Recently, the experts at Software Advice published an interesting research - Hotel Management Software Buyer View | 2014 - that identified the reasons why hotel managers and owners look for new hotel software. Considering the company a trustful and reputable source, we decided to use their study not only to learn more about our customers, but also to reassess our own hotel management system - Clock PMS.
Software Advice is a company that helps software buyers to find the best IT solution for their business and needs. They randomly chose 385 of their real customer conversations to analyze, in order to unveil hoteliers' motivation to purchase a hotel management software (HMS).
The results of the research are more or less as we expected, though there are some points we find a little bit strange. Here is what we found interesting:
1. The most buyers are small to mid-sized independent hotels. This is absolutely normal, having in mind that big properties, especially chains and resorts, are already settled with a PMS and the procedure of changing it is quite heavy. Besides, we could assume that they have made their research well and probably bought what fits their needs in long term. What is more, many big players still prefer to use in house IT infrastructure and their own installations, while independent property managers are more flexible and likely to adopt innovative online solutions delivered as SaaS.
2. The biggest share of HMS buyers are currently using some software and look for replacement. But the cumulative amount of those who use multiple systems, Excel sheets and even pen and paper methods to manage their properties is much bigger. It was a bit of a shock to see how many businesses are still working without a professional hotel management system. The reason is probably the high investment needed for such until a few years ago. Now, with so many affordable cloud based solutions on the market, managers are looking for opportunities to automate and optimise their work.
3. From those already using hotel software, the most seek more features, efficiency improvement or better user experience. Only a few pointed out they want to minimise their costs. The most wanted features concern reservation capabilities, online booking and guest management, which absolutely makes sense. And this is what we found surprising - only a small fraction of all answers indicates the need of mobile features and website integration. With all the buzz about the increasing usage of mobile devices for travel bookings and during holidays, this seems to be a serious flaw in the strategy of many hotels. Unfortunately, other studies indicate the same imbalance in the level of adoption of mobile technologies by guests and hotels. For example, the TripBarometer by TripAdvisor shows that mobile engagement appears to be essential for a big percent of travellers, while most hotels lag behind in following that trend. Our sincere hope is that this situation is going to change in the nearest future.
Our Self Assessment
The research of Software Advice was extremely useful for us as a hotel software provider, because it helped us evaluate our own product and check how well we respond to the needs of our potential and current customers. We put the feature list and the development plan on the table and we gladly found that what we've done so far and what we intend to do in the future pretty much matches the software buyer requirements.
Though it might be bold to say it, Clock PMS is a well balanced combination of various advanced capabilities and liberating new management principles that enable hotel staff to perform at full potential and provide the best service. It successfully combines the most wanted software features with the benefits of cloud computing in terms of low costs and quick implementation, while bringing along a nice user experience with its clear intuitive interface. Not to be ungrounded, here are some facts.
The front desk system of Clock PMS has a comprehensive functionality
but allows for full flexibility of operations in terms of booking adjustments, charge transfers, status changes, posting manual charges or corrections and similar. Add the clear intuitive interface replacing the scrambled screen with hundred menus and input cells and you will see that the functional scope is not necessarily at the expense of user experience. Even for those, who will use hotel software for the first time, deploying Clock PMS is not a trouble.
All this, plus the automation and synchronisation of all operation undoubtedly improves the efficiency in the hotel, as well as the user experience which is also important. And to avoid the need to replace your management system once your business has grown, Clock PMS is charged per room, per month. Many features are offered as add-ons, which makes your costs for software truly scalable and also fair.
The web reservation system of Clock PMS was the first add-on we offered to our clients and in the study we see that it is one of the most needed features. Yet we stressed much more on website integration. The booking engine shares a single inventory with the hotel PMS and the channel manager, synchronised in real time. This helps to sell every single room in the property and avoid duplicates. But there is more - you can create special rates for specific dates or holidays and generate deep links to those offers from the web reservation system. Then you can insert the link in a promotional banner on your website or distribute it with an email campaign. You can also provide your guests with bonus codes. They are a good tool to entice direct bookers or to enable your corporate clients and agents to book at their negotiated rates on your website.
We can't miss to mention here the guest self service portal that works on your customers' mobiles. You might have noticed the abbreviation BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) appearing in many industry studies these days. Yes, that's another trend - technology that involves your guests' smartphones or tablets. Thanks to the guest and company profile system, both the web reservation system and the self service portal apply personal recognition. Personal greeting, a reminder which room the guest has already stayed in, make the guest experience exceptional.
We can only be happy with the research of Software Advice and what it told us about the buyers' behaviour in the hotel software industry. Clock PMS appears to correspond to the needs of hoteliers and even be a step ahead. It also showed us that listening to our customers and asking for their feedback is always a good thing to do. We have always done it. The assessment of our hotel PMS allows us to share the following conclusion:
- Clock PMS is cloud based, which means fast and seamless implementation, less costs and no maintenance and IT infrastructure.
- It works very well for modern hotel managers that are ready to adopt new technology and excel in business, no matter the type of property they run.
- Clock PMS has wide functionality yet involves a much simpler concept and interface than legacy software, which makes it a good replacement for such, as well as a great easy to implement solution for new starters.
- It focuses on quick and easy reservation management procedures and front desk operations, i.e. maximum flexibility and ease of use at critical points.
- It comes with a web reservation system and channel manager which are capable of rapidly improving online sales results.
- It involves advanced rate and yield management techniques in online and offline sales that increase the business bottom line.
- With its add-on structure, Clock PMS can be used just for automation of the operations or it could become the engine of a more advanced strategy. In other words, it is as sophisticated as the customer wants it to be at the moment.
To learn more about our web based hotel management system Clock PMS, click here
You can find the full report of Software Advice at: Hotel Management Software Buyer View | 2014