5 ways your PMS should be helping you naviagate Covid (and Post Covid) landscape

  1. Providing the correct Self Check-In options

Self Check-In is a generic term that has been floating around Hoteliers to-do lists for a while. It mostly settled somewhere towards the bottom.   Meanwhile “Seamless Digital Guest Journey” seems like the most recent buzz-phrase that has sprung up around the Covid-19 Pandemic. Whilst Pre-registration seems like the poorer cousin of the aforementioned. And then Pre Check-In sounds like it may be associated with an airline.

In reality they are all versions of the same thing.

However not all Check-Ins are created equal.

Your PMS should facilitate different Check-In options that work well for your property.

HotelTime have several options available to suit different types of property with different requirements.

These options range from

  • HotelTime’s own Self Check In module,     to
  • Integration with ‘Digital Journey’ specialists AeroGuest     to
  • Open API’s for Kiosks (such as x) and other Third parties whom facilitate check in as part of their product (such as Criton)      to
  • Integration with Mobile Phone key cards (such as Salto)      to
  • Integration with Document Readers (such as Granus)

  1. Protecting your staff

“If you look after your staff, they will look after your Guests”

Richard Branson may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But its hard to argue with the sentiment. Whilst your guests may be reticent about returning to travel activity – your staff will probably feel the same.

So how can your PMS aid you to make your staff feel more safe?

In HotelTime Modules such as our ‘HSK App’ and ‘FOH reports’ means that all members of staff are able to access the information they need and update the system from their own device.

No printed reports for running the 10@10 meeting, no need for Housekeeping to touch phones in the room or visit reception after section cleaning and no need for printed Breakfast reports to be touched by many hands.

  1. Guest Communication

Guest expectations are changing fast and regularly. New government regulations released at giddying speed. Hotels are adapting and Innovating more than ever.

Its crucial that you are able to communicate all the hard work you are putting into making your Hotel as safe (yet hospitable) to your Guests.

With Guest profiles and reservation information stored there the PMS seems a good place to manage this.

HotelTime offer their Hotel Concierge module allowing pre, post and during stay emails – as well as guiding the guest through the online check-in process.

However – as always we acknowledge that all hotels are different and some may prefer a different solution. Therefore our open API allows your CRM  provider to connect to and the depth of data transfer will allow for super-charged Guest communications.

You are working really hard to make you hotel Covid -secure ; so let your guests know about it.

  1. Cloud based access: Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

 

During Lockdown life was anything but ‘normal’.  However some things were able to continue as normal.

Logging into your Gmail account. Watching something on Netflix. Making a playlist on Spotify.

In 2020 and all the crucial data and information contained in your PMS should be constantly available.

Whether it be due to another government enforced lockdown (lets hope not) or due to you taking that well deserved holiday on the beach (lets hope so!) – access should be anytime, anywhere.

If your PMS is not in the cloud it should be.

Enough said.

 

  1. Enabling sophisticated Revenue management

There are many unknowns surrounding Covid-19 and its impact. 1 things is clear – it has impacted global demand for Hotels.

However, as always, the localised picture is different. Rural locations have reported booming demand. City centre locations are pivoting to new business models. Demand patterns can vary wildly according to government regulations or flight operator announcements.

So how do you price your hotel in this challenging environment?

Your PMS should allow you to quickly and easily conduct in-depth analysis of your business – enabling you to make informed decisions and connect to your choice of Revenue Management and/or Distribution partner.

HotelTime has an advanced reporting module allowing you to create reports and analyse the data you need at that moment. Additionally deep integrations with Revenue management systems such as Atomize or Hotel Partner and market leading distribution platforms such as Siteminder allow you to price dynamically and distribute intelligently.

 

  1. (Bonus: Not doing a sub-standard of any of the above by trying to keep it ‘in-house’)

It can be tempting for PMS to try to develop the platform in all areas to keep their clients happy (trust us – we know!!). But this can end up in a “Jack-of-All trades but master of none” situation. If your provider doesn’t have the right solution for you in their suite of products – they should connect to a 3rd Party that does.

HotelTime offers a fully featured PMS with complex functionality for hotels of all sizes. Meanwhile our open API’s allow you to connect to your choice of 3rd party to build your chosen Hotel Tech Stack.

 

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How to choose your next PMS

It isn’t straightforward today for hoteliers to choose a PMS. There are so many technical words that you can get lost. If you should give a piece of advice to hoteliers when picking a system, what would it be?

It would be to try to make qualified decisions, not solely based on brand or marketing, but based on identifying your software needs and finding a PMS that matches them. Moreover, you may have specific software needs at the moment, but, as a hotelier, you should try to identify your future needs in the next three to five years.

So you think the main complexity when choosing a PMS is that you have to think long-term, while with other software, it’s not necessarily the case?

It’s a combination of trying to identify future needs and identifying the current, exact needs of every department. And flexibility, of course. Pick a platform that’s open and gives you many options. Medium and large-sized hotels may prefer a stable tech stack, while smaller properties may want to change their providers more frequently. It’s way easier to implement something new for the latter, but in larger, more complex environments, you can’t replace software every month. Changing that environment is difficult and costly and, if you do it, you’re not concentrating on your guests. Lastly, you should be picking a partner that evolves with you as well, and that rules out most legacy systems, because you do only get what you see now.

It isn’t easy to compare apples to apples when it comes to PMSs. What do you think is the main problem?

There’s no universal answer. With PMS systems features, even though we’re talking about the exact same functionality (let’s say, group bookings), each system can have a very different approach to how to solve that problem. It’s crucial to sit down and have a meticulous demo or more demos, because you want to understand how that PMS is solving that group booking problem. You want to make sure that it’s the most effective method for your operations. As a manager, I would like to make sure that my staff isn’t spending hours with something that another PMS can solve in minutes but, to be able to do it, the PMS has to understand the hotel needs. Then there’s the guest side: you probably nowadays want a PMS that’s guest-oriented, so it can give you tools that you can use to make your clients happier. It may be a built-it online check-in solution, or you may want to improve your reputation, so you should know that you’ll need a review management system at some point. So you should pick a PMS that can integrate a that tool

Do you think one of the problems is that PMS choices are usually taken at executive level without considering the operational needs of the staff?

Absolutely. Sometimes the systems get chosen by a particular role in the hotel, without really going into detail or consulting the end-users. We prefer to talk to various positions within the hotel first, understand their needs before we talk to the management, and say “hey, we really think we’re a good match.” You need to try to understand how the operation works.

In the book, I talk a lot about the need for a more open API industry…

Yes, but I think that the quality of an API is more important than the quantity. At the end of the day, as a hotelier, you want the system to function properly: if you uh integrate a revenue management system, you definitely need a two-way integration; if you integrate a channel manager,
you probably want as quick updates as possible, so you don’t have your inventory updates to happen every two hours, but immediately or every two minutes. You may want to be offering room upgrades to specific room types only: the available ones. Why would you be offering a room type upgrade when it’s not possible? Most of the upside platforms offer room type upgrades not knowing if those rooms are available or not, because those upselling platforms didn’t spend enough time developing the integration. They did the easiest thing they could have done, and they say “that’s fine, it’s done! We’re integrated with the system!” Clearly, there are various ways to integrate. From a marketing perspective, it’s probably appealing just to say “Okay we’ve done the integrations,” but nobody talks about the nature of these integrations. The quality of integration affects what you can do with the system. I honestly believe that third-parties connecting to the PMS should get certified first… We want to make sure that our customers will get a robust integration.

What do you think are the features that should be built-in a PMS?

Again, there’s no universal answer. It depends on what type of a hotel that PMS is built for. You cannot just create one PMS and think it’s suitable for all kinds of properties. Newly built PMSs tend to be ideal for smaller properties with less complexity, and they usually offer less built-in features. If you have 50 rooms or 100 rooms, on the other hand, the list of features that should be built-in starts to be very extensive. For instance: I think that the housekeeping module, reporting, and benchmarking of your housekeeping staff should be integrated. Not everybody can clean the room at the same pace: some people will take 20 minutes, some 40, etc. If you’re running a large property, it’s a difference if you employe 30 housekeepers or 27. That’s three full salaries. A PMS that can give you that benchmarking can make you save these three salaries by laying off the three least competent housekeepers. If you are running a 20 room hotel, one member of the staff can go to the room with the housekeeper and see for himself without the need for an in-built feature. But it’s impossible with larger properties. You always go back to the needs of the hotel. There’s no black or white answer here. Sometimes we do even recommend our competitors to some of our leads! Most smaller properties only need a nice-looking, easy-to-use system, not too many features, an easy learning process, two or three integrations, and they’re ready to go. But this approach is not suitable for larger properties with F&B, SPAs, MICE, etc.

Funnel TV – SpaceX, The future and The Cloud!

At HotelTime we pride ourselves on having a team that are experts in their field and respected throughout the Industry. Therefore it is no surprise when they are asked to speak on various platforms.
Most recently George Titlow, our Director of Sales in the UK appeared on the an episode of ‘Digital; The Top 10 travel news stories of the week’ on Funneltv.tech. You can see George and the other guests discussing a range of Topics from the SpaceX launch to Michael O’Learys anger to the origins of the word Hospitality! Click here!

Chatting with Partners.. Cloud systems and Lockdown Haircuts!

At HotelTime we pride our selves on working closely with our Clients – we live and breathe hotels and always like to get to know our clients! However as an open platform with many integrations we also maintain strong relationships with our integration partners and other Industry experts.
Our team are known in the industry for being knowledgeable trusted voice of the industry. Therefore it was no surprise that our partners at Net Affinity asked our Director of Sales for the UK George Titlow to join them on one of the very first episodes of their new podcast!
Check out the informal chat here.

Valachy Resort: Development and implementation of four systems on a multi-property resort. Goals, challenges and solutions

Introducing the quarterly debates

Automation in Hospitality

HotelTime integrates with Atomize

(Gothenburg, August 22, 2019)

Recently Atomize opened up the door for a faster expansion by making their own world-class open two-way API accessible on the market. Today Atomize announce that the Property Management System (PMS) HotelTime have chosen to integrate with Atomize open two-way API. This is well-aligned with the objective of making Atomize more accessible to a broader market.

The hotel industry is going through a transformation where intelligent data-driven, cloud-based solutions emerge and become easily accessible. Atomize is part of driving that development and today Atomize announce that the well-established cloud-based PMS provider HotelTime have decided to integrate with Atomize open two-way API. This integration will open up the possibility for more hotels to get access to Atomize Top Rated Revenue Management System.

“Atomize has gained a lot of traction in the market lately and we are experiencing an increasing demand to get access to Atomize. HotelTime is a very suitable partner for us, a well-established PMS that has a very similar philosophy both from a customer and a technology perspective.” says Alexander Edström, the CEO of Atomize.
“Generally, we want to bring proven RMS solutions with seamless and quality two-way integration to our customers and believe Atomize is the best solution and partner to work with us to help hoteliers increase their revenue and RevPar. We like Atomize’s team and focus on delivering results as well as the aim of making automated price decisions feeding new rates back to the PMS”, says Jan Hejny, the founder and CEO of HotelTime Solutions.

The integration is planned to be officially launched at the Independent Hotel Show in London on the 15th-16th of October were Atomize and HotelTime will be exhibiting together.

Atomize API is accessible through Swaggerhub.com, a platform for Open API design and implementation. Atomize now opens up for all PMS’s that do not already have a connection to Atomize to apply for an integration.

About HotelTime

HotelTime is a well-established cloud PMS provider that’s been on the market for over 15 years. HotelTime have offices in Prague, London and Bangkok and provide their systems to over 500 customers primarily in Europe and the UK. They are also growing in East Africa, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the UAE. HotelTime is operated as an open platform, offering their customers the best partners available to help them automate and streamline their operations. https://www.hoteltime.com/

About Atomize

Atomize is the new rising star within the field of Revenue Management. Headquartered in Sweden, Atomize help hotels around the globe to maximize their revenue, by automatically set the optimal price, down to per room type. Atomize is used in more than 40 countries, across five continents, by hotel properties in the wide range from 20 to 1250 rooms. Atomize is set to be the world leader in Automatic Revenue Management.

https://www.atomize.com/

Contact details

Alexander Edström, CEO Atomize

alexander@atomize.com

+46 705 337 100

Jan Hejny, Founder and CEO HotelTime

jan.hejny@hoteltime.com

HotelTime Solutions - GDPR

Hospitality is a Vulnerable Industry: A Closer Look at GDPR

FORMAT OBSOLESCENCE: SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR DATA

Every time a new music format takes over the market, we lose 90% of the albums, singles, and demos previously recorded. From 8-track tapes to cassettes, from vinyl to CD, from MiniDisc to mp3, fifty years after its original recording, you can still stream Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever on Spotify, while 9 musicians out of 10 never survived this evolution.   Just like music, data moved from support to support over the years and, by now, chances are that the average hotel possesses Gigabytes of data all over external hard disks, USB sticks, servers, clouds or, even worse, paper. And, whether they like it or not, they will have to let a lot of these data go. For good.

 

WHERE’S THE BUG? GDPR SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES WITH Y2K

In 1999, Y2K bug reshaped the technology industry. “The sheer scale of the problem, coupled with the fact that the entire world was up against a hard and inflexible deadline meant that organizations around the globe were forced innovate and change the way they conducted business in an unprecedented way”, wrote Roman Stanek, Founder and CEO at GoodData. What makes GDPR different from Y2K, however, is the fact that companies were way less prepared to face the imminent deadline than they were 18 years ago.


THE NUANCES OF GDPR

Another huge difference is that, unlike Y2K, the GDPR is subject to human interpretation, and lawyers are known to have a hard time when dealing with new laws, mainly because of the lack of precedents. If the regulation is an attempt to increase data protection and security, in fact, the definition of personal data itself is remarkably broad. And with the risk of huge fines, human interpretation is no bueno.  It is true that, for too long, hotels kept a pirate approach with data, but would you risk up to 4% of your annual gross revenue because of legislative nuances? First of all, what are exactly personal data? Unlike sensitive data (information about race, political views, religion, sexual orientation, etc.), personal data are simply the ones that indicate a specific individual. The main problem is that they are not limited to the person’s name. In fact, address, date of birth, email address (both personal and professional), phone number, IP address, and cookies are all considered personal. You’ve probably already read extensively about the topic, maybe joined a few webinars or even consulted with your lawyer, so you have a good understanding of what GDPR implies: you need your guests consent in order to use their data, this consent needs to be explicit and unambiguous and, more important, guests can ask you to delete all the data you have about them.

 

A VULNERABLE INDUSTRY?

Even though interesting, this is just theory.  “When it comes to data, the hotel industry is very vulnerable”, Marion Roger, Senior Vice President Operations at Upflex, once said. According to Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, for example, hotels account for 92% of all POS breaches. Guests book online, join loyalty programs and share a ridiculously high amount of personal data while traveling, and GDPR will not only affect the way hotels interact with their guests, but it will force them to review their company policies and procedures tout court.

HotelTime Solutions - GDPR

HOW WE CAN HELP?

Now, more than ever, hoteliers must make sure that guests data are well protected. That does not simply mean knowing which PMS user has access to what kind of data, but it also means protecting the actual storage where data are.  With on-site systems, hotels must suddenly deal with questions such as: “is the server room with the secured (locked)?” or “Who has got physical access to the server?” or “ Is the server on the same network as the public hotel wifi?”.

With cloud-based system, on the other hand, these IT problems are completely outsourced. All the local IT challenges, simply, disappear. HotelTimeSolutions, with its native cloud-based, secure system, is your ally in this new challenge. We have dedicated staff and technology to protect your guests’ information. We understand that data belong to the customers and that we are here to take care of it, and we built HotelTime Solutions with this approach in mind way before GDPR was even introduced.

Get in touch today to know how we can help you secure your data in our cutting-edge property management system!