Hotel Operations: 5 Practical Ways to Improve in 2020
Running a hotel is no easy task and hotel operations are insanely complex which is why hotel management companies are required to sit between hotel brands and hotel owners. Between managing rates and reservations on dozens of channels, keeping your teams in sync across multiple shifts, assigning rooms across various room types, and, most importantly, ensuring that guests are happy, there are a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong. And what about keeping the physical building in good shape? Organizing all of your SOPs and actioning all of these daily tasks is barely humanly possible, so how can you make sure your hotel succeeds?
With the right hotel technology, you can make every department more efficient, streamline your basic hotel operations, delight guests, keep your property in tip-top shape, and even increase your RevPAR. Without it, your hotel could suffer from overworked staff, dissatisfied guests, and even physical damage. Hotel tech might seem intimidating if you’re just starting to explore the possibilities, so in this article, we’ll break down how technology can prevent things from going wrong in several hotel departments.
1. Streamline & Sync Your Presence Across Hotel Booking Sites
Guests today book across dozens of hotel booking sites and the booking journey is extremely complex. Some will book on your hotel website and others on a 3rd party OTA. Others lean on their travel agents to book on their behalf via GDS. A modern hotel PMS like Jonas Chorum sits at the center of reservations processes and acts as your property's single source of truth with regards to inventory management. Without a modern PMS you risk poor connections with key systems. A bad connection with your channel manager could lead to overbooking and a weak connection with your RMS means that you are likely losing revenue from inaccurate pricing.
A modern cloud based PMS like Jonas Chorum also helps your team collaborate on reservations. Your call center agents can quickly access and manage current bookings. Your sales team can check to see which inventory is available and can be promised to new groups. Your front desk agents use the PMS to create last minute walk in bookings.
2. Optimize Front Desk Agent Workflows with a Cloud PMS
What if your front desk had no computers? Not only would the check-in process be tedious, there are so many opportunities for the check-in to go wrong. How would a front desk agent know which rooms are clean? How would they know about special requests? How would they search for local recommendations? A good property management system not only makes basic hotel operations more efficient for your front desk team, but it also allows the check-in process to be a positive part of the guest experience. And if you’re a hotel manager, you know that the daily hotel operations manager checklist is long enough already, so a strong property management system will allow you to automate or streamline some of these responsibilities.
When a guest walks up to the front desk to check in, your front desk staff will probably ask for their name to pull up their reservation. With a property management system in place, the front desk agent can find the guest’s booking in just a few clicks and immediately see the guest’s history, preferences, and reservation details. From there, the agent can check the guest in or out, move them to a new room, extend their stay, change their payment method, and more in seconds. Without good tech working behind the scenes, your employees would spend so much time on administrative tasks and communication that they wouldn’t be able to provide a good guest experience. You’ll save your guests from a poor front desk experience (and your front desk team’s time and energy!) when you implement an intuitive and robust property management system like Jonas Chorum.
3. Bring Teams Together with Business Intelligence and Analytics Software
Managing a hotel’s finances is a difficult enough task even with technology. If your finance team needed to manually add up all of the payroll expenses, utility costs, food and beverage orders, and more, they would never catch a break! Financial software can not only keep your finance department sane, but also help you uncover trends that can prevent your hotel from losing money. Except for your finance staff, most hotel employees are blissfully unaware of the billing process. Finance staff, however, know how tedious budget season is and how time-consuming it is to invoice vendors and manage payroll. Good finance technology can save your accounting team from a mountain of work by automating payroll, creating invoice templates, and even compiling reports on the hotel’s financial activities. Rather than tracking all of your hotel’s revenue and expenses in Excel, a robust accounting system can create a P&L in a quick click of the mouse. Business intelligence isn't just about revenue management or finance, it's about bringing your department heads under one centralized roof with real-time data to empower efficient hotel administration and deliver high guest satisfaction scores.
4. Price Rooms Smarter with Revenue Tools
In order to sell competitive rates, you need to have a pulse on market behavior. When are the high-demand dates? What rates are your competitors selling? Since rates change constantly, if you had to do all of this research manually, revenue managers could never keep up. Revenue management software does the heavy lifting for you by analyzing market trends to recommend the best rates for your hotel, which prevents you from leaving money on the table.
Revenue management tools provide rate recommendations based on market demand and competitor rates and can update your rates automatically, which saves a lot of time. These systems are especially useful for setting rates during peak demand periods (like special events), since they save your hotel from underpriced bookings that erode your RevPAR. Of course, these systems allow you to enter your own restrictions and overrides, so you can save yourself from the risk of selling rates that are too low.
5. Maximizes the Life of FF&E with Engineering Tech
Your maintenance team can’t possibly catch every leak or replace every lightbulb as soon as it goes out all on their own. The engineering team needs help from other departments (especially room attendants and front desk agents) and from technology to receive, action, and track service requests. Imagine if a housekeeper noticed that a sink was leaking in a guestroom, told a maintenance employee right away, but the maintenance employee was busy and forgot about it? A few days later, your hotel could face some costly water damage all because you didn’t have technology in place to track the maintenance issue - not to mention a potentially poor guest experience.
Engineering software allows hotel staff to submit service orders that can be actioned by the maintenance team, ensuring that nothing gets overlooked or forgotten. The engineering team can even access these systems from their smartphones, so if an urgent service request comes up, someone can handle it immediately. These systems also track requests in a queue, which means team members can hold each other accountable, and you can analyze trends to see which requests occur more frequently. Armed with this knowledge, your hotel can stay in perfect condition for years to come, and guests won’t keep calling the front desk about the lightbulb that hasn’t been replaced for three days.
By now, we hope you understand just how crucial technology is for basic hotel operations. Your hotel manager duties and responsibilities are hard enough without the added stress of service recovery, missed revenue, or maintenance issues. You can prevent all kinds of guest experience failures and potential back-of-house mistakes by implementing good hotel technology that allows you to organize, automate, and streamline tasks. Besides helping you avoid these potential hiccups, good technology will free up your time so you can think strategically and delight guests.