Some accommodation providers sit ahead of the technology curve, most are continually playing catch-up, and others just don’t play all. Where do you sit? And what technology should you be playing with?
Here are our suggestions for a shopping list for technology in hotels, backpacking hostels and small independent properties.
Web Booking Engine
We love OTAs for their online reach. And we love to hate OTAs for their high commissions. While we work together for mutual success, a property owner’s goal is always to reduce dependence on OTAs and increase direct bookings. A good web booking engine will help you do just that, and thus one of the most important technology in hotels and hostels.
What should you look for in a booking engine? Look for features such as the simplicity to use and easy integration with your website. Check that it is adaptive to all devices, including mobiles, and offers opportunities to upsell. Always opt for a booking engine that charges you a flat fee as opposed to a commission. And lastly, make sure it helps you increase conversions by showing live rate comparisons with OTAs.
Booking Management System
It goes by different names – Property Management Software (PMS), front desk system or Hotel Operating Software – but has the all-important task of automating your bookings, allowing its easy management (including online payments) and increasing your revenue.
A new generation hotel booking management system like AbodeBooking is an agile, flexible and cost-effective solution to manage your property’s bookings and operations. It is cloud-based, removing the need for an expensive on-site server and allowing remote login. This also allows you to perform typical PMS operations via mobile devices – eg check-ins. And guests today have come to expect this as a regular service standard. Modern applications like AbodeBooking allow you to gather data effectively and engage with your guests. Integration with other technologies for hotels like your channel manager and revenue management software is seamless.
Do you or your staff really want to spend hours behind a computer updating rates and inventory on a seemingly never-ending stream of OTAs and metasearch sites? Then there is the GDS and direct channels!
Manual updating of your distribution channels is definitely a passé. Not just time-consuming, it can be ridden with errors and gives you no insights to plan forward. Thankfully, you have channel managers to help you here – a technology in hotels and hostels that should never be left off the list. Like a good booking management system and a booking engine, this is a must. Look for features such as real-time updates and detailed analytics in your preferred channel manager.
Revenue Management System
Imagine having a tool that helps you set the right tariff for each of your property’s room categories (or beds if you’re a hostel) based on the market analysis and other factors that go into deciding the best price for each room type.
A revenue management system takes the hard work of pricing and inventory management off your head. And while you may question the investment, see the increased returns and efficiencies gained before you sideline this fantastic technology.
Secure, reliable, scalable and social Wi-Fi
Gone are the days of charging for Wi-Fi. It is now a standard amenity and often determines where a guest chooses to stay. Secure and flawlessly managed connectivity throughout your property’s premises is a must. Talk to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or IT consultant (if you have one) on how to get your Wi-Fi system up to speed. Another goodie is social Wi-Fi, a system that requires the guest to access the free Wi-Fi through social Wi-Fi enabling you to gather more followers on your social platforms.
Online Reputation Management
Technology has infiltrated our lives and almost every person checking into your property probably has a smartphone that is used, among other things, to access social media and review sites. Guests commonly rely on community-developed content on these platforms to make their purchasing decisions. So it is not just
The last word…
The pace at which hotel technology and travel trends are changing is enough to unsettle even the best of us. Intriguing and lucrative as it may be, most hoteliers struggle to invest in new technology. However, it is now a crucial component of success. And in this era of disruptive business practices, embracing new technology is no longer a one-time practice, but something you should look at as a continual process.