If you manage a hotel, hotel chain or boutique accommodation, we don’t need to tell you it’s a competitive industry - you already know! We take our hats off to you. Naturally, being a hotel owner or manager, your primary goals are increasing your booking and reservation rates, enhancing your revenue and providing nothing less than a stellar experience for your guests.
It all sounds simple enough, and may appear that way externally. Behind the scenes, however, meeting these key objectives requires staying on top of multiple moving parts: internal staff and housekeeping operations, stock management, booking rate management across channels, incoming guest reservations, messaging, marketing and online visibility, and revenue tracking and reporting.
A hotel management system is the all-in-one efficiency solution that helps you gain - and maintain - control over these key areas.
What is “cloud-based” hotel software?
In a nutshell, cloud-based hotel software is hotel management software that is hosted in the cloud instead of on a local, fixed hardware server or a computer. This allows you to log in and access it from anywhere via the internet.
Compared to traditional “on-premises” hotel software, some of the primary benefits of cloud-based hotel software include:
- Accessibility - As mentioned, hotel management software hosted in the cloud is accessible anywhere at any time via the internet, enabling you and your teams to manage your operations from any location, not only your hotel premises.
- Security - Cloud-based hotel management software is protected by robust data encryption and security measures, preventing data hacks or leaks from happening. All data is stored in remote secure data centres that have backups and recovery processes in place at all times. Data hosted on premises, however, is more vulnerable as your data could be compromised if your hardware equipment is damaged or stolen on-site.
- Real-time updates - Hotel software that is cloud-based benefits from receiving ongoing updates and improvements in the form of new and better features. These updates are rolled out automatically and are generally included in the subscription fee. However, with on-premises software, you’ll likely need to purchase or pay for any upgrades or improvements.
- Visibility - Cloud-based hotel management software constantly updates every time data is put in, removed, amended or extracted. These changes reflect across the platform to every user, improving visibility, so your team will always be viewing and working with the latest data and information.
- Cost-effectiveness - Say goodbye to costly, upfront hardware and infrastructure investments with cloud-based hotel software. Once you’ve purchased and activated your subscription, you can access cloud-based management software from your PC, mobile phone and even tablet, eliminating the need to purchase fixed, on-premises hardware.
- Scalability - Hotel management software hosted in the cloud makes it easier to scale as you grow. Because it’s location-agnostic, it’s faster and easier to set up and onboard new team members at new premises. Scaling using on-premises software, on the other hand, is more expensive and time-consuming, as you need to purchase additional hardware and manually install your software each time.
Different types of management systems available for hotels
Running a successful hotel means you’re running multiple key operations simultaneously. As if running one hamster wheel wasn’t tiring enough! Luckily, there are different types of hotel management systems that specialise in running and optimising key operational areas of your business. Let’s take a closer look at the most important ones below.
Hotel property management systems
A hotel property management system (PMS) is a software that helps hotels manage daily front-of-house and back-of-house operations effectively. This may include operational aspects such as scheduling staff, creating cleaning and housekeeping rotas, and room service coordination.
It could also include managing front-desk operations such as assigning rooms, managing occupancy and facilitating guest check-ins and check-outs. Basically, everything that is involved in managing the hotel as a “property” is included within a hotel PMS!
Hotel revenue management systems
A hotel revenue management system is a more specific type of hotel software as it primarily helps hotels to determine and identify the optimal pricing for their rooms. This often involves analysing real-time supply (room availability) and demand (room reservation) data from the hotel.
A robust hotel revenue management system uses available data, analytics and forecasting to help predict guest demand and suggest best-possible pricing strategies to maximise incoming revenue. A bit like a predictive machine that takes the guesswork out of deciding if your rooms should be sold at maximum rates, or auctioned off slightly cheaper to achieve the best possible outcome: more revenue.
It also assesses external factors like the current state of the market and global demand trends to help it calculate and recommend ideal room rates. This could help explain why when a band you like is touring in a certain location and you go to book a room the price has often shot upwards a considerable amount!
Hotel inventory management software
Hotel inventory management software helps manage a hotel’s inventory levels to ensure it always has the stock it needs. Hotels are driven by stock and inventory - from rooms, to room items such as linen and minibar products, to food and beverages, all of which play a key role in the guest experience.
Effective and accurate inventory management is a core component of successfully running a hotel. When your inventory management is poor or inaccurate, it can affect all areas of a hotel’s operations and your profit margin.
While many PMS systems do come with some form of inventory management, it tends to be limited in its features and capabilities. It’s therefore worthwhile to invest in a separate, dedicated hotel stock control system that offers the granular features necessary for excellent stock management, like barcode scanning and direct stock reordering from suppliers.
Hotel reservations systems
A hotel reservation system is a tool that allows hotels to offer direct bookings to guests via their website. It’s essentially a direct booking engine that guests can use to make reservations on a hotel’s website, as opposed to booking via an OTA (online travel platform) like Booking.com or Expedia.
It also helps to manage room inventory rates. It’s important to note, however, that a hotel reservation system can work in tandem with third-party booking reservation platforms and OTAs to boost the hotel’s booking overall rate.
How to choose a hotel management system
Before you begin to feel overwhelmed by just how many systems your hotel needs, something to keep in mind is that you may not need one of each system. We recommend making a list of the non-negotiable features you know you need right now (for example guest booking system, revenue management and inventory) and then checking different systems to see what they offer. We have some more guidance on this below!
Secondly, the fluidity of your hotel management systems will rely heavily on their ability to integrate well with other providers. Most modern cloud-based hotel systems will have a bunch of integrations available. This can help you link your POS system to your inventory management system, or ensure your revenue system can talk to your guest booking software, as an example.
Guide to some of the best technology systems for hotel management
Now that we have a clearer idea of what hotel management systems are, we can dive into some of the best, most in-demand systems on the market today, along with the various pros, cons and use-cases.
1. growyze for inventory management and stock control
growyze is an all-in-one cloud-based stock management platform that simplifies your entire BOH operations. Offering fully digitalised stock scanning and management, direct supplier ordering and restocking, waste management and reporting, growyze is your one-stop shop for effective stock control management.
Hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs.
Our Pro package begins at just £59 per month (excluding VAT) offering you all of the key features for inventory management. We also currently offer a fully supported setup process to help you upload suppliers and complete your first stocktake as part of our free trial.
Why we like it:
Okay, full disclosure. Of course we like our own product! As ex-hospitality pros ourselves we know how important it is to have a modern, intuitive and easy-to-use solution that lets you have full control over your inventory. Our smart engines complete tasks that used to take hours of manual labour (like cross-checking invoices) in record time, and our barcode scanning lets you remove over 60% of the time needed for traditional stocktakes.
- Stock take and inventory management
- Waste management
- Recipe profitability
- Automated reporting across gross-profit analysis, cost of goods sold and more
- Delivery ordering and reconciliation
- POS integration
2. Oracle Hospitality OPERA for full hotel management
Oracle Hospitality OPERA is a cloud-based platform for end-to-end hotel management. It’s based on OPERA, which is one of the largest enterprise hotel management solutions in the world, and offers features that cover all areas of hotel management as well as secure data storage and hundreds of partners.
But, it can also be more complex to manage, often requiring tech experts to help navigate its system. It’s also a pricier option to go for. Overall, if you’re a larger hotel or chain of hotels, OPERA may be ideal for your size and operational scale.
Hotel property management, hotel reservation management, room inventory management, hotel administration and reporting.
The implementation fee ranges between $7,501-$10,000 depending on the selected plan and a monthly subscription starts at $10 per room per month.
Why we like it:
It offers the full suite of features for end-to-end hotel management.
- Reservation management
- Room management
- Guest management
- Front desk management
- Mobile access
Find out more about Oracle Hospitality OPERA on its website.
3. Cloudbeds for hotel revenue management (hotels, hostels, B&B etc.)
Cloudbeds is a hospitality management system with a slight difference as it caters not only for hotels, but also for hostels, B&Bs, guesthouses and inns. In fact, they market themselves as the management software for “any type of lodging business”.
Cloudbeds offers features for property management, booking and reservation management, revenue management and guest management for these types of hotel businesses. It’s also ideal for smaller hotels and accommodations, as it is more cost-effective than other, larger management systems.
Any type of accommodation or lodging management.
Cloudbeds offer customised pricing for each hotel or accommodation’s unique management requirements.
Why we like it:
It offers all the features you’re looking for complete property management - but at a competitive price.
- Property management system
- Channel manager
- Booking engine
- Revenue management
- Payment processing
- Digital marketing
- Guest management
Find out more about Cloudbeds on its official website.
4. Mews for hotel all-in-one hotel management
Mews is an “all-in-one” type of hotel management platform that’s been designed to simplify hotel operations and revenue management. It offers many features that may remove the need for multiple hotel systems, such as a booking engine and central reservation system as well as their own POS (powered by Bizzon) and the ability to manage multiple properties in different locations.
Another strong feature is its reporting capabilities, giving you granular insights that help to improve revenue management. If you’re looking to simplify your hotel’s systems and work from one place, Mews may be a good shout.
Group hotels and hostels as well as independents.
A subscription to Mews starts at £155/month.
Why we like it:
It’s a modern solution that covers a lot of bases - from booking engine to online guest services and reporting on room revenue.
- Property management
- Guest experience
- Payment processing
- Business analytics and intelligence
- Open API
Find out more about Mews on its official website.
5. Guesty for hotel revenue management and bookings
Guesty is a property management solution that allows you to manage various properties wherever they’re listed - whether that’s Airbnb, Booking.com or some of the other most popular booking engines. As well as managing listings, Guesty also has features that help you to communicate with, and manage, guests such as a “universal inbox” that pulls all guest messages into one place.
Hotels but also vacation rentals, urban rentals, guesthouses and B&Bs.
Pricing depends on the number of listings you have, from 1-3, up to 200+ listings, it’s customised depending on your requirements.
Why we like it:
Guesty unifies a lot of the different areas needed to keep your properties booked out and making money, while still being simple to use.
- Integrations with OTAs such as Booking.com and Airbnb
- Unified guest inbox
- Unified booking calendar
- Reporting and analytics
- Task manager
- Messaging automation
Find out more about Guesty here.
Simplify your hotel stock and inventory management with growyze
We’re ready and waiting to get you set up with a hotel management system for better stock control and inventory. Manage stock, suppliers, invoice validation and ordering from a single, seamless platform. That talks nicely to your other hotel management systems!
Book a demo to find out how we can streamline your back-of-house operations today.