As tech solutions have transitioned to cloud-based systems, the concept of the hotel lobby has suddenly become amenable to a complete restructuring. Without a reliance on bulky legacy systems, front-desk staff are no longer tethered to the front desk. Equipped with a tablet, they can move freely around the lobby to engage with guests in a more personable and authentic way. It’s a freedom that has resulted in a new, living-room-inspired trend for hotel lobbies. And it’s a hit with guests—who get to ditch the line and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee on the couch as they’re being checked in.
For properties using cloud-based technology, empowering front-desk staff with tablets should be taken into consideration. And once you’ve made the change (or if you already have), here are four features and products to make check-in even more seamless for guests and staff alike.
A wireless EMV card reader
Most hotels have already made or will soon be making the switch to an EMV card reader. As the standard in credit card security, these terminals are becoming a must-have. There are many options out there, but not all of them are created equal. When looking for an EMV reader for your property consider opting for a wireless version. There’s no reason to tie your staff down with wired terminals when you’ve just liberated them with tablets. A wireless card reader can be carried around by front-desk staff so guests can remain comfortably seated during the entire check-in process.
Electronic signature capture
Creating an efficient check-in experience is all about simplicity. And a PMS with electronic signature capturing technology makes signing receipts and registration cards as simple as possible. Guests are able to sign on the tablet screen, allowing staff to ditch the paper and pens altogether. In addition to making check-in faster and cheaper (no printing or paper costs), electronic signature capture is an environmentally friendly alternative sure to improve your property’s ecological impact.
Typically, front-desk staff must manually enter information into a keycard writer in order to program a key at check-in. For hotels transitioning away from a traditional front-desk, this can be a bit of a hassle (as staff certainly won’t be carrying card writers around with them). But it’s a hassle easily alleviated with an interface between your keycard writer and your PMS. As you’re checking the guest in, the PMS will send all the necessary information directly to the keycard writer. When the check-in process is completed, the staff member can simply retrieve the card and deliver it to the guest—no manual entry required.
Filling out guest profiles can be a bit of pain. Of course, if the booking is made online, guest information will have already been input. However, when hotels get a walk-in, they need to enter the customer’s name, address, and other information. It’s a time-consuming process susceptible to manual errors. With a document scanner, like the one from TTI Technologies, front-desk staff (and guests) are spared this inconvenience. The customer simply provides a piece of identification (driver’s license or passport), and the scanner will use it to auto-fill their guest profile.
Checking-in is the first in-person experience a guest has at your property. You should be doing everything you can to make it a good first impression. With new cloud-based technologies and mobile devices, hoteliers are better equipped than ever to provide a quick and easy check-in for their guests. So make sure you’re using all the tools at your disposal!
The hospitality industry is all about offering unique and superior services. That’s why we work hard to ensure WebRezPro Property Management System has the flexibility required for you to go above and beyond for your guests. Do you have negotiated rates with corporate accounts? Consider using the Allocated Rates feature in order to simplify the booking process for your corporate clients.
What are Allocated Rates?
Allocated Rates allow you to take rooms out of inventory—without booking them—and offer them exclusively to a selected corporate account, for a particular period. This allocation allows you to guarantee inventory for this company during the desired period and allows you to designate a release date after which they lose exclusive rights to book the allocated rooms. It is a more-general form of group allocations, useful for those cases where you are making many allocations over extended periods of time for one company.
How to Setup Allocated Rates
To set this up click “Rates,” then “Negotiated Rates.” Navigate to the “Options” menu and select “Create allocation.” Fill out the name and descriptions of the rate as normal. When you get to “Choose allocation method” you can select whether you wish to allocate specific units or just certain numbers of a unit type. Once you make a choice here, you should setup this rate as normal, making sure to select the corporate account of the company you want to give access to this rate under “Rate access” in section #1.
Once you save and click the back arrow, you then need to click the “Allocation” link next to the rate you’ve just created. From here, click “Add an availability entry” and choose the first dates you want to allocate.
If needed, choose a number in this menu: “Number of days prior to arrival that allocation is released.” This selection is the date after which the units become available for public bookings.
Then, in section #2 choose how many of each unit type you want to allocate. Or, if you are allocating specific units, highlight those room numbers you want to include. Hold down “Ctrl” on your keyboard (or “command” if on a Mac) while clicking, to select multiple rooms. Then save, click the back arrow, and click “Add a day entry.” You will then be able to add the price as usual.
You now have an allocated rate. You can add other allocations for other dates on this rate by clicking “Add an availability entry” and repeating the process.
The Allocated Rates feature is a great way to handle negotiated rates with corporate clients, without worrying about leaving rooms unbooked. For further questions, please contact Support.
Designed to automate processes, cloud property management systems (PMS) are key to streamlining daily operations and customer service that results in satisfied guests and repeat business. Most lodging operators understand how the level of efficiency and personalized service facilitated by a cloud PMS helps turn first-time guests into loyal customers — but it’s also important to understand how a cloud PMS helps bring those first-timers through your door.
Approximately 80% of travelers turn to the Internet when planning their trips, visiting 38 sites on average before booking, so it’s crucial for hotels to be visible online where potential guests are looking.
When it comes to expanding and managing online distribution, cloud PMS give lodging operators an advantage through direct integration with channel managers or OTA partners. Direct connectivity between the PMS and OTA channels or a channel manager not only puts a property in front of travelers all over the world, but also ensures that rates and availability are up to date across all channels to maximize occupancy and reduce overbookings.
Integrated distribution is key to expanding the visibility and accessibility of your property — and saves lodging operators a lot of time and hassle managing inventory and reservations.
In today’s online-oriented world, hotels need to be accessible for booking wherever their customers are. In addition to putting a property’s live rates and availability in front of travel consumers around the world through integrated distribution channels, cloud PMS also provide direct online booking functionality through a property’s own website.
According to Google survey, 52% of travelers will visit a hotel’s website after seeing them on an OTA, so offering direct online bookings is key to increasing conversions. The easier your direct online booking engine is to use, the higher your conversion rate will be. Features like photo slideshows and upselling/cross-selling options will help your property stand out to prospective guests.
Lodging operators should look for a cloud PMS that offers a mobile-friendly direct online booking engine since more than half of travelers who book travel online now do so via a mobile device.
Cloud PMS play a fundamental role in generating demand through rate and revenue management and by helping to identify target audiences for marketing purposes.
Rate and Revenue Management:
Price is a major influence on many travelers, so attracting new customers depends a lot on setting rates competitively. Cloud property management systems include flexible rate management features (like quick overrides, rate reports, day-of-week pricing and packages) that allow properties to create and sell the right rates and packages at the right time to the right customers. When integrated with an automated revenue management system, cloud PMS help power dynamic pricing strategies based not only on a property’s historical pricing and occupancy data, but also on market and competitor analysis.
Successful marketing efforts rely on PMS data — particularly guest profile data. Guest data helps properties identify their most profitable customer segments and design more effective marketing strategies targeted at lookalike audiences. Cloud PMS make it easy for lodging operators to access and make sense of the data that informs pricing and package setup, advertising campaigns and content marketing efforts that successfully attract new customers.
Cloud PMS are well known for the part they play in building customer loyalty by taking operational efficiency and guest service to the next level. But, according to many of our customers, even more beneficial is the integral role cloud PMS play in acquiring new customers through automated distribution, direct online bookings and data transparency. To learn more about how a cloud PMS can help your property win customers, drop us a line.