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The Modern Hotel Management System – What You Should Know

Can you think of one hotel operator that is not in business to make profit?  I can’t.  So then, how can hoteliers maximize their profit?

To maximize profit, hoteliers have to ensure efficiency and effectiveness within their operation.

They need to go above and beyond to ensure the seamless processing of customer needs, while minimizing costs so that their operations remain viable in this competitive market.

The best way to achieve efficiency and effectiveness in the modern hotel market is to upgrade (or modernize) your Hotel Management System.

A hotel operations management system basically refers to all the structures or processes that are put in place to help hoteliers run their business.

So, what are the main features of a good, modern hotel management system?  Let us first take a trip down memory lane to remind ourselves where the hotel property management system is coming from.

The Old Hotel Management System

By way of a brief review… those of us old enough to remember will be able speak of the days when hotel management systems were archaic and involved things such as:

  • manually looking through a reservation book when checking-in
  • (and way, way back before cellphones got popular) waiting for a bellhop to surface, or for someone to go physically look for one, before you could get assistance to go to your room
  • information was relayed word of mouth by the telephone operator to the kitchen staff when a guest placed an order for room service
  • irregular operation issues would have to be relayed to the supervisor or manager in person, or via phone (landline in pre-cellphone days), or wait until that person physically returned to work before the matter could be addressed
  • printing reservation details and stapling it to file folders and manually placing in a filing cabinet (can you say tons of paperwork!!? and you’d hope to be able to find the files in their proper place after someone goes physically searching through the boxes of files in the storeroom)

We could go on about the ‘good old days’… and hotel management systems have come a far way since then. Computer systems were developed, and servers were invented!

However, if you are using Excel to store your analytical data, Word and PDF for your invoices and documents, an in-house server (that you continually have to upgrade each time it freezes up) to store your hotel data, your hotel operations management system is still outdated.

The Modern Hotel Management System

Even in these modern times it can be difficult to manage a hotel.

Especially so if you have a large team and a solid hierarchical structure to get around, but that is where a good Hotel Management System comes in.

 A modern hotel operations management system, in summary, will have an integrated management system wherein booking engine, customer relations, storage stock count, financial analysis, etc., are all available under one complete property management system; all using cloud based storage.

You will be able to manage your property more efficiently as operations are streamlined and automated.

What A Good, Modern Hotel Management System Should Have

A good hotel management system is one that encompasses every aspect of the management of the property using a single system – A Property Management System (PMS).

Property management has to do with overseeing all the operations of the hotel.

From booking guests, to maintaining and repairing the property, to ensuring safety (via routine checks and restricting access to certain areas of the premises), to facilitating easy communication between the business and its clients, property management covers all of that.

With that in mind, a good property, or hotel, operations management system should have:

  • Cloud-Based Data Storage
  • Customer Relations Management System (CRM)
  • Integrated Management System (IMS)
  • Software for Storage Management
  • Einstein Analytics

A Detailed Look at A Good, Modern Hotel Management System

Let us delve a bit deeper into each of the core features of a good, modern hotel management system as listed above:

  1. Cloud-Based Data Storage

Unlike on-premises hotel property management systems that require maintenance of servers and other IT (Information Technology) related operations, cloud-based systems are simpler to maneuver.

Cloud-based data storage allows you to manage every aspect of your hotel from practically any smart device, anywhere, at any time.  All you would need is internet connectivity, and a subscription.

The cloud based data storage would be handled by a third-party (whatever online business or app you sign up with), and therefore would require no maintenance (apart from ensuring your subscription is paid that is…).

That means business maintenance costs for IT infrastructure, and technical consulting fees, could be reduced.  Which business doesn’t want to save money!?

  1. IMS

An Integrated Management System (IMS), is where all the business processes are integrated into one framework in order to achieve unified objectives.

IMS allows hotel operators to defy location barriers to updating information, and allows all the relevant parties to be apprised/notified simultaneously.

A good IMS system would encompass digitized processes that allow communication across departments, while ensuring information safety, quality goods or service, environmental health and safety, cost effectiveness, etc.

Put simply, with a modern IMS system you would be able to sign off on a purchase order for a new luxury car (I think Limousines are outdated now, so we will not list it as a modern example, lol) to transport your VIP guests from the airport to your hotel property with an electronic signature at the click of a touchscreen button.

That same click would prompt the purchasing department to get into action in identifying the available options to share with you and the rest of the team.

That same one click would also notify the quality control focus group to provide their input.

Whether it be reminding the Purchasing Department to buy an electric car instead of one that uses petrol, as the company wishes to go green to save the oil resources that is used to make petrol;

Or saying to purchasing to ensure the luxury car has enough electric power to factor in the journey from the airport with bad traffic conditions in mind, or in case of unexpected reroutes.

The that same click would prompt customer service to weigh in on the matter by requesting that the entertainment system in the car include certain modern amenities (such as touch entertainment instead of turn dial or button press) for the convenience and enjoyment of the guests en route.

  1. CRM

The Customer Relationship Management System/Platform (CRM) system allows the customer ease of providing feedback about the service, or request additional fluffs without the traditional calling and waiting for someone at front desk.

No more relaying of an order word of mouth to the kitchen staff.

A modern CRM system provides the customer ease of tapping a few buttons on the touchscreen of a tablet while sitting poolside, specifying their customized needs.

All relevant parties (kitchen staff, customer service, finance…) will simultaneously be apprised of the client’s specific request and be able to fulfil that need promptly.

And, if the hotel for some strange reason is out of the product requested, the client will get immediate feedback on that too.

CRM essentially keeps all customer information and company data in one centralized system, allowing your teams to have the right information to be able to deliver the easy, customized experience the customer expects.

Modern CRM systems, in other words, allows hotel staff to track current, and prospective, clients for the duration of the customer lifecycle.

  1. Software for Storage Management

Software for storage management essentially refers to a system that enables storage owners (in this case not storage business owners, but rather it refers to  hotel owners in regard to the hotel storage facilities) Storeroom Managers, and all other relevant staff, the ability to access information at any time and manage their units remotely.

The remote access of a Storage Management System includes signing off on requisitions sent in by the various departments, and being able to process purchase orders and invoices and sign off on payments with the click of a button.

The software for storage management should revolve around the business, not the business around the software.  With that in mind, it is important to choose a software that can adapt as your business changes through growth.

A modern software for hotels storage management should allow hotel operators to have the ability to create interactive facility maps showing the location, availability, and specification of storage units (size, type, what is stored there, etc.).

Hence it is quicker and easier for management staff to identify suitable storage without going on a physical hunt.  Instead, it also allows departments to scroll through to see what storage units are available, and book a vacant unit through the software for storage management.

Also, the modern software for storage management includes the ability to assign each staff member a unique access code that allows them access to specific restricted areas.

It also allows the hotel manager or  owner to restrict staff access to other areas.  The owner/manager of the hotel would also have the ability to withdraw access grants at any time with the click of a button.

In summary, the storage management system offers: better control and monitoring of supplies, improved efficiency, and increased productivity.

It eliminates physical stock-counting, facilitates quicker processing of customer requests, and ensures information is passed on to the relevant parties. What does all of this translate to?

Basically it means hotel staff will have more time freed up to focus on guest interactions or other important functions.

  1. Einstein Analytics

Businesses rely on statistical information and forecasts in order to make informed business decisions.

Traditionally, this process would require hiring consultants who specialize in this area, especially when the time comes for forecasting the budget for the upcoming year.

Experienced hoteliers will tell you, it is an extremely tedious process, even for those who are experts in that field.

Einstein Analytics is a smart yet simple way to process business data, turning the information into usable statistics such as business forecasts (in other words, it provides actionable insights).

The resulting statistics allows smart business decisions to be made based on the actual experience of the business.

Einstein Analytics is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), which means no more struggling to figure out algorithms or wondering if your analyst’s calculations and forecasts are correct.

Einstein Analytics software for hotels can be used by either professional business analysts or an employee untrained in analytics. In other words, the CRM team can use this software for hotels to produce a forecast (simple or detailed) to determine what extra services are normally requested by which type of clients at what particular time.

Simply put… CRM staff members are normally experts in getting the customer what they want, how they want it; they are not usually experts at financial or data analysis.

That is where business analysts would come in.  However, with Einstein Analytics software for hotels, your regular CRM staff will be able to create and utilize analytical data. 

A Practical Example Of A Good, Modern Hotel Management System

Here is an example of a good, modern Hotel Operations Management System at work:

  1. I am a customer looking online for a customized experience at an all inclusive hotel. Online, I am able to book directly with the hotel of choice, and make customized requests.
  2. When I go to the hotel, just by the click of a button the front desk agent is able to know that my room has already been cleaned and stocked. After the agent checks me in, a message is automatically assigned to an available bellhop I am able to get assistance promptly.
  3. While sitting beachside, I decide to special order fillet mignon, with a 30yr old bottle of Port… so I take up the hotel’s tablet that are strategically provided throughout the facility, and with a few clicks I have sent in my special order to include my garlic buttered asparagus on the side. The asparagus was my second option, as I had received a prompt on the tablet to choose something else apart from the buttered garlic veggie mix of string beans (aka Green Beans), carrot, and Chocho (Chayote) that I originally wanted because there was no more available in the kitchen, and none in storage (perhaps they just took the last order based on available stock; and the suppliers are all out… who knows?  Point is the system had all of that information centralized so all relevant parties were kept updated).
  4. The kitchen staff would then be automatically apprized of my very customized request (as normally my stake would have been served with braised carrots as the house special, for example). The bar would also get the information electronically so that they can prepare to serve my specially aged Port when my meal is ready (so they would be notified as soon as it is).   I know my meal would take approximately 15 minutes to prepare from the time of order, and I am able to track the progress and know when it has been dispatched for delivery to me by the beach.
  5. Throughout my stay (my first visit to this property) they are able to track my interactions and preferences throughout my stay, and they also had access to the data from my previous stay at another of their property on another island. Finance will be able to quickly generate an invoice at the end of my stay that I can authorize electronically from my room (or the app on my phone) before I leave.  And the purchasing analysts will be able to generate and analyze stats that will show my wine preference will always be 30yr old Port.
  6. At the end of my stay, I am able to complete a quick online survey about my experience and rating of the service provided by the hotel, which will help the hotel staff to know how they can improve to make my next stay more memorable.

Conclusion 

In this modern day and age, your hotel PMS should be digitized and should include the main features of IMS (dealing with the internal processes between departments) and CRM (dealing with the external interactions and processes, and managing such data).

It should also include software for storage management (digitizing the process of stock count, and facilitating use of electronic maps and controlled electronic access to items in the storage unit), and Einstein Analytics software for hotel features in order to be considered an excellent, up-to-date and relevant property management system.

Don’t let your hotel lag behind.  Get ahead of the game in your industry by thoroughly investigating the viable Hotel PMS for making your hotel operations management the most efficient it can be, thereby increasing customer loyalty and maximizing profit.

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