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What is Recipe Management Software?

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Are you searching for a solution to make your back-of-house operate more efficiently? Or are you considering an upgrade to your existing recipe management software? Recipe management software is the not-so-secret weapon of savvy restaurateurs who want to stay organized and get real-time insight into analytics and inventory. This software can handle some meaty tasks while helping you reduce costs, improve relationships with suppliers, and deliver consistent experiences for every customer. In this article, we’ll explain the features and benefits of recipe management software, and we’ll introduce you to some of the best vendors so you can make an informed choice about recipe management software for your restaurant. Let’s get started!

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Payments as a Growth Driver in Hospitality

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 weeks ago

Hotels and hotel chains that have been awaiting a post-pandemic travel boom are now facing an economic downturn that’s likely to constrain both business and consumer travel. As these businesses look for levers they can pull to increase revenue, reduce costs, and offer an outstanding customer experience, “payments processing” probably isn’t an obvious option.That’s probably because historically, payments providers have provided a commodity service that’s at worst viewed as an unavoidable cost center and at best treated as an afterthought. But this legacy model is now being replaced with a new way of thinking about payments, which is why we’ve partnered with Stripe to discuss how payments can catalyze growth for the hospitality industry.Modern providers need to do more than just process payments, because modern businesses have increasingly complex needs and consumer preferences are constantly changing. That’s why Stripe offers software to create optimized payments experiences, streamline revenue management, and facilitate a range of different business models from subscriptions to multi-sided marketplaces.These are the kinds of capabilities that hotels need to be thinking about as they’re exploring new ways to grow amidst our current economic climate. It takes a provider truly focused on technology to deliver what’s needed, and modern providers like Stripe are much more focused on building new payments technologies than traditional providers. For example, about 37% of Stripe employees are engineers, compared to only 11-12% of the teams at two major incumbents (according to LinkedIn employment data). By working with a tech company like Stripe, your business is able to build on flexible modern infrastructure–and ultimately execute faster.In this article we’ll explore the paradigm shift in hospitality from the legacy view of payments as a cost center to the modern view of payments as a revenue driver. We’ll cover the different ways that hotel businesses of all sizes can use payments innovation to their advantage using a modern provider like Stripe.

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5 Best Restaurant CRM Systems of 2023

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

How can your restaurant become more profitable despite rising ad costs, employee shortages, and pandemic restrictions? No, we’re not talking about going viral on TikTok, we’re talking about restaurant CRMs. Investing in a restaurant CRM solutions can bring a myriad of benefits to your establishment, whether you run a hotel restaurant, mom-and-pop diner, a coffee shop, a cocktail bar, or a chain of stylish bistros. CRM is the key ingredient behind many successful restaurants, and it can help restaurant owners build relationships with every guest to improve customer retention by leveraging rich guest data. In addition to driving guest loyalty and incremental revenue, CRM can also help your restaurant run more efficiently and boost guest satisfaction. How is it all possible? In this article, we’ll explain what features and benefits you can expect from restaurant CRM and introduce you to some of the best systems in the marketplace. In just a few minutes, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about implementing a CRM in your own restaurant business.

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QR Code Menus: A Step-By-Step Guide for Hotels & Restaurants

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 weeks ago

Searching for ways to engage with guests in the post-pandemic world? Looking to streamline your restaurant operations? Or just curious to dig into the data and learn more about your customers’ ordering behavior? QR code menus offer solutions for all of these needs, and they’re rapidly growing in popularity in all types of hospitality businesses, from hotels and restaurants to concert venues and sports arenas. Perhaps you’ve even used a contactless menu as a customer! QR code menus bring a lot of benefits that physical menus don't provide, so you might be wondering how you can implement them in your own business.The restaurant industry (and hospitality in general) has undergone a massive digital transformation in the wake of the pandemic but these are not short lived trends - they are long term shifts in how we do business.This article offers everything you need to know about QR code menus; we’ll explain the upsides and downsides, and walk you through the implementation process. By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to launch your own QR code menu strategy. What is a QR Code Menu?Let’s start by defining what exactly is a QR code menu. A QR code menu is a digital menu which you can access by scanning a QR code with your smartphone. When you scan the QR code, your smartphone will open a webpage where your menu is hosted. Many restaurants place QR codes directly on tabletops, on small paper cards, or on plastic placards. A hotel could display a QR code on the front desk or somewhere in every guestroom. Each QR code directs to a unique webpage, so, for example, you could configure one QR code to direct to your lunch menu and another to direct to your dinner menu.Unlike traditional paper menus, digital QR code menus can offer functionality besides simply showing menu items, such as the ability to pay or submit feedback. And these digital menus can deliver a slew of benefits for restaurant owners, managers, staff, and guests that make them a nice upgrade from paper menus. Key Benefits of QR Code MenusWhy would a restaurateur forgo paper menus for QR code menus? Let’s explore the most compelling benefits that these tech-enabled menus can provide. Easy to modify: One reason that restaurateurs love working with digital menus is that any menu changes can be completed with just a few clicks and published immediately. Run out of a menu item? You can simply hide it from the digital menu. Need to fix a typo? No need to reprint the menus. Want to adjust pricing based on day of week and meal period? That’s all possible with digital menus.  Beautiful and strategic menu design: In addition to seamless changes, QR code menus are designed to be as easy to read as possible, and you can take advantage of promotional tools that let you highlight specials or recommended pairings. Safe and contactless: In light of the pandemic, customer preferences have shifted overwhelmingly toward contactless options, and restaurant menus are no exception. Customers don’t want to touch the same paper menu that other guests have just handled. QR codes let your customers access the menu while only touching their own smartphone. Cost- and time-savings: When your staff don’t need to print and organize paper menus, they will have more time to interact with customers or take care of other side work. In addition, QR code menus enable quicker turnover of tables since  More eco-friendly: Are your guests conscious of their impact on the environment? Unlike paper menus which must be thrown away after use or anytime the menu changes, digital menus have no environmental consequences.  Faster service: In a quick-service restaurant setting where customers order at a counter, or at a busy bar, QR code menus can enable customers to browse the menu at their own pace without needing to interact with a server first. Eliminating the need to ask for a menu can accelerate the speed of service. Collection of customer data: Some digital menu platforms come with a suite of analytical features. You might be curious to see how much time customers spend on each menu page, or perhaps you want to test a few variations of photos, formatting, or menu descriptions. Digital menus can offer insight into customer behavior in ways paper menus cannot.  Considerations for QR Code Menu DecisionsIt’s important to note that QR code menus are not the perfect solution for every business. Before deciding to switch away from paper menus, you’ll want to think carefully about some possible downsides. First, in some restaurants, paper menus are part of the experience. A Michelin-starred establishment might want to continue using high-quality paper menus while crafting a romantic ambiance with no smartphones in sight. In this case, QR code menus would actually detract from the experience. In addition, if your restaurant guests aren’t very tech-savvy, or if your restaurant doesn’t have a strong cell signal, then QR code menus might cause more problems than they solve. In addition, be mindful that introducing any new feature, like digital menus, will require training and at least a few days to get accustomed to the system, so you probably don’t want to launch your QR code menu during peak periods. How to Implement QR Code MenusIf the benefits of QR codes sound appealing to you and you’re excited about using them in your venue, you’re probably wondering where to start. Let’s outline the process to implement QR code menus, starting from the beginning. Decide what functionality you need. QR code menu platforms range from simple to complex. Is your restaurant a no-frills counter-serve joint that only has a few menu options? Maybe a simple QR code menu would be best. Or maybe your restaurant has several different menus for different day parts, and you’re interested in as much analytical muscle as possible. Then you might want to opt for a cutting-edge digital menu system with all the bells and whistles that offers integrations with your other on-site software. Do you need a POS integration, PMS integration or just mobile wallet and credit card processing checkout.  Different mobile ordering systems serve different use cases.  Regardless of the dining experience at your establishment you should be thinking about digital menus as a strategy and not just an online menu PDF. Understand your budget. How much do you want to spend? The most basic QR code tools are free, or you can pay a monthly subscription or small percentage of sales for more robust functionality.  With free QR code menus typically  you get what you pay for (or don't).  PDF food menus typically mean that you can't save cost on labor, can't monetize through highly profitable digital upsells.  In most use cases more premium partners have very strong ROIs - just look at what industry sweethearts like Sweetgreen, Dominos and Starbucks have been able to do by investing in digital. Choose a system. Once you’ve decided what you’re looking for, it’s time to choose a software vendor. If you’re going the low-cost "cheap and dirty" route, you might opt for Eater.Menu or HappyTable. For more sophisticated mobile ordering technology with integrations and checkout/payments via contactless QR code menus, you’ll want to look into Bbot, Crave, and RoomOrders. Each system has a slightly different user experience, so we recommend taking advantage of some free demos to try a system before you buy it. Create your menus. Now for the fun part! You can now start building your digital menus. You’ll want to add menu item descriptions, pricing, and upload photos if the system allows. You might want to create separate menus for different meal periods, drinks, desserts, and more. Some systems let you highlight special offers or seasonal menu items, so you can leverage some marketing tactics. Other systems might simply prompt you to upload a PDF menu. Train your staff. Before putting your QR codes into the wild, you’ll want to train your staff so they are familiar with the system and can help guests use it. For example, if a guest is less tech-savvy, your staff should be able to help them access the menu. In addition, you can train managers on the process for making updates to the menu. Display your QR codes. Customers can only scan your QR codes if they can find them, so you’ll want to show the codes in convenient, obvious spots, like on tabletops or inserts within plastic displays. Modify your menu as needed. After launch, anytime you need to make menu changes, you just need to update the digital version. Eager to bring QR code menus to your hotel, restaurant, or venue? There’s no better time to give customers a safe, contactless, and user-friendly way to access your menu.

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50 Online Ordering & Food Delivery Statistics that Will Blow Your Mind

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 weeks ago

In the midst of all the challenges that the hospitality industry has faced over the last year, one segment of the industry is booming: food delivery. As people hunkered down at home, after getting tired of baking sourdough bread, they turned to their smartphones to order food for delivery or carry-out. Perhaps you’ve heard a little about the growth of food delivery and mobile ordering (or maybe you’ve experienced it firsthand), but this article will give you a comprehensive look at this exciting new frontier of hospitality. Ready to be wowed? Let’s jump into 50 astonishing statistics about online ordering and food delivery. Just how big is the food delivery industry? The food delivery industry in the United States has tripled in revenue in the past five years. In 2015, 66 million Americans ordered $8.7 billion of food delivery; in 2020 food delivery revenue surpassed $26 billion and 111 million users. The sky’s the limit! The US food delivery market shows no signs of slowing down. It’s predicted to further grow to $43 billion by 2025. As of March 2020, 38% of American consumers had ordered food via a food delivery app. By March 2021, 47% of Americans had used a food delivery app, illustrating just how significantly the pandemic affected the food delivery industry. Food delivery is here to stay; in 2021, 53% of survey respondents - and 64% of millennial respondents - say that food delivery and takeout are “essential to the way they live.” In a November 2020 study conducted by the National Restaurant Association, 66% of survey respondents said they had ordered takeout or delivery food for dinner within the past week, and 47% of respondents said they had takeout or delivery for lunch within the same time period. Nearly everyone orders food delivery in the US; Gloria Food’s study found that 86% of Americans had ordered food delivery at least once a month. The pandemic was a big player in customers’ dining and ordering habits. 68% of consumers say they’re more likely to order takeout in 2021 than they were pre-pandemic. Although food delivery companies are seeing impressive growth, many customers still prefer to order directly from restaurants. By the end of 2021, revenue for restaurant-to-customer delivery is expected to reach nearly $72 million, while revenue for platform food delivery orders is expected to hit $79 million. Across all demographics and geographic areas studied, US consumers prefer to order food delivery directly from the restaurant, when given a choice. Restaurants were quick to adapt to the changing industry after the pandemic began. 81% of fine dining restaurants, 78% of family dining establishments, and 77% of fast casual restaurants added curbside takeout to their operations after March 2020. Nearly half of restaurateurs said they added food delivery options.  What are the biggest food delivery companies? Food delivery and online ordering apps were some of the most popular app downloads in 2020. UberEats and the McDonalds app both saw 82 million global downloads in 2020, and DoorDash saw 44 million downloads. By comparison, Google Maps had 88 million downloads, Tinder had 74 million downloads, and eBay had 51 million downloads in 2020.  Food delivery fans weren’t the only ones gobbling things up in 2020. After global food delivery heavyweights Just Eat and Takeaway.com merged in an $8.5 billion deal, the new Just Eat Takeaway conglomerate acquired another big player, Grubhub, for $7.3 billion. Let’s not forget about another big shakeup in the US food delivery market in 2020: UberEats bought Postmates for $2.65 billion in July 2020. Although UberEats takes a 20 to 30 percent cut of each order, the company is still not profitable. Just how unprofitable is UberEats? In Q2 2020, the company lost $232 million.  In 2020, DoorDash beat out UberEats for the largest share of the food delivery market in the US. By the end of 2020, DoorDash controlled 45% of the food delivery market, with UberEats at 22%, Grubhub at 18%, and Postmates at 8%. Talk about a swift rise to the top! In 2015, DoorDash’s share of the US food delivery market was just 5%. In 2020 the company snagged a 45% market share and nearly $3 billion in revenue. Food delivery market share varies widely by city. In March 2021, in San Francisco, DoorDash had 71% of the city’s food delivery sales. In Miami, however, UberEats was the biggest player, with a 55% share. And in Los Angeles, Postmates made up 32% of sales, while in most other cities it barely reached 5%. By the end of 2020, UberEats was available in around 1,000 cities. In 2021, the company expects to be active in 6,000 cities globally. UberEats is the world’s largest food delivery platform in terms of number of users. Globally, 66 million people used UberEats in 2020. DoorDash is the most popular food delivery platform in the US, with about 18 million users. Food delivery app users aren’t particularly loyal. Over 40% of UberEats, Grubhub, and Postmates users also used DoorDash during Q1 2021.  What about online ordering directly from restaurants? Orders placed via their mobile app make up nearly a quarter of all sales at Starbucks locations in the US, according to the coffee company’s Q3 2020 report. Domino’s is another chain experiencing massive success from its mobile app; as of late 2020, mobile orders comprise around 75% of Domino’s sales. Most online orders, about 60%, are made on smartphones. For that reason, it’s important to ensure your restaurant’s website and online ordering system are optimized for small screens! With a surge in orders placed online for both delivery and take-out, quick-service and fast casual restaurants like Burger King and Chipotle have designated specific “lanes” for more efficient order pick-up.  Pizza restaurants were pioneers in the online ordering space. Pizza Hut first experimented with online ordering in 1994(!), then launched the segment’s first mobile ordering app in 2009. It didn’t just let customers order their favorite pies; customers could also play in-app games while they waited for their delivery to arrive. 23% of restaurants say their customers are more engaged with their online offerings now compared to pre-pandemic times, showing a shift toward digital ordering channels. In a recent study conducted by Square, two-thirds of customers say they would prefer to order food via a restaurant’s own mobile ordering platform, rather than using a third-party. Out of that group, 61% said their preference for direct ordering was because they wanted to support the restaurant. Online ordering systems can help you test menu changes much more easily than with traditional paper menus. Some digital ordering platforms support A/B tests like changing photos or pricing on some customers’ menus, but not on others, so you can test ideas before officially rolling them out.  Who’s ordering, how are they ordering, and what are they ordering? Many food delivery customers are using food delivery apps for the first time. A study of over 100,000 food delivery app reviews mentioned phrases like “first time” 36% more frequently in 2020 than in 2019. Millennials and Gen Z are spending a significant chunk of their paychecks on food delivery or at restaurants. After groceries, dining out is the second-highest monthly spending category for both generations. According to a 2020 National Restaurant Association study, millennials are the food delivery generation. Three-quarters of millennial respondents had ordered takeout or delivery for dinner in the past week. Millennials aren’t the only generation who loves their takeout, though. The National Restaurant Association found that while just 41% of baby boomers had ordered delivery last week during their March 2020 survey, that number grew to 60% when the same group was surveyed in November 2020. Sausage or pepperoni? The average pizza order placed online is 18% larger than pizza-lovers who ordered over the phone.  But it’s not just pizza; revenue from online orders in general is around 23% higher than an in-person order.  No love for the humble onion! The most popular special request on UberEats in 2020 was “no onion.” Runners up were “extra sauce” and “no tomatoes.” 35% of delivery and takeout customers - and 53% of millennial customers - said they would be more likely to order from a restaurant that offered to-go alcoholic beverages. In a 2019 study of top complaints related to food delivery, 17% of consumers said their food arrived not warm or not fresh, and 16% said their food arrived late. Customers don’t always place their mobile orders with a few taps of a finger. About 14% of people have used voice assistants, like Siri and Alexa, to order food delivery while they’re driving. Google has integrated food delivery options into Google Maps and Google Search listings for restaurants, making it even easier for consumers to find restaurants that offer mobile ordering and delivery. Mother’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Halloween are the most popular holidays for food delivery, according to a 2020 DoorDash report. Speed is the name of the game. The average delivery window for food is around 35 minutes, but 27% of people say they would be willing to pay extra for their food to arrive faster. The volume of off-premises food orders placed online surpassed the volume of phone orders back in 2017. French fries were the most popular menu item in the US on UberEats in March 2020, while cheesecake was the most frequently ordered dessert.  What else is happening in the food delivery and mobile ordering space? A May 2020 Wall Street Journal study found that out of all off-premise restaurant sales, 53% were carry-out orders, 38% were drive-thru orders, and only 9% were delivery orders. Loyalty programs can be a major driver in revenue growth at restaurants. 39% of consumers said they would spend more at restaurants that offered some sort of loyalty perks, but only 62% of restaurants studied had loyalty programs. Boo! Although they sound like a room in a haunted house, ghost kitchens are proving to be a very real success story. By the mid-2020, the US was home to over 1500 ghost kitchens, which are commercial kitchens that serve food to customers exclusively via delivery. Ghost kitchens aren’t always standalone locations; sometimes “virtual restaurants” will rent kitchen space from hotels or restaurants during their off-hours. As long as customers continue to use food delivery services, ghost kitchens aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. Euromonitor predicts that ghost kitchens will grow to a trillion-dollar industry by 2030. A 2019 survey found that 21% of food delivery customers suspected a driver of taking some of their food order, and 85% of consumers wished that restaurants would use tamper-evident packaging. More consumers want contactless solutions, as demonstrated in a late 2020 survey that showed consumers’ top payment options were contactless credit cards (43%) and contactless debit cards (39%). Digital ordering allows restaurant customers to pay online and avoid paying in-person entirely. Technology doesn’t only offer extra convenience for consumers; 95% of restaurateurs say technology helps them run their businesses more efficiently.  What statistics were most surprising to you? As the food delivery and online ordering trend continues to grow, there are surely more surprises in store.

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The Ultimate Guide to Hospitality Technology (2023)

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

Did you know the average small business uses 40 different software applications, and the average hotel uses around 20? In an ideal world, every system in your hotel’s tech stack would help you automate tasks, reduce costs, grow revenue, and deliver a five-star guest experience. But we understand that getting up-to-date on the myriad of technology solutions available to hotels can be daunting! Where do you even start?In this article, we’ll introduce you to each piece of the hotel technology landscape, from revenue management to reputation management and everything in between. Drawing on insights from over 10,000 hotel software reviews written by hoteliers across the globe, this article will also highlight some top software vendors in each category. For more detailed testimonials and additional software choices, you’ll want to click over to the full list of vendors. Let’s dive in!  9 Hotel Operations Software Tools that Drive EfficiencyThis category of software includes the most essential technology for hotel operations: checking guests in, reconciling accounts, handling payroll, and getting feedback from guests. Your hotel’s size and complexity will determine which systems you need; small, limited-service hotels might be fine with a PMS and a payment processor, but a large resort could benefit from each category of software.1. Property management systems (PMS): The PMS is the central hub for hotel operations. In this system, staff can check guests in and out, create and manage reservations, pull financial reports, manage guest profiles, and more. According to user reviews and analysis of system functionality, the top PMSs are Cloudbeds, Clock, and HotelTime, though there are over a hundred more great systems on the market.2. Staff collaboration tools: Hotel staff are scattered across different floors, buildings, and shifts, so a communication platform is necessary to keep everyone on the same page. Systems like hotelkit, Monscierge, and ALICE can replace analog methods like walkie-talkies and logbooks, plus they can track tasks, reduce manual errors, and increase efficiency.3. Housekeeping and engineering software: These tools digitize the operations of your housekeeping and maintenance departments, with the ability to automate task assignment, monitor real-time status of rooms or issues, and track task completion. Top software in this category includes hotelkit, Flexkeeping, and ALICE.4. Guest feedback and surveys: Do away with the paper comment cards and give guests a digital platform to voice their feedback, such as GuestRevu, TrustYou, or Revinate. Not only are these tech solutions easy for guests to use, but they also allow hoteliers to customize, automate, and analyze guest comments and complaints.5. Accounting and reporting: If your hotel accepts payments from guests and issues payments to employees and vendors, then you’ll benefit from an accounting and reporting system like myDigitalOffice, M3, or Omniboost. A modern accounting system reveals opportunities to reduce costs and maximize revenue, plus makes your accounting team more efficient with automated reports and integrations with other on-site software.6. Payments Processing: Most guests prefer to pay for their reservations with credit cards, but a payment processing system is necessary to get the funds from the guest’s card into your hotel’s bank account. Payment processors like Profitroom, Mews Payments, and Adyen charge a small processing fee, but they make getting paid as seamless as possible.7. Labor management: Hotels have dozens, if not hundreds, of employees, so scheduling is no easy task. Software such as Hotel Effectiveness’ PerfectLabor™, M3, and UniFocus include forecasting, insight into labor costs, and integrations with payroll and timekeeping systems. 8. Meetings and events: Whether your hotel has one private dining room or several floors of ballrooms and breakout spaces, meetings and events software can support every step of the sales and planning process - and the event itself. Highly rated meetings and events software includes Proposales, Event Temple, and Blockbuster by Duetto.9. F&B and point-of-sale systems: The pandemic accelerated demand for features like contactless menus and online ordering, so there has been a huge wave of innovation in the F&B software space. Vendors like RoomOrders, Bbot, and Oracle’s MICROS can help restaurants modernize their operations, cut costs, reduce reliance on delivery platforms, and strengthen relationships with customers. 7 Revenue Management Tech Systems that Improve Yield StrategyThe goal of revenue management is to sell the right room to the right guest at the right price, and revenue managers leverage a variety of software to achieve their RevPAR goals.1. Revenue management systems (RMS): The secret weapon of any revenue manager is the RMS; this system analyzes historical data, market supply and demand, and forecasts to recommend the rates most likely to maximize revenue and profitability. You might also hear revenue management software like IDeaS, Duetto’s Gamechanger, or Atomize referred to as “yield management systems” or “pricing engines.”2. Channel managers: A channel manager is the link between a hotel’s property management system and distribution channels like Booking.com, Expedia, and the GDS. Channel managers such as SiteMinder, Cloudbeds’ myallocator, and D-EDGE’s Smart Channel Manager allow hoteliers to make changes in one system, their PMS, rather than managing rates on each channel individually.3. Central reservation systems (CRS): Larger hotels or hotels that are part of a chain or group might use a CRS to centralize all bookings, whether they’re made by call center staff, the hotel’s own website, or a third-party channel. The CRS will then send reservations to the PMS for room assignments. Popular CRSs include Pegasus, Windsurfer, and GuestCentric CRS.4. Rate shopping and market intelligence: A key to revenue management success is selling competitive rates, but how do you know what your competitors are selling? Rate shopping tools, like OTA Insight, Siteminder Insights, and D-EDGE RateScreener, do the heavy lifting for you and present competitor rates and market forecasts in user-friendly dashboards and reports.5. Parity management: OTAs ask hotels to provide rate parity, meaning selling the same rate across all channels, and, as a hotelier, you don’t want OTAs to sell cheaper rates than your hotel’s website. Parity management tools, like OTA Insight, FornovaDI, and Triptease give hoteliers access to dashboards that monitor rates across all channels in real-time.6. Business intelligence: Revenue managers love data, but sometimes all that data is too much for Excel to handle. Business intelligence tools offer better solutions for slicing, dicing, and visualising data through dashboards and reports suitable for studying historical performance or predicting the future. Top BI applications include OTA Insight, Scoreboard by Duetto, and ProfitSage.7. Upselling Software: Driving incremental revenue per guest is possible with upselling tools that automate the entire process - and use profile data and historical trends to serve the most compelling, personalized offers to each guest, like room upgrades or F&B items. Tools like Oaky, EasyWay Smart Upselling, and GuestJoy also enable hoteliers to start the upselling process before the guest arrives on property. 9 Guest Experience Platforms to Improve Satisfaction ScoresHow do you create a five-star guest experience in the digital age? A plethora of systems exist to delight guests, from contactless check-in solutions to modern in-room entertainment.1. Guest messaging: Messaging platforms allow hotels to communicate with guests via their preferred platform: text messaging, email, or even apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Top-rated systems like Monscierge, Whistle, and EasyWay support automated messaging and one central dashboard where staff can respond.2. Keyless entry: Keyless entry software enables a guest to unlock their room or other secure areas like gyms or pools with a wave of their smartphone. Systems like Mobile Access by ASSA ABLOY, FLEXIPASS, and Openkey.co offer integrations with PMSs for a seamless arrival experience.3. Guest apps: Digitize your in-room directory with a hotel app like ALICE, INTELITY, or Duve. These downloadable apps put everything guests need to know at their fingertips, from contact info and directions to room service menus and local recommendations. 4. Contactless check-in: In the wake of the pandemic, guests prefer a contactless arrival process, and software like EasyWay, Canary, and Duve make it easy for hotels to pivot to a fully digital check-in. Functionality includes ID scanning, digital registration cards, upselling, payment processing, and arrival time coordination.5. In-room tablets: Just like the smartphone replaced our digital cameras and rolodexes, an in-room tablet can replace your rooms’ telephones, directories, room service menus, TV remotes, thermostats, and more. Tablet providers like SuitePad, Crave Interactive, and INTELITY are even proven to increase guest satisfaction and revenue.6. Energy management: These systems have two goals: decrease your hotel’s energy costs and reduce your hotel’s environmental impact. Vendors like Verdant Energy Management Solutions, Telkonet, and EcoStruxure are designed with hotels in mind and seek to not only decrease costs, but also enhance the guest experience.7. Guest room entertainment: Today’s guests want more than local cable channels on their guestroom TVs; systems like Monscierge ZAFIRO IPTV, and Sonifi provide interactive content and entertainment for all types of hotels, plus additional marketing and engagement opportunities you couldn’t get with traditional TV.8. Mobile ordering/F&B: Bbot, RoomOrders, SABA F&B Ordering, and other systems provide an essential piece of technology for hotels and restaurants: mobile ordering. With this software, guests and customers can access menus, place orders, and pay from their smartphones, and F&B outlets can better manage order fulfillment and deliver an end-to-end contactless experience.9. Hotel Wi-Fi: What was once a premium add-on is now an essential amenity at hotels, especially with a growing segment of travelers working remotely. To offer reliable high-speed internet access, hotels can partner with vendors like Cisco (Meraki), Percipia, or GuestTek that offer implementation services and ongoing support. 9 Marketing Tools to Lower Acquisition Costs and Drive Direct BookingsOf course, you don’t need any of the software listed above if nobody knows about your hotel! Marketing software allows you to tap into new audiences of guests and build relationships with your existing guest base.1. Booking engines: For hoteliers seeking to increase direct business, a booking engine is essential. This software allows guests to book reservations on your hotel’s website by displaying rates and availability from your PMS, then integrating reservations into the PMS. Cloudbeds, Bookassist, and SiteMinder offer some of the best booking engines. 2. Reputation management: A reputation management tool helps you request, track, analyze, and respond to guest reviews across sites like Tripadvisor and Google and your own surveys. Some of the industry leaders are TrustYou, GuestRevu, and Revinate, and they can even assist in increasing guest review scores by revealing insights about guest sentiment.3. Website builders and content management systems (CMS): Outsourcing your website design isn’t necessary with a CMS; these tools allow you to build, edit, and organize website pages and content, and they support integrations with booking engines, payment processors, widgets and more. Smart CMS by Bookassist, Profitroom, and Net Affinity are some of the top website builders.4. Direct booking tools: If you want to increase direct bookings, then an app like Triptease, Hotelchamp, or TrustYou can boost the number of shoppers who complete bookings on your hotel’s website. These tools let you display personalized messages, snippets of guest reviews, price comparison widgets, and more - all of which give guests reasons to book direct instead of on an OTA.5. Digital marketing agencies: Don’t have the time or resources to handle digital marketing in-house? A digital marketing agency can lend their expertise to help your hotel succeed in search engine marketing, social media, content creation, and PR. Bookassist, Avvio, and Net Affinity are some of the leaders in this space.6. Social media tools: Whether you’re trying to build a new audience or stay in touch with past guests, social media is an important component of your hotel’s marketing strategy. Social media vendors like BCV, Sprout Social, and Travel Media Group can help you achieve your reach and engagement goals.7. Metasearch and ad tech: Metasearch channels, like Google, Kayak, and Tripadvisor, are powerful drivers of traffic to your hotel website - if you leverage them effectively. These sites require special connectivity and a bidding strategy, and tools like Bookassist, Avvio, and Koddi will help you manage budgets, track attribution, and understand market dynamics.8. Website live chat/chatbots: Potential guests shopping on your website want answers now - without needing to pick up the phone. A chatbot, like one from Asksuite, Quicktext, or Whistle, use artificial intelligence to answer guest questions quickly and accurately, plus capture leads and increase conversion on your website.9. Hotel CRM: Your database of guest email addresses is a gold mine - if you can leverage it strategically. A CRM system, such as Revinate, Profitroom, and dailypoint 360, allows you to capture email addresses on your website, send automated messages throughout the guest’s journey, create segments of profiles with specific characteristics, and analyze open rates, click-through rates, and conversion. F&B and MICEThe food and beverage and meetings and events components of the hotel industry have their own technology solutions too. Whether you’re trying to streamline your room service offerings or support citywide conferences in a maze of meeting spaces, you can find software to help you execute any type of service or event.1. Restaurant management: In order to run a restaurant smoothly, restaurateurs leverage point-of-sale software to manage stock in real-time, handle transactions, reserve tables, run reports, and more. Popular restaurant management software includes Vento ePOS, Oracle MICROS, and Lightspeed POS.2. Mobile ordering and room service: Contactless service is the latest trend in F&B, but it seems likely to become the norm. Mobile ordering systems, such as Bbot, RoomOrders, and SABA F&B Ordering, allow restaurants to upload digital menus, accept online orders, and receive contactless payments, and customers can feel confident in more efficient service and accurate orders and bills.3. Meetings and events intelligence: This category of software aims to help hoteliers maximize their meetings and events business by understanding market dynamics, uncovering insights about attendees, and optimizing pricing and space usage. Top meetings and events intelligence tools include Blockbuster by Duetto, IDeaS (SmartSpace), and Get Into More.4. Group sourcing and RFP tools: Without software to assist, the RFP process is tedious. RFP software, such as Proposales, MeetingPackage, and Venuesuite, moves this process online and helps you to automate it, making all the back-and-forth more efficient and helping sales teams reach their goals.5. Event management: Software doesn’t just help your sales team seal the deal, but also to plan and execute the event itself. Event Temple, Tripleseat, EVENTMACHINE, and others provide functionality to send proposals, get e-signatures, manage traces, communicate with clients, and create and edit BEOs and agendas. Looking for more resources on hotel industry software? Download the free 2021 HotelTechIndex Market Leaders Report.

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15 Best Online Ordering Systems for Restaurants in 2023

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Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

Online ordering for restaurants will continue to be a major revenue stream in 2021. In part, off-site online ordering can help you grow revenue by tapping new customers and on-site online ordering can help you grow revenue by maximizing revenue from on-premise guests.  Statistics show that Gen Z and Millennials will continue to favor online ordering long after the pandemic is over.If you’re new to online ordering, the number of platforms available to you can be overwhelming. You are likely familiar with food delivery partners UberEats or GrubHub, but there are also ordering systems that allow customers to order directly from a restaurant. In fact, those direct online food ordering tools are a win-win for both you and your customers: you get to keep the full amount from each sale, while most consumers say their preference is to order directly from a restaurant.This guide breaks down the 15 top systems for implementing online ordering at your restaurant. We break down our list into two groups: (1) on-site: these are mobile ordering solutions that can be used to order food and beverage while at a restaurant and (2) off-site: these are solutions that help restaurants take online orders from off-site patrons. From POS-specific tools to user-friendly apps, here are the platforms that can deliver the best ROI from your restaurant’s online delivery, curbside pickup, and takeaway orders in 2022.

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18 Must-Have Features of a Hotel Management System

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Hotel Tech Report
4 weeks ago

Choosing a hotel management software system is like buying a car: it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of options, and it can be difficult to find trusted advice about the PMS features you need most. “There’s often a misconception in business software that one size fits all. Every hotel has very specific needs based on property size, chain scale, geography, and dozens of other variables. On top of that, every owner or hotel manager has their own preferences in terms of design, usability, and support.  It is absolutely critical to narrow down the problem you’re trying to solve to engage with PMS vendors, and ensure you aren’t being sold on things that your property doesn’t need” says Amelia Gain, CEO of popular Hotel PMS company Preno. Hotel industry veterans often use the analogy of a duck on a lake to describe hotel operations.  Above the surface, the duck appears calm and collected, but under the surface its legs are kicking furiously. Guests are often stressed with their own travel plans, or are trying to escape stress altogether during their holiday, so it is critical for staff to appear calm and relaxed regardless of the hustle and bustle.Technology is one of the key tools that hoteliers leverage to make operations appear effortless to guests, and hotel management software is the single most important system in the entire hotel. Whether you work at an independent bed and breakfast or a global hotel chain, your hotel management system is the nucleus of your property.Nearly every member of a hotel team must access the PMS to perform daily tasks. Guest service staff need to prioritize hotel rooms that must be cleaned for early VIP arrivals. Sales & event management professionals need to block off rooms for groups. Hotel managers need to access the system for data and operating insights.Hotel management system vendor selection is one of the most important and difficult decisions a hotel operator will ever make. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what to look for so that you can make informed technology decisions for your property. The Most Essential Hotel Management Software FunctionalitiesLet’s start with the basics. These features are true must-haves for any modern hotelier who wants to use technology to improve the guest experience, make back office operations more efficient, and build lasting relationships with guests. Intuitive & easy-to-use interface: A user-friendly interface is the most important factor when choosing mission-critical software for a hotel. If your hotel software is complex and confusing, more mistakes will be made, costing you more money. Common tasks should not take lots of time and steps, as this slows down your team and limits your ability to grow quickly – hence the need for a powerful hotel management software system. Mobile & tablet optimised: When your manager, housekeeping team, and other staff members need to check details on a booking quickly they shouldn’t have to rush back to the office. Any system you use must not only be accessible by, but also optimized for use on mobile phones and tablets. Better yet, your owner should be able to check performance while on holiday. Clear visibility of the grid: Adding special events that are happening in the region, highlighting returning guests, and identifying guests who are yet to pay their bill are all features your grid should enable by default. Your grid should allow you to quickly & easily see key information about your guests. Guest profiles: Are you working on building guest loyalty? Guest profiles store your guests’ contact information, stay history, and even preferences, so that you can deliver a more personalized experience during their next stay. Better yet, a guest profile with stored CC’s of your guest will make it even easier for returning guests.  Email automation: You can communicate with guests and reduce manual work for your staff by deploying personalised, customised, and automated emails. Using your own templates, automated email functionality allows you to build a communication journey from the initial booking to targeted offers for repeat guests. Housekeeping management: Your PMS should allow your housekeeping team to mark rooms as clean, dirty, or out of order. Having this information in one central place gives the front desk visibility of room statuses, so that they can accommodate early check-in’s and room moves without needing to radio the housekeeping supervisor.    Reservation management: Perhaps the absolute most essential PMS feature is reservations management and front office features. By housing all of your reservations digitally, hoteliers can make a paper reservation book a thing of the past. Within reservations management, you should be able to set rates, control availability, offer promotions, and visualize reservations on a calendar. Room management: The room management module of a PMS is like your virtual front desk. This functionality lets front desk agents check guests in and out, and cancel or extend reservations with just a few simple clicks. Group bookings/reservations: If your hotel plans on hosting any type of event or group of guests, then group reservations functionality is crucial. Group reservation features include allowing guests to book reservations within the room block, exporting a room list, and configuring billing settings so that you can bill one account for multiple rooms. Invoicing: When most guests check out, they want a copy of their bill, so, your PMS should be able to easily export guests’ folios that contain all charges from their stay. Similarly, you’ll want solid, straightforward financial reporting that helps you reconcile revenue and expenses from room revenue, outlets, vendors, and more. Payment processing: Gone are the days when guests paid with cash or cheque, so you’ll want a PMS with a payment processor integration that allows you to effortlessly charge guests’ credit cards and have secure access to major payment gateways. Business intelligence & reporting: How do you know if your hotel is doing well if you can’t measure your performance? A PMS with robust reporting features will give you insight into your revenue, ADR, RevPAR, and a slew of other metrics so that you can find opportunities for growth – and track your progress toward your goals. Rate management: Do you want to offer a non-refundable rate or value-added packages? If so, you’ll want rate management functionality that allows for multiple, customizable rate plans.    User logs & permissions: With so much turnover in the hotel industry, it is important to keep front-line staff accountable with detailed user logs to have an automated record in case of any mistakes, as well as to ensure proper training and issue resolution. Additionally, we are living in a world where consumers demand heightened security, so it is critical that staff are only able to access the parts of the hotel management system required to complete their core tasks without unnecessarily accessing sensitive information like credit card data.  Key Software Integrations to Supercharge Your Hotel Property Management SystemA PMS is an important software partner in its own right, but running a hotel is very complex, which usually means that more feature functionality will be needed than a PMS can provide.  For that reason, some of the most important PMS features are actually software integrations with other key systems to unlock more value and performance through real-time data sharing and triggers. Let’s explore some of the most critical PMS add-ons. Accounting software: Accounting is an ever-changing, complicated industry, and you don’t want to be stuck with software that is out of date when rules change. As such, you should look for software that has robust and complete integrations to the world leaders of accounting software like Xero. This will empower you to streamline your invoicing, reconciliation, commission payment, and billing processes and automate repetitive tasks to help your finance department run more smoothly. “Whether you’re tracking agency commissions or configuring payment policies for groups – it is vital for hotels of all sizes to have a seamless integration between their property management system (PMS) and hotel accounting software. Why? It saves countless hours of tedious administration via automation,” says Preno’s CEO, Amelia Gain. Point-of-sale system integration: If your hotel has a restaurant, bar, spa, or other outlets, then an integrated POS can do wonders for your operations. When your POS can talk to your PMS, guests can seamlessly charge purchases to their room, and you can keep a record of guest purchasing activity to analyze trends and personalize future loyalty offers. Channel manager: Do you work with third-party channels like Booking.com and Expedia? If so, you’ll need a channel manager to push your rates and availability to these platforms, and more. In return, it will send reservations back to your PMS to capture more hotel bookings. A channel manager can also prevent overbookings by syncing with your PMS since it will know when to turn off distribution as a certain room type gets sold out. Channel manager software solutions are also important for hotels to optimize the allocation of rooms across channels and to ensure maximum profitability.   Booking engine: Allow guests to book directly with you, with no expensive commissions. An online booking engine, which publishes your rates and availability to your website, collects the necessary information from guests, and creates reservations in your PMS. Looking for more advice and information on hotel management systems? Download Hotel Tech Report’s 2022 Hotel Management Software Buyer's Guide to inform your vendor search. This content was created collaboratively by Preno and Hotel Tech Report.

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How to Select the Right Restaurant Ordering System at Your Hotel

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 weeks ago

 Today’s traveler can book their flight, reserve a stay, and even unlock their guest room via apps on their smartphone - but what about ordering a burger at your hotel?  In a recent survey, 47% of travelers say they would be more likely to order room service or dine-in a hotel restaurant if mobile ordering were available.Overall, guest preferences are increasingly shifting towards contactless options, there’s no better time to implement an online ordering system for guests. In fact, 87% of Americans who use food delivery apps say that mobile ordering technology has made their lives easier.  That convenience also translates into direct P&L impact where mobile ordering is proven to boost average order values.  The best part is that the world has gone appless meaning that your guests can place orders directly in your hotel's POS system without ever downloading an ordering app onto their device. Guests anywhere in your hotel’s ecosystem should be able to order with a few clicks whether they’re at the restaurant, pool, in-room, on the beach, or even the golf course.While mobile ordering might seem like a no-brainer, choosing the right restaurant or room service ordering system can be a daunting task. In this article, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to follow as you research and ultimately implement a system that’s best for your unique property. Let’s get started! Develop an Initial Business Case for Online Orders at Your Hotel or RestaurantBefore making changes to your tech stack and SOPs, it’s crucial to ensure all key stakeholders are on the same page. The first step in implementing a mobile ordering system is to actually clarify why - and if - you need one. Set up a discussion with anyone involved in the decision, including not only restaurant managers, servers, and the F&B director, but also representatives from the front office (who will undoubtedly need to answer guest questions about the system), the finance team (who will handle a new billing process), and IT (who will help to implement the system). “Working more than 100 of the leading hospitality brands like Marriott, Hilton, and Intercontinental we typically find that modern hospitality businesses demand a lightweight solution to sell food and beverage offerings on guests’ own devices.  Operators are looking for app-less solutions that don’t require downloads and they are demanding rapid low-cost rollouts,” says RoomOrders CEO Eugene B. Jones.In this discussion, you’ll want to refine your goal: why do you want a new restaurant ordering? And why now? It’s also worthwhile to discuss the pros and cons of your current technology vendors to get a sense of existing pain points and opportunities for improvement.Want to educate yourself further before speaking with your team members? Check out the 2021 Guide to Mobile Ordering Software. Set Measurable Goals Prior to Engaging Potential Technology VendorsHow will you know if your mobile ordering system is delivering the results you want? Setting measurable goals is one of the most important steps as you explore mobile ordering at your hotel. Your goals should include a specific target and a timeframe in which you want to reach them. For example, is your primary goal to increase average order value? Maybe you set a goal to grow order value by 50% in the next six months. Perhaps you want to decrease room service response time by 80% over the next quarter. Or you might want to boost overall restaurant order volume by the end of the year.According to Mr. Jones, RoomOrders increased in-room dining checks by 40% at the Hilton Boston Downtown and 122% at the Hilton Sydney.  It’s important to set aggressive yet attainable goals based on the success of similar properties.  Gather Data to Understand Your Restaurant KPI's Prior to Mobile OrderingNow that you have your goals, how will you know when you meet them? Before implementing a new system, make sure to gather benchmark data related to the goals you’ve set. If you plan to increase your average order size, then you’ll want to pull a report showing your current average order size - and maybe average order size over the last year or two so you can understand seasonal fluctuations. As you gather this data, create a list of your other software partners (like your PMS or POS) that would require integrations with the new restaurant ordering system. Ideally, data from the restaurant ordering system would flow seamlessly into your existing tech to make reporting a breeze. Build a Vendor Shortlist of the Best Restaurant Online Ordering SystemsOnce you’ve established the goals you want to reach and have gotten buy-in from all of the relevant teams, the real research begins. By reading user reviews, case studies, and articles written by industry experts, you can get a good picture of the mobile ordering system landscape. You can also uncover some nuggets of information from your own network; hoteliers who have implemented ordering systems for their own restaurants can be great resources to answer any questions and provide references.“When choosing between vendors you’ll want to test ordering functionality to ensure the best possible user experience for guests.  You’ll also want to compare business models and forecast fees based on various levels of income.  For some hotels, a flat subscription is preferable and others prefer a per-transaction fee to align incentives.  You’ll also want to explore back-office functionality and reporting capabilities to optimize your business mix over time.” said Jean Baptiste Pigeon, a 37-year veteran hotelier, who has led IHG branded properties across Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa, and now advises RoomOrders.As you conduct research, you’ll find that different systems offer some different features and functionality. It’s helpful to create a list of features you want and score them based on importance. With this priority list, you can objectively compare the specs of various systems to determine whether they might be a good fit for your hotel. Features to consider include: Online menu content management system Mobile payments Upselling and add-ons QR code scanning Analytics and real-time reporting PMS and POS integrations Credit cards and online payments Mobile app download required Guest facing ordering experience Kiosk ordering solution add-ons like iPads or Android tablets Ready to start your shortlist? Head to our list of the 10 Best Mobile Ordering Software Vendors. Participate in Demos and Get Price QuotesOnce you've studied up on the category, the best way to determine whether a system is right for your hotel and your needs is to compare different systems. As you narrow down systems of interest, you’ll want to schedule demos and see the software tools in action. During demo sessions, keep an eye out for a few things: User experience: Is the interface user-friendly? Is it easy to learn how to use the system? You certainly don’t want your new restaurant ordering system to make your restaurant service slower.  You'll also want to make sure it's easy for guests to order and checkout on their devices. Data reporting capabilities: What analytical features does the system include? How can you pull reporting that shows your average order value, order volume, response time, and other key metrics? Without reporting, you won’t know if you’re meeting your goals, so this functionality is critical. Ease of updating content: How easily can you change the price, description, or photo associated with a menu item? What about controlling which menu items show in certain timeframes through the day? You’ll want a system that allows for as much flexibility as you need - and makes it easy to perform updates to keep your menus current. Customer service: Where do you go for help? Will you receive a dedicated account manager? Is there a 24/7 support hotline you can call? Or is customer support limited to a ticket queue? Based on your hotel’s needs, you might want to look for systems with more hands-on support. Look for HotelTechReport’s Customer Support Certification badge for confidence that the system offers solid options when you need assistance. At this stage, you’ll also talk about monthly fees to determine which system makes the most sense for your budget. Some systems operate on a monthly subscription model, while others charge a commission (either % of revenue or a flat fee per order). Take the time to model out the pricing for your restaurant over the next year or beyond; how much commission would you pay if you achieve your revenue growth goals? How much would you pay in subscription fees? Knowing how much you’ll pay over time can help you make a future-proof decision.“Our main consideration was the level of commitment and risk involved before we could witness significant improvement in our operations and guest experience,” said Food and Beverage Director at the luxurious Hotel Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I in Barcelona, Angelo Vassallo. “We decided upon a solution [RoomOrders] that offered enterprise software with free implementation, zero investment costs and immediate results, as well as no lock-in contracts.” Finally, as you close in on that ideal software, make sure to test it out in the wild. Ask for a demo account, then ask real guests to take it for a test drive. By watching guests place orders and listening to their feedback, you can get a sense of the system’s true benefits and costs. Do guests find it confusing? Does the system encounter a glitch? Or is it totally effortless? Even the most feature-packed system can hurt your restaurant’s performance if it’s not truly user-friendly.Ready to start your search for a restaurant ordering system? Check out our list of the 10 best mobile ordering systems for hotels based on verified reviews from your peers.  This content was created collaboratively by RoomOrders and Hotel Tech Report.