Technology has advanced rapidly over the past few years, allowing lodging businesses to save their staff considerable time and shift focus to more meaningful, guest-centric tasks. From online booking engines to cloud-based PMS and integrated channel managers, these transformative tools are redefining hospitality.
This article explores how technology can help your property streamline operations and drive more revenue.
The role of technology in the hospitality industry
A lot goes into running a property. From managing finances to running front-office operations and ensuring guest satisfaction, properties need the right technology. But what tasks should be left to technology, and what should remain in human hands?
Technology should help take care of mundane, time-consuming tasks like:
- Updating rates and availability across channels
- Facilitating payment transactions
- Storing guest information
- Creating reports
And make it easier for your team to conduct tasks like:
- Guest communication
- Guest feedback collection
- Revenue management
- Marketing and sales
- Payment reconciliation
Your tech stack should provide a solid foundation for your team, allowing them to focus on more value-driven tasks like finding ways to earn more revenue, enhance the guest experience, and differentiate your property from the competition.
Essential technology for daily operations
Properties can opt for individual systems to manage each business function or invest in a hospitality platform with multiple tools in one. Various systems can result in data silos and a poor user experience, while a single platform ensures your data is always in sync and all data can be accessed from a single log-in.
When searching for a hospitality platform, consider the following five essential technologies to help your team streamline operations and drive more reservations.
1. Property management system (PMS)
The property management system (PMS) is the heartbeat of every property. It handles everything from check-ins to reservations, room management, guest profiles, billing, reporting, and more. It’s meant to help keep track of daily operations and facilitate seamless transactions with guests.
How it helps: The PMS is an integral component of successful hotel operations. It reduces manual labor, minimizes errors, and speeds up processes like check-in/out, room assignments, and more. Guest profiles help enable personalized service and efficient management of room inventory leads to better resource utilization.
2. Property care & operations tool
In addition to your PMS, a property operations tool is essential for managing all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a perfectly prepared guest stay. Think housekeeping, maintenance, inspections, etc. Scheduling your team to complete all of this work across a portfolio of properties with a short turnover time isn’t exactly easy.
How it helps: An operations tool is designed to take the guesswork out of coordinating and communicating work with your team. With tools for automated scheduling, you’ll never miss a clean again. You can also standardize processes by equipping your team with customizable digital checklists with photo documentation to ensure consistency and accountability every time. Enjoy peace of mind that no detail will be overlooked while guests enjoy a 5-star experience they want to return to.
3. Channel manager
A channel manager is a tool that helps properties manage rates, availability, and bookings across distribution channels, like online travel agencies (OTAs), bed banks, global distribution systems, and more. It offers two-way synchronization across channels to keep data relevant (like rates and availability) to prevent overbookings.
How it helps: A channel manager allows hotels to connect to a wide range of distribution channels by ensuring real-time updates of room availability and rates across channels. This is beneficial for increasing visibility through the Billboard Effect, targeting different market segments, and driving more bookings. Automating rates and inventory also saves lodging operators substantial time and effort compared to logging in to individual extranets.
4. Booking engine
An online booking engine allows travelers to book rooms directly with a property, either on its website or through social channels. It enables 24/7 booking opportunities with real-time availability updates, helping lodging operators reduce dependency on OTAs (and therefore reduce commissions)
How it helps: A booking engine offers lodging businesses opportunities to collect direct reservations and implement upsell and customization options as part of the booking process. This can entice guests to book and deliver higher per-booking revenue. Direct bookings also give lodging operators ownership of guest data – which is crucial for tailored marketing and guest communication from discovery to post-stay.
5. Payment solution
A seamless, secure, and reliable payment processing system is essential to build credibility and trust with guests. There’s a lot at risk when it comes to payments in the hospitality industry - with higher rates of fraud and chargebacks, it’s essential to have a solution built specifically for the industry.
How it helps: A hospitality-focused, integrated payment solution streamlines the transaction process, eliminating manual entry errors with payment initiated directly from the guest folio to the terminal. Easy access to financial reports and fast reconciliation time save your staff time and lead to better financial tracking and management.
Prioritize cloud-based solutions
Ensure that when looking for a platform, you prioritize cloud-based solutions. Cloud-based systems allow you the opportunity to work from anywhere, are more scalable, and cost-effective (monthly payments with automatic updates and upgrades). Ultimately, the goal is to help your team operate more efficiently so that they have time to deliver more meaningful experiences.
The value of integrations
While the above tools are crucial for almost every lodging business, it’s important that your solution offers integration capabilities to tailor and enhance your tech stack as needed. Depending on your property type, size, amenities, and guest segments, you’ll require specific tools and functionality.
Vacation rentals, for example, can significantly benefit from integrations such as:
- Cloud-based door locks
- Cleaning, task, and maintenance tools
- Contactless check-in
- Revenue management systems
Look for a core platform with an open API and marketplace of integrations to make the process as seamless as possible. With the right platform, you can decide what tools work best for your business to further streamline and automate operations.
Grow revenue with the right tools
Adopting the right technology is crucial for lodging businesses looking to streamline operations and drive more reservations. As we've explored, the right tools not only simplify day-to-day tasks and reduce manual labor but also provide invaluable insights and opportunities for revenue growth.
The real magic, however, lies in the ability to integrate these tools to create a seamless, interconnected tech stack tailored to your property's specific needs. Such integrations enable you to address unique challenges, cater to your specific guest segments, and continually adapt to the evolving demands of the hospitality industry.