With the weather warming up—at least in those places which suffered through winter—thoughts everywhere are likely turning to vacations, and just where to go and what to do, especially if those thoughts turn to sunnier climes and fun activities. That means hotel traffic is likely to ramp up as well, and hotels are likely looking for ways to address that growth. Booking software is one great way to help manage the additional traffic, but what's the best software for such operations? The answer may be simpler to reach than some may think.
A recent study from Software Advice took a look at the concept, and found there were some key points that hotels should consider. The biggest point to look for is online booking capabilities, especially given the rapid growth of spending from the Millennial generation, a point that's leading to a lot of opportunities for growth. Most Millennials start a search for a hotel with Google (News - Alert) or TripAdvisor, so being ready to take that business on can be a big help.
Software that can help provide an online presence can also be important; particularly for Millennials—but not to be ignored everywhere else—that online presence is first contact. Being able to get more information, and ask questions as needed, online can be a great way to help drive business in a particular hotel's direction.
Additionally, consider the platforms the software works with. Platforms that work on mobile devices will be important, especially given the increasing use of smartphones and tablets, and many property management software systems reportedly don't work so well on such platforms. “Doesn't work well” often translates into “isn't shopping there,” so being ready for multiple platforms is smart thinking.
Central calendar options to show everyone what's going on when is a big part of the process as well, and being able to incorporate front-office and housekeeping management are likewise key factors to have on hand when considering booking software. It doesn't matter how many rooms are booked if the rooms aren't ready and waiting, so having these facets of the business in play with the booking software can mean the difference between a five-star customer experience and a one-star that hits all the travel websites.
The right booking software can make or break a hotel, and this is particularly important for so-called “boutique” hotels that have less than 50 rooms total. Larger chain hotels, meanwhile, are generally standardized, but the smaller hotels can make more decisions. Given that 10 percent of hotels were using some kind of spreadsheet for booking, and another 16 percent turned to pen and paper, there were plenty of opportunities to get new software in to help.
In the end, selecting the right hotel booking software is all about the features. Can it be used readily? Does it have the capabilities users demand in order to make the experience complete? With Millennials rapidly becoming a major part of the marketplace, offering the things such users want will be a vital part of the overall operation, and booking software can help deliver.
Edited by Maurice Nagle