PMS will support your revenue strategy through flexible rate-building features—including rate and booking rules (min/max length of stay, closed to departure/arrival, online only, etc.), quick overrides and automated yield management tools—as well as rate and package tracking, and revenue management system integrations.

With a modern, agile rate management solution you can apply pricing strategies instantly in reaction to (or anticipation of) demand fluctuations, positioning your property to maximize sales.

POS and Add-ons Boost Ancillary Revenue

Today’s travelers expect much more from a hotel than a clean room and a comfortable bed. As hotel stays become increasingly experiential, hotels are taking a more holistic approach to revenue management by offering ancillary services and products—to both enhance the guest experience and boost total hotel revenue.

In addition to comprehensive rate and package management features, modern cloud PMS support a total hotel revenue management strategy through point-of-sale functionality, booking add-ons or options, and sales reports.

From F&B to souvenirs, activities to in-room extras, a modern PMS will allow you to set up various products and services that can be added to reservations during the booking process or sold separately, making upselling a breeze.

Booking add-ons or options made readily available to customers through your direct online booking engine inspire customers to personalize their stay, generating ancillary revenue.

Using guest data, upsell offers can be targeted more effectively for an even bigger return.

Direct Online Bookings Improve the Bottom Line

The best bookings are direct bookings! Direct bookings come with low acquisition costs (no commission fees) and give ownership and control of the booking to the hotel instead of a third-party, allowing hotels the profitable opportunity to establish a direct relationship with guests right from the start.

With a cloud PMS, hotels can sell rooms direct through their own website via an online booking engine. Fully integrated with the PMS, the online booking engine always reflects live rates and availability, and reservations coming through the property’s website are automatically sent to the PMS.

Look for a PMS that offers a secure, user-friendly and commission-free online booking engine that works well on mobile too. Make sure it offers the flexibility to sell your rooms and packages the way you want, and provides analytics to keep track of bookings coming through your website. Direct bookings are key to improving your bottom line, so a good online booking engine is crucial to the health of your business.

Online Distribution Channel Integration Expands Reach

Direct bookings are best for a property’s bottom line, but third-party booking channels are still an important component of a strong distribution strategy. While online travel agency (OTA) commissions can be steep, the exposure these channels bring to independent properties is worth it. Selling rooms through the right OTAs opens your doors to guests from all over the world.

However, when it comes to managing various distribution channels, manually updating inventory across those channels is time consuming and prone to errors and overbooking—which can negatively impact a property’s reputation and revenue. This is where your cloud PMS offers another big advantage.

Offering direct connections to OTAs, the GDS and channel managers through system integration, modern cloud PMS make managing online distribution easy. Direct integration automates the flow of rate, availability and reservation data between third-party booking channels and the PMS, greatly reducing administrative workload and the risk of overbooking. Integration also makes it possible to track the performance of connected channels to help lodging operators identify their most profitable channels.

A PMS that directly connects to your online distribution channels enables you to optimize your distribution strategy for maximum reach and bookings.

Designed to increase operational efficiency, enhance the guest experience and drive more revenue for hotels, modern cloud property management solutions empower independent properties to discover and reach their full potential. If your PMS isn’t boosting your bottom line, it’s time to find one that does.

What’s Next? Five Hospitality Trends for 2015

Whether you are already onboard or are quietly waiting and watching, the focus on mobile within the hospitality industry has only grown stronger over the past couple of years. Now, with 2015 upon us, the mobile movement has proved itself here to stay. With increasingly more hoteliers armed with mobile websites, mobile booking engines and mobile hotel management systems, focus is shifting to what’s next. Here are five hotel industry trends to watch in 2015…

From “Small Screen” to “All Screens”

With the rise of the millennial traveler and their tendency to plan and book travel online and on the go, hoteliers have put concentrated effort into mobile websites and mobile booking engines in order to capture this rapidly growing segment. As this trend continues, it’s becoming more important to cater to the full range of devices — present and future — in an efficient, effective and economical way.

Focus on the small screen (or even three screens: desktop, tablet and smartphone) is shifting to a more ubiquitous approach: all screens — including the in-between sizes that are now materializing. Therefore, responsive Web design is becoming the method of choice when it comes to online marketing and software. Responsive user interfaces provide seamless experiences with optimal usability no matter the device, as well as a single point of content control.

Social Customer Service and Reputation Management

Social media played a big part in increasing brand awareness and guest engagement last year and the trend will continue to claim a growing proportion of hotels’ marketing budgets into the foreseeable future. Social media also proved to be an effective platform for customer service, reaching the mobile millennials who turn to social media and review sites for first-hand information and experience of a brand.  In the year ahead, social media will play an even bigger role in customer service, and as social engagement continues to build, reputation management systems and social monitoring tools will be deemed a necessity.

Mobility and Integration Through the Cloud

Hoteliers are much less hesitant about cloud technology than they were five years ago. Hospitality Technology’s 2014 Lodging Technology Study forecasts 51 percent of hotels will use cloud solutions for CRM, 50 percent for PMS, and 44 percent for POS before the year is out. Aside from making good financial sense, cloud technology offers an uncomplicated and seamless route to mobilizing and integrating hotel systems.

Mobile and integrated hotel systems vastly improve hotel operations in terms of efficiency and guest service. As more and more lodging operators realize the benefits of mobilizing and integrating their hotel systems, the shift to cloud technology will only continue to grow. Which leads to our next trend…

Innovative Technology for Superior Personalized Service

The whole purpose behind technology in hospitality has always been to increase efficiency and improve guest service (whether or not individual systems have succeeded in this). Today it’s no different, except that, now, innovation in hospitality technology is flourishing… and it needs to be; travelers are increasingly demanding self-sufficiency through mobile apps for self-check-in and out, mobile concierge, and even mobile room keys. But this doesn’t mean that good old-fashioned service can take a back seat; today’s travelers have high expectations for both modern amenities and personalized service, so standing out means to provide both.

Through integrating such guest-facing technology with PMS or CRM systems, guest profiles are enriched with powerful data that can help hoteliers customize the guest experience based on special requests, on-property spend and social media mentions.

As hoteliers embrace innovative, connected technology as a way to provide guests with more autonomy while accumulating richer guest data, personalized guest service will in turn reach new levels.

Health and Wellness

Travel is no longer an excuse for putting personal health regimes on hold. From local, organic ingredients to Pilates and yoga, a healthy lifestyle is hot and even small properties without on-site fitness facilities or restaurants can keep up with this trend.

Providing healthy options in the lobby vending machine or at the breakfast buffet, and fitness props such as hand weights and yoga mats along with on-demand fitness programming are some ways smaller properties could promote themselves to health-conscious travelers this year.