3 Things Hotels Can’t Do Without a Cloud PMS

Despite increased efficiency, scalability and profitability that cloud technology brings to hospitality businesses, many hotels are still running on outdated legacy systems—or, believe it or not, pen and paper.

We all have our reasons for making the decisions we make, but to approach the case for the cloud from a different angle, here are three things hotels can’t do without a cloud property management system (PMS).

Can’t Make Your Data Work For You

If you’re working with separate standalone systems or with manual ones (ledgers and spreadsheets) you probably feel a bit like a slave to your data. Manually cross-checking and compiling data from multiple sources is a time-consuming, error-prone process.

Without automated, integrated systems, hotels commonly suffer double bookings, under booking, rate and billing errors, slow check-ins and check-outs, and, ultimately, low customer satisfaction. With data stuck in silos or hardcopy, workflow and customer service are uninformed and disjointed.

When data is unified, the picture is very different. A PMS that shares information between departments and systems automates data workflow, eliminating the need for staff to manually duplicate data across those systems.

Through APIs (application programming interfaces), cloud PMS connect to other hotel systems (CRM, POS, online distribution channels, revenue management systems, mobile messaging platforms, electronic locking systems, room automation solutions, call accounting systems and more), consolidating data to automate administrative processes and improve the guest experience. Essentially, data integration allows systems to talk to each other so you don’t have to be the middleman.

Let’s look at some examples. When a PMS is integrated with a POS system, call accounting software or in-room entertainment platform, charges for restaurant meals, long-distance calls, and pay-per-view are applied to guest folios automatically, saving manual administrative time and improving billing accuracy. Integration with payment gateways and electronic locking systems allow payment acceptance and key coding to be facilitated directly through the PMS (instead of requiring staff to manually enter data into the credit card terminal or locking system) for a faster and more secure check-in process.

OTA, GDS and channel manager integrations allow you to conveniently manage rates and availability for all connected channels at once directly through your PMS, rather than updating each channel one by one, duplicating data each time. Integrations with CRM and guest engagement solutions can automate routine guest communications and heighten personalization.

In short, system integration automates data workflow for enhanced efficiency, accuracy and service. When the data takes care of itself, you have more time to focus on your guests.

Can’t “Mobilize” Your Front Desk

One of the most celebrated advantages of a cloud PMS is being able to access your data from anywhere, any time. Unlike legacy systems, which chain staff to the front desk (where the only access point for completing front-office tasks is the front-desk computer on which the PMS software is physically installed), cloud PMS are deployed online, conveniently accessible to authorized users via any computer or mobile device connected to the internet.

With a cloud PMS, managers can log in when they’re away from the property to generate reports, update room rates, or provide off-site assistance to on-site staff as needed. Accessing PMS data on the go via a mobile device, on-site staff can look up reservation folios, enter bookings, log and action guest requests, update housekeeping room status, and even check guests in—all without returning to the front desk, maximizing time and efficiency.

Using a cloud PMS, modern hoteliers can essentially take the front desk with them wherever they go to serve guests better and manage their business more effectively.

Can’t Stay Competitive

Legacy PMS require expensive licences and upgrades that do not inspire hotels to keep their systems up to date, eventually resulting in obsolete software that holds business back.

Key to remaining competitive in any industry is implementing current and innovative technology that helps businesses keep up with consumer demand and behaviour, like the desire for self-service options and personalization.

From improving mobile functionality to developing new integrations, cloud PMS are constantly evolving in an ongoing mission to improve operational efficiency, profitability and the guest experience for lodging operations. Technology that unifies and mobilizes data will put a hotel ahead of another employing systems that trap data in silos and staff behind the front desk.

Properties running on cloud technology usually enjoy standard feature updates and system upgrades free of charge as new features and upgrades are quick and easy to deploy online compared to legacy installations. This ease of deployment means that cloud solutions are easily scalable too, readily growing with your business, whether further rooms, locations or revenue streams are added.

Through connectivity, constant innovation and scalability, cloud PMS give lodging operations a sharp competitive edge that keeps them ahead of the game.

Still not convinced that a cloud PMS can help your business be more successful? Read 5 Ways a Cloud PMS Directly Increases Hotel Revenue next!

Creekwalk Inn & Cabins

The Creekwalk Inn Bed and Breakfast, Cabin Rentals and Events, Gatlinburg, TN is located in Cosby, Tennessee, bring guests back to nature in a rustic national park themed atmosphere. Every morning there is a breakfast celebration with farm-to-table and locally grown ingredients for all guests. This 50-acre property offers a variety of accommodation types including cabins, suites and lodge rooms. The Creekwalk Inn has chosen to use our cloud-based WebRezPro Property Management System to help with their operations. Visit their website to see how they’re using WebRezPro to accept online bookings!

8 Key Performance Indicators Hoteliers Should Be Tracking

Running a hotel is a complicated job with a never-ending list of responsibilities. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks that keep your property running smoothly and forget about taking time to assess your business’s performance. But, as they say, you can’t improve what you don’t measure – so start measuring.

Here are eight important key performance indicators (KPI) every hotelier should be tracking:

Financial KPIs

Average Occupancy Rate (AOR) >> The AOR measures the percentage of rooms that are occupied over a specific period. It is calculated by dividing the number of paid rooms occupied by the total rooms available (for the desired period) and multiplying that figure by 100.

Occupancy is an essential indicator of hotel success. Increased AOR typically means increased revenue, so you should pay careful attention to this figure. Check out our past blog post for ideas on increasing occupancy at your property.

In addition to providing insight into hotel performance, knowing your AOR is critical for operations. This metric can help you staff your hotel appropriately and manage inventory effectively.

Average Daily Rate (ADR) >> The ADR measures the revenue generated by each room on average. It is calculated by dividing total room revenue by the number of rooms sold. You should be comparing your ADR to the average costs per room to ensure profitable pricing decisions.

For tips on improving ADR at your property take a look at this past post.

Average Rate Index (ARI) >> The ARI indicates how your ADR compares to that of your immediate competitors. It is calculated by dividing your ADR by your competitors’ average ADR. This figure can help you determine if, and how, you should be adjusting your pricing.

Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) >> RevPAR is often considered the most important figure for analyzing hotel success. Although similar to ADR, it includes the rooms that are sitting empty in the calculation (RevPAR = total room revenue / number of available rooms).  Because this ratio accounts for both revenue and occupancy, it serves as a good snapshot of success and profitability.

Revenue Per Available Customer (RevPAC) >> RevPAC (calculated by dividing the total revenue from hotel guests by the number of hotel guests) reflects the average revenue generated by a single customer. This figure accounts for ancillary revenue sources (from spa treatments to food and beverage purchases to pet fees) in addition to room revenue.

Check out our past blog post for ideas on increasing ancillary revenue, and therefore RevPAC, at your hotel.

Customer Acquisition Cost >> This metric indicates how much cost is invested in acquiring each new customer. You can compute it by summing the total amount spent on sales and marketing and dividing that figure by the number of clients acquired through those efforts. Calculate the CAC for individual channels to determine which ones are worth continued investment.

Guest Satisfaction KPIs

Online rating >> In the age of the internet, hoteliers no longer have to wonder how their guests felt about their stay; online reviews provide explicit and measurable feedback. You should be aware of the number of reviews and overall rating your hotel has on sites like Google and TripAdvisor, and making efforts to improve both.

Read this blog post for tips on improving your ratings online.

Guest engagement >> People engage with the brands that they trust and love, so how much engagement you get online can be a good indicator of overall guest satisfaction. Track the number of likes, comments, and shares your content is getting on social media platforms for a sense of how contented and loyal your guests are.

Running a successful business requires constant self-assessment and adjustment. Track, and regularly assess, these KPIs so you can run a more efficient and profitable property.

Bizarre Hotel Guest Requests (and How to Handle Them)

From demanding a meal after the kitchen is closed to requesting a room change because the feng shui isn’t quite right, most hotels deal with challenging guest requests on a daily basis. But we bet most requests pale in comparison to the following real-life examples…

We’ve scoured the internet for some truly bizarre guest requests that were actually granted. Read on to find out how far above and beyond some properties will go for their guests—and how your property can too.

Celebrity Requests

Apparently rock star Don Henley has his bed follow him by truck wherever he goes. When staying at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, Colorado, he requested that his bed be moved into his hotel room. He then later asked for it to be removed as the hotel bed turned out to be plenty comfortable enough after all. Sure, why not? Moving large beds in and out of hotel rooms is a piece of cake!

You often hear of celebrities complaining about their lack of privacy, but it seems some complain when they get too much of it too. The staff at Tides Inn in Irvington, Virginia, were trying to respect an unnamed celebrity guest’s privacy, but after three days of giving the special guest space and refraining from asking for autographs and photos, they were asked by the guest’s assistant to drum up some fanfare. The hotel’s concierge organized staff into three groups—one to request autographs, one to request photos, and one to learn all they could about the Very Important Person in order to gush about their past roles, award wins and charity involvement. Perhaps it’s really the staff at Tides Inn that deserve an Oscar?

Spanish artist, Salvador Dalí (1904 – 1989) once requested a small herd of sheep be sent to his hotel room at Le Meurice in Paris so he could shoot at them with a pistol filled with blanks. The mind simply boggles.

Requests for Animals

Thankfully not quite as disturbing as shooting at sheep, the following animal requests go way beyond a bowl of water and dog treats.

Twenty pounds of ice was requested for penguins staying at the Seaport Boston. The penguins were traveling as part of the Boston Globe Travel Show—and staying in a hotel room bathtub. Of course.

The concierge team at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, also in Boston, sourced a large egg incubator for a guest’s ostrich egg! At least it might come in handy for other guests traveling with ostrich eggs…

A guest requested the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris to find two lion cubs for their daughter’s birthday party. (Miniature ponies are so passé.)

Requests for Special Occasions

It’s not just birthday parties that warrant special attention… Just four hours before her wedding, a bride staying at the Hotel Vintage Park in Seattle asked hotel staff to have her wedding dress dry cleaned as she had only just realized she got it dirty celebrating out on the town the night before. The hotel concierge managed the urgent feat just in time, meeting the bride at the wedding venue with the freshly cleaned dress. Phew!

The concierge team at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile staged an early Christmas for a couple staying in December, right before the husband shipped out for military service. The wife sent gifts and tree ornaments in advance, and the concierge team set up a real tree in the guests’ room, decorated it, hung the stockings and wrapped the presents—all ready for the guests’ arrival. Awwwww.

Upon-Arrival Requests

Speaking of in-room items requested for guest arrival, photos of famous people are popular. Staff at the Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica, California, filled a couple’s room with photos of Jeff Goldblum, as requested. The satisfied guests arrived to find framed photos of the star on the desk, in the bathroom and beside the bed.

A woman staying at the Hotel Indigo in San Antonio, Texas, for a boring work conference thought she might spice up her stay by requesting a photo of Nicolas Cage from Con Air. Hotel staff happily complied, placing the framed photo beside the bed with a note that said, “Sweet dreams!”

Pillow forts are another popular request made by bored guests. Staff at the Fairmont Winnipeg left a DIY fort kit in the room of a guest who made such a request. The W, Seattle also fulfilled a guest’s request for a pillow fort—along with a towel folded into the shape of an elephant and a picture of fruit on the night table. Yes, a picture of fruit.

Particularly Narcissistic Requests

While many of the previously mentioned requests are undeniably narcissistic to a degree, the following requests really take the cake.

A guest at The Savoy, London, apparently thought they were Cleopatra reincarnated and asked for a bathtub of wild goat’s milk to bathe in. Another indulgent bath was requested by a guest staying at The Ritz (also in London) who wanted to bathe in fresh seawater. Hotel staff had to bring the seawater all the way from Brighton, 56 miles away. Is there something wrong with London’s tap water?

An Australian couple planning their wedding at the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria New York requested near life-size statues of themselves—made of chocolate. The Waldorf’s pastry chef stepped up to the challenge. Working from photos and communicating with the couple by email, it took several months to create a likeness that met the guests’ satisfaction. For the Waldorf’s sake, we hope these guests were as sweet as their statues.

Granting Your Own Guests’ Special Requests

Thankfully, such extravagant requests are uncommon, but going above and beyond for your guests is the best way to earn their loyalty and advocacy.

While the practical side of fulfilling unusual guest requests (like finding lion cubs or creating chocolate copies of guests) can be complicated, the administrative side doesn’t have to be. With the right systems in place, all kinds of requests can be logged and tracked efficiently for quick resolution that leads to satisfied guests.

A modern property management system (PMS) features a range of practical tools to help ensure no request goes unaddressed.

Reservation reminders and alarms that can be attached to guest folios or set as daily reminders help staff keep on top of all time-sensitive tasks—whether it’s to call that ostrich farm about an egg incubator as soon as their office opens, or to send someone to fetch some goat milk in time for a guest’s bath.

A modern PMS will include an integrated housekeeping report too, allowing notes and/or alarms to be attached to individual units to help both housekeeping staff and front desk personnel keep up with in-room requests, from extra pillows to full-blown pillow forts.

Fulfilling guest requests, especially extravagant ones, can come with additional costs that are passed on to the guest. A PMS with point-of-sale functionality greatly simplifies invoicing (and accounting), allowing you to set up miscellaneous products and services, apply a cost, and easily add these incidental charges to reservation folios.

Some properties use hotel/guest communication management solutions like Nuvola and Zenya that provide guests with a convenient way to communicate with the property and make requests. Designed to personalize the guest experience and more effectively meet individual needs, these solutions streamline guest communications, tracking requests in real time and simultaneously coordinating all action items. When your PMS is directly integrated with guest engagement solutions like this, the administrative side of tracking and managing requests and tasks becomes fully automated for maximum efficiency and guest satisfaction.

In the hospitality industry, customer satisfaction is paramount. We think the above-mentioned properties—who handled such bizarre guest requests with grace and aplomb—are at the top of their game. Backed by a modern PMS, your property too will be equipped to manage all kinds of requests, increasing customer satisfaction and winning the loyalty of even the most demanding guests (whether you want to or not!).

Tahoe Beach Retreat

Tahoe Beach Retreat offers cozy lakefront lodging in South Lake Tahoe, California! Offering over 250 guest rooms and suites, this property has the perfect accommodations for everyone, including some rooms that are perfect for doggy family members. Onsite amenities include a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, winter sports gear rentals, a tiki bar, an onsite pub and a fitness center.

Tahoe Beach Retreat 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 (and commission free!!) booking engine to accept online bookings!

A Good Sleep and a Quick Check-in Most Important Drivers of Guest Satisfaction

Pillow mints and chatbots are all well and good, but when it comes to satisfying guests it pays to focus on the basics. A good night’s sleep and a swift check-in are two of the most important elements of the guest experience, according to the recently released J.D. Power 2019 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study.

Measuring guest satisfaction with the entire hotel experience (from booking to post-stay communication), the study analyzed the responses of almost 45,000 guests regarding their overall experience based on a stay within the last year. The study, now in its 23rd year, includes 85 officially ranked hotel brands in six market segments (economy through luxury), and offers important insights to hoteliers about guest expectations, satisfaction and industry trends that can be applied to their own properties to help drive guest satisfaction and loyalty.

“Of all the discrete variables of the hotel guest experience we measure, a better-than-expected night’s sleep is the one with the potential to drive the highest level of overall guest satisfaction for those hotels that can deliver,” said Jennifer Corwin, Senior Manager of Consumer Insights for Travel & Hospitality Intelligence at J.D. Power.

Let’s take a closer look at the study’s findings—and at how properties can ensure they’ve got the basics right.

A Good Night’s Sleep

A good sleep does wonders for our physical and emotional well-being, so it’s not surprising that quality of sleep is a core element of a hotel stay.

A better-than-expected sleep impacts overall satisfaction scores by an increase of 114 points (on a 1000-point scale), however, only 29 percent of hotel guests experienced such sweet slumber. Of the guests who were lucky enough to enjoy a better-than-expected sleep, 78 percent say they “definitely will” return to that property.

So, what exactly does it take for a superior sleep? The study confirms what you no doubt already know—the top contributors are: a comfortable bed; a quiet room; comfy pillows; room temperature; and quality linens. But what you may not already know is that quality-of-sleep satisfaction scores are also higher when hotels provide sleep-enhancing accessories like white noise machines, earplugs, and robes and slippers.

An Efficient Check-in Process

The J.D. Power study also highlighted the importance of a quick yet friendly check-in process. Key elements of the check-in experience that impact guest satisfaction are: efficiency (ideally five minutes or less); accuracy; and a warm welcome. Satisfaction scores fall as much as 100 points when any of those criteria are not met.

A modern property management system (PMS) is crucial to an efficient, accurate and welcoming check-in process. Automating administrative tasks and providing all necessary data at your fingertips, a PMS makes it easy to create and look up reservations, access guest data, recognize returning guests, assign rooms and manage billing.

Integrating the PMS with other hotel systems like online booking channels, payment gateways, electronic locking systems, and self-check-in apps and kiosks, streamlines the check-in process even further, eliminating the need to manually crosscheck and duplicate data between systems.

Through data automation and an intuitive user interface, a modern PMS greatly simplifies the check-in process so that administrative tasks do not distract attention away from the guest. Plenty of eye contact and warm smiles make guests feel much more welcome than extended moments of silence as the check-in agent stares at a computer screen.

It’s easy to get distracted by the latest gadgets and trends, but when it comes down to it, a pleasant welcome and a good night’s sleep will always be central to the stay experience. If you get these fundamentals right, research demonstrates you’re well on your way to satisfying your guests and earning their loyalty.

Brisa Oceano Resort

Brisa Oceano Resort is nestled in the center of vibrant Placencia Village and offers condominium-style suites that are right on the beach. Guests can choose from studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom condos, most of which have full kitchens. Brisa Oceano Resort has chosen to use 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 reservations!

The Russell

The Russell is a premier boutique hotel in the heart of East Nashville, Tennessee, that offers 23 unique rooms in a historic, restored church. Many of the buildings features including stained glass and old brick walls have been preserved, but the hotel offers everything a contemporary traveler desires as well. The Russell has just started using our cloud-basedWebRezPro Property Management System! Check out how they’re using WebRezPro to accept online bookings from their website!

At The Helm Hotel & Pub

Located in beautiful Ilwaco, WashingtonAt The Helm Hotel & Pub is a boutique luxury hotel that offers modern guest rooms and an onsite pub. Hotel amenities include locally sourced breakfast items delivered to guest rooms, a glass of beer or wine upon check-in and cozy bathrobes. At The Helm Hotel & Pub has just started using our cloud-based WebRezPro Property Management System! Visit their website to see how they’re using WebRezPro to accept online bookings!