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.

Five Habits of a Successful Hotelier

Whether you’ve been running a hotel for decades or are brand new to the game, reflecting on your practices as a hotelier is always a valuable exercise. Nobody’s perfect, but taking the time to consider your methods, and making improvements where you can, will get you pointed in that direction. Curious if you’re doing everything in your power to help your lodging operation prosper? Read on to discover five habits of a successful hotelier.

Focuses on communication

Hospitality is an industry about people, which makes communication particularly important. It’s not just about being professional and engaging with your guests, but also being open and approachable with your employees. A hotel staff is a team, so everyone is (and should feel) valuable. Great hoteliers have safe, open lines of communication with their employees, offer regular feedback, and often involve staff in decision-making. A healthy company culture will directly affect the experience you provide for your guests.

Knows their customers

It’ll surprise no-one that prioritizing customer relations is essential to finding success in the hospitality industry. But it’s not just about having genuine in-person interactions with your guests (although that’s certainly important!).  Great hoteliers go above and beyond by learning about and keeping track of who their customers are as individuals. With a powerful PMS or CRM, it’s possible to log details about returning customers’ interests and preferences to surprise and delight. Is a guest consistently traveling on business? Throw in free Wi-Fi or offer recommendations for comfortable workspaces. Do you know a customer’s birthday? Send them a quick email wishing them a happy day. Personalized experiences make guests feel appreciated, and go a long way in nurturing loyalty.

Assesses the competition

Lodging operators have a lot of competition. But instead of seeing that as an obstacle to overcome, successful hoteliers use it as a means to make their operations better. Make a routine of checking out competitors’ websites, social media platforms, and physical property. What are they doing well? Where could they improve? Noticing patterns across successful operators (or similarities between unsuccessful ones for that matter) can offer critical insights which may prove exceedingly beneficial for your own business.

Keeps their head in the game

Even when their property is running smoothly, great hoteliers don’t get complacent. Hospitality is an ever-changing arena, and it isn’t good enough to simply play defense. Read articles and network with other professionals to stay on top of new trends, changes in the market, and emerging technology. And be proactive about evolving and improving your business. It’s important to set long-term goals and construct a step-by-step action plan to realize them. The most successful people (and businesses) are never satisfied merely resting on their laurels.

Recognizes the role of technology

There is a lot that technology can do for a business, and a good hotelier embraces that. Property management, reputation management, and revenue management software are only a few examples of what’s available to help streamline operations and maximize revenue. And let’s not forget the marketing potential of social media platforms. A hotel that shies away from all new technology misses out on some unbelievable opportunities to improve their business.

Now, that’s not to say you should be adopting every new system that crops up. Every business is different, and using tech for tech sake doesn’t do anybody any good. What makes an hotelier successful is their open, yet discerning, consideration of new technology that becomes available.

It’s never a waste of time to reflect on your habits as a business owner. If you’re looking to improve your practice (or are just starting out and need a few tips), consider adopting these five strategies of highly successful hoteliers.

Ancillary Sales: Maximizing Total Hotel Revenue

While the rooms department is the dominant revenue driver in most hotels, and selling more rooms is central to growing hotel revenue, many lodging operators are now taking a more holistic approach to revenue management.

Today, a hotel stay is much more than a clean room and a comfortable bed. In such a competitive space as the hospitality industry, offering unique and personalized experiences is key to a healthy bottom line. Part and parcel of a complete stay experience, ancillary products and services — like F&B, retail and activities — can be strong revenue drivers.

With increased focus on maximizing business from existing customers, hotels are shifting toward a total revenue management culture that embraces the potential of ancillary services to generate revenue, personalize the guest experience and help a property stand out.

Here are some ideas for making the most of ancillary revenue opportunities as part of your own total revenue management strategy.

Create Packages

Packaging your property’s ancillary services and products with stays is an effective way to boost ancillary revenue.

Additional services such as breakfast, restaurant meals, in-room extras (like champagne and chocolates), spa treatments, attraction tickets and activities can be bundled with stays to create themed packages such as romance, adventure or family packages or to simply offer guests more value for money. If your property doesn’t have an onsite restaurant or spa or run its own activities, consider partnering with local providers that complement your brand.

Hotel management software that provides flexible rate and package management functionality, including the ability to sell packages online and to track package components to different revenue accounts, is key to a successful total revenue strategy.

Offer Extras

Ancillary products and services can also be offered on demand, i.e. sold separately from the room. Many guests like having the option of purchasing extras spontaneously during their stay, or choosing from a selection of add-ons during booking.

Premium Internet, early check-in / late check-out, meeting spaces and equipment, tours and activities, grab-and-go food and beverages, and in-room extras like yoga kits, cots, and wine and chocolates are examples of ancillary products and services that guests can purchase at any time.

Make sure your PMS offers point-of-sale functionality and the ability to sell add-ons during the booking process (with direct online bookings too).

Welcome Pets

If you don’t already, consider allowing pets at your property to tap into a growing revenue opportunity. Pets are part of the family in approximately 65 percent of homes in the U.S. and more and more pet owners are traveling with their four-legged companions.

In addition to charging nightly pet fees and/or a pet room-cleaning fee, pet-friendly properties can profit from providing ancillary products and services especially for precious pooches. Pet-specific extras such as dog biscuits and treats, toys, bedding and pet-sitting services are much appreciated by pet-pampering travelers and can be provided on demand or included in pet-friendly stay packages.

Make the Most of Extra Space

There are many ways underused spaces can be transformed into revenue-generating spaces — both indoors and out.

Think about your main customer segments and how spaces can be used to best serve their needs and preferences. Does a “storage” room offer potential as a meeting room that can be rented by the hour to business guests? Or perhaps it could be transformed into a meditation or yoga room that could be rented to local instructors (who could hold drop-in classes open to your guests)? Could that spacious, well-lit corner be used for displaying local arts and crafts that your guests would love to purchase as a souvenir of their travels? Expansive outdoor areas might be well-suited for hosting events like summer parties, weddings and craft fairs.

Think creatively (yet relevantly) about how extra space on your property can be used more profitably.

Target the Right Customers

The key to maximizing total revenue lies in targeting — selling the right products and services to the right customers at the right time — and successful targeting depends on having access to the right customer data.

Guest profiles are crucial to effective targeting strategies. When a property management system is integrated with other core hotel systems, including POS, CRM and RMS, deep insights into customer spend, preferences and booking trends are gained and can be used to target guests with highly customized offers and services.

Supported by modern, integrated systems and good training, hotel staff can become sale makers rather than order takers, mining guest information that can be used to enhance the customer experience and maximize customer spend through the delivery of personalized service and skillful upselling.

 

With a strong understanding of their customers and their property, lodging operators can take advantage of ancillary sales to drive significant streams of income as part of their total revenue strategy — all while enhancing the guest experience.

 

Optimizing Profit: Why Your PMS and RMS Should Work Together

Optimizing hotel occupancy and profit is an ongoing game of strategy for all types and sizes of properties. The biggest mistake is to set and forget room rates because all sorts of constantly changing factors impact consumer demand — and, therefore, occupancy and revenue — from the change of season to major local events to economic fluctuations. Over-pricing and under-pricing rooms also puts independent hotels at a competitive disadvantage.

The key to maximizing revenue growth is to sell the right room to the right customer at the right time for the right price via the right channel. Phew! This process is called revenue management and it can be a daunting topic for seasoned hoteliers, not to mention brand-new lodging operators. A complicated process involving complex predictive analytics, revenue management is typically tasked to dedicated revenue managers at big-brand hotels, but at small independent properties it’s yet another job that falls under the general manager’s broad umbrella of responsibilities.

Because every room counts, it’s crucial to have the right technology in place to support optimal rate and inventory decisions.

The Role of Your PMS

A property management system (PMS) is essential to the revenue management process.

The center of control for managing pricing and inventory, modern PMS provide critical data, including occupancy rates, ADR, booking pace, lengths of stay, booking sources (channels) and customer segments, that help revenue managers identify historical patterns and predict future demand. Flexible rate management features such as seasonal and day-of-week pricing, discount rates and packages, and daily override functionality allow lodging operators to respond quickly to both predicted and unpredicted fluctuations in demand. Features like add-ons and booking options help properties maximize ancillary revenue too for total revenue management.

Channel management integration ensures that live rates and availability are automatically updated across all of a property’s channels, saving hoteliers the time and hassle of updating inventory manually across various OTAs, etc., and ensuring the property’s rates are accurate everywhere.

While the PMS is a fundamental tool of a successful revenue management strategy, it is not the only component. In addition to analyzing the property data mentioned above, determining the right room price also depends on external factors that impact demand, including market conditions, destination demand and competitor activity. Finding the time to manually compile, consolidate, track and analyze both internal and external data to calculate optimal pricing in a continuously changing market is a difficult, if not near impossible, task.

That’s where automated revenue management software comes in.

Automated Revenue Management Software (RMS)

Automated revenue management software (RMS) consolidates and analyzes hotel and market data (such as competitor rates, reputation scores, weather predictions, destination demand, foreign exchange rates, flight schedules, etc.) on a continuous basis to produce real-time pricing recommendations based on sophisticated algorithms. Accepted pricing is then automatically updated across online distribution channels.

RMS not only save busy lodging operators a lot of time, they remove the guesswork from the pricing process, providing more accurate demand forecasting and fact-based, data-driven pricing that increases RevPAR and occupancy — and gives properties a competitive edge.

More and more independent properties are realizing the value in implementing automated RMS to manage dynamic pricing strategies that maximize revenue. The next important step is to integrate your RMS with your PMS.

PMS + RMS = Optimal Profits

When systems are disconnected, lodging operators must enter hotel data into the RMS manually, and in turn, enter accepted recommended pricing generated by the RMS into the PMS. This manual process is not only time consuming, but it diminishes accuracy through incomplete data input and human error.

To maximize the accuracy of forecasting, pricing and inventory control, RMS require comprehensive hotel data at the transactional level, not just a summary. Direct one-way integration with the PMS allows every reservation, modification and cancellation to be pushed automatically to the RMS, along with real-time availability and rates. Along with data from thousands of other data points, the RMS analyzes this vital hotel information to help determine real-time pricing recommendations. With two-way integration, accepted recommended rates are then automatically sent from the RMS to the PMS.

Augmenting the benefits of an automated RMS, integration with the hotel PMS further streamlines the revenue management process for greater efficiency, accuracy and competitiveness. Together, your PMS and RMS make an even more potent tool for maximizing revenue.

WebRezPro PMS currently offers direct integration with leading revenue management solutions, Duetto and IDeaS. Contact us to find out more about optimizing your time and profit by integrating your PMS and RMS.

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.

Is Your Revenue Management Strategy Working?

Revenue Management is a complicated process with a simple goal: to maximize revenue. It’s about analyzing market data and predicting consumer behavior to sell the right room to the right customer at the right time for the right price. This process is also known as dynamic pricing or yield management, and it should never be a guessing game.

Manually reviewing all the data (current market data, historical data, room rates at other properties, consumer demand, supply, etc.) is a time-consuming task, prone to oversight. Doing it properly is easily a full-time job; in order to reap optimal benefits of dynamic pricing the market should be analyzed daily, at least. Online distribution channels also need to be kept up to date, which can be a near impossible task to complete manually with such fluid rates.

Saving lodging operators significant time and effort, and removing all guesswork from real-time pricing decisions, revenue management software automates all stages of the dynamic pricing process:

  • >> Revenue management software automatically collects and analyzes all the data 24/7
  • >> Using sophisticated algorithms, revenue management systems process market data to automatically produce accurate, real-time pricing recommendations to increase occupancy and revenue at the right room rates
  • >> Revenue management systems can also automatically update rates and inventory across all of the property’s online distribution channels

Revenue management systems have turned a complex, error-prone manual process into a fast, accurate, automated process that makes successful dynamic pricing achievable for properties of all types and sizes.

WebRezPro Property Management System has always offered remarkably flexible rate management functionality conducive to dynamic pricing with unlimited rate updates and daily overrides. Now, through direct integration with leading revenue management systems, we are excited to be able to offer our clients automated real-time pricing updates that will save time and increase accuracy, occupancy and revenue.