why a cloud PMS beats an on-premise one | hotel software uk

To the untrained eye, the title of this blog post might simply look like a jumbled collection of meaningless techy jargon.

And, to be honest - that’d be a fair assumption. But behind those words lies a debate that continues to dominate conversations among hoteliers looking to refresh their property management system (PMS) and make their businesses more resilient to situations outside of their control.

With so many options on the market, choosing between vendors is hard enough, and that’s before you get to the thorny topic of how the system itself is delivered.

Do you go on-premise, hosted or cloud-based?

We’d like to help you get to the bottom of this conundrum with a no-nonsense guide that will lead you to the only conclusion worth making…

What is an on-premise PMS?

hotel bookings systems | pms installed on-premise rely on hardware

Remember when you used to buy software and receive it in DVD form? In the age of app stores and immediate downloads, it seems like an age ago, doesn’t it?

Yet, this is pretty much exactly what an on-premise PMS is (only, the delivery is usually undertaken by the vendor, along with a significant amount of on-site training).

A hotel booking system that’s installed on-premise relies solely on the hardware available at the property. That usually means you’ll need an expensive server and bunch of networked computers, each with their own ‘client’ copy of said software installed.

You’d do well to find an on-premise PMS to purchase these days, but if you haven’t upgraded your own system in a number of years, there’s a good chance you already have this form of PMS.

So, what’s a hosted PMS?

hosted PMS is NOT cloud-based | hotel upselling

A hosted PMS sounds well and dandy - particularly when described by a talented salesperson.

“All of your data is hosted on the cloud,” they say, pointing to the sky. And that’s absolutely true, but what you often don’t hear during that sales pitch is the fact the software itself is still installed on-premise at the hotel.

That means you’ll still need a local installation to take place; any computer on which you’d like to access the PMS will need to have the client software installed.

Hosted property management systems are often mis-sold as cloud-based. In truth, they’re part cloud-based, because it’s only the data that sits off-site.

Ok, so a cloud PMS it is, then…

benefits of the cloud PMS | hotel management software uk

Put simply - yes!

A proper cloud-based PMS is, as you’d expect, located entirely on the web. All of the data and software is accessed via a web browser (such as Google Chrome or Apple Safari) with no physical installation of anything PMS-related at the hotel.

This completely removes the infrastructure burden from your business in exchange for a monthly fee that covers the hosting of the PMS itself. You basically pay the vendor to look after your data and provide access to it no matter where you are or which device you have to hand. And, if they’re really worth investing in, you’ll be treated to constant innovation for no extra cost, too.

Cloud software isn’t the future - it’s what we should all be using now. In the battle of on-premise versus hosted versus cloud, the latter is the clearest of winners.

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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what is a hotel PMS? A guide for modern hoteliers

If you run a hotel, you’ll probably come across the phrase ‘PMS’ when reading up on the latest innovations that are shaping the industry. And unless it’s properly explained, you might be confused about what this acronym means and which solutions it covers.

If you’re regularly asking “what is a hotel PMS and how can it benefit my business?” then strap in, as we’re about to tackle this topic in detail!

The origins

modern hotel PMS functions | management systems for hotels london

Back in the day, a property management system (PMS) for hotels was generally reliant on a mixture of physical documents and digital files. This complicated combination dealt with all the important elements of guest-wrangling, from taking bookings to billing and back-office bookkeeping.

As technology has evolved, the hotel PMS has grown to encompass even more features. This can include a range of services such as catering, building maintenance, sales, marketing and, of course, online booking.

From humble beginnings, PMS tech has blossomed into something truly indispensable, especially for larger hotels and national chains. But with the scalability of cloud computing, even independents, B&Bs and pubs with rooms can jump on the bandwagon.

The benefits

cloud powered hotel PMS | hotel upselling

It may feel like the perks of having a modern hotel PMS are most prevalent behind-the-scenes, but guests will definitely notice the difference thanks to some of the front-facing features.

A cloud-powered PMS can easily be integrated with a mobile app, for example. This lets you offer remote check-in and check out, rather than relying on a member of staff being available whenever guests arrive or leave.

Meanwhile, cleaning staff can be kept up-to-date with room statuses via their own app, allowing them to prioritise rooms more effectively and improve their efficiency. Customers won’t be kept waiting, and they’ll always find the place spotless when they check-in.

A PMS is also invaluable for storing guest data and using it to drive marketing strategies and promotional offers. Personal details can be kept in one place securely and in compliance with the GDPR regulations, so you can track and analyse trends while coming up with offers that are relevant to individual guests.

Modern guests also expect the services they’re offered by hotels to be personalised to their needs. If your hotel can achieve this, it stands a better chance of winning repeat bookings. And for independents, this is absolutely vital to remaining profitable.

The considerations

There are a lot of things to think about before you go all-in with a new hotel PMS. And even in the age of cloud computing, there are still on-site systems available which aren’t tied to external servers, although these are fast becoming a legacy option for most hotels.

Wrapping up: how to make the right decision for your hotel

You need to pick a platform that fits your budget, as well as one that will help you overcome the challenges you face. And what is a PMS good for if not giving you the right tools to win over the next generation of guests?

A system that’s hosted in-house might have once been a good idea. But now, the cloud has the ability to cut IT costs, improve the number of services that are available and make your entire hotel more efficient.

This isn’t a decision one should rush, but as ‘digital natives’ and ‘millennials’ start to define the direction of the hospitality industry as a whole, you have to plan ahead to capture their attention and deliver the best guest experience possible.

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

 

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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is your hotel pms genuinely future proof? | hotel property management system

There are a number of competing hotel PMS options out there at the moment, but not all platforms are created equal.

The question you need to ask is whether or not the solution you choose will be able to stand up to changing demands and expectations in the long term.

Here are some of the things to look out for in a truly future-proof hotel PMS:

Cloud hosting & mobile-friendliness

Is your hotel PMS genuinely future-proof? | hotel booking systems

The influence of the cloud can be felt across every segment of the hospitality market today. In the context of a hotel PMS, this type of hosting solution will make it easier to access the system from any device, no matter where you happen to be located.

Staff will be able to log in and keep up-to-date with information that’s relevant to their role throughout the day, whether that’s changes to the housekeeping schedule, requests for emergency maintenance or any other issue that needs to be handled on the fly.

Regulatory compliance

hotel PMS security standards | hotel upselling

Hotels really needed to step up their game in terms of compliance in 2018, with the rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) still having repercussions.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is also relevant for any organisation that wants to handle card transactions without falling foul of regulators and potentially business-crippling fines.

Your PMS must meet both of these standards because if it doesn’t, your hotel might face the likelihood of being hit with a major fine and further punitive action. Unfair? Probably – but that’s life in the GDPR age.

Interoperability

property management system | hotel software uk

A future-proof PMS won’t be inflexible when it comes to bolting on extra functions - especially those supplied via third party providers.

For example, you might want to link your PMS with an external platform that handles payments, or a service that puts you in control of the guest review process.

In this instance, interoperability is a blessing and will enable you to offer even better guest experiences while remaining connected to them long after the date of departure.

Security

hotel software security | hotel management systems london

The rising threat of security breaches and botnet-based attacks is a big problem for hotels and it’s understandably difficult for independents to fight back against cybercrime with their own, limited resources.

A cutting-edge PMS should give you peace of mind when it comes to data security - especially if it’s hosted in the cloud where it can be protected against malicious activity around the clock.

Baked-in capabilities

hotel pms marketplace | hotel booking systems

It’s no longer useful to think of a hotel PMS as a straightforward upgrade from the traditional booking diary and back-office ledger.

Ideally, your solution should be packed with useful features and optional extras that will give your hotel the best chance of thriving in an increasingly competitive marketplace. And those features should keep coming, too, via effortless updates that arrive regularly.

From managing staff to engaging with guests after their first visit to secure a second booking, a PMS needs to be far more than just a digital ledger.

Wrapping up

If you accept the need to adopt a future-proof PMS for your hotel then you’ve already taken the first step on the path to making your business more sustainable and successful.

Don’t settle for second best; pick a PMS that ticks all of the boxes and boasts the flexibility you need to grow.

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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New year, new Welcome Anywhere update! | hotel booking systems

While everyone else has been starting the new year with gym memberships and dryathlons, the Welcome Anywhere team has been working hard on some exciting new updates to our property management system.

If you’re an existing Welcome Anywhere user, these new features and improvements will make your day run just that little bit smoother and help you deliver the best guest experience.

In-app discount codes

It has long been possible with Welcome Anywhere to offer online bookers discount codes, but you can now do the same with bookings you take over the phone or at the reception desk.

This means you can apply the same discount codes you use for online booking during the booking enquiry process. The same goes for existing bookings; you can simply choose an existing discount code and make changes if required.

This is a great way to provide memorable offers to guests, no matter how they want to book.

Customer alphabet navigation

You can now navigate your customer list in super-fast fashion via the handy new alphabet list at the top of the screen (previously, you had to type in the first letter of the alphabet in the search bar - we thought that was a bit long-winded).

Sometimes, it’s the small things that make a big difference, isn’t it?

Column ordering on tables

welcome anywhere housekeeping update | hotel software uk

Welcome Anywhere will now let you order your favourite lists and reports by column. Simply click the column heading to cycle between ascending and descending order.

This makes sorting your reports and lists fast and convenient and adds yet another level of customisability to an already feature-packed reporting system in Welcome Anywhere.

Feature-specific feedback

feature specific feedback Welcome Anywhere | hotel management software uk

We’d love to hear what you think about each feature in Welcome Anywhere. Now, users can give us the thumbs-up or thumbs-down on specific features - just look for the green and red thumb icons in the left-hand main menu!

We’re not stopping there, either. Welcome Anywhere users will soon have access to ‘feature voting’, enabling them to vote for their favourites from a list of planned updates.

This will also allow people to submit their own feature requests and is part of our ongoing commitment to continually improving the Welcome Anywhere PMS.

We haven’t finished there!

There’s lots more exciting features and updates in the works for Welcome Anywhere.

In the coming weeks and months, you can expect the following:

  • some key changes and improvements for the mobile online booking engine;
  • auto-deposit payments;
  • improvements to in-app payments;
  • upgrades to the Booking Chart;
  • an advanced Dashboard;
  • yield management;
  • upgrades to reporting; and
  • lots more!

Stay tuned and keep an eye on your email inbox if you're an existing user - we’ll keep you posted as soon as the new functionality goes live.

If you’re yet to experience the benefits Welcome Anywhere offers modern independent hoteliers, grab a glimpse of it in action via your own, personal demo. Book yours today and a member of the team will be in touch very soon.

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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Five Reasons a PMS will Increase Your Hotel Revenue | hotel booking systems

Hotels are about the people; the people booking in for a comfortable stay and the people who work to make that stay memorable. Moreover, it is the personal touches that are remembered. Excellent and personable staff increase your hotel revenue with excellent salesmanship. And of course, by creating a desire to return to the hotel at a later date.

This is all well and good. However, the world has become technologically driven, and it stands to reason that your hotel must cater for that. Without a deeply-functional PMS, a hotel has its work cut out. There are many ways that a PMS will increase your hotel revenue. Let me walk you through the top 5.

1. Administering the customer experience

hotel customer experience | hotel software uk

If there is a member of your team hugging a desk, shuffling papers, or performing some other thankless administrative task, then they represent a hole in your customer experience. Nobody wants to be juggling bookings in a dark room, especially when they can make a difference out on the floor.

A PMS will free your staff up to interact with your guests. By taking on the clerical elements of a hotelier, they create the opportunity for customer interaction and help you build connections in a way that carves out memorable moments for guests. It's these moments your guests will consider the next time they need to make a booking in your area.

2. Increasing your hotel revenue online

online channel manager hotel | hotel management software uk

If there is one place you want to be as a hotelier, it is online. Whatever your geographical location, or additional facilities you offer, your guests are all the web. To increase your hotel revenue, your PMS needs to be capable of managing your online presence.

Most hotel guests are in your area for a reason beyond staying in a nice room for the night. They may be there to see Slipknot at your local concert venue, for instance, and those sweaty, tired rockers may not have been aware of your hotel. That is, until they were online looking for a place to stay - and it will have been your PMS that will have lured them conveniently through your door.

3. Distribution Management

hotel distribution management | hotel upselling

A PMS with a channel management function is hugely beneficial.  You can market yourself across all the OTAs and GDSs, as well as retail travel agents.

With such carnivorous competition in your market, creating partnerships in these channels is imperative.  It's important for survial, let alone increasing your hotel revenue.

It might be time to change your PMS if you are still manually updating the OTAs.

4. Transparent communication

hotel customer service tip | management systems for hotels london

Your PMS provides easy and clear communication between the various departments in your hotel. With your hotel functioning efficiently, your hotel is able to save time and offer guests a more personalised experience.

Importantly, your PMS is able to bypass unnecessary kerfuffle. Thus, you have the ability to craft moments for guests, because you will have built an environment for up-selling.  Remember - transparent communication enables you to respond to the whims and desires of your guests.

5. Profitable decision making

making better hotel business decisions | hotel software uk

Revenue and rate management in a modern PMS uses existing data to help identify trends and create profitable, enticing rate plans. With availability and competitor rates data available at your fingertips, you'll find yourself equipped and ready to react to the market.

With such information at your disposal, you can drive higher occupancy rates and implement a competitive room pricing strategy.  Manipulating this data and adjusting your rates accordingly will inevitably result in your hotel's revenue increasing - it's that simple.

Wrapping up

Yes, the hospitality industry is heavily influenced and manipulated by the human condition. But without a PMS installed into your hotel, your resources will be stretched beyond their ability to create a personal customer experience.

If you are a hotel owner, we'd love to hear how you increase your hotel revenue with your PMS. Comment below if you fancy sharing your best practices!

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

 

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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How to improve your hotel offering with mini events | hotel upselling

Encouraging people to book a room at your hotel will involve a number of different strategies.

Some are obvious (someone needs a bed for the night – your hotel is well priced, well located and has great reviews).

Others… less obvious (and require some proactive thinking and planning on your part).

One excellent option is to host regular events. These events will grab the attention of potential guests and give them another reason to choose your hotel over the competition.

These events don’t need to be all-encompassing and over-the-top; you can usually get a leg up with mini events that are interesting enough to turn heads while still being simple and cost effective to organise and run. Not only will events help boost occupancy at your hotel, but they provide a ton of great hotel upselling opportunities.

Here's three brilliant mini event ideas to get you started. Each of these should help boost direct bookings and tempt guests to spend more with you during their stay.

1. Movie screenings

hotel movie screenings offering | hotel booking systems

If your hotel is in a relatively isolated area, guests may be tempted to retire to their rooms early after a busy day of exploring their rural surroundings.

Coaxing them out can be tricky (that iPad won’t play with itself, after all). However, if you’ve got a unique entertainment experience to offer, they might be more willing to head downstairs and give it a try.

Movie screenings can be an excellent activity, so long as you have a suitable space within the hotel to accommodate such an event.

You could showcase old classics, highlight recent releases or even theme the screenings around the season; just be sure to keep your audience in mind when choosing which films to exhibit.

2. Open mic nights

How to improve your hotel offering with mini events | hotel software uk

If your hotel has an appropriately sized bar area, there are many ways to take full advantage of it.

An open mic night is a good choice. It’s not only a great way to get guests interested in spending time in the bar, but also helps boost your engagement with the local community and its artists. Of course, guests could have the option of performing themselves, alongside acts from the surrounding area.

It’s a tactic that works for pubs across the UK and is equally impactful in a hotel setting. You just have to make sure things wrap up promptly and guests aren’t kept awake by the noise.

3. Quiz nights

quiz night hotel | hotel industry tips | hotel management software uk

Another great mini event option for hotels is a quiz night hosted on a weekly basis. The great thing about quizzes is that they’re relatively easy to arrange and run, and appeal to a wide audience.

Again, you’ll need to dedicate the bar or restaurant to the quiz (although a conference room could work, too), with mid-week probably being the best time to host - unless weekends are proving to be quiet in the bar.

You could even tie in the prizes that are on offer with the hotel itself. For instance, why not give the top three teams a discount on their next stay, money off at the bar or some other perk that will keep them coming back for more?

Wrapping up

Whatever route you decide to take with your mini events, it’s definitely worth promoting these added extras so that guests know what to expect when they book.

It could also provide an added boost for the hotel’s social media profile. With these events, guests will likely tweet and check themselves in on Facebook if they have a good time.

You can highlight your upcoming events schedule with a modern online booking platform and PMS that reminds both guests and reception staff of events taking place during a particular stay. In turn, this should help increase occupancy rates, drive up customer spend and enhance your hotel’s reputation.

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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5 reasons to change your hotel PMS

The signs that you need to change your hotel’s property management system (PMS) aren’t always that obvious. This is because your hotel PMS is a tool which is deeply embedded within your operation, and even if it’s gradually falling apart by the seams, staff will probably accept its increasing number of foibles and assume that’s just how it’s going to be for the foreseeable future.

That’s just not good enough. And not on your team’s part, either; if your PMS is slowly dying or increasingly out of step with modern guest expectations, it’s no longer doing the job for which it was purchased.

Here’s five common but often hard to identify reasons that you need to change your hotel PMS.

1. Your staff are frustrated with your current PMS

reasons to change your hotel PMS | hotel booking systems

Why does it crash every time you click on the arrivals list? Why on earth do you have to keep doing that really complicated workaround just to place a deposit on a future booking?

If members of the team are continually shouting at the PMS or banging their fists on the table in frustration when it doesn’t act as it should, don’t assume it’s because they’re using it incorrectly or need training. While that might be the case, there could be something much worse at play.

Speak to the team and find out what it is that frustrates them the most about the PMS.

2. You’re still updating OTA sites manually (and you hate life because of it)

update OTAs automatically | hotel software uk

It’s the task on your daily to-do list that you’re always pushing to the bottom. It’s tiresome, laborious and nearly always results in you making mistakes because you just can’t be bothered.

In 2019 and beyond there’s absolutely no reason at all to update OTAs with rates and availability manually. Your PMS should connect directly to the likes of Booking.com and Expedia and do all of the hard work when it comes to ensuring every website knows how many rooms you have free and what your latest rates are. It should sort out the incoming bookings for you, too, thus removing any chance of the dreaded double booking.

If it doesn’t do any of this, you need to find a hotel PMS with a brilliant channel manager.

3. Another guest has complained about the bottle of wine they didn’t drink

modern PMS benefits | hotel upselling

Not again!

How many times this week have guests complained about their room bill or queried certain items on it? And how often are those transactions related to the bar or restaurant?

Chances are, this is because you’re still manually transferring charges from the F&B side of the business to room accounts. Did you know there’s a much better way of doing this that pretty much eradicates human error?

A modern PMS should be able to connect to a host of POS systems. In doing so, it’ll enable bar staff to automatically post food and drink bills to room accounts. Some will even transfer across the POS sales data into your main PMS accounts reports! This will increase your hotel upselling opportunities and ensure you maximise revenue on every guest's stay.

Imagine that…

4. Very few guests bother to return

build great guest relationships | hotel management software uk

Tempting guests to return to your hotel isn’t easy, even if they had a brilliant stay with you the first time around.

In order to build great relationships with your customers that result in plenty of return bookings, you need to nurture them with email marketing and personalised guest correspondence.

Can your hotel PMS send pre- and post-stay emails and SMS messages automatically? Are you able to export a list of customers that can then be imported into a modern email marketing tool?

More importantly: are you making it easy to book directly on your website?

If the answer is “no” to any of those questions, it’s time to get a new PMS - it’s that important.

5. Your competitors are wiping the floor with you

modern pms competitors | hotel booking systems

What gives? Your competitors’ room prices seem to flex more than yours and, as a result, they appear to know the secret sauce that draws in more guests.

Why can’t you do the same? And why do you never really know what level to set your room prices at?

Guess what - your competitors are probably using modern PMSs that enable them to flex rates strategically based on market conditions and work from actionable, insightful data about past performance.

Do you really want to be lagging behind because your system is no longer up to scratch?

Wrapping up

The best news? Property management systems no longer cost an arm and a leg. Well, some do, but choose the right one and you’ll pay a manageable monthly fee that enables every staff member to use the system no matter where they are or what device they have to hand.

Is it time you replaced your PMS?

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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Why you need an integrated PMS and EPOS system | hotel software uk

In an era of ubiquitous technology, it makes sense to integrate as many hotel systems and services as possible in order to deliver even better guest experiences.

If you keep everything separate and fragmented, you’ll be missing out on some seriously important benefits.

This rule certainly applies when it comes to a hotel property management system (PMS) and electronic point of sale (EPOS) solution; they deserve each other.

So, what are the advantages of integrating your till system and PMS, and why should you make the leap today, if you haven’t already?

Unified billing

Why you need an integrated PMS and EPOS system | hotel booking systems

Few hotels offer guests a place to rest their heads and nothing more; success comes when you add extras on top, from room service and in-room entertainment to a fully-fledged restaurant and bar.

If your PMS and EPOS systems are not linked, wrangling all of the additional billing information that accumulates from a guest’s movements around the hotel over the course of a stay can be tricky.

With an integrated solution, you can avoid billing errors, which will keep guests satisfied, and ensure you don’t lose out on any cash you’re owed when check out time arrives.

Improved service for guests

benefits of PMS and EPOS systems being integrated | hotel upselling

If your PMS and EPOS platforms are talking to each other, guests will be less likely to get frustrated by issues that might arise before, during or even after their stay as a result of human error. Missed bar tabs and drinks bills from another room ending up on the wrong invoice are classic examples of what can happen if your PMS and EPOS system isn’t integrated.

The question you have to ask yourself is why you’d bother bringing the opportunity for human error into play when you can embrace a modern, integrated PMS and EPOS system which automates everything and tracks billing through a single interface.

Happy guests are more likely to book with you again and recommend your hotel to their friends and family, which is another significant upside to the marriage of PMS and EPOS.

Extra integrations

features you can get by combining your PMS and EPOS systems

A quality PMS which is capable of working hand-in-hand with an EPOS system should also offer interoperability with other third-party solutions.

This is why it’s so important to choose your PMS and EPOS carefully, rather than rushing to snap up the product with the lowest asking price or the one that has made the headlines in the trade press.

Shopping around for the best till system and PMS to suit your needs (every hotel is different, after all) will give you access to other features and the opportunity to integrate additional elements, such as instant messaging for staff and guests, online booking through OTAs, front desk functionality and more.

Some PMS and EPOS integrations do a lot more than room billing, too, so make sure you ask the vendor if end of day sales and banking figures are automatically transferred between the two and whether or not the EPOS system is aware of things like credit limits for specific bookings.

Wrapping up

Anyone who’s experienced the advantages of an integrated PMS and EPOS system first-hand will be acutely aware that it’s a huge asset for modern hotels.

The only caveat is that you need to do your research and seek out a solution that is modern, secure, flexible and fit to serve you and your guests effectively.

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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Travellers today are more connected, informed and tech savvy than ever before. This has opened a multitude of new ways for hotels to gather data and use it to enhance the guest experience. However, there are challenges when it comes to gaining a 360-degree view of that data. Hotels need technology solutions that can integrate together to help build a more detailed view of the guest and use it to deliver more personalized services and marketing.

One of the most important integrations in the hotel technology suite is a tight relationship between the PMS (Property Management System) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management). By connecting data in these two systems, hotels can create memorable guest experiences at every digital touchpoint. By integrating these two systems, and other hotel technology platforms, hotels are able to have a single view of each guest and take advantage of the tools available to collect data and engage with guests while at the same time work from a shared database.

With a single view of the customer, hotel staff can ensure that engagement is meaningful and relevant at every touchpoint during the guest journey. These integrations allow a single profile to include the guest’s photo, stay history, total spend, interests, preferred room types, links to social profiles, loyalty program status and feedback from previous stays.

In addition to the single, consolidated view of every guest, hotels are also well positioned using CRM, to be transparent and upfront about how they use and store guests’ data. By centralizing their data, hotels know exactly where the data is stored, who has access to it, and who controls it.

Some hoteliers have misconceptions of CRM, that it provides an email marketing platform and not much else. CRM has capabilities far outreaching that of email marketing, by providing a consolidated view of every guest, it allows hoteliers to act on their data through segmentation, personalization and accurate, real-time reporting.

A great example of this is how a central profile within a CRM can play a pivotal role in improving the guest experience across the whole travel journey. Hoteliers can automate, segment and tailor how they communicate based on data points such as:

  • Spend per stay
  • Frequency of visits
  • Preferred locations and booking patterns
  • Interests
  • Behavior
  • Satisfaction
  • Reasons for travel

This wealth of data and activity means they are now communicating via the right channel, at the right time, with the right message. All in all, a simple integration between CRM and PMS can dramatically improve how hoteliers interact with their guests and allow them to focus on what they do best – focusing on the guest.

Here are a few examples of how using segmentation and personalization can improve every day activities at a hotel:

  • Tailor transactional/confirmation emails based on reservation and preference data
  • Up-sell room upgrades, and amenities based on reservation type, room type and preferences
  • Provide a tailored check-in experience based on arrival times
  • Display and provide personalized welcome gifts in the room for arrival
  • Send reminder emails to guests to book again based on stay dates and preferences

To find out more about how a PMS and CRM integration could help you, contact us today. You can also find out more about how a PMS and CRM integration works by downloading this guide.

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A little while ago I was at a hotel trade show. You know the type of thing - a huge, bustling venue with vendors displaying everything from bath tubs to telephones, sheets to lamps and smart TVs to safes. We were there, of course, to promote our Welcome Anywhere PMS.

We meet some wonderful people at these events and this one was no exception, with a steady flow of suited and booted buyers from the big chains, general managers, boutique-oriented beardy hipsters and plenty of pubs-with-rooms owners.

The story of Tom and Joan (not their real names…)

Everyone we met was lovely, but perhaps none more so than the independent B&B proprietors who often stopped to peer cautiously at our hotel booking system.

After chatting with many such folk, a certain pattern emerged which troubled me. Although by no means a universal trait, many of these people regarded the property management system as a scary thing best left to others.

“Well,” said Tom (who set up his B&B after a long career in merchant banking), “we don’t need these new-fangled computers”.

His wife, Joan, chimed in: “They’re all so confusing, aren’t they? No, we’ll stick with our big diary.”

We hear this a lot, but what struck me was that Tom and Joan didn’t really mean it. Sure, their big book worked fine, but their jovial assessment was laced with fear.

Frankly I found this rather puzzling and somewhat sad. I had to assume that the couple had adapted to, say, modern cars without too much fear and had not arrived at this show in an Austin 1100 from 1971. Similarly, it’s fair to say that their uptake of other domestic systems (let’s not say “technology” as this stage) has been equally positive, even if gradual.

Tom and Joan did eventually have a little play with Welcome Anywhere, but in a tentative way which suggested the mouse and keyboard might give them an electric shock.

What struck me, and the reason for this blog post, is how much Tom and Joan and countless other B&Bers are missing out because of a fear of technology.

There’s that word!

Fear.

No one-size-fits-all approach

A B&B may to some be a lifestyle business, but it is a business and it has to be profitable – and that means beating the competition when it comes to occupancy. If the competition has a new-fangled PMS system which increases their occupancy and Tom and Joan don’t, that’s a disadvantage, right?

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking anyone for being fearful of technology - least of all Tom and Joan. Adoption of new technology is an iterative process; there’s no one-size-fits-all and if it is going to happen it has to happen naturally.

What I’m calling for is a wider support network to help those with this fear; some hand-holding, some reassurance, some comfort.

Where to start? Well, there are some excellent entry-level property management systems out there, often at very low cost (or even free). These tend to have the most basic functionality required, but won’t dazzle technology newbies, which is a perfect start.

Many B&Bs are family run, so let’s call on any fearful owners to seek the guidance of those within who have not only adopted technology, but never known life without it. It seems to me that there are generations out there who can help their elders feel comfortable dipping a toe in technology waters. We should encourage that!

How can the hospitality industry help?

The hospitality industry (and I include us PMS vendors) should offer hand-holding, support and guidance to B&B owners who would genuinely like to digitally transform their business but who are held back by fear of the unknown.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the industry came together with regional taster days – tea & tech, perhaps – to break down that fear and show how easy technology can be?

I can imagine a world where hospitality technology companies are recognised for their work in breaking down this fear, through the clarity of their communications, the time given to explain things and generally understanding potential customers’ anxieties (and coming up with positive ways to gently remove them). For their work in this area, the best would attain a badge of honour to be proudly displayed.

Final thought

B&Bs are the engine of our hospitality and visitor economy.  The sector should be with them every step of the way.

Get involved! Tell us what you think about John's thoughts in the comments section, below!

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