Mobile Musts for Modern Hotel PMS

As guest expectations evolve along with technology, it’s increasingly important for hotels to streamline operations and meet guest demand for mobile interactions with a mobile-friendly property management system (PMS). From guest profile and booking data to hotel performance reports, mobile-friendly PMS make data accessible on the go for improved workflow and guest service. Here are four important mobile capabilities that modern PMS should offer in this new decade and ahead.

Mobile-friendly Online Bookings

Hotel bookings on mobile continue to climb with Criteo research showing smartphone bookings are growing three to 10 times faster than desktop bookings, and approximately 70 percent of last-minute bookings are made on mobile devices. 

The evidence is clear; accommodation providers of today simply must provide consumers with a mobile-friendly direct booking option, or lose customers to competitors and OTAs.

Your PMS should include a commission-free online booking engine for your website that works well on mobile devices too. This means an online booking engine with a simple and intuitive booking process that is easy to read and navigate on a small touch screen, and is compatible with various mobile operating systems. The booking process must give consumers confidence by demonstrating page and data security (https), and by delivering automatic on-screen confirmation that affirms the booking was successful.

Mobile Housekeeping Report

Modern PMS are all about improving workflow for greater productivity and guest service and this is especially apparent in mobile housekeeping applications.

Mobile housekeeping reports allow cleaning staff to view and update room cleaning status directly from their mobile devices as they work, boosting productivity and accountability. Integrated with front desk, mobile housekeeping reports improve inter-departmental communication too, displaying live room status to front desk agents and making early check-ins a breeze.

Last but not least, a mobile housekeeping report eliminates the need to print cleaning schedules, reducing paper and printing costs and your property’s environmental footprint.

Mobile Check-in

While baby boomers tend to prefer an efficient front-desk check-in experience, millennials are drawn to self-service apps and kiosks. Looking ahead, evolving guest expectations and technology will continue to move the check-in process away from the constraints of the front desk. In the meantime, hotels can accommodate the varied preferences and expectations of today’s guests by offering both conventional front-desk check-in processes and mobile check-in options. A future-proof PMS will equip you to do both with features like:

>>Paperless Check-in

Paperless check-in functionality allows guests to sign check-in receipts or registration cards digitally on a mobile device using electronic signature capture. Without the need to print and file check-in receipts in hard copy, the check-in process is faster, more cost-effective, and environmentally friendlier.

Paperless check-in also frees agents from the front desk, allowing for a more personable check-in experience within the hotel lobby or lounge. This can be especially welcome by guests during busy periods when queues are building at the front desk, or when guests require assistance at the self-check-in kiosk.

>>Self-Check-in App Integration

Just as pre-flight self-check-in has taken off in airports and online, hotel guests are calling for hotel self-check-in too.

Allowing guests to bypass the front desk if desired, hotel self-check-in is made possible through mobile apps (and on-property kiosks). Integration with the PMS ensures a seamless self-check-in (and out) experience powered by accurate reservation and availability data in real time.

The demand for frictionless, automated self-service options in the hospitality industry will only continue to grow, so it’s crucial your PMS supports such innovations.

>>Mobile Key Integration

Mobile keys play an important part in facilitating a frictionless mobile check-in experience. Using NFC (near field communication) or Bluetooth technology, mobile key apps turn the guest’s mobile phone into their room key.

Due to customer demand, the positive environmental impact (no more plastic keycards) and ease of adoption, mobile keys are rapidly becoming mainstream. Direct integration between PMS and mobile key solutions automates secure mobile key delivery to the guest upon check-in for a seamless mobile check-in experience—or a more efficient front-desk process.

Mobile Messaging Integration

Social media and mobile technology has changed the way businesses and consumers communicate, resulting in a business-consumer relationship that is much more personal than in the past. These days, consumers are inclined to reach out to brands just as they do to friends and family—via social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger, and even SMS.

Businesses of all kinds need to provide mobile channels of communication in order to remain accessible and relevant to modern consumers.

A PMS that integrates mobile messaging platforms makes implementing and managing mobile messaging much more efficient and personalized. With a direct connection between your PMS and mobile messaging solution, guest and reservation data is automatically sent from the PMS to the messaging platform in real time to automate routine message delivery, and to match incoming guest inquiries with reservation data for more efficient and personalized responses and resolution.

These days it can be difficult to keep up with the pace of technology, but your PMS can help. Modern cloud PMS vendors like WebRezPro have their finger on the pulse of hospitality technology and already include relevant and exciting mobile functionality to support your business now and in the future.

Hospitality Technology Trends to Implement in 2017

Here we are — 2017 — the whole year ahead of us! Ready to make it a good one? Perhaps you have already made some New Year’s resolutions, some of which might revolve around increasing the success of your business. For hoteliers and other lodging operators, technology is making operations more efficient and successful with every passing year. Here are the hospitality technology trends we feel are most important to put into action in the year ahead.

System Integration (and Data Consolidation)

Integrating core systems further automates processes and is key to maximizing efficiency and consolidating data.

At the heart of operations, your property management system (PMS) can be connected to other core systems such as CRM, online distribution channels, revenue management software, point-of-sale systems, payment processing software, and phone and entertainment systems, to greatly speed up tasks such as managing distribution, guest check-in and check-out, managing reservation folios, building rich guest profiles and sending targeted guest communications.

When core systems share relevant data automatically, the need to manually duplicate data across systems is eliminated, significantly cutting administrative workload and improving data accuracy and timeliness.

What’s more, integrating your PMS with other hotel systems helps bring the right data together at the right time, making information more accessible and actionable.

For example, integrating the PMS with guest engagement tools such as CRM software, guest marketing platforms, loyalty programs and mobile apps empowers lodging operators with enhanced guest insight to personalize the guest experience. When these systems talk to each other, rich guest profiles are automatically created, using data collated across systems that goes beyond simple stay history to include guest requests, preferences, travel motivations, receptiveness to promotions, feedback, etc. Armed with this kind of intelligence, lodging operators have to power to personalize service and target communications much more seamlessly and effectively.

Among other advantages, system integration is a significant motivation behind the shift from on-premise to cloud software in the hospitality industry. Built on common Web standards and open APIs, cloud software is designed with cross-application communication in mind, making integrating your core hotel systems easier and cheaper than it’s ever been.

Mobile PMS

The ability to access data on-the-go via a mobile device is another driving force behind the move to cloud hospitality software.

A mobile PMS can have a significant impact on the guest experience; with guest and reservation data at their fingertips via a tablet or smartphone, hotel staff are freed from the physical constraints of the front desk to provide more prompt and personalized service to guests wherever they may be — in the lobby, the hallway, by the pool or in the dining room.

Increasingly in demand, paperless check-in with electronic signature capture allows guests to sign registration cards or check-in receipts on a tablet or smartphone screen. Paperless check-in means arriving guests don’t have to queue at the front desk; they can instead be greeted in a more welcoming way in the lobby or lounge. And the savings in paper not only helps a hotel’s bottom line, but the planet too.

Another much-appreciated feature of a mobile PMS is mobile access to housekeeping reports. This simple feature greatly improves productivity by allowing housekeeping staff to update room housekeeping status directly to the housekeeping report via their mobile device in real time as they work.

Direct Bookings

While OTAs dominate the online hotel booking scene, hoteliers are becoming more focused on the quest to increase direct bookings. There are a variety of tools available to help lodging operators improve direct conversions and, as the year unfolds, we imagine more and more properties will be engaging them.

First, there are the aforementioned guest engagement and CRM tools such as Guestfolio, Constant Contact, Revinate and Twilio. Such platforms help properties collect and make sense of comprehensive guest data to deliver highly targeted guest communications that help turn customers into loyal direct bookers.

Revenue management software (RMS) is becoming more critical as pricing rooms becomes even more complicated. Finding the right price hinges on numerous factors; in addition to seasonal fluctuations, market demand and room type features, rates are increasingly based on more fluid variables such as channel, weather, events, competitors and even guest data and loyalty. Dynamic and personalized pricing is becoming a powerful strategy in winning direct business and more and more lodging operators will recognize the enormous value in automating this process to ensure they remain competitive in an increasingly competitive market.

Properties that are slow to adopt a mobile-friendly direct booking engine will find it hard to keep ignoring this must-have feature in the year ahead. The way we shop has forever changed as consumers look to the Internet to research and buy whatever and whenever they want. We make decisions based on a series of spontaneous yet intent-rich micro-moments, enabled by mobile devices. Therefore, providing a consistent and seamless user experience across devices (desktop and mobile) is a must for all businesses wanting to attract, convert and retain customers.

Going back to our first point, integrating certain key systems goes a long way in boosting direct bookings; your PMS, RMS and CRM make a powerful team.

Mobile Messaging

Last year we heard about the success big brands were having with mobile messaging to communicate with customers, and this year we think more and more independent properties will follow suit.

From simple SMS text messaging to social media apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, mobile messaging is fast becoming the preferred quick communication method of our time. Hotels are finding that mobile messaging, when managed correctly, enhances customer service and boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty.

With a focus on service rather than marketing, mobile messaging can be used to confirm reservations, welcome guests to the property and let them know their room is ready, support concierge services, promote relevant ancillary services, receive special requests and to thank guests after check-out.

A variety of messaging platforms are available to hotels, from the aforementioned SMS text messaging and social media apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc.) to dedicated hotel mobile applications such as Twilio, Alice and Checkmate.

In-Room Technology

While we don’t think independent properties need to go as far as trialing voice-controlled guestrooms (as Starwood’s Aloft brand is doing) just yet, it is important to ensure your guestrooms are equipped with current technology your guests expect.

Cable TV just doesn’t cut it anymore; today’s guests are looking to stream their favourite shows to (high-definition flat-screen) TVs from streaming services such as Netflix via smart TV technology or casting devices. But in order to pull this off successfully, properties must equip guestrooms with reliable high-speed Internet access. These days most hotels already offer in-room Wi-Fi, so the focus now is on making it as fast as the guest’s connection at home.

Keeping your property’s technology current is key to remaining competitive. If your property’s systems are hindering rather than helping guest service, productivity or revenue, make this the year to upgrade.