As a hotel owner, there is one thing that should always have your full attention: your guests. But there is so much involved in running a hotel, that you soon find yourself more concerned with numbers than with people. Fortunately, these days there are systems that take a lot of the work out of your hands. And if you set them up correctly, they can even save you a lot of money. In this blog, we will explain why you should choose a well-developed hotel reservation system today.
What is a reservation system for your hotel?
To begin with, what exactly is a reservation system for your hotel? Because you have Online Booking Engines, Property Management Systems, Channel Managers... Do you still get it? Fortunately, we do.
Online Booking Engine
Your Online Booking Engine (OBE) is the reservation system on your own website. It shows your guests which rooms are available when, allows them to reserve rooms and receives your bookings.
Property Management System
If you work with a Property Management System (PMS), the reservation is then shot into your PMS. This is where you manage all your reservations, the check-in and check-out of your guests and possibly also the payments. By the way, your OBE can also be part of your PMS, depending on which system you work with.
More than just reservations
But, as the name suggests, your Property Management System is about more than just reservations. A modern PMS is like the digital heart of your hotel. It can perform complex tasks, from emailing guests, accepting online bookings, handling payments to organising your housekeeping.
Channel Managers: link with external booking platforms
Then there are the Channel Managers. The 'channels' here are the external booking channels of your hotel, the OTAs. Think of websites like Booking.com and Hotels.com. The Channel Manager links your reservation system to these channels, so the information about available rooms and prices is constantly up-to-date.
Avoid double bookings in your hotel
Suppose someone makes a reservation on your website and a few seconds later someone books the same room on Booking.com. Without a booking system that communicates with your Channel Manager, this results in a double booking. A Channel Manager prevents this, because the new availability is immediately visible on both your website and the other booking platforms. This makes overbooking impossible.
With a good integration, the same happens the other way round. You can also adjust your prices simultaneously everywhere thanks to a Channel Manager.
Work faster, more efficiently and more accurately with a hotel reservation system
Online Booking Engines, Property Management Systems and Channel Managers are different things, but they do overlap. And what they definitely have in common is that they take a lot of work off your hands. By automating tasks, your internal processes become faster, more efficient and more accurate. This means that you have more time and can increase your turnover.
Which booking system should I choose?
But what do you need to consider when choosing the right systems for your hotel? The following tips will get you started:
- Take a PMS as a starting point
- Pay attention to the communication between different systems/software
- Choose a future-proof solution
- Note the possibility of linking with analysis tools
Tip 1: PMS as a starting point
To start with, it is smart to take a PMS as your starting point. As we said, this is like the digital heart of your hotel. From here you can arrange and manage almost everything, as extensive as you would like. You can see your Online Booking Engine and Channel Manager as part of your PMS. Just like many other links and possibilities that a good PMS has. By focusing on a well-developed PMS, you will not run into any limitations.
Tip 2: Smooth communication between software
Next, of course, it is of the utmost importance that the PMS system communicates smoothly with both your Online Booking Engine and your Channel Managers. Only then can everything be truly automated.
Many recommend buying software from the same makers. In our opinion, it is even better to choose an all-in-one solution. In other words, a PMS with a built-in OBE and Channel Manager. Preferably specifically aimed at the hotel sector, such as MEWS is. With this PMS, you have internal and external reservations under one roof and you can also link things like housekeeping and invoicing.
Tip 3: Choose a future-proof solution
A third important point: ensure a future-proof solution. You don't just switch from one system to another. A lot of data and activities are linked to it. Your staff will also have to learn to work with a new PMS system. It is therefore wise to base your choice not only on what you need now, but also on what the future may hold.
It is therefore smart to go for solutions in the cloud, or via online servers. When you store a PMS and run it from a fixed server, you have to replace it after about 5 years. Via the cloud, you don't have this problem.
A PMS via the cloud also makes you a lot less vulnerable. A server can break down, or even fail. As a hotel, it is of course of the utmost importance that your activities can always continue. A day on which booking is not possible can quickly result in a loss of turnover. A system that works from the cloud is therefore safer, often much faster and it saves you costs because you never have to replace anything.
It is also smart to go for a system that takes into account functionalities that may not yet be there. We don't have a crystal ball. Years ago, you would never have thought that most bookings today are made via mobile. Who knows what the future will bring?
Save upgrade with an open API
So choose a system that continues to develop and can quickly respond to social changes and trends. Or choose a system with an open API, again like MEWS has.
Very briefly, an API is a piece of software that allows different applications to communicate with each other. Because MEWS uses an open API, any developer can use it. This saves on customisation and upgrade costs.
Tip 4: Linking with analysis tools: measuring is knowing
Another important point that ties in with the above: make sure your PMS can also be linked to analysis tools such as Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. This will also allow you to take your marketing to a higher level. We keep saying it: measuring is knowing!
Thanks to a link, you can see, for example:
- How much turnover a particular online advertisement generates;
- Whether your newsletter about last-minute deals actually generates more bookings;
- or advertising to a specific target group will increase the profit from the minibar.
And much more, of course!
Less work, higher turnover
In short: a well-developed PMS with the right links can take a lot of work off your hands and raise your marketing to a higher level. This will ultimately result in more satisfied guests, which is, of course, what it's all about. So take the time now to immerse yourself in it, you will get it back in no time! Would you rather spar with the specialists of The Fully Bookers? Of course we would like to help you! Then take a look at contact with us.