A hotel room is a product like any other. The prices of products go up when the demand is high and go down when the demand is low. That’s exactly how your room pricing system should work as well. This is known as a dynamic pricing model. This article will tell you exactly why it is so important and why you should start implementing it.
If you are a hotelier, you know very well that there is no such thing as an Executive Suite. In fact, there is nothing called a Deluxe Suite either. All you have are rooms that take on many names and are sold at various prices. This dynamism of categories, as well as prices, depends on many different factors.
You are already familiar with the concept of seasonal pricing changes. Of course, a room will cost more during December (the holiday season) than, say, in August. Previously, these pricing changes could be managed by a simple pricing model that just had to be adjusted seasonally.
Then, of course, hoteliers realized that this wasn’t nearly enough and started making more minute adjustments to their prices. For example, they started varying their prices according to the occupancy rate. The more rooms are occupied, the more the prices of the remaining rooms go up.
But that isn’t nearly enough either. Several other factors have come into play. You need to keep in mind what prices your competitors are offering. And more importantly, you must have a crystal clear idea about what the perceived value of a hotel room is. I am going to delve into this in detail soon enough. First, you need to realize that the dynamic pricing model is not just an option. It is a necessity. And dynamic pricing models are becoming more nuanced and more cutting edge with time.
Keep reading if you want to keep up with your competitors.
Why Is An Automated Dynamic Pricing Model A Necessity?
Let me first clarify that it’s not just a dynamic pricing model that is a necessity. The most advanced dynamic pricing model is a necessity.
Why? Because these are particularly volatile times that the hotel industry is passing through. Due to COVID-19, it is almost impossible to mentally predict what the future trend of travel is going to be like. A travel ban might immediately ruin your best laid-out plans. Rampant cancellations are a part of the New Normal. No one, neither you nor your guests, has any control over it.
This is why predictions need to be automated. You need algorithms to tell you what your room prices should ideally be. The reason for this is simple. No human mind can keep up with the dizzying barrage of news that we receive every day. No human mind can compare the prices of each of your competing hotels every second in real-time. You are not trying to fluctuate your room prices biannually anymore. You are looking for a way to fluctuate them by the second.
This is exactly why you need to opt for a Property Management System (PMS). A PMS is a cloud-based software which supplies you with a range of automations. These automations help you control everything about your hotel management and administration from a single platform. A PMS has loads of different functions but here, we are going to focus on only one of them.
The fully automated Dynamic Pricing Model. Revenue Management and even simple Inventory Keeping would be impossible without this feature. I will soon explain how a dynamic pricing model boosts your revenue management. First, let us understand how a PMS makes the work of predicting the optimal room prices so much easier.
When you are trying to fix the price of a room, you have to look at the following factors:
- Current Occupancy Rate
- Competitor Pricing
- Consumer Demand
Mind you, these are the most basic factors. You also have to predict how likely a certain group is to cancel or extend their stay.
Let’s leave seasonality out of this discussion since a hotelier like you will be able to handle that. But what about the current occupancy rate? To keep up with fluctuations like these in real-time, your best bet is a PMS like StayFlexi.
With StayFlexi, you can easily fix an occupancy rate and a corresponding price hike or reduction. For example, let’s say you set this condition:
“If the occupancy rate reaches 70%, raise the room prices by $15.”
Then automatically, whenever that occupancy rate is reached, the new room prices will be updated. The inventory does not need to be manually managed in a PMS. Whenever the room prices go up, they go up on every OTA channel as well. StayFlexi is responsible for keeping this entire system in sync. Yes, you can link up 100+ OTA channels with StayFlexi. And you never have to worry about manually adjusting the room prices again.
The same is valid for a reduction in room prices when the occupancy rate is low. You can specify a condition like:
“If the occupancy rate delves below 30%, lower room prices by $15.”
The room prices will automatically go down whenever the occupancy rate plummets. This is especially useful in case of abrupt cancellations. You need to resell these rooms as quickly as possible. So, dropping the room prices immediately acts as an efficient hook.
PMSs similarly take competitor pricing and consumer demands into account. If you aren’t aware of your competitors’ pricing, it creates a rather awkward situation. The customers see every room in that area priced at $100 whereas your rooms are priced at $50. They have some pretty good reasons to be suspicious. This is exactly why your room prices should be relatively lower but not absolutely low. And yes, this is still valid if your occupancy rate is low. Having suspiciously cheap rooms does not help draw in more guests.
As for consumer demands, we finally get to the issue of “What is the perceived price of your room?” That is, how much does a guest think your room costs. Sometimes, trying to offer cheaper prices irrespective of the guests’ demands acts antithetical to your needs. You have to understand how much a guest is willing to pay.
But how can you understand what your customer is thinking?
Simple. Trace their behavior through a PMS. Look at the patterns. Look at what people in the past have been willing to pay for that room. Of course, it’s not as simple as that. It’s a nuanced peek-through into customer behavior. But thankfully, you don’t have to browse through mountains of data to analyze this. A PMS like StayFlexi will offer you detailed analytics and audit reports that you can base your dynamic pricing model on.
How Does A Dynamic Pricing Model Boost Your Hotel Revenue?
You make zero profit on a room that goes unsold. This is why optimizing room occupancy rate is the main intention of all hoteliers.
On a very crude level, a dynamic pricing model makes sure that your rooms don’t go unsold. The constantly enticing prices are bound to hook in at least a handful of guests. But this is just the bottom-most rung of its overall potential. Dynamic Pricing Models help increase your hotel revenue in multiple other ways.
Having a Dynamic Pricing Model increases your RevPAR or Revenue Per Available Room. This metric increases because of two reasons. Your dynamic pricing model makes sure that the occupancy rate remains high. And that each room is sold at the market price. The optimal number of rooms sold at the optimal prices. Obviously, this raises your revenue.
Moreover, with a dynamic pricing system, you can offer time-bound discounts. This is a sure-shot strategy of selling your rooms. Keep your room prices high. Then suddenly offer a discount that says “Offer only valid till tonight!” And then raise your prices again. This U-turn pricing method is bound to entice guests and get you more revenue. In fact, with a PMS, you can specifically target some sections of your guests. For example, offer discounts to business guests during the holiday season. This way you can ensure that your single rooms don’t go unoccupied during this time.
And most importantly, a dynamic pricing system simply increases your revenue by keeping your guests happy. You base your pricing on the perceived value of the room. So, your guests feel like they are getting the room at a fair price. The happier your guests are, the more loyal customers you can depend on.
Not only do you need to start using a dynamic pricing model. You need to start using an automated algorithm-based dynamic pricing model in your hotel.
The list of factors that I have mentioned in this article, that affect room prices, is not exhaustive. Soon many other factors will come into play as well. Artificial Intelligence will learn how to make better and more nuanced predictions. To keep up with the times, you need to opt for a PMS. A PMS like StayFlexi supplies you with nothing less than a cutting-edge dynamic pricing model. The room prices get updated in the inventory in real-time and you don’t have to worry about it at all. Plus, your hotel revenue also rises with a good dynamic pricing model.
Which other factors do you think the automated dynamic pricing model should take into account? Let me know in the comments below.
What a guest expects from a hotel room in 2021 is oceans away from what they expected in 2001. Or even from what they expected in 2011, for that matter. Enormous changes come over customer behavior in a mere span of a decade. And 2021 is not just any other year. It’s the second year of a global pandemic.
But does a modern guest only care about the hotel following COVID-19 related rules? Or are there other factors that have also majorly changed customer behavior and their preferences?
In this article, we will delve into exactly that. This is a detailed guide on understanding the preferences of a modern guest.
For this, I will be focusing on three major factors. Of course, COVID-19 is the first. The second is climate change. And the third- dependence on technology.
It is difficult to say whether introversion grew due to technology or whether introversion fuelled some technological advancements. The first major change that came over the hotel industry stemmed from introversion itself. Or, you could even look at it as people wanting to preserve their autonomy in this temporarily borrowed space.
Guests wanted to be left alone. From 2015 itself, guests showed an overwhelming preference for hotels that allowed self-check-in. They wanted to limit their interaction with the staff as much as possible. This allowed them to have more control over their own stay. This, of course, was exacerbated by the pandemic when self-check-in is no longer a preference, but a necessity.
In this guide, I’ll tell you exactly which modern trends in travel you have to keep an eye out for.
What Does a Modern Guest Prefer?
Contactless Check-In, Check-Out & Payments
Why “contactless” is the main buzzword of 2020-21 doesn’t need to be elaborated upon. Travel had come to a stop not just because of government-imposed travel bans. Travelers themselves were justifiably scared of coming into contact with people from various other places.
And a hotel lobby is exactly where this sort of interaction is forced upon guests. This is exactly why people started opting for more Airbnbs or rented vacation stays instead of hotels.
One way your hotel can compete with these other options is by introducing contactless check-in and check-out. Contactless check-in can simply be done through the guest’s mobile. And it can be done way before the guest even sets foot in the hotel. This also ensures that the housekeeping staff can keep the room prepared before the guest actually arrives. This ensures that you don’t have to worry about human contamination the moment you step in.
Self-check-out is also equally convenient. It too can be done through a mobile app. The hotel just sends you the list of remaining expenses along with a payment link. You don’t need to even carry a card or ask for a card reader. You can leave, as you had previously arrived, without interacting with anyone.
As a hotelier, you can provide these facilities by investing in a Property Management System like StayFlexi. This is a cloud-based software that allows you to control the entire management of your property through automations. Contactless self-check-in and check-out are facilities provided by StayFlexi. The guest can even extend their stay without interacting with the staff. All they have to do is register their request on the app. If rooms are available, their request will be granted and the new guests will be shifted to another room seamlessly. StayFlexi also allows you to send payment links and online vouchers.
Reduced Interaction With Staff
This directly follows the first point. Of course, guests now want to interact with as few staff members as possible. And I’m sure your staff members want the same as well, to ensure their own safety.
This is exactly why StayFlexi’s Smart Housekeeping feature is so incredible. In this, guests simply have to put in their requests on their mobile apps or website. The requests are received by the staff member who has been assigned that particular room. The guests don’t need to call the front desk for this purpose. If that particular staff member is busy, the request gets redirected to the backup staff. As soon as the request has been fulfilled, the staff member can update this on the app. This way no guest request gets lost in a lengthy game of Telephone.
There are many completely staffless hotels in America right now. Only the housekeeping staff remains on-ground. Guests can check themselves in and then leave without having interacted with anyone. When they check out, the housekeeping staff steps in to clean the rooms. The management and administration of these facilities are completely automated and run through a PMS.
Digital Room Keys
This also ties in with the first two points. If you are opting for a contactless check-in, you obviously don’t want a physical key. Who knows how many hands it might have passed through?
This is exactly why modern guests prefer digital keys to their rooms. These can be of various kinds. Several hotels employ a Radio Frequency Identification method (also called RFID). I won’t go into the explanation of exactly how this works. But all you have to have for this is your mobile phone. The door to your room will have a reader that will match the frequencies and let you enter. Neither your phone nor you have to come into contact with anything.
This same purpose can also be achieved with a simpler QR Code or a password. The main intention of digital room keys is to ensure that you have autonomy. There is no chance of losing your hotel keycard this way.
You might not think this is a big deal but it is. Climate Change and Global Warming are issues that are constantly in discussion now. Most guests care about these things. And even the ones that don’t, are bound to be impressed by earth-friendly amenities.
“Sustainability” and “eco-friendly” are not fads anymore. You genuinely have to ensure that your property does not adversely harm the nature that surrounds it.
How to be sustainable in the hotel industry?
There are various ways around it. The bigger steps include options like smart lighting and installing solar panels. Remember, smart lighting actually reduces your electricity bills. Besides these, you can have a variety of eco-friendly options. Your hotel can practice rainwater harvesting to grow organic fruits and vegetables. Guests can pick out what they want for dinner. You can even try using recycled materials to form the room interiors.
Remember, in the long term, sustainability doesn’t just get you more guests. It also saves you money. Smart lighting and smart showers are the best examples of that.
Virtual Reality Tours
You must have heard of the expression “Internet of Things” or IoT. Technology has come a long way. And now you can take a tour of your hotel from the comfort of your own room.
When you are deciding whether or not to get a reservation, you must justifiably want to survey the property. With Virtual Reality tours, you can do just that. You may or may not decide to use a VR set for this. Either way, you will get a glimpse of each nook and cranny of the hotel that you are planning to pay for.
Within the hotel itself, this augmented reality option is often used for other purposes. For example, you can use this for virtual yoga or pilates classes from within your room. This gives you more control over your time. And also ensures that you don’t have to frequent a crowded class. Entertainment options rise exponentially with augmented reality. Some hotels even offer virtual live concerts.
Modern guests prefer not to be treated like one of the nameless thousands who frequent your hotel every year. They want to be treated as themselves. They want their own likes and dislikes to be accounted for.
The reason for this expectation of individual attention is simple.
Spotify knows your favorite songs. Google knows exactly what you are shopping for. Facebook knows exactly which memes you will laugh at. YouTube knows which kind of videos you are most likely to binge on. Why shouldn’t your hotel know how you prefer your stay to be?
So, as a hotelier, how can you give individual attention to all of your guests? Thankfully, a PMS can help with that. As I have told you before, a PMS is a cloud-based system. This explains why it can store heaps of data about your guests without ever having to discard anything.
Your PMS will have detailed guest profiles that will contain all of their preferences. Since the entire process is digitized, it’s way easier to store each little bit of information. From their food preferences to their preferred visiting spots. Since none of the interactions are getting lost in conversation, you can record it all and use it later.
This is one of the most effective ways to not only get loyal customers but also to practice targeted marketing. You have to know your guests to serve them better. And a PMS like StayFlexi helps you out with exactly that.
Amenities like air conditions, a flatscreen TV, a gym, etc. are common. Every hotel has them. Therefore, modern guests have started looking for something new. Something more advanced.
As I have said time and again, guests want more autonomy. Having Smart Rooms gives them this much-wanted autonomy over their own living space. In smart rooms, guests can control the temperature, lighting, TV modules, etc. with their hotel mobile app. No separate remote is required for this purpose.
Some hotels even have Alexa in their rooms. The guests can simply issue voice commands or ask questions. No amount of prior learning the process is required for this purpose.
Besides these, smart rooms also have the augmented reality entertainment options that I have mentioned before in point 5. And if you don’t have the budget for this, just consider investing in a Netflix package.
Have you heard of this word before? Well, it’s slowly and steadily gaining momentum. “Workation” stands for a mix between work and vacation. You work during the morning and then enjoy the rest of your stay in the lap of nature. This is perhaps the newest trend in travel for obvious reasons.
Almost everyone who can afford to work from home is doing so. And one of the perks of working from home is that you can basically do it from anywhere. Anywhere that has a steady internet connection, that is.
This is exactly why modern guests are preferring hotels that are equipped to let them work. This means a good WiFi connection, a workstation, and a lot of USB plug points.
Remember, if you have these facilities, it makes your hotel perfect for business conferences as well. All business conferences will almost definitely also be broadcast through Google Meet, Zoom, etc. now. So, your hotel needs to be properly equipped at all times to handle that load. Guests are now wary of places with absolutely no working internet option. This is because they are always expected to remain alert.
So, what are the main trends that you could spot from this list?
Guests want their autonomy. They don’t want unnecessary interactions. And they want modern technology to be utilized to the fullest. Be it for the purpose of entertainment or work. And last but not the least, they care about the environment.
As I have explained in this article, a PMS like StayFlexi can help you with many of those above trends. If you want to know exactly how StayFlexi can help with personalization, do leave a comment below!
What if customers could sell your rooms for you? Sounds insane? It’s not.
You might ask, Why would they, though? Simple. Imagine a situation where the customer is forced to make a cancellation and the reservation is nonrefundable. This is exactly when allowing customers to sell their reservations is profitable for you and the customer both.
This article will tell you exactly how you can minimize the loss of cancelling a nonrefundable hotel reservation.
If you are a hotelier, you already know the importance of nonrefundable hotel reservations. Unless you make reservations ‘ nonrefundable’ people tend to reschedule repeatedly or just not show up. You know how hard it is to re-sell those rooms again. So, you must do what is required even if it requires you to play the bad guy.
But here’s the thing. With COVID-19 looming on the horizon, you cannot really blame the guests for cancelling. They have as much control over travel bans and lockdowns as you do. That is, none at all. Is it correct to punish them for something that is completely out of their control? But you cannot keep running at a loss either. However, if guests know that you’re completely inflexible with your bookings, they simply won’t make reservations at all!
The reason why you have to make your non-refundable policy a bit more flexible is self-evident. Without flexibility, you simply won’t be getting reservations or returning customers.
The solution to this problem is simple. You have to reach a mid-way point. You have to allow options that make sure that neither you nor your guest runs at a complete loss.
Here’s a list of options that you might want to consider.
How to Not Lose Money on nonrefundable Reservations?
Sell Your Reservation
As a hotelier, there is almost no reason to not allow guests to sell their reservations. To you, one guest is as good as the other in a very practical sense. Boosting room occupancy should be your No. 1 priority, after all.
If you are a guest who is being forced to cancel, ask your hotel if you can sell the room. It is technically better for the hotel if they allow you to do so. If they allow you to sell the nonrefundable reservation, you won’t be running at a complete loss. And they won’t have to put in the hard work to find another customer. Plus, in this way- a new customer is guaranteed. The uncertainty decreases.
Wondering how to sell your nonrefundable reservation? Try a website like Sparefare.net. Buyers who travel on short notice flock to these sites. Just remember, you might still have to pay a fee to get the hotel to change the reservation. But still, this is an option worth considering because you’ll be getting most of your money back.
Get a Voucher for Future Reservation
Most of the hotel cancellations happen because guests cannot make it at that particular time. But they would gladly agree to maintain their reservation if the dates were changed.
This is why another option is to keep the non-refundable amount and treat this as credit for a future stay. This way, you don’t have to refund the amount. You just give your guests a voucher that allows them to visit at a later date. Of course, there has to be a time limit on these vouchers. For example, you can specify that the credit amount will only be valid for 1 year.
In case the guest doesn’t turn up within a year, you get to keep that money. So, technically it’s as much of a nonrefundable reservation as it ever was. But it also makes room for the guest’s demands because you allow them to make future reservations later.
Paying a Cancellation Fee
If your guests are cancelling out of the blue, you have to charge them a cancellation fee. But the twist is, this amount doesn’t have to be equal to the payment you make for their entire stay.
You can charge them for the first night and then refund you the rest. The reason for this is simple- You need time to find new guests. Now, this process of accommodating new guests in pre-sold rooms might seem intimidatingly confusing.
This is where Hotel Reservation Softwares or Property Management Systems come to the rescue. Shuffling around guests at a moment’s notice is hard. Thankfully, Property Management Systems like StayFlexi use automation to make the work much easier. No manual intervention is required. The moment someone makes a cancellation, the room is immediately put back up again on the inventory. Auto management of the inventory is one of the best features of StayFlexi.
So, say a party of five cancels. And you immediately have to accommodate three other parties within those rooms- it’s easy. Just trust StayFlexi to get the permutation and combination right.
Consider the Details of the Cancellation
Not all cancellations are the same. Some guests are cancelling just for the sake of it while some have a legitimate problem. In case of a bereavement in the family or severe sickness, you have to make room for adjustments.
Being a tough cop is necessary at times. But not when you are facing off against a guest who is cancelling because of a legitimate problem. And in these situations, you have to take their word for it. Your sympathy doesn’t seem very genuine when you are asking for a death certificate, after all.
As a hotelier, you might interject and say, “But then everyone might start using the same excuse!”
Yes, they might. This is why you should NEVER make your contingency plans public. Everyone has contingency plans but that doesn’t mean you have to allow everyone to be privy to them.
For example, say you have a rude customer who is demanding a refund because “You’re going to resell the room anyway!” Just smile and redirect them towards your nonrefundable reservation policy and that’s that.
Get a Travel Insurance
This is a good idea if you are a frequent traveller. Travel insurance can get you your money back even on non-refundable hotel reservations. But you need to show them proof that you are cancelling because of legitimate reasons.
Travel insurance also has another very important purpose. You also get money back if you miss airline connections for unavoidable reasons.
No matter how scared you are of incurring losses on cancellations, not getting customers is worse. And you will never have loyal customers if you make no room for changes. Especially when the situation is out of their control as well.
This is why you must allow people to modify or sell their nonrefundable reservations. Selling a reservation is honestly great for you. You don’t have to look for new customers and the guest gets their money back. It’s a win-win situation. The other modifications mentioned on the list all keep in mind that you, the hotelier, do not face losses.
These are tough times for both travellers and hoteliers. So, coming to a compromise is necessary. Hotels function smoothly because they plan ahead. And the reason cancellations are so hated is because they throw all future planning out of the window.
This is where a PMS like StayFlexi can step in to help you. If you have automation managing your inventory, you don’t have to worry about either extensions or cancellations.
Want to know how else StayFlexi is great for both hoteliers and guests? Leave your questions in the comments below.
You might have hated booking cancellations before. You might even have justifiably blamed the guests’ fickleness for these cancellations. However, the situation has drastically changed now. How can you hold a grudge against a guest who couldn’t turn up because of a travel ban? After all, nothing at all can be predicted now. Least of all, the future trajectory of a global pandemic.
So, what can you do as a hotelier to combat this uncertainty? The answer is: Be flexible. Accept the unpredictability that surrounds you and let go of the rigid rules. Change is inevitable and you have to change to keep up with the times.
What Does ‘Flexibility’ Mean In The Context of Hotel Bookings?
Let me start with an example.
The hotel you are supposed to be staying at has a strict check-in time of 9 am. The only affordable flight that can take you to the destination, arrived at midnight. So you’re now stuck at the airport from 2 am to 9 am. The hotel might have other rooms empty. But they don’t want to go through the hassle of shifting your booking. What will they do with the guests who are supposed to arrive at that substitute room the next day?
These are all valid concerns. Of course, it is a hassle. But then, it’s also supremely inconvenient for the guest. So you know what they might do? The moment they book the plane and realize the arrival hours, they might cancel the booking. They can simply exchange your property for a hotel that gladly takes in guests at midnight hours.
So, you’re basically losing out on business by being rigid. And the example that I have stated here is not a rarity. The opposite can also happen. Let’s say your hotel has a strict check-out hour at 8 am. And the very morning that you are ready to leave, you find out that your plane has been delayed. Now it leaves at 7 pm. What are you going to do for 9 hours? You might want to extend the stay, but your hotel won’t allow it. They have new guests moving in. So, you are forced to wait at the airport for 9 hours. And now you justifiably have terrible opinions of the said hotel because of their rigidity.
A hotel is meant to cater to the guests’ needs. So, being strict with the timings makes absolutely no sense. Especially when the guest has no control over these issues. You have to make adjustments.
This is why flexible booking is so important. You have to allow the guests to check-in and check-out at their own hours of convenience. Assigning a strict time code is completely antithetical to your own need to impress your guests. After all, you want loyal customers, don’t you?
How to Be More Flexible?
First things first. Let us address the real problem of why hotels refuse to budge from their check-in and check-out schedule. This is because it’s an extreme hassle to shuffle around various guests across various rooms. Long story short, no human mind can process an infinite number of permutations and combinations. The moment you start shuffling around, you change every other schedule planned for the future.
Of course, no hotelier wants to spend their entire day shifting guests from one room to the other. But the real question is: How do we solve this problem?
The answer is StayFlexi.
What is StayFlexi? It is a Property Management System that manages every single aspect of running a hospitality business. This includes taking direct online bookings, managing the inventory, and updating the dynamic pricing across 100+ booking channels.
But how does StayFlexi provide flexibility?
Well, StayFlexi’s entire deal is that it has a flexible booking feature. This means that people can check-in and check out completely at their own convenience.
What about hourly bookings? Many hotels are scared of providing hourly booking simply because there is no fixed time for arrival or departure. It’s very hard to take any future bookings if you also take hourly bookings. StayFlexi, however, excels at taking hourly bookings. There is no fixed time slot that you have to pay for. Since you rent the room on an hourly basis, you pay on an hourly basis as well.
How Does StayFlexi’s Flexible Booking Feature Work?
I have already explained what the flexible booking feature entails. Now I will tell you why StayFlexi is not scared of the hassle of shifting guests around.
The answer is simple. StayFlexi is a hotel software. It uses automations to manage every kind of permutation and combination. There is no human labor or human interference involvement at all.
The reason why StayFlexi manages to remain so flexible is because of its Auto Inventory Management Feature.
Anyone who works at a hotel knows how important and difficult the process of inventory management is. The inventory basically lists all the rooms that are currently available and their current prices. This used to be easier when people simply stopped by the front desk and asked for an available room. Now the process is far from simple. Your inventory is listed on a variety of OTA platforms like TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, etc. People are constantly making digital reservations. It’s very hard to keep track of which rooms are being booked. Even a half-hour delay in updating the inventory can cause the messy problem of double-booking.
However, with StayFlexi, the inventory is auto-updated in real-time the moment someone makes a reservation. And there is a two-way sync between the OTA channels and StayFlexi. This ensures that no one is kept out of the loop. This means every time a booking is made, that room is marked off as occupied immediately. You don’t have any risk of double-booking.
This auto inventory management feature is the reason why StayFlexi can so easily shuffle rooms around. Unless the hotel has very high occupancy, there are always rooms that go empty. By ensuring that people can book rooms whenever they want to, StayFlexi ensures that rooms never go unutilized. This not only enhances guest satisfaction but also gets you more revenue. If the occupancy rate is high, you can charge more money for the rooms as well. I will talk about StayFlexi’s Dynamic Pricing feature soon enough.
Similarly, if someone wants to extend their stay, they can easily request that through their Orchestra mobile app. StayFlexi automatically extends their stay and redirects new guests to other empty rooms. Digital shuffling is way easier and more hassle-free than manual shuffling. And if no other room is available, StayFlexi itself informs the guests that their request could not be fulfilled.
Other StayFlexi Features That Aid In Flexible Booking:
StayFlexi aims to provide the guests complete autonomy over their stay. The Contactless Self-Check-In feature is, of course, a huge perk. The guests no longer need to wait at a crowded front desk for hours to have their documents verified. They can check-in through their mobile phone whenever and from wherever they want.
StayFlexi also allows the guests to pay in 50+ popular foreign currencies. They can also get multi-lingual support. The Flex Collect feature makes sure that you are not losing out money on cancellations. Say a guest makes a postpaid online booking through Booking.com. Usually, if they cancel, there are no penalties. StayFlexi sends them a notification informing them that their booking will not be confirmed till they make a payment. This not just discourages them to cancel their bookings, it also prevents you from losing out on tons of revenue.
When you want to check out, StayFlexi sends you a bill with all the extra charges that you have to pay. You pay from this payment link itself. There is no need to sort things out at the front desk or even have a card.
StayFlexi not only provides flexibility to the guests. It also helps you and your employees be much more flexible. First, you can do away with a 24×7 front desk receptionist whose only job is to verify documents. Instead, any of your employees can check in any guest from any spot on the property through their tablets. StayFlexi is so easy to use that you won’t need to provide your employees with any extra training. You can also fuse several positions and have a more versatile workforce. This way you can redirect your staff to whichever concern needs to be addressed at any given moment. No need to hire new people for that.
The Dynamic Pricing feature of StayFlexi is also perfect in today’s day and age. Previously, you could rhythmically vary the room prices according to the seasonal surge and ebb of tourism. However, you need to perform these variations on an hourly basis now depending on the fluctuating demand. Nothing can be predicted in the post covid world. The best bet is to vary your room prices according to live updates.
But obviously, you cannot be aware of all the live trends. So, the easiest and smartest option is to vary the room prices according to the occupancy rate. StayFlexi allows you to fix an occupancy rate according to which the prices will automatically vary. Say, you pre-set this condition: If occupancy exceeds 70%, raise room prices by $10. As soon as the hotel reaches 70% occupancy, the room prices will automatically be updated across all the OTAs. Similarly, you can lower the prices if the occupancy level goes lower than a critical point. StayFlexi automatically does these for you. No need to keep a constant watch on the current trends.
There are various other StayFlexi features like Smart Housekeeping and setting up POS shops that you might want to look into. Every feature is meant to reduce your work, time, and effort and increase customer satisfaction.
There is no room for rigidness in this ever-changing world. Yes, at one point in time, providing flexibility to your guests meant more work from your side. But now, a PMS like StayFlexi can not only guarantee flexible bookings but also reduce your own labor and labor costs.
So, why not opt for software that manages everything from a single platform?
Interested in any particular feature that I mentioned? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll elaborate.
Long gone are the days when you had to directly walk into a hotel and ask them if they had a suite available. Neither do you depend upon travel agents. So, how do you book your hotel rooms now? Through Airbnb, Booking.com, or TripAdvisor, right?
It’s not that there are any problems associated with taking reservations from channels such as these. But every hotel prefers direct bookings through their own website for a reason. It’s way easier to build up a brand image that way.
For taking direct bookings, a Hotel Booking System is a must. Hotel Booking Systems allow your guests to make direct reservations. These reservations are immediately confirmed from your side after successful payment.
The chief benefit of having a Hotel Booking Software is the automations. These automations make sure that you don’t have to manually do everything and manage bookings across all channels. I’ll soon explore exactly how these automations work. But before that, you should know that a Hotel Booking Software often comes as a part of a Property Management System.
Property Management System (PMS) is basically the whole package. It is a single cloud-based platform that allows you to manage every aspect of managing your property. Accepting online reservations is one of the many functions that a PMS performs. A PMS like StayFlexi allows you to practice Smart Housekeeping and also provides you with regular analytics reports.
In this article, however, I am going to focus on the features of a Hotel Booking System solely.
Essential Features of a Hotel Booking System
Comprehensive Booking Portal
Your guest has to be presented with a booking portal that has all the relevant information in one place. This means that they should not be endlessly redirected or be forced to scroll down to find simple details. The number of available rooms should be listed clearly along with their current prices.
Your Hotel Booking System should ideally have ties to social media platforms as well. Guests might be trying to book rooms from those channels. Also, they must be provided an immediate confirmation after their payment is done. With a Hotel Booking System, these confirmations are sent as automated replies. You don’t have to manually control the whole process.
Also, with the new 5G, you can even offer the guests virtual tours of your hotel so that they can easily make up their minds. Make sure that this initial reservation portal contains all bits of information regarding your packages, add-ons, inclusions, etc.
Online Payment Option
Hotel Booking Systems make it very easy for the guest to pay online by creating and sending them payment links. At the end of their stay, additional payments are listed and another payment link is sent to the guests. This ensures that throughout the entirety of their stay, you don’t have to handle any cash or card payments.
Very often, hotels lose out on money from postpaid bookings when guests cancel abruptly. A PMS like StayFlexi makes sure that this doesn’t happen through a feature called Flex Collect. If a guest makes a postpaid booking through a channel like Booking.com, they are sent a notification. This informs them that their booking will only be confirmed after they have successfully completed the payment. A payment link is sent to them in tow.
This is one of the most beneficial features of a hotel booking system. Manually handling both prepaid and postpaid payments through various methods and channels is harrowing.
Auto Inventory Management
Inventory management of rooms is one of the toughest tasks in the hotel business. The inventory must be continually updated as rapid reservations happen. But this is easier said than done. Bookings, as you know, are done by various agents across various channels. It’s very hard to keep up with the pace of reservations, especially during the holiday season.
Managing this manually is the perfect recipe for scores of errors.
Perhaps the most important feature of a hotel booking system is auto inventory management. Every time a guest makes a booking, this is immediately updated in the inventory in real-time. This makes sure that you don’t accidentally overbook your rooms.
Also, if you invest in a Hotel Booking System, you no longer have to pay people to manually manage your inventory. The automated system is way more efficient and error-proof.
Central Reservation System and Channel Manager
The reason for having a Central Reservation System is simple. Your hotel is perhaps listed across various booking channels like Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, etc. And the same rooms are listed on all those sites. To ensure that double-bookings don’t happen, you have to make sure every reservation is recorded in a single place.
This is exactly why having a Channel Manager is so extremely important. A PMS like StayFlexi ensures that you can connect to over 100 separate booking channels. A two-way-sync system makes sure that as soon as a room is booked, it’s communicated to every concerned party.
You can add as many channel managers as you want. The key to avoiding overbooking is to maintain parity between all booking channels. Having a single centralized reservation system prevents unnecessary fiascos.
Connect with whichever Online Travel Agency that you want. The same room rates and occupancy rates will be communicated across all the channels. This is another incredible feature of a hotel booking system.
One of the most important features of a hotel booking system is that it is cloud-based. Having a cloud-based hotel booking software is a necessity for various reasons. First, your hotel booking system should be available from anywhere and everywhere. Your staff obviously won’t be stationed only in one place. A cloud-based system makes sure that your staff can access any data that they require while they’re on the go.
Second, hotel booking systems store a huge bulk of data. This includes data regarding your customers, your utility usage, your spendings, etc.
Of course, keeping a backup of this enormous bulk of data on your device is impossible. But storing this data on a cloud-based platform is no big deal. This also ensures that you can access this data whenever you wish to.
Data stored on the cloud never magically disappears. So, you can easily check the data that dates back to the past decade.
Cloud-based systems are much cheaper than traditional on-site softwares as well.
International Currency Acceptance
The reason most hotels invest in hotel booking systems is that they want to attract guests from everywhere in the world. This is the primary reason why state-of-the-art virtual tours of the property are provided as well.
Therefore, you must make sure that you can accept international currencies. As you might already know, a heavy additional charge is levied on international payments. Hotel Booking Systems makes sure that you can accept various kinds of foreign currencies with no additional tax.
A hotel booking system like StayFlexi allows you to accept 50+ popular currencies from all across the world. Along with this, most hotel booking systems allow you to communicate using a variety of foreign languages as well. Your guests should be able to pay via foreign currencies even when they buy from your POS outlets.
This is how hotel booking systems enable you to increase your hotel’s brand presence all across the world.
Personalized Discounts and Loyalty Rewards
If you are a frequent air traveller, you’ll know that very rarely do two passengers pay the same amount. Ticket prices vary so widely because various kinds of passengers book at various points in time.
The same is valid for hotel bookings. You should be offering different discounts to different groups of people. Let’s take two examples to understand why personalized discounts matter.
During the holiday season, your hotel must have tons of single rooms that go empty. This is the perfect time to offer discounts to your business guests. During the non-holiday season, your larger suites must go empty. You can fill these up by offering discounts to larger families. The fact that you can tailor a discount to suit your needs is one of the best features of a hotel booking system.
Not just this, you must have a dedicated loyalty program as well. Hotel Booking Systems allow you to categorize your guests based on data. A PMS like StayFlexi also allows you to create promo codes for your returning guests.
The key feature of a hotel booking system is that it makes your hotel website mobile-friendly. You don’t need to have a separate app designed for your hotel. StayFlexi, for example, comes with an Orchestra app and a mobile-optimized website as well.
Making your website mobile-friendly is especially essential during this pandemic. People are focusing on “cashless” and “contactless” as much as possible, for good reason.
Property Management Systems make sure that every separate process can be controlled by the guest via their mobile phones. Guests can make payments through the links that they are provided. They can also order food or other entertainment options from anywhere in the hotel through their mobile phones.
Due to the 5G, guests can even control the lighting or the temperature in their rooms with their mobiles. StayFlexi also allows guests to connect with the housekeeping staff via their mobiles.
The price of hotel rooms goes up or down based on the demand surrounding them. So not only do room prices vary seasonally, they vary on an hourly basis.
This dynamic pricing is impossible to manage if you plan to update it manually. Hotel Booking Systems allow you to set room rate templates which ensures that the varied pricing process is automated. This is one of the most useful features of a hotel booking system.
You can set occupancy goals with a hotel booking system like StayFlexi. As soon as a particular occupancy goal, your prices automatically get increased or reduced according to that. Your hotel booking system will increase your room prices by $10-15 as soon as your hotel reaches 70% occupancy. And the pricing will go down accordingly when the occupancy rate is low.
Self Check-In and Check-Out
Self-check-in and check-out options become easy to avail when you can directly book your rooms. You are provided with a digital key (a password or QR code) that you can use to unlock your room.
Therefore, you can check-in at any point in time you want. Maybe even right after you board the plane to reach your destination. This way the staff can start preparing for your arrival hours before you reach. And you don’t even need to wait in the queue! This is one of the best features of a hotel booking system.
Hotel Booking Systems are essential for running any hospitality business in 2021. The features of a hotel booking system must make it evident to you that it enhances the guests’ satisfaction. The best part is that it also reduces the room for human error because the automations handle everything.
Are you looking for a feature that I have not mentioned on this list? Well, StayFlexi is known for its flexibility. Customization is our forte. Let us know in the comments if there is something specific that you want and we’ll help you out!
COVID-19 has taken all historical data sets of the hospitality industry and flung them right out of the window. Never before, barring wartime conditions, has tourism been affected to this extent. So, how do you manage the revenue from here on forth?
This detailed guide to post covid revenue management will give you the exact answer to that question.
We are living in volatile times. The tourism industry has lost $460 billion in 2020 alone. Mass lay-offs have become the law of the land. 1 in 3 employees is not planning to return to the hospitality industry. New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, Japan, and many more countries have extended their lockdown schedules. No one has any idea whether the slow return of the mass tourism trend will last.
It’s extremely difficult to manage revenue in times such as these. You cannot curb your spendings just because you think things are going to worsen in the future. There is no hard proof of that. You cannot suddenly start making extravagant investments either. There is no hard proof that the situation will look better in the future. So, what do you do to appropriately manage revenue in the post covid era?
The answer is: Embrace change. You cannot just return to the way things used to be hoping that everything will return to normal. We are now living in a “New Normal” world. You have to embrace the novelty of the situation.
This article contains 5 important tricks that will help you in efficient post covid revenue management. Keep reading.
5 Tricks to Ace Post Covid Revenue Management:
Look at New Data
As I have said in the very beginning, all prior data is useless now. Demand has plummeted to such an extent that you are pretty much starting out from the scratch.
This, however, is a justifiably frightening concept. You have to run a decades-old establishment in a new market that is almost impossible to predict. So, how do you know if you are doing revenue management right? Do you just start guessing because you are blindfolded and have no data?
Wrong. You still need hard data to base your decisions on. But you cannot just rely on historical data anymore. You need to depend on three sets of data: historical data, current data, and future-facing data. Using a combination of these three is the only way to make an informed decision in today’s time.
You also need to broaden your understanding of who qualifies as a competitor. Vacation rentals and AirBNB apartments also need to be taken into consideration. People have been preferring these over regular hotels to avoid communal areas like the lobby. You also need to check the trend of flight searches. This will give you a good idea of how tourism can look in the near future.
As for room prices, you need to be as dynamic with them as possible. Forget seasonal changes. You need to vary them on an hourly basis as per live demand. Live data is what you have to constantly keep an eye on. No, I am not going to try and convince you that it is easy. But I can tell you a way you can automate this process in the 4th point. Stay tuned.
Revenue Management must necessarily be based on data. Now that historical data has been rendered useless, you need to combine it with something that works. You need to pair it with new data that looks forward instead of backward.
Accept the Unpredictability
I cannot tell you how the tourism trend is going to change in the next five years. No one can. There are tons of contradictory predictions floating around.
Due to the ease with which we have adapted to Zoom meetings, in-person business meets might just become extinct. According to Bill Gates, 50% of ‘business travel’ is going to vanish because of the virtual meeting apps. Carsten Spohr, chief executive of Lufthansa, on the other hand, has a completely different opinion. He thinks business travel will return to its original volume soon enough. Forbes’ experts think a mixture of the two might happen. According to the American Express Global Travel Trends Report, 76% of the respondents were keen to travel in 2021. However, wishes and reality might not align. The demand no longer corresponds with actual travel because people cannot control their country’s lockdowns and travel bans.
So, how can you pair this post covid uncertainty with sensible revenue management schemes? By accepting the inevitable- that the world is going to be unpredictable for a while.
No, one quite knows how the recovery process will go. Looking at live trends and varying your room pricing according to that is the only way to thrive. The market is fluctuating more than ever before. Don’t make the mistake of making any hard guesses and basing your revenue management decisions on that. You need to embrace flexibility.
Unpredictability is the one thing you can safely predict in the post covid times.
Total Revenue Management is a concept that has been around for a while. But now it is more important than it was ever before. Total revenue management refers to the management of revenue across all departments. That is- the management of all current and potential sources of revenue.
Why is this important now, in the post covid times? Because you might not be able to make money on hotel stays. But you might make money from the restaurant on your premises. You might not make money from your rooms, but you might make money from your travel desk and rental services.
That’s the thing. You have to focus on the other sources that are generating revenue. And for this, you have to focus on some new metrics as well.
These are Revenue Per Available Guest (RevPAG) and Gross Operating Profit Per Available Room (GOPPAR). If your guests are using your spa, bar, or gym, you can still make additional money. These metrics help you measure how much you can boost the profitability per guest and per room.
Not only do you need to profit differently, but you also need to measure this profit differently as well. This is the key to efficient post covid revenue management.
Invest in New Tech
I cannot stress this enough. To efficiently manage your revenue in post covid times, you HAVE to get a PMS.
PMS stands for Property Management System. This is a single software that will take care of every single aspect of running your property. No need to invest in a separate mobile app for your website. This one cloud-based platform will do everything for you: managing, organizing, scheduling, auditing.
“But why should I invest in an expensive software for things I can already do?” you might ask.
It’s a justified question. To counter it, answer this. How much do you have to pay your front desk receptionist to do a midnight shift? After all, guests can arrive at any point in time, right? So, you need at least two receptionists who can cover the whole 24 hours, 7 days a week.
With a PMS, this cost goes down to zero. The guests are provided with a virtual key the moment they book a room. PMSs offer them the option to check themselves in through their mobile phones way before they reach the property. You can pretty much function without any staff if you have a PMS. The housekeeping staff who need to be on the ground receive a notification every time a guest makes a request. No need to involve a front desk middleman. Your guests can also make any further table reservations or rent cars through their mobiles themselves. No need to employ a person to man the travel desk all day either.
You also do away with on-ground tech and audit teams. It’s super easy to manage aspects like dynamic pricing from the PMS itself. This brings us to what I said about live data collection in the first point. You can find out the room rates of all competing hotels at the current moment through a PMS. The PMS automatically adjusts your room pricing according to that. And as I said before, these prices change on an hourly basis because the whole process is automated. As soon as the demand and the occupancy fluctuates, so will your room rates.
Automations are what make PMSs like StayFlexi so ideal for revenue management. Not only do you save money on labor costs, but there is also no room for human error either. Auto Inventory Management might be the best feature of StayFlexi. This ensures that you don’t have to lose money on overbooking because the inventory is updated in real-time. You don’t have to worry about rooms going empty because PMSs also handle stay extensions and room exchanges perfectly.
Cross-Sell and Upsell
This is a continuation of what I was talking about in the 3rd point. Money doesn’t just come in from renting out rooms. It comes from the spa, the restaurant, the bar, the travel desk, car rental, and other recreational facilities.
You not only need to convince a guest to stay. You need to convince a guest to partake in the other facilities that bring in revenue as well. Seems difficult, right? Well, think of it in a roundabout way.
What if you can draw the guests in because of your exotic food selections and your hanging swimming pool? What if the recreations convince the guests to stay? This is exactly how the most successful hotels are cross-selling and upselling their facilities now. This is officially the work of a hotel curator. Consider hiring one if you haven’t got one already.
You might think all this is a pointless waste of money. It’s not. It’s Revenue Management 101. You have to spend money to make money. More importantly, you have to spend money wisely to make significantly more money than you are spending.
Revenue Management in post covid times is not easy. You have almost nothing to base your decisions on. You feel like you are starting out from scratch. And most importantly, the whole industry is drowning in unpredictability.
But by following the tricks mentioned in this guide, you will be able to survive. These are highly volatile times so you need to embrace the uncertainty, newness, and inevitability of change.
Want to figure out how a PMS like Stayflexi can help in revenue management in the post covid era? Let us know your query in the comments below.
If you are a hotelier, you must be well aware of the bane that last minute hotel booking cancellations are. Do you spend every waking hour worrying about how many guests are going to cancel? Then, you absolutely must read this article.
Hotel book cancellations might not seem like a big deal till you get to know the real statistics. According to this article by PhocusWire, 1 in 5 online hotel bookings are canceled.
That means 20% of your hotel bookings are canceled on a daily basis! The percentage is staggering. Imagine what this can do to your revenue.
Now you might think- ‘Well, I didn’t really invest any money, time, or effort on those guests. So, technically it’s not really a loss, is it?’
Well, sorry to break the ice, but It is- a huge loss. In this post-COVID-19 world when hotels are fighting tooth-and-nail to attract customers, money not earned is equivalent to money lost. You have to give almost a full refund to your guests without being sure if you can resell the room.
There are two kinds of cancellations. Either the guests cancel 1-2 days before the day of arrival and get their money back. Or, they just don’t show up when they are supposed to and don’t get their money back.
You don’t have to worry about the no-shows technically. Because you can keep the payment and then resell the room if someone requires it urgently. But the first category is the real problem. And for this, you first have to understand why people cancel.
Reasons Behind Hotel Booking Cancellations
Here’s the thing. People who cancel because of a sudden change of plans or emergencies, usually belong to the category of “no-shows.”
So, don’t just remain self-satisfied that guests are canceling because of their own problems.
It’s not them. It’s you.
If a booking is canceled at your hotel, it might be your fault. So, it’s important to understand what you did wrong.
One of the most common reasons why guests cancel is that they witness a radio silence from the hotel’s side. It’s not their fault because they themselves cannot contact the hotel very easily either. Especially if they are booking through Online Travel Agency (OTA) platforms.
Some guests just have a tendency to book multiple hotels before canceling all but one. You cannot change a guest’s habits. But there are ways to make sure that you are the one hotel they don’t cancel.
There is also a direct correlation between the number of lead days and the rate of cancellation. Lead days refer to the days between booking leading up to the day of check-in. The more time the guest has to ponder upon his actions, the more likely he is to cancel.
There is an added problem that is specifically faced by hotels in the United States. People from other countries often make fake hotel reservations so that their VISA gets approved. Now, the thing is- as a hotelier, there is no way you can truly tell these fake reservations apart. You can, however, keep an eye on foreigners coming from countries where getting a VISA is difficult.
There are various other reasons why guests cancel but you cannot always change their fickle-mindedness. You cannot suddenly change your 3-star rating to a 5-star rating either. But here’s a list of things that you can practically do to stop hotel booking cancellations.
Ways to Minimise Hotel Booking Cancellations:
Stay in Touch
The chief reason why guests cancel is that hotels stop communicating with them once the booking is done. You may think this is a completely fair policy. Maybe you think sending your guests regular emails disturbs them.
But here’s the deal- very often there are families where multiple people are looking for hotels at the same time. If a hotel goes into radio silence after the booking, the guests will start looking for other options.
This is why it is essential that you stay in touch during the lead days. Regular emails can actually work wonders. They let your guests know that you are invested in taking care of them. And it also allows you to understand their level of engagement.
Sending them questionnaires regarding their preferences after the booking is done, is a great idea. They will be more invested in answering because they know these answers will directly influence their quality of stay. And this will also let you know, based on their responsiveness, how likely they are to cancel. Automated emails are also a great idea. Let them know about the sites they should visit or the events around that area.
Whatever you do, do not let your guests forget you.
Club Hotel Stay with Plane Travel
Very often tour agencies pair hotel stays with plane tickets. There’s a significant advantage of this package, especially to you- as a hotelier.
Paired packages like this are almost never canceled because guests cannot cancel plane tickets. Their unwillingness to cancel stems from the fact that they know they’re going to lose a huge chunk of money on the ticket prices anyway.
Also, people are much less likely to cancel a particular hotel in their entire package plan. This not only requires them to jump through a lot of loops but also requires a lot of planning. People mostly stick to their itinerary while traveling with these package deals.
However, you have to make sure that the commission that you’re paying to the travel agency is worth it.
OTAs love advertising “Complete Money Back” cancellation policies. However, they are the ones who keep track of how many hotel booking cancellations your property is facing. Accordingly, they push you to the back of the list if you have a lot of cancellations.
So, you need to start rethinking your cancellation policy. Yes, having a completely prepaid payment system paired with a cancellation fee might harm your hotel’s image. But having tons of cancellations will hurt your chances of appearing on the first page of an OTA even more.
Cancellation policies are made keeping the guests’ conveniences in mind. This is why most hotels give guests their entire money back. All the guests have to do is cancel before a critical period of 24 hours to check-in.
But being overly kind can damage your revenue. What if I told you a way that you can be strict without letting your guests know that?
You can take complete prepaid payment without offering a money-back option as long as you provide an attractive discount. Special discounts and offers reduce the net payment that your guest has to make. This impresses your guests at the very beginning and they don’t insist on opting for postpaid payments.
This way, even if your guests cancel- you aren’t really losing out on revenue.
Booking.com is an OTA that mostly hooks you up with postpaid bookings. This results in huge losses in the long run because people cancel rather abruptly. They can do so knowing that there are absolutely no consequences.
In such situations, you need to collect some money or the whole money upfront. A hotel booking software called StayFlexi allows you to do just that. It comes equipped with a Flex Collect system. This allows you to send the guest a payment link as soon as they book a room. The guests receive a notification that informs them that their bookings won’t be confirmed unless they make a payment.
I know this sounds like a weird suggestion but hear me out. Overbooking is not always bad.
There are events when you know that hotel booking cancellations will most certainly happen. This is true for events like company workshops or business conferences. You can be sure that 10% of the rooms booked by a company will go empty.
In such a situation, it is better to overbook. Overbooking is a practice that must only be practiced by a handful of hotels in very specific circumstances. You need hard data to back up your decisions. Thankfully a Property Management System like StayFlexi does exactly that. It collects data from all such similar events and lets you know how many people will probably cancel.
Remember, ONLY overbook if you have a large establishment. You should be able to situate the overflowing guests easily in similar establishments if such a crisis arises. Also, don’t practice this unless you are dead sure that you’ll have a considerable amount of empty rooms at hand.
But well thought out overbooking can solve the problems of predictable cancellations in an efficient way.
Minimum Stay Limits
The reason to issue minimum stay limits is simple. Say you have a guest who is supposed to stay for a week. And on the other hand, you have 7 guests who are supposed to stay for 1 day each. If the first guest cancels, you still have one cancellation on hand. Within the next group, any number of guests can cancel. Even if you are facing a few days’ loss, the count will show that you faced 2-3 cancellations.
The thing is, OTAs care about numbers. If you face a lot of booking cancellations, all hopes of being listed on the first page are lost. To keep this number down and make sure you don’t develop a bad reputation, inform your guests that they need to stay for a while.
Prioritize Direct Booking
This suggestion is based on pure statistics. This Mirai article has a very telling title:
According to this article, the hotel booking cancellations rate on Booking.com is 39%. Guess what this rate is when it comes to hotel websites? 19%.
People are much less likely to cancel if they are making direct reservations from your hotel website. There’s an added advantage too. Guests are much more aware of your brand if they make direct bookings through your website.
If you want your hotel website to run smoothly, you should think of investing in a Property Management System like StayFlexi. PMSs aren’t just hotel booking software. They take care of every single aspect of the management, organization, and record-keeping of a hotel.
You can never weed out unexpected hotel booking cancellations completely. What you can do however is stop making some rookie mistakes. Don’t stop interacting with the guests and do watch out for your own interests. Yes, customer service is necessary but not at the cost of revenue, right? So, if you want to go for a “No Refund” cancellation policy, I say- go for it. Just make sure you sweeten the deal with instant offers and discounts. Also, if possible, get feedback from the guests who cancel so that you can know where you went wrong.
Hope these suggestions help you out in the long run. Do you think we missed out on any essential tips? Let us know in the comments below!
Mobile internet browsing started with 3G. Then, 4G enabled people to stream online audio and videos. Now, it’s 5G’s turn to transform the world.
By 2025, 5G is predicted to reach over 3.6 billion people. Like every new generation of wireless technology, 5G has also majorly impacted how we interact with the internet. Therefore, quite obviously, it is bound to impact the hospitality industry as well.
The hospitality industry has been arming itself with technological advancements for quite some time now. And the reason for this is fairly simple. Customer behaviour is changing.
Guests no longer wish to be waited on continuously because this builds up a dependence on the staff. Guests have been seeking their own autonomy for a long time. This basically means making processes like check-in and check-out completely autonomous. Not just this. COVID-19 has already caused a major change in the behaviour of the guests. Guests want to avoid contact with other guests and the hotel staff as much as possible.
Thankfully, 5G actually ensures that a completely “contactless” hotel stay is possible. ‘How?’ you might be wondering.
Well, the answer is simple. The chief benefit of 5G is that it is fast. Way faster than its predecessor- 4G. This means that it takes way less time for devices to communicate with wireless networks. This, in turn, makes it way easier for the guests to communicate with the hotel’s website or app.
Yes, having a well-functioning Property Management System is only possible if you have a 5G network. Otherwise, guests won’t be able to put in their requests at all.
That’s not all, however. These are the various other ways in which 5G helps out the hotel industry.
5 Ways 5G Will Transform the Hospitality Industry:
Provide Autonomy to the Guests
As I have mentioned before, guests want complete control over their time and space when they visit hotels. Hotels, after all, are meant to feel like second homes.
5G can provide the guests autonomy in various ways. Self-check-in and check out are just the beginning. Yes, the PMS can hand over digital keys to the guests the moment they confirm their room booking. They don’t need to be anywhere near the hotel for this purpose. As soon as they scan this QR code at the room entrance, they should be able to enter. This not only improves guest satisfaction but lowers your labor costs as a hotelier. You no longer have to hire an experienced concierge who will have to man the front desk 24×7. Digital check-ins pave the path towards the future.
Not just this. With 5G, the guests will be able to modify their room temperature, lighting, TV, and all other in-room amenities. All they will require for this are their own phones. Many hotels have also installed Alexa in their rooms so that guests can make requests through voice commands.
A Property Management System like StayFlexi also offers the option of Smart Housekeeping. Through this, your guests can contact the staff directly without calling the front desk first. All they have to do is make their requests through their hotel app or website. The requests will be routed to the staff member who is assigned to that guest. If that staff member is busy, the request will be re-routed to the backup staff member.
All the things mentioned above are currently being implemented in the hotel industry. All thanks to the mighty 5G.
Enhanced Entertainment Options
Pulling a direct thread from the last point, 5G also provides guests way greater autonomy over their entertainment options.
For example, you can just request the Alexa in your room to book you a spa appointment. You can also ask her to book you a rental car so that you can go sight-seeing. You don’t need to personally visit the travel desk for this purpose. If your hotel doesn’t have Alexas installed, the guests can do this via the hotel website or app. Either way, all they’ll require is a phone and a 5G connection.
Also, virtual games and exercise classes have become fashionable nowadays. Guests can take virtual spin classes or dance lessons at their own convenience instead of sticking to a schedule. Virtual Entertainment or Virtual Reality has come a long way. Now guests can enjoy virtual live concert experiences with recorded band sessions.
You can never offer so many entertainment options if you attempt to provide it in reality. With virtual entertainment, each member of the family can enjoy their own favorite pastimes at the same time!
5G has another rather unprecedented benefit. Often it is difficult to explain to the guests where each location in your hotel is. With a 5G connectivity, you can easily direct them to the swimming pools or the spa centers via an in-hotel map.
Every hotel is currently engaged in a tooth-and-nail battle to compete with one another for guests after the pandemic. And you cannot win this competition if you have the same old, boring facilities as the rest of your dozen competitors.
Personalization is the only way to set yourself apart. You need to tailor your hotel facilities to the specific guest that you are entertaining.
5G makes it way easier for you to personalize. As stated before, you’re already letting the guests have greater control over their own stay. But it’s not just limited to this. There are hotels with face-recognition technologies that immediately recognize returning guests. In this way, you can offer them special offers and loyalty rewards.
Moreover, the same guest might not always have similar demands. A 27-year-old visiting for work purposes will have drastically different priorities than when he is visiting with his family. Having a PMS that allows early check-in enables you to understand the guest’s expectations long before they step into the hotel.
There are various other ways in which personalization works as well. Since a PMS stores data on guest profiles, you can target your advertisements better. This also allows you to offer specific discounts to specific groups of people.
Long story short, customer data enables you to personalize your services according to their specific tastes. And 5G enables you to collect customer data more efficiently. Be it flower preferences for their welcome bouquet or their favorite entertainment options- you must know your guest’s preferences.
Base Your Decisions on Data
As I have mentioned before, 5G enables you to collect customer data faster. But that’s not the only kind of data that you should be paying close attention to. As a hotelier, you’re probably spending millions every year on your electricity and other utility bills.
Do you know how to bring the value of these bills down? Base your future decisions on hard data. You can now easily track what your guests’ preferences are regarding lighting, room temperatures, etc. So, you can manage energy consumption better by focusing on your guests’ behaviors. Did you know New York’s Chatwal Hotel reduced its energy consumption bills by 90% by investing in smart lighting? At the core of smart lighting lies the principle of sustainability. This way you not only reduce tons of unnecessary fossil fuel wastage but also save your own money.
The lights are controlled by the guests and only function when needed. Moreover, they are completely customizable.
The same is valid for food wastage. This mobile-based tracking system allows you to understand exactly what is being ordered and in what quantity. So, you don’t need to prepare a huge quantity of food that will go uneaten. Not to mention, this also helps you collect data on what your most popular items are. This way you can advertise them separately.
Better Tech for Meetings and Events
Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Team- these have become the most oft-spoken words after the pandemic. It’s unimaginable that future conferences will be held without these online hosting platforms.
Yes, a group of businessmen may congregate at your hotel but they will definitely have online links to their overseas partners. With 5G, this connectivity has become a piece of cake. If you ensure that meetings can go on without a hitch, it’ll only draw more businesses to your hotel.
The same applies to online workshops and events that require greater online participation. 5G is not the initiator, definitely, but it is what ensures the smoothness of these interactions.
5G in isolation won’t be responsible for changing the current face of the hotel industry. It will simply ensure a fast connection. You need to apply your own innovative ideas to utilize the 5G connection to the fullest. But don’t worry, Property Management Systems take care of all these for you. They just require a strong 5G connection to perform well.
In which other ways do you think 5G can be utilized in the hotel industry? Let me know in the comments below!
Hotel Revenue management is not just a question of ‘How much money should I save and how much should I spend?’ As a hotelier, you should know that this is a business where investing ample money is a necessity. Guests choose your establishment only if they feel like you’ve put in more than enough effort to please them.
You will have a substantial operational cost if you run a hotel. After all, you have to pay your employees, pay for the utilities, for the marketing, and more. And there is no way to cancel out these expenses. But what you can and must do is have a firm grasp of the nuances of how your hotel makes money.
A lot of the decisions that former hoteliers took were based on guesses and their own experience. For example, hotels often vary their pricing of rooms based on whether or not they think there will be a holiday rush.
However, as you can well understand, all such bets are off in a post-pandemic world. Even the most concrete of seasonal trends are being shattered due to the abrupt travel bans. Therefore, you basically have no data to base your pricing decisions on.
In such a situation, you have to modernize your approach to obtain relevant data. This is a beginner’s guide on how to manage your hotel revenue most effectively. After all, you do need to make a profit, right?
Ten Best Ways to Reduce Your Hotel’s Operational Expenses
A lot of hotels boast of having various categories of rooms like Standard, Executive, Deluxe, etc.
Did you know that the Deluxe room in the peak season turns into Standard in other seasons?
Never have fixed pricing for your rooms. The reason for this is simple. Your room pricing, much like any other product in the market, should depend on demand.
How do you understand the demand, though? You have to check the prices of all the neighboring hotels. But this is almost impossible to do manually. Thankfully, there are Property Management Systems (hotel software) that will do this work for you.
And not just this. Seasonal changes might be something that you are prepared for. But did you know that you often have to make hourly changes to your pricing?
Yes, when your hotel is almost completely booked, you need to increase the pricing immediately. Since this can happen at any unpredictable moment, this change of pricing can be incredibly difficult to implement manually. A PMS, like StayFlexi, allows you to update the pricing in no time.
In fact, if you update your occupancy goals, StayFlexi will automatically update the pricing when that occupancy is reached.
But that’s not all. Seasonal and hourly changes are not enough. You have to pay attention to the trends of booking that you can optimize.
For example, a lot of hotels offer discounts to people who book rooms for a longer duration. They do this because of two major reasons:
- If you have long-term guests, your hotel is more likely to be fully booked. Fluctuating guests do not contribute to a high occupancy percentage.
- If you incentivize longer stays, you can club high-demand days with low-demand days. Low demand days refer to days when your rooms are likely to remain empty. By encouraging guests to stay longer, you can even out this discrepancy between various days.
There are also times when you should not take bookings. As strange as this sounds, you must say no to some guests to increase your revenue.
For example, say there’s a concert that is supposed to be organized in a nearby hall/stadium on Saturday. The concert-goers are obviously going to look for hotels to stay over for the weekend. In this situation, you should consider employing some Stay Control measures. What this means is that you must inform your guests of a Maximum Length of Stay beforehand. That is, they must be informed that they have to check out by Friday. Only then can you accommodate the concert-goers. And since you are sure to have a high demand for rooms, you can accordingly increase the pricing.
But for pulling stunts like these, you need hard data to back your decisions. Or you might end up losing a lot of revenue. A PMS makes decisions such as these incredibly easier since it can predict these patterns accurately.
Efficient Staff Management
Don’t ever consider paying your staff less to save money. This is simply not going to work out because almost all hotels stand on the foundation of good housekeeping. No matter how much of a discount you’re getting, you would not stay in a dirty hotel room, would you?
The hotel industry has suffered immensely during the pandemic. Hotels were forced to let go of a large portion of their staff because of the falling demand. This article by Business Insider talks about how 1 in 3 hospitality workers are not planning to return. They wish for better wages and benefits than the industry can offer.
Of course, their demands are justified. And so hotels have indeed increased their wages to retain them. However, if you have to increase your employees’ pays during a crisis period, you also cannot go overboard with the recruitment.
The goal is to utilize the skills of the limited number of employees you have. You must also learn how to properly assign tasks. Overworking them due to labor shortage is not an option.
In such a situation, a Property Management System like StayFlexi can be your savior. It offers you the option of Smart Housekeeping. What it means is that your guests can directly put in their requests through the mobile website. The staff who has been assigned to them will receive a notification. They can immediately set about to perform the task without waiting for instructions from the front desk. Moreover, the backup staff is also assigned to the guests in case the first assigned staff member is busy.
This process ensures that your staff is never inundated with guest requests. The work is distributed uniformly. Moreover, the PMS makes it much easier to create a load balancing charter. In most hotels with fixed check-in and check-out schedules, the work becomes concentrated in a 2-hour slot before check-in. StayFlexi allows flexible check-in hours, so your staff does not have to rush to complete tasks all at once.
Hotel Booking Software
As a hotelier, almost 50% of your investment will be spent on paying your employees. Some of the most responsible and dutiful employees that you need are assigned the task of maintaining the inventory.
Inventory management is not an easy task. The room reservations need to be constantly updated in real-time. Even an hour delay can cause overbooking. And this becomes especially difficult because bookings come through various channels.
Hotel booking software is a tool that directly assigns guests their rooms when they are making the reservation. And the software also automatically updates the inventory as soon as the booking happens. You can find out exactly how this system works in this article.
This not only increases guest satisfaction but also saves you money. You no longer have to hire a receptionist or concierge who is supposed to work 24×7. You don’t need anyone to man the front desk at midnight hours either. With the digital key and the contactless check-in procedure, the guests can let themselves into the room.
The staff no longer has to worry about this painstaking procedure of checking documents. They can wholly focus on hospitality.
Cut Down On Labour Costs
I’ve informed you about two ways in which you can reduce your labor cost without decreasing your employees’ salaries. But that’s not all.
Having a Property Management System allows you to automate tasks that previously needed human labor. For example, you will no longer require an app designer to specifically design a mobile app for your hotel. Neither will you need an IT professional to handle your hotel software. And yes, you can do away with your market analysts and researchers as well.
You won’t need anyone to perform these functions for you because a PMS will take care of all this. No, a PMS is not just a hotel booking software. It is a cloud-based software that will not only store all your data without requiring any updates. It will also use this data to create detailed analytics reports. A PMS like Stayflexi doesn’t just give you fixed reports either. The same numbers can be interpreted in multiple ways. Therefore, Stayflexi has the feature of multi-dimensional reporting where you can view your numbers from whichever perspective you want.
And not just this either, StayFlexi provides you with a mobile-optimized website and also a StayFlexi Orchestra mobile app. This allows your guests to perform almost all actions through their phone itself. You don’t need anyone coordinating all the functions anymore.
Focus on Food and Travel Desk
Hotels make a lot of money from their associated business ventures. In fact, if you think about it, multiple eCommerce stores are run from within a hotel.
The hotel bar and restaurant is of course the first Point of Sale (POS) shop that you can spot. The travel desk is also another important POS. This is where guests are provided cars and tour guides that will take them sightseeing. Some hotels even have mini-stores or spas on their premises.
There is a reason why you should focus on these POS stores. They not only get you a lot of extra money. They also provide you valuable information on how to market your hotel.
Take Disney World for example. Yes, people go there for the rides, sure. But they also flock to Disney World for the goodies and the Disney-special meals and snacks. And obviously, not all hotels of Disney World can boast of the same attractions. Each one highlights its own POS shops or restaurants.
Managing these POS shops becomes extremely easy with a PMS like StayFlexi. You can display your restaurant’s menu on the app so that people can order from their rooms. They can also book spa appointments or sight-seeing slots from their mobile itself.
StayFlexi also tells you exactly which items are selling the most so that you can focus on them in the future.
This one is a no-brainer. Of course, you want to reduce cancellations. But how are you supposed to go about doing that?
Most hotels that take post-paid bookings, run the risk of having ample cancellations. Websites like booking.com take bookings without stating any consequences in case of further cancellations. This is why hoteliers end up suffering from almost 50% of their cancellations.
StayFlexi has an incredible feature called Flex Collect. This basically transforms your post-paid booking into a prepaid booking. The guest is informed that their booking will not be finalized till they pay for the room. Along with this, a payment link is provided. This not only saves you money but also dissuades the guest from abruptly canceling.
You should, however, keep the policy of refunding money if a guest cancels before a certain period of time. For most hotels, this period is 24 hours. But you can extend this to 48-72 hours, or even a week, based on your demand. After all, the aim is to not lose out on money.
People should be encouraged to make their cancellations early if they have to cancel at all. In this way, you can take further bookings at a higher price because of the increased demand for the rooms.
Overbooking is bad, right? That’s the one thing you’re supposed to avoid.
Yes, but not always. Sometimes, overbooking can prevent you from running at a loss.
There are some events where you can be almost 100% sure that there are going to be ample cancellations. This mostly happens when businesses organize conferences, for example. The average rate of cancellations in such an event is as high as 10%.
So, you should indeed overbook in such times to avoid letting rooms go underutilized. However, you need to be extremely certain of the fact that people are going to cancel. Otherwise, you’ll just have to hand over customers to your competitors at your own expense!
The trick to strategize overbooking is to look at the forecasts provided by your PMS. The PMS has data on the neighboring hotels and general trends. If you must take a risky decision, make sure you have data to back that up.
Nothing impresses a guest more than when they feel like their needs are being catered to specifically.
Previously, you could personalize according to your guest’s taste as long as they made direct requests after checking in. But not all guests are quite that forward or want to wait that long.
With a PMS, you can start gathering the data even before the guest has checked in. A simple questionnaire through the website can work wonders. This will inform you exactly what a guest expects.
You cannot take the same approach with every guest. Some want a more involved care-taking attitude whereas some prefer to be left alone in their own privacy. You must be aware of these details before the guest has checked in. With a contactless check-in process, this becomes super easy. You can have everything ready by the time the guest arrives, be it a special meal or flowers.
This personalized approach also helps you. You don’t need to go overboard with every guest because they don’t expect it. By fine-tuning your approach to your guests’ demands, you can end up saving money.
Use the Correct Marketing Techniques
Targeted marketing is the key. This ensures you get the maximum returns on your marketing budget. And targeted marketing is something that is actually pretty easy to do in hotels.
What you need to do is know which groups of people are most likely to visit during which season.
For inspiration, look no further than how airlines practice targeted marketing. They know that they cannot advertise to businessmen through the same channels or ads that they use for families. Their approach not only varies with the group that they are targeting but also with the season.
Getting this demographic data is actually pretty easy when you have a cloud-based PMS. A cloud-based PMS after all stores every bit of data including the ages of your guests and their reason for visiting.
Not just this. Remember the first point regarding dynamic pricing? You should use this demographic data to practice dynamic pricing as well. This means offering special discounts to specific groups that are less likely to visit during a particular season. For example, you can offer discounts to families during off-seasons. Or offer single rooms on sale during peak season.
Rarely do two people on an airplane pay the same price for their tickets. You should follow the same principle for the pricing of your hotel rooms.
Invest in a Property Management System
You must have guessed this one already. Everything I have said before comes down to “get yourself a PMS.”
Don’t spend thousands on an analytics specialist, an IT professional, and a dozen people to manage your inventory. Get one Property Management System. This software performs the function of a dozen people and a dozen apps.
Its automation take care of everything from the beginning to the end. This includes inventory management, providing digital keys, cashless check-in, smart housekeeping, contactless payments and so much more. And of course, it also stores every bit of your data and analyses it for you.
This is a single platform that solves all of your problems, reduces labor costs, and boosts your revenue. The entire point of having a PMS is fine-tuning your hotel revenue management.
There’s a saying: You must spend money to make money.
And never has this saying been more true than in the case of the hotel business. Yes, post-2020 all hotels are running at a loss. But that doesn’t mean that you can stop spending or stop paying your employees. What you must do is spend carefully, based on data, and also try to maximize your profits.
That is exactly what this article guides you to do. Yes, a PMS is going to cost you money. But this is also going to completely alter how you run your business. In the long term, you’ll see how indispensable hotel automation is for saving money on expenses.
Hopefully, you have a firm grasp of the concept of hotel revenue management by now. Want to know more about how PMS helps you spend less and earn more? Leave a comment below!
People no longer expect the same facilities from hotels that they used to in the 2000s. Rather than being waited on continuously, guests want autonomy over their own space and time. The guests’ expectations from the hotel industry have changed. So, of course, the process of management has to change as well.
There are new challenges that go hand in hand with these new expectations. The acute labor shortage has never before been a problem for the hotel industry. However, the pandemic has brought with it heavy losses. These losses haven’t only forced the hotels to downsize their staff. One-third of the staff force has no plans of returning.
This might, on the outset, seem like an unsolvable problem. But the problem of labor shortage and the changing customer expectations can be handled through one simple solution.
Property Management System or PMS.
What is a Property Management System?
Property Management System refers to software that allows you to enhance the management, scheduling, organization, and performance of day-to-day functions of your establishment.
In simpler words, it allows you to do everything that you need to do to manage a hotel through a single platform.
Property Management Systems are mainly focused on reducing the involvement of manual labor in hotel administration. The most important feature of Property Management Systems is automation.
What is the Importance of Property Management Systems in the Hotel Industry?
Automated Inventory Management.
Property Management Softwares are also known as hotel booking software because this is essentially their primary function.
Previously, guests had to either call up the hotel or book their suites through a different channel like TripAdvisor. And then, of course, they would have to wait for the booking confirmation by the hotel.
With a property management system, the room bookings are confirmed immediately when a person completes their payment. And the guests are also handed their digital room keys. The reason why this process is so smooth is that there is no human interference in it.
Inventory Management is a complicated process. As soon as a suite is booked, this information needs to be updated so that future bookings are halted. However, since bookings happen through multiple channels and multiple agents, keeping the inventory updated is an uphill battle. Even an hour-long delay in the update can cause overbooking.
With a Property Management System like StayFlexi, inventory management no longer remains the headache of you or your staff. As soon as a room is booked, it is updated in the inventory in real-time. And this is not just valid for direct bookings through your hotel website, but also for bookings through various other channels.
Reduces Labour Cost
As you can understand from the point above, reducing human involvement in complicated administrative processes has two benefits:
- You can reduce the margin of human error.
- You can reduce labor costs.
The pandemic has taken away a vital limb of the hotel industry- the staff. And due to the losses incurred, it is difficult to hire a new staff force. The thing is, you don’t have to.
Inventory Management is one of the toughest jobs you have in hotel administration. Hence, you have to pay the ones doing it the most. But with PMS automation handling this aspect of hotel management, you don’t need to hire people for this at all.
And not just this, as you will understand from the points below, you can also cut out an IT professional to handle your website. A cloud-based PMS is extremely easy to handle on your own and plus, it comes with its own support. Moreover, you won’t need analytics specialists either because the PMS itself will provide you detailed analytics and audit reports.
Self Check-In and Check-Out
Guest preferences and expectations have changed. Ever since 2015 (long before the pandemic), there has been a rising trend of self-check-in and check-outs.
If you book your rooms through PMS, you’re provided with a digital key to your suite upon booking confirmation. Therefore, you don’t need to wait for hours at the front desk to check-in.
Post-2020, this is not even just a matter of preference or convenience. It’s a necessity. People are justifiably wary of waiting in a communal space like the lobby with dozens of other guests. Keeping check-in contactless and queue-less is mandatory.
With self-check-in, the guests can check themselves in at their own convenience. They don’t even have to step into the hotel for this purpose. If they decide to check in right after boarding the plane, it’s better for your staff as well. They can start putting in the requested personal touches well before the guest is set to arrive.
Check-out is equally simple. The guests are provided a payment link with all of their additional expenses when they decide to leave. They can simply make the payment through their phones and check out. If they wish to extend their stay, they can do so through the PMS mobile app or website itself. StayFlexi not only has a website that is optimized for mobiles but also an Orchestra app.
Also, self-check-in is great for you as a hotelier as well because this means you don’t have to pay someone to attend to the front desk 24×7.
Since the paranoia regarding the pandemic has calmed down a bit, hotels have started competing with one another again. Drawing in crowds in the hotel business is not easy. Especially because there must be at least a dozen hotels in your area which are offering the exact same facilities.
The only scope you have to set yourself apart is if you focus on personalization.
There are certain perks of allowing guests to directly book their rooms through the PMS. The PMS can track previous buyer behavior. Also, since it meticulously stores data on each new client, it can better understand which facilities to offer them in the future. It can also form an accurate prediction of how long a guest might stay. Or even which POSs they might make purchases from.
This information also lets you perform targeted marketing. Say, a user profile shows you an acute interest in spas. You can advertise that specific service in your hotel.
Not just this. Since the guests get a digital key at the very beginning, you can start sending them questionnaires. The guests will be willing to answer these questionnaires because these can directly affect the hospitality they’ll be receiving.
Flexible Room Rates
Unless you’re very new to the hotel business, you’ll know why hotels never have fixed room categories. There is no fixed Deluxe suite or Executive suite. Even the most basic room can be transformed into a Deluxe during the peak holiday season.
Hotel room prices constantly fluctuate based on demand. And this not only includes seasonal fluctuation rates but also hourly fluctuation rates. Also, you have to set the base price of the rooms based on the neighboring competition.
A Property Management System makes this entire process extremely easy to handle. You can fix both room rates and room rate templates in your inventory.
StayFlexi’s Dynamic Pricing system allows you to set occupancy goals and vary your pricing according to that. Say you set an occupancy range between 60-85%. If the hotel achieves that occupancy rate, the prices of the rooms shall be increased by $50. Conversely, if the occupancy rate is low, the price shall be decreased.
Not just this, you can also offer variable discounts to different groups of people through a PMS. For example, during the holiday season, the single rooms remain unoccupied. So, providing discounts to the business guests during this time is a great idea. With a PMS, you can not only separate these groups but offer them separate services.
Hotels are severely short-staffed after the pandemic. The last thing you want is to lose the employees you have through flawed management practices.
Creating a staff task charter is difficult. You have to assign more than a dozen people separate tasks and make sure that their tasks are evenly spaced out. This can never be done in hotels that do not have a flexible check-in system. All the cleaning work gets concentrated within a two-hour period between the check-out and then the next check-in. Thankfully, having a flexible check-in system takes care of this problem.
With a PMS, your guests can directly summon housekeeping services through the phone app or the mobile website. As soon as they request a service, the staff member assigned to them will receive a notification. If the said staff member is busy, the request will get re-routed to a backup staff and so on.
This practice of smart housekeeping has several advantages. First, you do not need to hire someone to manage the housekeeping staff. Nor do you need the front desk receptionist to suspend his work and act as a middleman. Second, no task will be incomplete just because the concerned staff member is busy. The task passes on to the very next member who is free. This reduces the load of the staff force and uniformly distributes the activities. Three, you can guarantee the utmost customer satisfaction.
These are only a handful of the advantages of having a PMS. Property Management System refers to a whole package of benefits. The importance of PMS might have increased after the pandemic but it had been in demand since 2015 itself. And the reason for its popularity is simple- which other software will allow you to do everything at once?
Do you have any questions regarding what else a Property Management System like StayFlexi can do? Let me know in the comments below!