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Hótel & hugbúnaður
Það sem skilur hótelbókunarkerfin hvert frá öðru í dag er fyrst og fremst geta þeirra til þess að vinna með ólíkar aðgerðir sem snerta á umsýslu bókunnar. Kerfið þarf að byggja á mikilli sjálfvirkni, innihalda þægilegt bókunarferli og bjóða upp á samskipti við kúnna og starfsfólk. Notandi að kerfinu þarf einnig að geta framkallað skýrslur og yfirlit sem hægt er að nýta til að lesa í raunstöðu rekstrar.
Í dag telst það sjálfsagt mál að bókanir flæði sjálfvirkt inn í hótelbókunarkerfi með öllum þeim upplýsingum sem fylgja bókuninni. Einnig þykir það sjálfsagt að bókun sé rukkuð sjálfvirkt á hárréttum tíma og að bókun færist inn á nákvæmlega það herbergi á hótelinu sem viðskiptavinur óskar eftir. Hótelstarfsfólk vill geta unnið á einfaldan hátt með hópabókanir, skýrslugerð og annað sem gefur stjórnendum gögn til þess að mæla frammistöðu rekstursins og fá um leið eins mikla sjálfvirkni og mögulegt er inn í öll samskipti við sölusíður og ferðaskrifstofur. Þetta eru sjálfsagðar kröfur í dag sem mörg kerfi geta mætt en þó ekki öll. Krafa hótelsins er að kerfið sé þægilegt í vinnslu, framkvæmir allt sem kröfur hótelsins segja til um og framkvæmir helst allar aðgerðir sjálfvirkt.
Annar þáttur sem hótelstjórnendur þurfa að kynna sér og skiptir ekki síður miklu máli er hversu móttækileg hótelbókunarkerfin eru að tengjast öðrum hugbúnaðarlausnum sem mikilvægar eru fyrir rekstur hótelsins, sbr; bókhaldskerfi, þrifa og viðhaldskerfi, verðstýringarkerfi, sjálfvirk innritunarkerfi, lyklakóðakerfi, rásastjóra, ferðaskrifstofugáttir og svona mætti lengi telja.
Hótelbókunarkerfi eru í eðli sínu ekki hönnuð til þess að snerta á öllum flötum í rekstri hótela og gististaða. Nútíma kerfi eru þó hönnuð á þann hátt að þau geta einfaldlega tengst kerfum sem snerta á þeim þáttum. Því er mikilvægt fyrir hótelstjórnendur að kynna sér vel hversu vel í stakk búin hótelbókunarkerfin eru til þess að tengjast ólíkum birgða- og umsýslukerfum.
Mikilvægi góðrar þjónustu
Stjórnendur og starfsfólk hótela vilja vinna með kerfi sem eru stöðug og geta framkvæmt sem flestar aðgerðir sjálfvirkt. Oft koma upp vandamál þegar unnið er í kerfum og tengjast þau oftar en ekki mannlegum mistökum þeirra sem vinna daglega við kerfið. Þegar vandamál koma upp vill hótelstjórinn treysta því að á bak við kerfið er góð þjónusta og stöðug þróun á kerfinu.
Hótelbókunarkerfið er stöðugt að vinna fyrir gististaðinn og má í raun líta á kerfið sem heila starfseminnar. Á meðan starfsfólk sefur er kerfið að sinna hinum ýmsu aðgerðum fyrir reksturinn. Það er mikilvægt að huga að heila starfseminnar og þar kemur inn þjónustan á bak við kerfið. Grunnkennsla, vöktun á frammistöðu kerfis, fréttir af kerfis-uppfærslum, frí ráðgjöf, neyðarnúmer sem alltaf er hægt að ná í og síðast en ekki síst þægilegt og lausnarmiðað starfsfólk eru meðal þátta sem byggja upp framúrskarandi þjónustu á bak við góðan hugbúnað.
Samstarf hótela og hugbúnaðarfyrirtækja
Öflugt hótelbókunarkerfi sem tengist í allar áttir og er með öfluga þjónustu á bak við sig er krafa hótelstjóra nútímans. Það hlýtur að vera draumur allra hótelstjórnenda að vinna með allar aðgerðir sem snerta rekstur hótelsins í einu og sama viðmótinu. Það hlýtur því að vera meginmarkmið hugbúnaðarfyrirtækja, sem vinna að lausnum tengdum ferðaþjónustunni að uppfylla draum hótelstjórans.
Godo er hugbúnaðarfyrirtæki sem hefur sérhæft sig í lausnum tengdum ferðaþjónustunni frá árinu 2012. Í dag býður Godo upp á heildstæðar lausnir fyrir hótel og ferðaskrifstofur sem snerta á öllum þáttum ferðaþjónustunnar. Á meðal lausna sem Godo býður upp á eru hótelbókunarkerfi, snjallsíma app, verðstýringarkerfi, veflausnir, markaðstorg og rekstrarþjónustur. Saman mynda þessi kerfi og þjónustur heildstæða hótel lausn sem snertir á öllum sviðum hótelreksturs.
Choosing the Hotel PMS – the central nervous system for any hotel
In a previous blog post about self-service in the tourism industry, we agreed that the property management system is the central nervous system for any hotel. Therefore, it seems essential to talk about the importance of choosing the right PMS. But how, among so many offers? Here are a few hints.
Believe it or not, but in the smartphone era, a good chunk of hotels is still using pen and paper. Imagine your dream travel to a heavenly destination you have been waiting for years. You finally land and manage to find your hotel. Have your head wrapped up in plans for sightseeing and shopping and afterward a cozy dinner at your hotel. Will it still be so dreamy if you see the receptionist write down your reservation on a piece of paper letting you wait 25 minutes before handing out the keys to the room? Well, these are the new 20s. Not 1920. If you cannot imagine your day without using smart everything in your day-to-day life, then why would hotels shy away from digitally transforming.
From pen and paper to modern booking wizards
In the 1970s airlines started using a model that allowed staff to keep track of reservations and inventory. In the early days of property management systems, they were quite varied from one hotel to another. When computers became commonplace, hotels started investing in server-based in-house systems. But the computer age dictated constant upgrading. Ten years ago, the first cloud PMS was released. This turned to be the key factor. It allowed staff to be more mobile while working from anywhere on the property by using different devices. Everything got vastly improved when it was put in the hands of versed experts. Now, a hotel can hardly be run without “booking wizards” – a PMS that handles most hotel operations with ease and in addition saves time and effort while increasing revenue.
Some managers still fear expense and change but the advantages of PMS in the front office cannot be overstated. It is not a cheesy pickup line – it is a change in the ways hoteliers do business. It is much more than a registry of guests checking in and out – the PMS can provide all the tools, devices and technology needed. Given the fact how busy hotels can be and how demanding guests can be, it seems impossible to imagine what it would be like to have to take care of everything with just a simple register at the front desk. Today managers want real-time access to everything. They realized that they need to build a strong online presence and offer exceptional customer service in order to survive such an incredibly competitive market. And finding the right partner is the key.
The importance of choosing the right PMS for your hotel
Back in the day hoteliers used excel spreadsheets – a fancier version of the pen and paper. But today, assigning rooms needs state-of-the-art software that is the latest trend in technology. Hoteliers choose the systems based on reliability, technology and user interface.
Our advice is to follow a quick checklist and match it against the key features of a PMS system. That way you will find out if you are choosing something that will be a pain in the neck or opting for a true asset that will integrate third-party apps and software that will reduce human error, increase efficiency, avoid time waste. Learn from others’ mistakes. Some hotels choose lower-end solutions and later it turns out that they don’t fulfill their needs. On the other hand, others opt for high-end solutions that are too complicated for them. Usually, mistakes are made when hoteliers are dazzled and go for attractive features that may not be of use. Look for tools that track performance and make conclusions about customer behavior and current trends. Insist on excellent support 24/7 because the hospitality industry never sleeps and help should be available immediately. We keep talking about how great technology is but don’t forget to actually give the technology its due. Keep in tune and don’t invest in outdated solutions. Have in mind that not looking at the return of the investment and the increase of the efficiency is a rookie mistake and smart managers avoid choosing the cheapest offer. Instead, check the features against the price. Don’t forget to ask where the data is stored and if the security is strong enough, if the credit card payments are being done through the system, if there are self-check-in software and keycode locks, what kind of reports the PMS provides and the insights on the revenue and the performance. Don’t forget the rate management, the online booking engines and the sales and marketing functionality.
In simple words, when choosing a partner for digital transformation find the balance between the ideal experience, knowledge and skills for your specific needs. Don’t sell rooms solely for the purpose of profit, but enhanced hospitality experiences. Find trained business and IT teams that will help you do it, that will provide a digital transformation roadmap. Build a lasting relationship with a digital transformation partner based on trust and a shared vision and values. Don’t choose a digital wizard that has no experience or understanding of the business. It is almost certain that his ideas will work on paper but not in your hotel. Opt for “insiders”, for the ones that have experience in doing the same for other similar businesses – the ones that will listen carefully to how the business operates and to the real needs. Well, you get the idea – the process of digital transformation is as much about organizational change as it is about technology.
The guest experience – convenience is priceless
Probably your hotel bellhop will not have to deal with witches and ridiculous situations like Tim Roth’s character had to in the movie “Four Rooms” while keeping the guests satisfied. But why not do your best to keep both staff and guests happy. Let’s think out loud. We like room service and we love living the hotel life. But we still don’t want to spend too much time engaging in small talk or awkward silence with a stranger (the hotel employee) after a long and exhausting trip. I love traveling but when I get to that charming hotel I booked I prefer privacy. A modern hotel that will give me the best price while booking, a safe way to pay, self-check-in service, keycodes I can rely on, a smart way to order extra services or request something additional. My smartphone is glued to my hand and I love having all the services at hand. With my experience working at a boking office, I think that finding the balance is everything – let the guests be happy while finding their own way and sending in the occasional request. And giving the staff the option to help and still use their working hours in other tasks like optimizing the work of the property.
Self-Service – changing guest experience in hospitality & tourism industry
Imagine a day without enjoying the hardware and software technologies. Their introduction and development mean speed, consistency, better control, usually lower costs and also reduced chances of human errors. Now imagine a hotel following the need of the modern traveler that actually uses technology in every aspect of everyday life. This article hopefully will provide an introduction and open a new perspective on the self-service technology within the hospitality & tourism industry.
The strengths and opportunities of self-service technologies in the hotel industry
The idea of allowing self-service at gas stations was considered a “radical change” in 1994. Much has changed since the New York Times labeled this as “a push from the Japanese big business trying to cut costs.” Nowadays, when we are busier than ever, our motto is a Queen song – “I want it all and I want it now”. While we are unwilling to wait for anything the remedy is to embrace technology and the power of self-service. None of us can imagine one day without ATMs and vending machines that relentlessly took over reduced person-to-person communication and provide speed and efficiency.
In the hotel industry, self-service is a new trend that took off in the past two decades. Some attribute the success to the big number of millennial travelers – a generation raised with technology and demanding it in almost all sectors of their lives. And it is not only the millennials anymore. Hoteliers now understand that guests are starting to prefer self-service options during their hotel stay. Online bookings and self-check-in kiosks at airports and hotels are already taking the world by storm thanks to the vast range of advantages. The biggest one being increasing guest satisfaction. A single touch on the screen means having a better and transparent view of availability, amenities, services, and prices. This “new way of traveling and staying in hotels” gives the guests a sensation of having full control of their stay and the planning of activities.
“Full” automation – what are the hotels gaining and losing along the way
Self-service technology is one of the top priorities in hospitality. Agreed! It does change the guest experience but raises other questions. Should service on-site be avoided and sent back to history? Is “full” automation the best option? Where exactly is the equilibrium between self-service and service on-site?
It is very clear that in the hospitality industry convenience is priceless! It all starts with the booking and continues with the check-in, but the final picture ends with the check-out. Until recently, many hoteliers were afraid that digital self-service would compromise the human aspect of the hospitality industry. But it is the 21st century and everything digital is an inseparable part of our lives. The automated check-ins, room selection, checkout, secure payments, etc. actually eliminate the clerical part of the job for the front office staff. And this is not a disadvantage but a great gain. It does not shorten the human interaction– it gives the staff tie time, energy, and accuracy to communicate with and serve the guest.
Leaving the check-in to automated processes by providing the guests the tools, gives the guests full control over their stay and plans. It is convenient, consistent, and fast. Guests can solve any common inconveniences if they are given the right tools. This spares time both for the guest and the hotel staff. It leaves no option for many solutions from different staff members that might have different approaches and experience. Also, more importantly, it leaves no place for inconsistency in the service. Yet, to the hoteliers, it still gives the time and opportunity to take a minute to give the guest the best service suiting their personalized profile and reduces the errors. Instead of checking all data before letting the guest into their room, we believe it is much better to spend time and energy on knowing our guest’s profile, providing quality recommendations, and giving the best service at our guests’ fingertips.
And another gain coming out from this is the reduction of the costs. Still, we do agree that some matters require “human assistance”, and that is why we need to underline that self-service does not mean a complete dismissal of the human resource.
We believe that self-service does not mean a lack of service. On the contrary. It can only contribute to the guests’ comfort and improve the experience. For many guests, check-in is a tedious procedure that is time-consuming. Why not turn the hectic rush into something more convenient, calm, private, pleasant, and much faster?! With a self-check-in procedure, the guest does not need to feel bad for arriving late at night or in the early morning hours. Also, most hoteliers today believe that greeting the tired guests after a long trip, while they still are dragging their suitcases, might not be the chance to leave a good impression.
Choosing the right strategic partner when digitally transforming your hotel
All of the mentioned above leads us to the key point – choosing the right partner when digitally transforming a hotel. One can say that the property management system is the central nervous system for any hotel. Having this in mind, there is no need of writing a novel to describe the importance of choosing an experienced company that is an expert in Hotel PMS. Living in the era of the rise of self-service in the hotel industry, imagine a software that does not allow the hotel staff to organize, schedule, and manage the daily operations. That would be such a disaster. Now imagine a piece of perfect machinery – an experienced company becoming your partner when you are in the rush to satisfy the guest’s needs when they say: “I want it all and I want it now”.
It is very important to remember that creating newer options for your guests and for your hotel does not instantly mean abandoning the old ones that used to work well. In simple words, a hotel PMS should be the helping hand that automates operations, connects easily to other software, saves man-hours, and helps serve guests better.