14 Union Park is the perfect place for a relaxed and quiet stay in Boston, Massachusetts. This single-family 1857 townhouse is located in the city’s trendy South End, within walking distance of Copley Square, Boston Commons and other fantastic attractions. The inn offers affordable luxury accommodations with Victorian elegance that are equipped with free WiFi, 600-thread count cotton linens and all-natural Shikai amenities. 14 Union Park has just started using our cloud-based WebRezPro Property Management System to help with their operations. Visit their website to see how they’re using WebRezPro’s integrated booking engine to accept online bookings!
Ten years ago the thought of changing a property management system (PMS) was a very scary one for lodging operators. Working with on-property, server-based systems made changing hotel technology a complicated and expensive undertaking that was significantly disruptive to daily operations. Without the resources required to upgrade, many properties found themselves stuck with outdated systems that held business back.
The advent of cloud technology helped overcome major obstacles to switching core hotel systems, significantly reducing the cost of investment—in both expenditure and time. Offering pay-as-you-go pricing, intuitive user interfaces, free and seamless updates, professional data security, and compatibility with other hotel technology, cloud PMS make switching faster, affordable and far less disruptive to daily operations today than ever before.
And it’s just as well; as the hospitality industry becomes increasingly reliant on technological innovation to stay relevant and competitive, a smooth changeover is key.
Step 1: Make the Decision to Switch
There are many reasons why you might consider changing your PMS. Perhaps your current system is outdated and incompatible with more recent technology implemented at your property. Or maybe it lacks the flexibility you need to do things the way you want. New management coming on board might want to replace the current system just because they are more familiar with another. Or your PMS vendor may have been acquired by another company, or gone out of business.
Remnant fears or concerns over changing systems—mainly to do with cost and service disruption—still hold some businesses back from making a switch, but in the current hospitality technology climate this frame of mind does more harm than good. As the control center of your business, your PMS needs to be in top form to maximize productivity and profitability.
Step 2: Choose the Best Fit for Your Business
Hotel technology is in an exciting phase, continually evolving and innovating to enhance efficiency and the guest experience. To stay competitive, it’s important to find a PMS that meets your property’s current needs and future plans.
This means partnering with a vendor that listens and responds to the needs of its clients, and demonstrates ongoing improvement and innovation of its solutions. Consider following vendors’ blogs and subscribing to their newsletters to get an idea of ongoing product development.
Along with innovation, you’ll want to make sure your new PMS has staying power. An established, tried-and-tested solution with a solid customer base speaks volumes to longevity and reliability. How long has the vendor been in business? When was the system launched? Does their customer base continue to grow?
Do your research to ensure your new PMS will provide the functionality that you need now, and the flexibility to accommodate the way you might do business in the future. Book some free demos to assess how you would conduct daily tasks, how the system will improve productivity at your property, and how it can grow with your business. A guided demo should give you a good idea of how well the software will meet your requirements, from managing rates and reservations to running reports that generate the information you need.
Read our post on essential features to expect from today’s cloud PMS solutions for further guidance on specific functionality you should look for, such as interactive calendars, commission-free direct online bookings, automated guest communications, mobile accessibility, and more.
Look for a vendor that has existing partnerships with other reputable hotel technology providers, including online distribution channels, payment gateways, POS and CRM solutions, etc. If the vendor does not already offer integration with technology that you would like to connect to your PMS, find out if an interface is possible. Established cloud PMS providers are always developing new relationships with other hospitality solutions.
It’s also important to check software reviews for solutions you are considering. Pay particular attention to what other lodging operators say about the system’s customer support. Occasional bugs can happen in even the best systems, especially in ones that are continually innovating and improving. What matters most is how the technical support team handles such issues as they come up. Whether your property is big or small, your PMS vendor should always be there for you when you need them.
Step 3: Make the Switch
Your new PMS vendor should work with you to make the transition to their system from your old system as smooth as possible.
For example, when properties switch to WebRezPro PMS, we guide and streamline the process by offering:
>> The ability to import guest profiles and future reservations from your old PMS.
>> A dedicated launch assistant to guide you through the changeover, every step of the way.
>> Commitment to a going-live date that works with your property’s timeline. Depending on the complexity of hotel operations, you can be fully up and running within a few days.
>> Ongoing customer support at no extra cost.
While switching core hotel systems is much less of an ordeal now than a few years ago, it still pays to plan ahead and be aware of issues that can arise during the changeover period. Switching systems is a much smoother process when you are well prepared.
From choosing a changeover date that will be least disruptive to your operations, to thinking about how to process in-house guests staying through on cut-over day, you’ll need a well thought-out action plan. If you’re in need of some direction, check out our guide to changing your property management system, which includes a handy checklist that covers step-by-step action points for before, on and after cut-over day.
If, for whatever reason, your current PMS is no longer meeting the needs of your property, don’t let unwarranted fears and concerns prevent you from upgrading to a new solution that will increase your property’s productivity and profits. If you would like to learn more about WebRezProPMS, contact us for a free, no-obligation demo.
From managing dorm bed bookings and activity reservations to dealing with high staff turnover, managing a hostel is quite different to running a hotel. But just like a hotel, hostels also need an efficient, automated solution to streamline daily operations and maximize revenue.
While a hotel property management system (PMS) is designed to sell rooms, not beds, a hostel-friendly PMS like WebRezPro does both. A PMS designed with hostels in mind offers flexible functionality tailored to hostel operations that reduces daily administrative workload, sells more beds, and improves both the guest and staff experience.
Accessible online, a cloud PMS offers even the smallest hostel a modern, automated and affordable solution. Here are five big reasons any hostel needs a cloud PMS.
1. Sell the Way you Want
A cloud PMS offers full, flexible functionality, which means you don’t have to fit your business around your PMS; your PMS fits the way your business works. From dorm beds to private rooms, groups to packages and discounts, your PMS should offer the flexibility to sell the way you want in order to maximize your revenue.
>> Customizable unit inventory
A hostel-friendly PMS accommodates dorm beds as well as private rooms and other units, including tent sites, cabins and more. WebRezPro even allows dorm beds to be assigned to gender-designated or mixed dorms.
>> Flexible rate management
Hostels require flexible rate management tools to meet dynamic pricing needs, including seasonal rates, discounts, packaged activities, etc. A cloud PMS like WebRezPro makes it easy to set up (and override) seasonal rates, long-term rates, discounts, add-ons, group rates, rate restrictions and even the most complex packages.
>> Upsell activities and other extras
Hostels typically offer guests additional products and services like padlocks, linen, and tours and activities, so it’s important for a hostel PMS to manage and track these sales. A hostel-friendly PMS will allow upsells and other extras to be added and included with the bed/room booking, or sold separately.
2. Fully Integrated Direct Online Bookings
Direct bookings are so important in the quest to improve your hostel’s bottom line. That’s why it’s crucial to offer your guests the ability to book direct through your hostel’s own website.
A cloud PMS tailored for hostels will offer an online booking engine for your website that supports both dorm bed and private room reservations, as well as all types of rates, packages and add-ons. WebRezPro’s online booking engine allows your guests to book multiple beds at once on a single reservation and search for beds in gender-specific dorms. And it’s mobile optimized for travelers on the go.
Integrated with the PMS, the online booking engine sends direct bookings coming through your website straight to your PMS, with availability updated automatically. That means you don’t have to manually consolidate website bookings with telephone and walk-in reservations—the PMS does it all for you.
3. OTA Integration for Seamless Online Distribution
While direct (commission-free) bookings are essential for optimizing profit, it’s also important to sell inventory across the right third-party channels to increase reach and revenue. Here’s where a cloud PMS can also save you significant time and prevent overbooking.
Through direct integration with your OTA channels, your cloud PMS streamlines and centralizes the online distribution process, allowing you to manage your OTA inventory and rates directly through the PMS. Reservations made through third-party booking sites are automatically sent to your PMS and availability is automatically adjusted accordingly. By automating the online distribution process, your reservation data and availability are always up to date, preventing overbooking.
A hostel-friendly PMS like WebRezPro knows the importance of being on the right channels and offers established connections with distribution partners that work well for hostels—like Hostelworld.com, the world’s largest online hostel-booking platform. WebRezPro also offers connections to Booking.com, Expedia, Siteminder, Myallocator and many more OTA channels and channel managers.
4. On-the-Go Access
You probably got into this business because you enjoy meeting people from all over the world and are a bit of an adventurer yourself. Being tied to the front desk all day should not be a part of the plan!
A Cloud PMS works on any computer or mobile device connected to the internet, allowing authorized personnel to access reservation data, reports and more from anywhere—on or off property. So when it’s time for your own travel adventure, you can relax knowing that you can securely log into your system to lend a helping hand if needed while you’re away.
5. Easy to Learn and Use
Large hostels in particular can have a high staff turnover. Many hostel owners offer longer-term guests a work trade program where the guest volunteers at the hostel in exchange for accommodation. With staff coming and going it is especially beneficial to have an easy-to-learn system in place.
Most modern cloud PMS offer an intuitive user interface complete with quick-access menus, shortcut buttons and graphical calendars that give a clear overview of reservations and availability. WebRezPro’s user interface offers a modern, consistent design that helps new staff catch on quick (according to many of our customers). For example, our interactive availability calendar offers drag-and-drop functionality that allows reservations to be easily moved and modified.
A modern, responsive, intuitive user interface design not only helps new staff learn the system fast, but is critical for maximizing daily efficiency.
A hostel-oriented cloud PMS equips hostels of any size with the tools they need to streamline daily operations, sell more beds, and improve both the guest and staff experience. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how WebRezPro can work for your hostel.
This year marks WebRezPro’s 15th year streamlining daily operations for lodging providers as an automated, cloud-based property management solution. As we look back on WebRezPro’s pioneering beginnings and ahead toward ongoing innovation, this milestone is an achievement that both fills our team with pride and encourages us to never stop striving for the best for our customers.
How It All Began
Way back in the mid ‘90s our company, World Web Technologies Inc. (WWT), was running an online travel agency. The internet was pretty novel back then, but our company president, Frank Verhagen, knew it wasn’t a passing fad. In the late ‘90s, WWT released an online room reservation system for independent hotels and inns. Today it would be considered pretty basic, but back then it was exciting, cutting-edge technology that opened up a whole new marketplace for our hotel clients. As people became more comfortable with making reservations online, hoteliers quickly began to see the potential of web-based technology.
Soon our clients began to ask us about the possibility of integrating front- and back-office functionality into their online reservation system, so that they could use the software to check guests in and out, and keep track of inventory and invoicing.
Working closely with our customers, we built the features they needed into the system, until it was no longer just a reservation system. And so, in 2003, WebRezPro was born, and it continues to evolve in the same way; guided and inspired by our clients—real lodging operators.
The Potential of the Cloud
When WebRezPro was launched in 2003, web-based (cloud) software was still a fledgling concept within the hotel industry, but it was hard for our clients to ignore the benefits of an online system.
The ability to accept reservations online boosted hotel revenue for no extra effort, and the automation of previously manual administrative tasks (such as tracking reservations and inventory and issuing invoices) saved hotel staff a lot of time that they could instead focus on guests.
System setup was a breeze (no software installation needed) and typically didn’t require any extra hardware beyond what our customers already had. Plus, we took care of system maintenance, upgrades and data security remotely, taking a huge weight off our clients’ minds. Basically, we offered lodging operators an automated system that greatly increased daily operational efficiency, kept data safe, didn’t demand technical know-how from hoteliers, and was affordable to even the smallest properties.
Even so, not all lodging operators were convinced. As always, there was some resistance to change; the idea of making reservations online made some hoteliers nervous. Is the internet safe? Wouldn’t guests rather talk to someone on the phone? Isn’t software expensive and hard to learn? (I’m doing fine with my big reservations book and a calculator!)…
But as the years passed, word got around. WebRezPro was improving the bottom line at our customers’ properties, and it was bringing advantages legacy systems couldn’t offer, beyond affordability. As a web-based system, WebRezPro allowed hotels to securely access their property management system from any computer with an internet connection—on or off property. Even before the world went mobile, this was recognized as a huge convenience, eliminating the need to install and pay for software on multiple workstations.
Unlike with their legacy systems, our clients had free access to software upgrades, and they could hand over system maintenance and data security to us. As more years passed, software vendors began to realize the increasing technical ease and benefits of integration partnerships, afforded by advances in cloud technology. Integrating their hotel systems allowed lodging operators to further streamline their workflow by automating cross-system processes, for example, applying long-distance call charges and ancillary sales to guest folios, and processing credit card payments.
Those early years were an exciting time for cloud hotel technology and the innovation hasn’t stopped. We love helping our customers’ properties reach their full potential with the latest real-world technological solutions.
The Secret to Our Success
Fifteen years in, WebRezPro is enjoying exponential growth, now used at over 1,200 properties in 40 countries. That’s great news not only for our company but for the hospitality industry as a whole. It’s proof that lodging operators are embracing cloud technology to optimize operations and the guest experience.
We think WebRezPro’s success stems from an unwavering commitment to our clients’ success. No matter how big or small the property, the needs of each and every one of our clients are important to us. Our dedicated Support Team know WebRezPro inside out, are fluent in the hospitality industry, and are consistently praised for quick, personalized customer care (just take a look at some of our reviews).
As part of our mission to see our clients succeed, WebRezPro offers a high level of flexibility. This is evident within core functionality (from flexible inventory and rate/package management to customizable reports), through optional modules tailored to different lodging types (for example, our Owner Payout Module for vacation rental operators and Centralized Administration Module for property groups), through integrations with numerous other hotel systems, and through software customizations.
Every property is unique. We believe that hotel technology should be adaptable to a property’s needs and facilitate their unique vision, not limit businesses with rigid functionality.
WebRezPro is a comprehensive PMS that is always improving. Software updates are driven by industry technology innovation and lodging operators’ needs, and are often a result of direct requests from our clients. Our clients are not just customers, they are our partners, and this relationship is a big part of WebRezPro’s success.
Our mission to support lodging operators with practical technological solutions that improve efficiency, the guest experience and revenue, in step with the latest hospitality trends and innovations is an eternal one. Technology is always evolving, and so must we all with it!
Vendor partnerships that contribute to the centralization and optimization of data through system integration are key to unlocking greater efficiency and innovation at every property. WebRezPro currently has partnerships with over 90 hospitality technology vendors, including channel managers and OTAs, payment gateways, POS systems, guest experience platforms, mobile keys and more. We are always forging relationships with vendors that help enhance our solution, and will continue to do so.
Solutions that optimize and mobilize data for greater personalization of the guest experience—such as guest messaging, mobile check-in and mobile key apps—are particularly exciting. Continuing advances in mobile technology within WebRezPro’s own feature set, along with third-party integrations, will ensure our customers stay ahead of the game.
“Our team is proud to reach this milestone with such a strong outlook. We believe in this product and the value it offers our clients, and are proud to be a trusted technology partner for all types of properties.” —Frank Verhagen, President at World Web Technologies, Inc.