No matter what your primary concern is – to provide an exemplary guest experience or simply to increase revenue and profits – a hotel management system will deliver. In fact, this software will help you achieve both, for less effort than you were previously investing.
However it’s not as simple as having these goals, paying for the software, and seeing the results. Not all systems are born equal; features and functionality can vary significantly between providers.
So it’s important to compare your wishlist of objectives with what each software provider is promising. Little Hotelier endeavours to cover all bases for small properties, ensuring you have an automated, centralised hub for all your daily business operations.
These are the must-have abilities we think you need when you subscribe to a hotel management system:
- Processing reservations via any channel
- Check-in and check-out guests
- Manage guest booking details and guest profiles
- Managing inventory, rates, and availability
- Organising housekeeping tasks and schedule
- Processing transactions such as payments, deposits, and refunds
- Owning guest communications
- Managing property maintenance
- Generating business performance reports
- Handling front office accounting
The sheer breadth of functionality is a convincing factor, because it highlights just how much work you were doing manually before and how good it will feel to lighten the load. And afterall, what’s the point in buying a solution that only covers half the problem? Use Little Hotelier to own all these processes and give yourself more opportunities to ensure guests are happy, and identify trends that point to where you can make more money.
Reasons why a hotel management system actually works
It’s natural to harbour doubts when spending money. Most of us debate each day whether a certain purchase will deliver value for money. When it comes to your business, making the right decision is even more crucial.
If you’re looking to make the leap but are lacking confidence due to being a first-time user or are unaccustomed to using technology in general, here are some facts to put your mind at ease.
1. Cloud-based systems are foolproof
The best hotel applications like Little Hotelier are all cloud-based systems – they operate online. The ‘cloud’ allows huge amounts of data to be shared between different systems and housed in one secure location, and it can be accessed remotely. This is vastly superior to a server based system, which requires a central computer system to house and process data.
Since all you need is an internet connection you never have to be tied to one particular office or computer to operate your software. In the context of your business this means you’ll be able to use Little Hotelier to manage your back end wherever and whenever you like. In fact you could be on the treadmill at the gym and as long as you have a mobile device such as your smartphone, you can be processing reservations or updating inventory.
2. All-in-one systems don’t take any shortcuts
Little Hotelier is more than a management system; it’s also a booking engine, channel manager, website builder and payments solution. You may think you’re being sold the world and it’s too good to be true but there’s no lack of power in any of these features.
It simply makes more sense for small businesses like you to have everything bundled into one operating system. It gives you total, connected, control over your property and is much easier to manage than using different providers for each piece of technology. With these platforms integrated, you have everything you need to run your business successfully online.
Here’s a quick rundown of those additional products if you aren’t familiar:
- Booking engine – Also known as a reservation system, your online booking engine will accept bookings from direct channels such as your own website and social media pages like Facebook. This is an essential piece of tech for you to take commission-free bookings from platforms travellers are very likely to visit.
- Channel manager – A distribution tool allowing you to sell and manage your rooms on as many online travel agents as you want at the same time. A pooled inventory model means rates and availability are updated automatically across all channels whenever a booking is made or when you make a change. You’ll no longer need to split inventory between channels.
- Website builder – This takes away the need for you to hire a web designer. Instead you can use this software to create a beautiful, search engine optimised, guest converting website in minutes. You simply have to provide your content and choose from a number of available templates.
- Payments solution – Again bred for simplicity, an integrated payments solution will connect seamlessly with your management system so you can process payments, deposits and refunds without having to wrestle with a clunky terminal or constantly look for or record guest details.
3. A system that works in real-time – works quicker than you can!
We understand that nagging thought in your head – I do all this myself right now, why should I now pay for it to be done?
We agree there are times when technology goes beyond the need of necessity. Do we really need a watch that not only tells us the time but manages our email, schedules appointments, gives us Facebook updates, tracks our heart rate, measures our steps, reads the news, and who knows what else? Probably not.
However, would you like to get back hours of your life each and every week that you previously spent on the painstaking tasks of recording and updating guest details, correcting clerical errors, updating information in booking channel extranets, and sending emails to name a few? Hopefully the answer is yes.
If you were to race your technology system in performing these tasks you’d lose every time. By the time you even realise a new reservation has come in, your system will have already conveyed the information everywhere it needs to go, with accompanying updates being made instantly. This is what real-time means. Your system will perform actions without ever having the need for a second thought, recall, or moment of consideration.
That’s the beauty of an all-in-one system like Little Hotelier.
Is there free hotel management software?
Yes and no. Because the top providers of hotel management software use sophisticated technology that takes a lot of work to develop and keep evergreen, it can’t be offered for free. Any truly ‘free’ technology likely won’t give your hotel the functionality it needs to really make a difference – it could even make things worse!
However, industry leaders such as Little Hotelier offer free trial periods so you can experience all the benefits of the product before you decide to invest. The proof is in the pudding and there are no lock-in contracts beyond a monthly fee.
When you sign up for a Little Hotelier free trial, you’ll be contacted within one business day to get setup and you can review the performance of the system for 30 days before you decide if you want to continue to billing. The results should speak for themselves, with daily tasks becoming quicker and easier while the long term revenue opportunities should also be evident.
Little Hotelier’s front desk software can be secured from USD $109 (GBP £87) per month if your property has five rooms or less. A property with 15 rooms will be charged USD $139 (GBP £111) per month. This is more than competitive, with some other major providers charging USD $159 (GBP £127) per month for 15 rooms. You can also choose to pay annually for a discount. Try out Little Hotelier’s pricing scale to see where your property fits in.
Why you shouldn’t rely on hotel management software free downloads
Any truly ‘free’ technology likely won’t give your hotel the functionality it needs to really make a difference – it could even make things worse!
Free management software downloads will typically be a static piece of tech, a product that never updates after you begin using it unless you download newer versions as time goes by. This is a hassle as you never know when you might be falling out of date.
Another reason to avoid free downloads is that they’re often limited in a number of ways, for example:
- Restricted to Windows or Mac operating systems
- Rely too heavily on stable internet connections
- Clunky interfaces
- Lack of advanced features
- Little to no customer support (definitely not local or 24/7 support)
- Can lack security measures and encryption
- Not mobile responsive
- Glitches regularly
These are just some of the reasons you’re better off sticking to a known brand in the market that has the infrastructure in place to continually work on their products and provide ongoing support to customers.
Hotel property management system reviews: Compare small hotel management software providers
Before you make a commitment to one provider or another, part of your research should include combing popular review sites to see what customers are saying and how highly a provider is ranked. Your peers can be a big guiding light since they’ve experienced the same pain as you and have sought the same solutions. Reading and investigating reviews will help you establish confidence about the decision you’re making.
One of the best resources to look at is Hotel Tech Report.
On this site you’ll discover a whole range of metrics that detail the quality of many hotel technology systems, including Little Hotelier. Measures for the following will be included:
- Likelihood to be recommended
- Quality of customer support
- Ease of use
- Value for money
- Integration capability
- Implementation process
Summaries will also be included of what specific features are offered, and which are not available, along with videos and screenshots where applicable. This will allow you to more easily compare providers.
Written customer reviews are where you can really dig into what other accommodation operators think of a product. It’s important to balance star ratings with written feedback, since people will always have different priorities and preferences. You can judge the positive and negative feedback as you see fit, perhaps giving more weight to one factor or another depending on your goals.
Social media is also becoming a big player when comparing providers. Visit Facebook pages in particular to see what reviews are listed on there, how many followers a provider has, and the general feel for the brand. It’s important to know if your hotel management software will deliver on its promises.
Property management systems are used by successful hotels
The reason hoteliers like you search for and purchase property management systems in the first place is because they desperately want a better way to manage their business. A property management system is one way to lift the ceiling higher and pave the path for a more successful hotel.
Hotels who have the most success using property management systems will opt for an all-in-one solution like Little Hotelier, because this is a lot easier for small businesses. Everything they need to run a more profitable business is included in one seamless package. Adopting a front desk system, channel manager, and booking engine through a single provider makes for a much more harmonious way to run the property. The systems already ‘know’ each other and if anything goes wrong there’s just one support team to call to solve any issue.
How to select the best hotel management software
There are many factors to weigh up when selecting which hotel management software is right for your property. You need to identify exactly what you want, noting key traits that are non-negotiable.
It might help to look at these considerations:
- Is it more than a front desk?
An all-in-one solution that includes a channel manager and booking engine is by far the best option for small hotels.
- Is payment processing included?
An integrated payments solution is invaluable for your property because it will allow you to process payments, deposits, and refunds quickly and easily within the product environment.
- Is pricing flexible?
You don’t want to sign onto a product that has lock-in contracts or rigid fees. The individual nature of your property should be taken into account when it comes to billing.
- Is the customer support.. supportive?
When you need help you’re going to need it quickly which means local support in your timezone and language is really important. A customer knowledge base is also vital.
- Are reviews promising?
The words of current or past users carry a lot of water and knowing if people have been happy with their experience should be a significant indicator for you when deciding on your provider.
- Does a free trial exist?
Trialling and becoming familiar with hotel management software is essential. It’s likely you’ll never look back once you start using it but it’s important to be sure.
How long does it take to see the benefits of using software for hotel management?
Naturally, no one likes to be stuck in limbo, wondering if and when something will occur. The good news is that from day one you should see that Little Hotelier makes life easier. Once you are set up and have undergone your software training, the product is very easy to use and maintain. You might even find yourself taking up new hobbies thanks to the time you’ll save!
Even better is that the free trial period allows you to see and enjoy all the benefits without paying anything for the first 30 days. This should be more than enough time to realise you won’t be looking back.
This curious query raised many more. Namely, ' What have you done to your pants that necessitates the application of boiling water ? ', ' Are you too dense to realise that putting your knickers in the sink and then pouring on the boiling water is far more logical ? ' and ' Have I drunk tea from a kettle that was used to clean somebody’s Y-fronts ? '
Medical experts even weighed in. Dr Heather Hendrickson, a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biosciences at Massey University in Auckland, said : ' It is super super super super gross. ' That’s actually the scientific term. She added : ' Your friend is unlikely to have a grande number of highly heat resistant pathogens in his dirty undergarments but we do not know what he does have in there or how sick he might be. ' Oh, there’s definitely something not right.
While Telegraph Travel cannot conceive an occasion when stuffing your briefs inside a kettle will pay off, there are many other devious, less disgusting ways to take advantage of the items found in most hotel rooms.
Better than boiled underwear is a boiled egg. And a kettle could do the emploi if you’d rather not fork out £15 for an overpriced breakfast ( we’ve even heard of people using them to cook pasta ).
The cheese toastie on the room service menu costs £10. But a loaf of bread and a wedge of cheddar from the local supermarket only costs a few quid. Turn it into melted goodness using your handy in-room iron
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch ? Not if you nab an extra bread roll, a little bocal of jam and a strawberry yoghurt from the breakfast buffer. Wrap it all up in a shower cap and you’ve saved yourself a tenner.
The British aren’t great when it comes to complaining ( Mrs Richards from Fawlty Towers being the notable exception ), but if you aren’t happy with your room, you’re entitled to say so - and to see the alternatives. Hotels, especially older ones, come in all shapes and sizes, so you might be given a better boudoir. If the hotel isn’t full you might even be get upgraded.
There’s nothing worse than curtains that don’t close properly - they guarantee an unwanted early wake-up call at the crack of dawn. So use a clothes hanger with clips to pin them together.
No in-room speakers ? Put your phone in a mug or glass to dramatically improve the sound quality of your tunes.
Isn’t it incredibly annoying when you want to shave/admire your pretty face after a hot shower but have to wait a good 10 minutes for the mirror to de-mist ? Yes. Yes, it is. Well, free yourself from the shackles of mirror fog. Before you shower ( maybe the night before ) liberally rub a portion of the mirror with a bar of soap. Then take a dry washcloth and buff the soap off. This will keep the mist from condensing on the mirror. And one soaping will last a few days.
Forgotten the plug conformer for your charger ? You could ask to borrow one from reception. Or be really self-sufficient and use a USB port in the back of the TV to charge your device.
Staying in an inner city hotel and wary about someone breaking into your room ? Hang your Do Not Disturb sign on the door and give the figure that you’re still inside having a snooze.
' Consider the unmanned housekeeper’s trolley a smash and grab situation. Pack your bags full of almond butter hand cream and guava face soap with espresso crisps. Take three of everything and get the hell out of the hallway. Even if you do get caught, just say you were out of shampoo, or, even better, out of toilet paper, and thought you’d save them the dysfonctionnement by grabbing it for yourself. Think of it this way : these amenities are here for you, they are yours. We are in no position to dispute the claim that when you wash your hair you prefer to dump fifteen bottles of lavender and poppy seed shampoo all over your scalp like some gooey shower freak. '
And, if the room doesn’t come with conditioner, or you’ve forgotten your phone charger, just ask at the front desk. Hair products, deodorant and phone chargers are apparently the items most often left behind by guests, so the hotel might have a box of each - but ask nicely.