You’re the manager of a well-reputed hotel. All operations run smoothly with the help of all-in-one technology. A unified system gives you access to your front desk, bookings, revenue management, and guest information.
Your employees focus their time on creating positive customer experiences. You have all the data you need to monitor your hotel in a centralized platform. The technology reduces turnaround time and increases efficiency.
In contrast, what happens if you don’t integrate all your operations?
You end up with conflicting databases when you fail to integrate your hospitality management solutions. This leads to you receiving multiple reports from each system. You won’t have centralized storage because each platform will maintain and keep track of your visitor database differently.
A comprehensive guest database is essential to providing a positive customer journey. You won’t give the best guest experience possible without integrating all your tools.
You must centrally manage all aspects of your hotel operations with an all-in-one management system. With this, you’ll receive integrated reports about your bookings, marketing, and revenue management. You may then easily monitor your progress and plan how to grow your hotel business.
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Why should you integrate your hotel technologies?
A property management solution is only as efficient as its scalability and interoperability. The majority of hoteliers rely on a variety of products from several vendors. And for the hotel’s everyday operations to run well, data among these systems needs to be quickly and effectively communicated.
You won’t experience the difficulties of employing a standalone solution once you implement such technology. You can automate all hotel operations when you integrate them into a single system, like a complete Hospitality CRM. You don’t need to switch between systems, monitor business performance, locate information, or perform other tasks.
But wait, what exactly are these hotel operations I keep mentioning?
What are hotel operations?
Hotel operations is a broad concept that refers to the highly interconnected divisions operating a hotel. Hotel operations in general includes:
- Managing the hotel and its processes
- Guaranteeing a high level of service to guests
- Tracking the progress of revenue, expenses, and other corporate financial details
- Property maintenance
- Guest meals and beverages service
- Employee management
- Hotel promotions
- And reservation processing
The various aspects that makeup hotel operations must work together in harmony. This necessitates meticulous integration of operations as well as swift communication between teams. A hotel can run efficiently and deliver high-quality service only if all these elements are in-sync.
Hotel operations call for a highly interconnected system that ensures you deliver high-quality service. We know what hotel operations are, but what are some signs you need to look out for when running a hotel?
Five signs that you need to improve hotel operations
1) Negative feedback and reviews
Maintaining a positive online reputation on top travel blogs and social media platforms is vital for a hotel’s performance. If your hotel frequently earns low ratings and negative reviews, it’s time to figure out what’s wrong.
According to Podium’s 2021 State of Reviews research,
- 83% of visitors agree that reviews must be current and meaningful to trust them.
- 38% of consumers want to see a 4-star rating before connecting with an establishment.
- Around half of the consumers are ready to travel further and spend more to visit a business with positive feedback.
A hotel with anything less than a 4-star rating is much less likely to experience full occupancy. Even if your hotel’s past reviews are positive, consumers expect recent positive reviews.
Negative guest feedback can be damning for anyone in the hospitality industry. But this doesn’t mean you can’t turn the tide. With the right tools, you can build the most enjoyable customer journeys.
2) Inaccurate guest details
83% of consumers are ready to share their preferences for a more personalized experience. When your data is inaccurate, your hotel’s staff misses out on priceless possibilities to connect with your visitors.
For instance, you notice your staff have little time to interact with guests and are scrambling around for information. It’s a surefire sign that you need a system with centralized guest information. If you’re worried about guest privacy, just invest in GDPR and HIPAA-compliant solutions.
Three-quarters of consumers also value the concept of “living profiles.” Customer profiles reveal information about:
- Demographic details
- Shopping habits
- And individual interests/preferences
Identifying what type of guest enjoys your hotel enables you to make customized offers in the future. You can use this data to retain existing guests and attract similar leads. When you fail to collect accurate guest information, you miss opportunities to optimize their experience.
3) Missed reservations or bookings
Hotel bookings and room reservations can be a nightmare without the right tools. In a study conducted in 2018, the researchers found:
- Direct website reservations accounted for 66.7% of bookings
- Marketplace bookings accounted for 9.1%,
- And third-party service bookings accounted for 24.3%.
Hotels must collect information from each of these resources in a timely and orderly manner. Your hotel needs a system that streamlines booking information.
When you collaborate with a third-party site, the information is less likely to reach you instantly. Missed reservations or bookings inflict considerable damage in the following ways:
- Guests may be unable to find a room in your hotel
- Which may result in negative reviews and ratings
- Leading to a loss of revenue in the long run
Hotels need a platform that integrates and consolidates such information to guarantee they don’t miss any bookings.
4) Lengthy turnaround time
The length of a procedure from beginning to end is what we refer to as “turnaround time.” The majority of businesses desire quick turnaround times over those that take longer. Hotels are no different.
High customer traffic is a common occurrence at hotels. Especially in a resort or popular hotels, lineups at the front desk are the norm. Naturally, these wait times have a terrible effect on customer satisfaction ratings.
Digitizing check-in/check-out processes can help hoteliers overcome this issue. Integrating all your hotel management software with the help of APIs can also guarantee high efficiency.
5) Difficulty running daily operations
Difficulty in carrying out day-to-day tasks is the biggest red flag in any hotel. This might result in
- Information gaps
- Lack of revenue tracking
- Poor customer service
Hotels rely heavily on every team’s interconnected effort to perform efficiently. A slip-up in any of the departments will affect the entire structure at the end of the day. Hoteliers must deal with a variety of challenges daily, such as:
- Reservations management
- Revenue management
- Room maintenance
- Staff supervision
- Front desk management
As a result, many hoteliers are opting for digital solutions for efficient hotel operations. 70% of hoteliers in a Statista survey state that they want hotel technology to digitize guest data. Another 57% state that they wish to digitize the check-in/out process.
Digitizing these processes is crucial to ensure your hotel can meet customer expectations. Moreover, the different departments in your hotel can achieve better results when they combine efforts. All these issues are easy to tackle once you integrate your hotel operations into a centralized system.
Let’s delve into the different departments in a hotel and the tools that can help transform them.
Teams in the hospitality industry and their functions
1) Front Office
The front desk, which has direct interaction with visitors, is a crucial facet of any hotel. Generally, this division is accessible at the hotel’s main entrance. Since it is immediately visible to guests, customers, and visitors, it is the first physical touchpoint. This department’s primary duties are:
- Guest service
- Check-in and check-out
- Accounting & processing payments
- Foreign exchange
- Room reservations
- And inquiries
The front desk is the best area to cross-sell, upsell and create meaningful connections with guests.
2) Marketing and Sales
The hospitality business has key divisions for marketing and sales. Your hotel’s success greatly depends on the success of these two teams. Both teams need to work in tandem for your business to succeed.
Maximizing a hotel’s revenue is the responsibility of the marketing and sales team. They accomplish this by creating company initiatives to boost revenue. Their primary duties are:
- Lead generation
- Loyalty program implementation
- Communicate with staff members to gain information about guests
- Plan brand efforts and ad campaigns
- Communications and PR
- E-commerce operations
- Build client relationships
- Conduct market research
The marketing and sales team increases profitability and helps you build brand awareness.
3) Financial team
A hotel’s financial department is in charge of two major tasks-
- Keeping tabs on operating expenses
- And ensuring that revenue is sustainable
This department is in charge of organizing, monitoring, and implementing a hotel’s financial plans. Some of their key responsibilities are:
- Financial accounting
- Revenue tracking
- Budget forecasting
- Cost accounting
- Tax accounting
- And auditing and managerial accounting
4) Housekeeping staff
The main duty of the housekeeping staff is to maintain the cleanliness and sanitization of any space. Some of their duties are:
- Making beds and replacing old bedding
- Collection and disposal of waste
- They ensure that toiletries and supplies are available in guest rooms
- Polish and dust furniture
- Clean and sanitize hotel rooms
The housekeeping personnel is responsible for operations that ensure a comfortable stay for the hotel guests. They are the backbone of a hotel as they are responsible for manual labor.
These teams are all responsible for a hotel’s success. But they can also be the reason for its inefficiencies if they don’t have the right tools. So what are some tools that can help them complete tasks effectively?
Tools that can help boost their performance by integrating
1) Hotel Property Management System (PMS)
A system that enables a hotel to handle front-office capabilities is what we call a hotel property management system. It offers a centralized computer system that empowers the organization. The key objectives of a PMS solution are the following:
- The automation of routine front-office and administrative duties,
- Scheduling and executing daily reports
- Housekeeping and reservations information
Newer hotel PMS solutions also come with a number of capabilities that support customized, tailored guest experiences. A hotel’s front desk staff is empowered by a mobile-enabled cloud hotel PMS to:
- Check guests in and out
- Assign rooms
- Provide guest services without physically contacting or meeting guests
StayNTouch Cloud PMS is an excellent solution for hoteliers searching for front desk-specific software.
2) Hotel Revenue Management System (RMS)
A revenue management system is a software that helps you figure out your hotel pricing structure. It collects hotel-specific and industry-average data to configure the exact rates you must offer.
With the help of an RMS, you can execute revenue-related decisions in a centralized dashboard. Some of its best features are:
- Forecast pricing rates
- Real-time pricing and open pricing
- Reports and analytics on ADR, revenue, and competitors
RMS assists hotels in turning a profit by carefully monitoring market demand. Moreover, they create prices that help hotels remain profitable while remaining competitive.
One such revenue management system is IDeaS Revenue Solutions. IDeaS offers an automated, machine-learning revenue engine to generate robust, analytically driven decisions.
3) Hotel Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Building and maintaining successful relationships with customers is done through the process of customer relationship management. It is a program that encompasses all organizational divisions and staff members at all levels. A CRM aims to enhance client service and raise customer satisfaction.
Most CRMs serve as comprehensive management systems for hotels. CRMs provide extensive features that enable users to establish meaningful connections with their visitors. Its main characteristics are:
- Automated lead generation and distribution
- Tracking and recording of conversations and patrons
- Captures booking inquiries
- Creating client profiles and lead segmentation
- Automation of tasks in the sales and marketing departments
Essentially a CRM helps users integrate all operations into a centralized system. For instance, LeadSquared is one such one-stop solution to integrate various tasks, features of which are:
- Marketing and sales automation
- Front desk operations
- Personalized guest experiences
- Revenue management
4) Hotel Point of Sale System (POS)
Retail establishments, dining establishments, and hotels all frequently employ POS systems. In hotels, POS systems enable the collection of customer orders and purchases from several points of sale.
For instance, imagine the following situation:
- A customer decides to eat breakfast at your establishment.
- After this, they book a session at the spa.
- They finish the day off by enjoying a drink at the rooftop bar.
They don’t have to pay for each of these items immediately when there is a POS in place. A POS’s primary hardware features are:
The most common POS hardware components include:
- QR code scanner
- POS terminal display
- Credit/debit card reader
- Receipt printer
Its primary functions are:
- Payment processing
- Reports and records of transactions
- Employee management
- Inventory management
POS systems are hard to choose from as most solutions cater to retailers or restaurants. Toast is a restaurant-specific POS solution you can also implement in your hotel. Their core offerings are:
- Inventory tracking and notifications
- End of the day reports
- Sales tracking
Let’s see how you can effectively optimize each team’s tasks with the help of these tools!
Ways to optimize and streamline hotel operations
1) Collect guest feedback and testimonials
The hospitality industry depends on customer feedback more than any other sector. The entire experience revolves around serving a guest and tending to their needs.
Positive guest feedback and testimonials can be powerful drivers of revenue. For instance, two out of three people state that video testimonials make them more inclined to buy a product or service. So how can you collect feedback from guests?
- Once your guest’s stay ends, send them an email asking them to give feedback about their experience. A CRM that automates your email marketing efforts is an ideal tool in this scenario.
- Keep the survey simple. You can always throw in some open-ended questions for detailed reviews. But the language and wording you use should be readable and easy to understand.
- Implement a feedback collection system to ensure you don’t miss out on reviews. If you handle several guests daily and wish to access their feedback in an organized manner, a CRM is an ideal tool.
- Lastly, an easy way to get feedback is to interact with them. At the end of every guest’s stay, a front desk agent or customer service rep can ask them about their stay. Utilize software that records and tracks these conversations for future reference. Some questions they could ask are:
- How was your stay?
- Do let us know if you have any requests or changes we should make for future visits.
- How did you book your room?
- What can we do to enhance your experience?
- How were the staff?
Customer feedback is essential to the growth of your hotel. So ensure that you obtain feedback and testimonials from every guest at your stay.
2) Integrate all teams and centralize data
All industries today utilize big data for better customer service. Having unified data at your hotel can aid in obtaining such insights. Additionally, integrating your processes is crucial to avoid any mishaps in the exchange of guest information.
It is easy to keep track of all check-ins, check-outs, and front desk activities through the hotel PMS. You can monitor your financial health and growth with the aid of an RMS. Finally, a POS provides a great level of convenience for your visitors.
However, a CRM is vital to help you integrate these processes into a unified platform. For example, you could integrate your digital sources of revenue (social media, third-party websites, and more). Your revenue and management team can then gather inquiries and deliver them to your sales staff.
The sales team can follow up on active leads and give their information to the marketing team. The marketing department can then promote your hotel to relevant users when they are online. You need software that integrates all these operations in a single centralized location.
For example, GCC Hotels partnered with LeadSquared to integrate all their sales teams and lead sources into one system. The integration of these tasks led to a 50% increase in bookings at GCC Hotels. Data is essential to your hotel’s success, but you need to integrate your operations to fully experience its benefits.
3) Personalize guest experiences
Customer profiling or finding your ideal customer persona is a must in current times. Excellent customer service is at the core of most successful businesses. Studies show that:
- Customers are ready to spend a premium of up to 13% and as much as 18% for better experiences.
- Two-thirds of consumers are happy to give brands their personal information in exchange for better value.
Using a tool that helps you figure out your ideal customer can help you personalize their stay. Guests don’t mind parting with personal details if it means that their stay will improve.
You must install a tool that helps you segment leads based on your chosen criteria. You can reach out to prospective guests faster and identify their needs. Steps you can take to personalize guest experiences:
- Build customer profiles or personas
- Use email automation to send arrival and post-stay emails that boost retention
- Offer upgrades and add-ons when you better know their likes and interests
- Digitize check-in and check-out processes. But also offer in-person options for those interested
4) Empower employees with helpful tools
Centralizing data is the first step you can take towards better equipping your staff. Beyond data centralization lie tools that boost employee productivity and performance.
Each team can increase efficiency with the help of their correlating tools. But implementing each tool separately will cause data fragmentation over time. Data fragmentation is a bad sign in any company. But it can be particularly destructive in the hospitality industry.
You must eliminate any inter-departmental silos and integrate all operations. Then each team will have all the information they need and their distinct tools to enhance performance.
Lastly, managers too can use performance tracking tools to monitor staff productivity. These tools help managers reward high-performing teams or intervene in a timely manner if any employee is facing issues.
Running a hotel can be daunting to anyone. But there are several innovations that help you overcome any challenges. Investing in the right technology, like LeadSquared CRM, can boost revenue, productivity, and customer satisfaction. So, book a demo with our team today to improve hotel operations and creating the best customer experience for your guests.