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L’Hotels modernised operation with HotelTime Solutions

HotelTime Solutions systems opened L’Hotels a way towards modern, automated operation, helped to reduce the manual work of staff, created a modern experience for guests and their installation was the first step to increase sales as well.

Benefits of HotelTime Solutions

  • Modern innovative cloud system
  • Better care for guests, noticeably less manual work for staff
  • Automation
  • Extensive options of integration with third-party systems
  • Regular, quickly available, accurate reporting

About L‘Hotels

L’Embitu and L’Ermitage are 4* hotels with more than 120 rooms located in the centre of Tallinn that offer luxury accommodation. At L’Embit, guests can among other things enjoy an amazing rooftop restaurant with a view of the city. L’Ermitage is located very close to the beautiful historic centre of Tallinn.

Originally

The L’Embitu hotel originally used a legacy on-site system, which made the work of the hotel staff rather complicated. A hardware had to be purchased in order to work with the PMS and access to the system was only possible from the hotel. The hotel staff also had a problem with reporting, which they had to prepare manually. As soon as the second hotel, L’Ermitage, was built, the management wanted to switch to a cloud system. The HotelTime PMS was implemented and within a few months the L’Embitu hotel also switched to it. So, L’Hotels has completely moved away from a legacy on-site system.

L‘Hotels and HotelTime

Hotels’ needs:

* Modern PMS

* Less manual work for staff

* Effective reporting for management

 

Solution:

The implementation of HotelTime Solutions cloud-based PMS allowed staff to get rid of the hardware they were using, while at the same time the possibility to access the system was extended. HotelTime Solutions systems are accessible from any device from anywhere, while at the same time they bring much higher level of data security.

Furthermore, HotelTime PMS significantly reduced the manual work the staff had to do and helped to automate processes in hotels. Payment automation has accelerated guest check-in and eliminated the need to enter payments manually, the concierge module enabled online check-in, the housekeeping application increased the efficiency of cleaning and internal communication in the hotels, etc.

In addition, HotelTime PMS also significantly moved forward the reporting within L’Hotels. Originally, the staff had to create various reports manually, now the management can rely on automatic daily reporting, and any other reports can be easily generated directly from the system. No additional manual work is required.

Hotels’ needs:

* Automation

* Third-party systems

* Modern experience for guests

 

Solution:

The HotelTime Solutions cloud PMS, unlike the older legacy system, brought L’Hotels extensive options of integration with third-party systems. The management of L’Hotels decided that they want to have an efficient, modern, automatic operation, and therefore decided to automate payments (HotelTime Payments service), automate pricing (Atomize) or implement AeroGuest mobile application.

These systems and services led to higher profits for both hotels, and further freed the hands of the staff, who can now fully focus on the needs of the guests present in the hotels. The implementation of these software also creates a modern experience for guests who can enjoy their stay and take care of everything from their phone remotely, without having to spend almost any time at the reception desk.

Thai Garden Resort opted for HotelTime PMS

Thanks to HotelTime Solutions, Thai Garden Resort is now using a user-friendly cloud system that supports implementation of third-party systems and is compatible with an accounting software resort’s staff is using.

Benefits of HotelTime Solutions

  • Efficient and professional management of a large hotel
  • Flawlessly functioning accounting department
  • A comprehensive solution for all hotel services – accommodation and restaurant
  • Extensive options of integration with third-party systems
  • User friendly software

We recently switched to Carmen Cloud and I would say it is an excellent platform which allows you to operate securely from anywhere. 
Carmen is intuitive and perfectly programmed for the hospitality business; the features and functions are well thought out, straightforward, logical and eliminates redundancy; anyone with a basic understanding of software can use it. 
We recently changed our PMS and POS systems to Hoteltime, one of Carmen’s partners, and the transition was seamless. Carmen and Hoteltime integrate perfectly without any problem. 
I would highly recommend Carmen Cloud accounting software. Furthermore, if you are looking to integrate accounting with PMS and POS systems, you can not go wrong with Carmen Cloud & Hoteltime!

Anselma Niehaus
Managing Director, Thai Garden Resort Hotel

About Thai Garden Resort

Thai Garden Resort is an oasis of peace in the heart of Pattaya. Located in the middle of large gardens it is a great place for relaxation. Thai Garden Resort offers 220 rooms and as the only one in Pattaya it has received two prestigious Travelife gold certificates (HolidayCheck Gold and Travelife Gold).

Originally

The Thai Garden Resort team initially tried a different cloud system (a cloud version of a legacy system) and were not satisfied. Therefore, they needed a quick change to another PMS but it had to meet all their requirements, for example, have a connection to the POS system or be compatible with the used accounting software.

Thai Garden Resort and HotelTime

Hotel’s needs

* Cloud system ideal for large properties

* System integrated with used accounting system and with a POS system

* Possibilities of integration with third-party systems

 

Solution

The Thai Garden Resort team needed a quick change of systems they were using. HotelTime PMS and POS systems were ideal for this large property which offers accommodation in 220 rooms and also restaurant services.

HotelTime Solutions developed its own POS system (Vento) which guarantees a perfect integration between that and HotelTime Solutions’ PMS. In addition, HotelTime PMS is integrated with the Carmen accounting system used in resort. It was important for the team to maintain perfectly functioning accounting, that was achieved thanks to this integration.

However, the integrations between HotelTime PMS and Carmen software and Vento POS are not the only ones the resort is benefiting from. Thai Garden Resort also decided to implement D-Edge and Samsotech. These systems speeded up internal processes in the hotel, and thus are helping staff to create the most pleasant experience for guests that is possible. For example, thanks to Samsotech system receptionists are now able to automatically add data from IDs, passports (or other documents) into the PMS, there’s no need to fill it in manually.

Hotel’s needs

* Training and support in Thai

* User friendly system

 

Solution

Almost all members of the Thai Garden Resort team communicate only in Thai, therefore the process of implementation of HotelTime Solution PMS and POS systems and training of the resort’s staff had to take place in this language. That was not a problem as we have representation in Southeast Asia. Everything was led by our Thai team – implementation, training and the so-called refresh training of the team.

But not only the implementation, also the actual use of the PMS and POS systems had to fulfil the needs of That Garden Resort’s staff. They wanted to work with an intuitive, user-friendly software and we met also this condition. Thai Garden Resort team sees our solution as very user-friendly, processes in the resort are running smoothly which is evident for example from the fact that the resort basically does not contact customer support.

The overall transition from the original cloud solution to HotelTime Solutions was a huge improvement for both the team and the resort.

HotelTime Solutions integrate with Adyen

HotelTime Solutions add Adyen among integrated systems. Adyen will ensure faster processing and better automation of payments within HotelTime Payments service.

Adyen is a payment platform that provides a modern end-to-end infrastructure connecting directly to Visa, Mastercard and consumers’ globally preferred payment methods. The integration between HotelTime Solutions and Adyen will ensure an affordable payment solution and more efficient and comprehensive functioning of the HotelTime Payments service:

Integration with Adyen will allow us to provide even better automatic payments services, i.e. automatic charge orpre-authorization of virtual cards or regular cards when it is necessary to charge a guest for a stay or demand a deposit for it.

Payments will be faster. Money paid by guests will be transferred to the hotel account within days.

HotelTime Payments service will support a whole range of currencies that guests will be able to use to pay seamlessly and quickly in hotels, for instance, EUR, GBP, CZK, and AED, but also others will be supported.

The integration with Adyen will enable clear reporting on payment transactions available directly in the Adyen system or in HotelTime.

HotelTime Solutions will be able to supply clients with payment terminals that are compatible with HotelTime PMS. It will be possible to upload data from the card directly into the PMS through the terminal. Sensitive data will then be securely saved in the payment getaway in an encrypted way so that it cannot be misused (this is called card tokenization). The hotel will be able to automatically charge the saved (tokenized) card for the stay and other payments, e.g. for spending at the restaurant.

The HotelTime Payments service will reduce the number of payments returned to the guests because thanks to the Adyen platform, we will increase the share of payments made in the 3D Secure mode. It will be possible to authorize the payment within the card tokenization or pre-authorization (at the hotel reception or online via an e-mail sent automatically by the HotelTime system).

It will be possible to place QR codes, which guests can use for direct ordering, in the hotel restaurant, rooms, lobby or elsewhere. Thanks to the connection between the HotelTime Payments service and the Vento QR module, guests will be able to pay for their orders directly (or have them charged to the hotel room, the payment will be deducted later and in the 3D Secure mode).

Thanks to HotelTime Payments service and this integration, HotelTime Solutions’ clients will have the opportunity to use Adyen, a trusted and large payments platform provided by a company listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange.

Case Study – English boutique hotel

In Losehill House HotelTime Solutions opened a way to build a more effective operation.

Options to implement integrated third-party systems have led to greater automation and to an increase in the hotel’s total revenue.

Main benefits of using HotelTime

  • Effective and professional hotel administration even with a small team
  • Comprehensive solution – for accommodation, restaurant, and also a spa
  • A lot of possibilities for the implementation of integrated third-party systems that led to better communication with guests, increase in revenue, or less manual work
  • Daily reporting for management

Originally 

The hotel originally used a legacy system which provided insufficient connection between different services that Losehill House offers (accommodation, restaurant, wellness) and there was no possibility of integration with third-party software. Therefore, hotel staff had to do lot of tasks manually, automation practically did not exist.

About Losehill House

Losehill House has been developed into the finest boutique hotel and spa in the Peak District. This 1914 Arts and Crafts gem redeveloped as a boutique country hotel and spa occupies a secluded spot on the side of Losehill. The unequaled location, combined with friendly local staff, award-winning Grafene Restaurant, and Thalgo Spa are just some of the reasons why guests adore this place. 

   

Losehill and HotelTime

Hotel’s needs: 

* Effective and professional administration of a hotel that offers a wide range of services (accommodation, restaurant, spa) 

* Cloud system 

   

Solution: 

Three systems from the HotelTime Solutions’ portfolio became the basis of the Losehill House operation, namely HotelTime PMS, Vento POS, and Libero, software for wellness.

The wide range of hotel services is now managed by systems that belong under one platform which brings the hotel the advantage of perfectly interconnected systems. In practice, it means that: 

1) management has at its disposal complex reporting covering all hotel services (systems share information with one another), 

2) guests can order services online by themselves – for example, they can book time in the spa (even before arrival) or order food from the restaurant directly from the room, 

3) ordered services (restaurant, spa) can be credited to the guest’s hotel room account, etc.

 

Hotel’s needs: 

* Implementation of third-party systems 

* Make use of the potential that the available software has to offer 

 

Solution: 

With previous systems, it was impossible for Losehill House to implement for example a channel manager or any other third-party system which improves hotels’ operation. This has changed with the decision to switch to HotelTime Solutions’ systems which as being an open platform allow hotels to implement third-party software.

First of all, the revenue of the hotel increased almost immediately thanks to the implementation of RMS (Atomize), which optimizes prices (several times a day).

Furthermore, a large amount of manual work that the hotel staff had to do was eliminated. Thanks to the perfectly functioning integration between HotelTime PMS and other systems, a lot of tasks are now done automatically (e.g., updating information about free hotel capacities thanks to SiteMinder channel manager, communication with guests before arrival thanks to GuestJoy, price updates, etc.). Thanks to this, the hotel staff can focus on the guests’ needs.

The overall operation of the hotel has been simplified thanks to AeroGuest, whose application allows online check-in or installation of mobile keys (by the way, completely contactless operation of the place is a great advantage in times of COVID-19 waves).

How PMSs help mobile applications push hospitality forward

Guests’ satisfaction has been dependent on the work of hotel employees for a long time. However, hotels may not have enough staff (a common phenomenon today) or they may encounter understandable staff limits (people are not reachable nonstop or can be slow, etc.). This can lead to problematic situations such as check-in queues or insufficient communication with guests. 

Therefore, the dependency of guest satisfaction on the performance of the staff only may not be the best possible solution for a hotel. Especially nowadays, when there is an option to supplement the work of hotel employees with available systems. Mobile applications, software designed to improve the care that guests receive in hotels, are a typically great support for the work of staff. 

But it’s not just about mobile applications, the story of service improvements begins (traditionally) with PMSs.

PMS and third-party systems

Several systems are available for hotels. However, in order for their operation to develop thanks to the use of these systems, it is necessary to connect them “to solid foundations”, i.e. a good PMS. Not only because PMS simplifies hotel administration and increases its efficiency, but also because it gathers lots of information that third-party systems need to use. That’s why, for the good of the hotels, the responsibilities of PMSs should include “openness”, which means they should be enabling integrations with third-party software. 

But not all PMSs work that way. In many places, it is a standard even today to use PMS which does not support integration. Such a hotel then becomes a “prisoner” of its own system and deprives itself of the possibility to move its services forward. On the other hand, this situation is ideal for PMS itself, it keeps the client in hand and does not let third-party software in. At the same time, the PMS tries to provide everything the hotelier needs through its native functions. But that will never work, PMSs cannot do everything. On the other hand, what they can (and must) be capable of, is collecting data and providing it to integrated systems. 

Quality comes first

Not using the data provided by PMS limits the hotel’s potential and profits. Problems may arise in various places – dissatisfied guests may wait a long time for check-in, staff may spend endless hours manually entering and processing data or sending emails to guests. But we can solve or even prevent all such problems today – thanks to mobile applications for example. 

Mobile applications complement (or substitute) the work of hotel staff. Just as hotel staff, mobile applications are guests’ company during the hotel trip, they only differ in the sense that some of them are “with the guests” throughout the whole stay whereas some accompany them just through part of it. 

But why does the choice of PMS matter when it comes to mobile applications? Because the quality of the integration is of the essence. The more features the mobile application has, the more data needs to be transmitted and the more complex integration has to be built. It is still true that PMSs must be an open platform (providing APIs and integrating third-party systems) but that’s just half of the story. They must also be able to build complex integrations, i.e. exchange data with complex systems such as AeroGuest, a mobile application that is with guests from booking to check-out. The amount of data this system needs is huge. The quality of integration is crucial.

One small step for a hotelier, one giant leap for a hotel

As was said, the mobile application may accompany guests during part of their stay or take care of them from the journey’s start to its end. The choice of specific application(s) for a hotel depends on the hotelier – whether he wants to enable online check-in, install mobile locks on doors, automate communication with guests, increase revenue by supporting upselling, etc.

In the category of systems that are with the guest “from start till the end”, we can find applications such as AeroGuest, which is a system that allows online check-in/out, online payment for a hotel room, an upgrade of hotel room via mobile phone, upselling or installation of mobile locks. The second category consists of applications (GuestJoy, MyStay, Upsellguru), which focus on part of the journey of hotel guests, that means for example on automation of communication with guests, enabling online check-in, or increasing the effectiveness of upselling. 

But if we distinguish the systems only according to how big part of the guest’s journey they can take care of, we remain too superficial. It is important to look deeper, for example, at the level of automation that various applications bring to hotels. 

There is a huge difference between online check-in meaning only pre-filling in the information or meaning taking care of the whole process via mobile phone (and thus not having to come to the front desk upon arrival) or between having to pick up a door key/card or not (and thus going straight to the room after arrival). Guests can also spot a difference between the possibility of ordering extra services or upgrading the room directly through the mobile application and the situation in which the application just informs guests and they have to write an email or ask someone in order to get some of the available services. 

It depends only on the hotelier which solution he picks. But whatever his preferences, the way to open the hotel to third-party systems must begin with the right choice of PMS. Its selection is a giant leap for the entire hotel, as it is the basis for the proper functioning of third-party systems that then take staff work and guests’ experience to the next level. That brings us back to the beginning. The more complex the application, the better integration a hotel needs. If a hotelier chooses the right PMS, his only limitations when picking mobile applications are his own preferences.

Why Customers Love HotelTime Support? Martina, the Head of the Department, Explains

The customer support department is something HotelTime Solutions is really proud of. Our clients can entirely rely on the support team and regularly appreciate their work. The department provides support in several languages. It is possible to contact them in Czech, English, and other specific languages used in the areas where HotelTime operates, namely for example in Thai, Slovak, or Sinhala.

The customer support department has undergone several changes during history and is constantly improving. Thanks to that and thanks to the people who create the team, it is now truly one of the (many) benefits that HotelTime Solutions bring to its clients.

The customer support team is managed by Martina Durtova, who is celebrating her 10th anniversary at HotelTime this year. During that time, she has built a great department.

In an interview, Martina explains the secrets to the success of the HotelTime support department, speaks about how it all started, and about the current team’s plans.

Before we start talking about HotelTime customer support, tell me, Martina, how did you get the position in the first place?

At first, I worked in a hotel, which was a very time-consuming job. I left that position and started to work for a cosmetics company which put me on the other side of the barricade. I stopped working in hospitality and became a host in hotels. Then when I wanted to move forward again, I wanted to go back to the hospitality industry. At that time, HotelTime was looking for someone for the support team, I liked it, so I applied and they chose me for the position.

Was the whole customer support department being created?

It already existed but at the very beginning we only had a small office, and we dealt with every little thing our clients needed. We were providing support during all the stages of implementation. There were just two of us at that time and we had no system at all, no established internal procedures, so we had to communicate with each other practically non-stop. But it was a pleasure to work with my colleague, I learned a lot from him.

What did you learn? Some technical knowledge for example?

Yes, the technical side of things was part of what he taught me. It was important. The support department needs to understand the product, the purpose of each function, the practice of hotels, and the technical complexity of a specific problem. At the same time, we must take into account the fact that we provide a comprehensive solution and we have a lot of integration with third-party software. This means that we have a very comprehensive knowledge base about our partner companies as well. We build close relationships with some of them and work together to support customers so they do not have to act as an intermediary in communication. Because of that, it was important for me to start thinking outside of the box, which means to keep in mind our products, but also the knowledge about systems that are integrated with us. We have to manage all this information and at the same time not start doing the work that support of a third-party system should be doing.

How does your department work in practice?

We knew from the beginning that we didn’t want to be any kind of call center support. We also wanted clients to be able to help themselves in the first stage so they would not need to contact us. So, I chose software that in the first place allowed us to collect support tickets from all possible channels – email, chat, phone, or website. And secondly, it allowed us to create a customer support web page where we have a database of FAQs, various manuals, and information that are regularly updated. It can be searched by keywords, and it can also be found by searching on Google.

And what about the management of the team?

We have an internal system that sets instructions about what exactly should happen with the tickets we receive, and the team is divided into three levels. Each has its own work. As a whole, it makes perfect sense. We use great software to collect requests from clients and internally we have a set of rules saying what should happen with each one of these requests. The rules and processes speed up our work. Even though we do not have any agreements with our clients concerning the time for response, I know that the team answers in a matter of hours. They even have a timer set that makes sure everyone reacts on time. The result is that we solve 80% of the requirements at the first time of asking, which is great. But it’s not just about processes, of course, you also must take care of the people in your team.

That is true, especially for you. Your team does a job that consists of dealing with problems all time long. It must be difficult.

It can be quite frustrating, so I talk to them regularly. We discuss work and personal things as well. I try to assign them tasks that match their personality and preferences. At the same time, I try to be creative and break their work routine. Typically, I come up with some competitions, so they compete in who answers the tickets the fastest for example. I enjoy it when they have fun and want to participate.

In addition to a functioning team and well-established internal processes, is there anything else behind the fact that you have such great results?

On top of what you said I would mention that we understand our clients. That’s because everyone in the support team must have experience in working in a hotel. It allows us to have an individual approach to clients. We do not use any prepared answers. That’s the first thing I want to add. And secondly, I would point out the fact that people stay in the team for a long time. It has even happened repeatedly in the past that someone has started in the support team and then after some time moved to another position in the company. The fact that they stay for a long time means that they have a great amount of knowledge about our software. These people do their job very well and even help to train new colleagues.

What are you working on right now?

We have a new customer success program, which is an extension of regular customer support. This program is part of HotelTime license so is available for all our clients. Its purpose is to take care of our customers in a very targeted way. We know that each property is different and within this program, we want to find out how our clients use our software and its functions and give them advice on possible improvements. It is reverse support I would say; a customer success program means that we are actively approaching our clients. We explain to them which features can enrich their operation process or guest experience.

Towards Humanless Revenue Management: The Role of PMSs

Homo Sapiens or Homo Algorithmus?

According to McKinsey, AI-based pricing can deliver between $259.1B to $500B in global market value. But the critical question remains: can Revenue Management be completely automated? The answer is: theoretically, yes, but, in practice, things are a little more nuanced. But let’s step back for a second and try to reword the original question, at least slightly: should Revenue Management be completely automated? The answer, in this case, is a big, resonating, capital letter YES. A recent study by MIT-BHI showed that companies that “undertook AI-driven pricing transformations achieved more than $100 million of revenue improvement 70% more often than companies that focused on another area.”

Self-learning algorithms are evolving fast, becoming highly sophisticated, and they already have a high impact on operational efficiencies and increased yield. As a result, there is no doubt that the future of revenue management will be fully automated,” says Alexander Edström, CEO, Atomize.

The pieces of evidence are all around us, and not only in travel. Some examples? Amazon uses artificial intelligence to drive dynamic pricing; Starbucks adopts predictive analytics based on its data from over 90 million weekly transactions, and multinationals such as Coca-Cola or Johnson & Johnson have been using AI pricing for years. During the 2019 edition of the Revenue Management & Pricing in Services Conference, hosted by the prestigious Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Kevin Hof, Data Scientist at RoomPriceGenie, shared several case studies where hotels experienced an average of 22% increase in revenue by adopting RMSs, and similar results can be found on dozens of similar publications.

The hospitality industry is very fragmented when it comes to tech adoption and AI implementation in revenue management. Many hoteliers are still very protective of their own pricing and strategy; they believe that their historical knowledge and gut feelings know better than any algorithm. The truth is: that they don’t trust what they don’t necessarily know, understand, and cannot control (like a Human Revenue Manager). That’s when tech Vs. human becomes a dilemma, and that’s when we need to go back to basics and work on the “tech it easy:” step by step education followed by measurable results. Revenue Management is a hybrid human+tech cooperation, and the future is already now,” says Silvia Cantarella, Commercial Strategy Expert & Founder Revenue Acrobats.

PMSs, GIGO, and adoption blockers

Based on these facts, we can all agree that autonomous intelligence (in the sense of automation of price decision-making processes with little or no human intervention) is likely the direction towards where revenue management is headed. However, this is not going to be particularly easy, and not (or, at least, not only) because modern RMSs are not up to the task, but because, oftentimes, PMSs’ are the real adoption-blockers. GIGO is a concept most revenue managers know way too well: the quality of the output is determined by the quality of the input. Garbage data in produces nonsensical (garbage data) outputs. And RMSs’ rely heavily on PMSs’ data. These systems can fail to provide the correct information for a number of reasons:

  1. Human data entry errors. That’s the main issue when it comes to PMSs’ accuracy. Frighteningly enough, the error rate in clinical data repositories can be as high as 27% and, in our industry, a study by eHotelier pointed out that up 50% of hotel databases are either corrupted or incomplete;We need to rethink market segmentation or rate architecture with data quality in mind. Data need to be actionable and allow us to effortlessly and effectively uncover opportunities. But more than anything, the setup needs to prevent data entry errors,” says Christoph Hütter, non-traditional Revenue Manager.
  2. Poor API design. Tyler Charboneau calls this the Instant Gratification Trap“: “This potential short-term gain is attractive.” Charboneau says, “we can discuss the ideological war between engineering and marketing, (and) chasing instant gratification is understandable, but dangerous. It’s like developing a tentpole API when your core services really require thick rebar. Ideally, the design process would include thorough stress testing and optimization. Reliability is also crucial.It’s not uncommon for PMS companies to heavily market how “open” their systems are, yet we should remember that quality always beats quantity when it comes to integrations. We cannot stress this enough;One thing that is often forgotten, when the benefits of RMS systems are calculated, is the RM maturity of the organization. Installing any simplest algorithms will bring great returns when you start from zero revenue-mamagement-know-how. I have unfortunately witnessed a top RMS with poor human setup run property market share below its quality position due to poor know-how on RM strategy,” says Hanna Lak, Tourism Knowledge Management and Total Revenue Ambassador,  Founder Nordic Revenue Forum.
  3. Lack of functionalities on the PMS. Well, this is quite obvious, yet, if your property management system has not been developed to collect a specific piece of data, the RMS (and even the human revenue manager, for that matter) will not be able to pull the proverbial rabbit out of their hats.While we still largely discuss room revenue where the data granularity from a PMS is pivotal and where automation should already be the status quo, the industry should focus on total revenue management, investing on how to integrate data from different revenue sources (the so-called ancillary revenues, such as SPA, golf, food outlets, etc.) into one solution, a single source of truth,” says Damiano Zennaro, Hospitality Senior Advisor.

To automate or not to automate? Act 3, Scene 1

Full automation of your revenue management strategy is tempting. Not only because it can (and usually does) increase your overall revenue, but because it also dramatically reduces costs. The average salary for a revenue manager is $81,399 per year in the United States, while an entry-level RMSs’ cost $50 per month. Well, you do the math. 

Given that a typical hotel will make roughly five million pricing decisions every year, it is not humanly possible for any revenue manager to get every decision right, every day, without the support of an automated system. Especially considering the sheer volume of data to be gathered and analyzed. A robust RMS not only generates prices that adapt to market changes but actually anticipates these variations in advance. In a changing hotel market, slight pricing changes can have a big impact on demand. Therefore, any hotelier operating without systems that can analytically decipher the impacts of a specific price change on occupancy and the resulting revenue benefit (or lack thereof) for their property is operating at a disadvantage,” says Klaus Kohlmayr, Chief Evangelist & Development Officer, IDeaS.

Moreover, revenue managers can rely less and less on historical data, especially after the pandemic. In this new paradigm, external data (such as weather reports or public events information) became crucial for a solid RM strategy. First, however, humans have to collect and aggregate them, bringing us to square to problem #1. But these data could automatically be retrieved on services such as OpenWeatherMap, Picatic, or Allevents.in. They’re, literally, one API away.

Typically revenue management systems (RMS) and revenue managers use historical, comp set pricing and market data and combine this with forward-looking demand signals like pacing to recommend the optimum rates. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, historical data has become irrelevant. I also believe comp set pricing data has also diminished in value – how sure are you that your competitors are competent in their revenue management practices and use the right RM tools and not just plagiarizing each other’s rates in a suicidal downward spiral?

The need to adjust the property’s rates dynamically, based on real-time travel demand, is the reason why the pandemic put an end to the most favorite revenue management tool: the Excel spreadsheet – and created the urgent need for an AI-powered cloud RMS to handle the complexities of the post-pandemic era,” says Max Starkov, Hospitality & Online Travel Tech Consultant & Strategist.

Conclusions: where do we go now?

A recent pricing maturity assessment conducted by BCG and the Professional Pricing Society, revealed that more than 50% of all industrial goods companies still use Microsoft Excel to build their primary pricing tools.

It’s clear an AI-powered RMS with human supervision is an essential starting point for today’s hotelier.  As revenue tech moves closer towards marketing functions we should expect to see more integrations between the RMS and marketing tools to optimize the guest journey on the hotel website, on the guest mobile device, and other important digital touchpoints that are currently ‘out of reach’ for today’s RMS solutions in isolation,” says Erik Muñoz, Chief Revenue Officer, Userguest.

It’s not surprising, because revenue managers often are forced to fill the blanks with the little information they have, and that’s mainly the vendors’ fault and responsibility. However, a new, easier, more effective, and more accurate way of doing revenue management is knocking at our door, and it’s time we all team up and, finally, open it.

RMSs – a modern way to make more money

The technology in hospitality is constantly changing. Currently, the evolution is driven by the rise of cloud-based systems which among other things considerably widens the integration possibilities for hotels. Nowadays hoteliers can choose between various types of systems and build their hotel tech stack according to each hotel’s needs. Revenue Management Systems (RMSs) are one of these types.

Although they are very closely related to PMSs (most of them need to be integrated with a PMS to work correctly), and they help hoteliers increase their hotels’ revenue significantly, RMSs are not yet commonly implemented. Speaking from our experience, most of HotelTime Solutions’ clients don’t use a revenue management system. But regardless of this, we think there will be a time when almost every hotel will implement one.

The invention and functions of RMSs 

Simply said, RMSs help hoteliers set up and optimize rates. Historically this was done differently – a hotel would set prices for the upcoming year and would publish them through available channels which meant typically a travel agency catalogue or a GDS connection.  Because the catalogues could not change during the year and there was no online distribution, prices had to be set as fixed. 

After some time, hotel technology evolved and with the rise of OTAs the number of channels where hotels published the prices increased. Hotels still signed contracts with travel agencies (with fixed, net rates), but they also published pricing through OTAs simultaneously. Later, channel managers came which enabled hotels to sell rooms through many more OTAs at the same time. Thanks to this, hotels became more visible, and people started to book rooms directly online via hotel websites or various channels like Booking.com.

Online distribution also allowed hotels to change their rates even daily, as there was no fixed contract managing prices for the whole year. Hotels have realised the potential in optimising their rates based on demand (or expected demand) and started employing Revenue Managers – people responsible for setting and updating prices to maximise total revenue of the hotel. But because making these decisions was becoming more and more complex, Revenue Management Systems were created to make the work of Revenue Managers easier and more accurate. 

Compared to Revenue Managers, RMSs can make better pricing decisions and also make them more often (even a couple of times a day). RMSs are also able to consider more data points and more complicated factors than a human being. The priority of hoteliers could be now shifted from maximising occupancy (for fixed prices) to setting the right rate for each night and therefore maximising total revenue. 

Types of RMSs

Not all RMSs are the same. They differ quite a lot. Depending on their features we can divide them into three groups: 

  1. We call the first type “rule-based RMSs”. These RMSs change the price per night according to pre-set rules or criteria. Rule-based RMSs differ according to the complexity of rules that can be set. A relatively simple rule would be changing the price according to the occupancy of a room type. A more complex rule can be, for example, considering the pricing of competitors. Rule-based RMSs may or may not be connected to the PMS (if so, it is typically a 1-way connection) to get more information about the hotel’s inventory (amount of total and available rooms per room type).
  1. The second type is a more complex kind of RMS which takes multiple data points into account and can make significantly more complex decisions. The data points considered could typically be: competitors’ pricing, booking pace and pick-up of reservations, performance compared to the past, and expected future demand (e.g. will there be an event taking place in the area?). These RMSs would also consider hotel segmentation as a factor, such as a group or corporate bookings. That is why this type of RMS typically needs to have a solid 2-way integration with the PMS that provides it with complex booking and inventory data while the PMS can receive updated prices back.
  1. The third type is the most complex one where the RMS would make the most complex decisions, typically for the largest hotels or resorts. These very complex systems are able to consider many more data points, including other (non-accommodation) revenue centres, calculate group displacement costs (decide if accepting a large group is desirable or not), or consider the hotel’s budget and P&L. These types of RMSs will always have a very complex integration with PMS and possibly other systems providing various data points.  

Benefits brought by RMSs 

There are two main benefits of using an RMS. 

Firstly, an RMS can set prices very effectively based on a lot of different data – the amount of data it is considering depends on the concrete type of RMS – which can maximize the total revenue.

Secondly, an RMS helps Revenue Managers with day-to-day decisions, saving them a lot of time they would need to evaluate data manually and helping them make sure pricing decisions are as effective as possible to achieve planned revenue.  

HotelTime Solutions and RMSs 

At HotelTime Solutions, we believe that RMSs will become an essential part of a future hotel tech stack. We also believe that a complex 2-way integration with PMSs is essential to maximise any RMS potential. That’s why we have, as an open platform, developed a set of APIs available for RMS partners to use, are already integrated with various RMSs, and are committed to integrating more in the future.

Nowadays we have partnered with the following RMSs: Atomize, OutPerform, D-EDGE, RateGain and HotelPartner while we are continuously talking to more potential partners to offer a wide range of RMSs to our customers. 

Case Study – Asten Hotels

HotelTime Solutions software has enabled Asten Hotels to manage all properties more flexibly, automate internal processes, and it also minimized manual work allowing personnel to devote maximum time to guests. 

Main benefits 

  • easier and more flexible management thanks to the accessibility of the system from anywhere 
  • reduced costs for IT administration 
  • modern and efficient operation of hotels thanks to great possibilities of integration with other systems 
  • more automation, less manual work, and more time for guests 

 Originally 

  • legacy on-site system 
  • significant IT and server costs 
  • limited integration and automation possibilities 
  • complicated group reporting 
  • complicated remote access to on-site systems in hotels 
  • a large amount of time spent doing manual work 

About Asten Hotels 

Asten Hotels is a chain of 5 boutique hotels that are located in Prague and Špindlerův Mlýn. Asten Hotels focus both on individual and corporate guests and offer first-class service to meet the demand of these guests who can also enjoy many great F&B and Spa outlets.

“After years of experiences with other PMSs, HotelTime Solutions’ system was the first cloud-based we decided to try. Our 5 properties in Prague and Špindlerův Mlýn rely on it, and we are all completely satisfied. The degree of automation that their software provides (for example in the form of automatic payments) saves a lot of time for all our staff who can pay full attention to our guests.”

Jiří Gajdošík
Managing Partner, Asten Hotels

Asten Hotels and HotelTime 

Efficiency 

HotelTime Solutions software has brought Asten Hotels‘ management the level of efficiency required, especially when travelling between hotels. Because it is cloud-based software, information from all properties is available from anywhere, both via PC and via mobile phone. Management can therefore make decisions based on up-to-date information and is also able to consider reports the software creates that can be adapted to their needs. 

But it’s not just the management of Asten Hotels that benefits from greater efficiency brought by HotelTime PMS. In practice, a cloud-based solution also means having a shared database of guests. The hotels’ staff, therefore, has one place where all data about guests from all 5 hotels are saved – including their previous stays and preferences. These Information are shared amongst hotels and thank to that all personnel have a perfect overview of guests and their needs. This allows hotel staff to provide the best service possible and it also speeds up check-in/out processes. 

Integrations 

The change of PMS and the transition to a cloud-based solution meant a great step forward for Asten Hotels. Since HotelTime PMS is an open platform, it enabled better integration options. Asten Hotels have decided to use D-EDGE channel manager. D-EDGE & HotelTime PMS offer 2-way interface (1 or 1.5-way is also possible) which enables a fully automatic transfer of inventory, pricing and reservation data between the PMS and platforms such as Booking.com. In addition, D-EDGE also enables payment automation.  

Automation 

Thanks to HoteTime PMS, Asten Hotels could start automating payments. The integration of HotelTime PMS to D-EDGE channel manager allows the PMS to receive and tokenize credit card numbers. Thanks to that, credit cards can be automatically pre-authorized and/or payments can be automatically taken at a pre-set time. The staff does not have to set payments manually, which saves a lot of time and significantly speeds up the hotel processes.  

Also, the follow-up procedure is automated. HotelTime PMS is connected to the accounting software and automatically sends all accounting information to this software removing the need to input data manually. 

In addition, HotelTime PMS and our e-concierge application enable automation of the check-in process. Guests can check-in online and avoid delays at the reception. 

Automation is an important step for a chain of luxurious properties such as Asten Hotels which provides services primarily focused on the guests and their maximum satisfaction. Automation minimizes manual work of the staff, who can then focus more on their guests – which means both the staff and the guests benefit.

The perks of payment automation

The simplification of payments is one of the signs of the world we live in. As customers, visitors or guests, we barely need to carry cash as we handle our money with a mere wave of a card next to the machine. But this experience could be even more frictionless if the payments were automatic. And that is precisely what HotelTime offers – automatic payments for hotels that do not bother staff or guests.

The process is pretty simple – guests book an accommodation (typically online),  fill in the payment details, and from that moment on, everything runs automatically.

For the hotel itself, this means that it gets the money without -literally- having to lift a finger. There is no need to write down the card number or to set the payment manually. Instead, the system takes the card information the guest provided, saves this information, and then automatically charges (or preauthorizes) the card according to the rules set in the PMS.

Saving the card information (card tokenization) is a completely secure process. The card number is hidden, and the system is PCI compliant.

As the payments run automatically, it assures zero error rate. Therefore, in practice, the hotel staff does not have to solve a problem with denied payment from a virtual card or a wrong payment from a regular card.

The only moment someone has to say anything else than “enjoy your stay” and must ask for the guests‘ card is when they come with no previous reservation. But in this situation, as well, the process is pretty simple and secure – the hotel employee just enters the card number into the system, and everything runs automatically.

Last but not least, a crucial aspect is that thanks to payment automatization, the hotel has the card information saved and can use it for other payments – for example, when a guest needs to pay for the goods from the minibar.

All these advantages lead to higher work efficiency because the receptionists do not waste the hotel’s precious time punching in numbers but -instead- can be fully concentrated on the guests’ wishes.

That means not just the hotel but also the personnel benefits from the payment automatization. As they do not need to ask guests to present their credit cards or write down the numbers, the check-in/out process becomes fast and smooth. Therefore, the staff does not have to deal with overloaded reception. And that is not just because of the automatization of the payment process; the invoices are automatically sent as well.

The system does everything on its own; employees do less manual work -ergo- make fewer mistakes and have more time for guests.

Finally, automatic payment systems bring significant advantages for the guests themselves. As the hotel staff is more effective, the processes in the hotel are faster, and guests do not need to wait indefinitely for check-in/out. They are also less bothered at the reception because they are not asked to present their credit card and thus, their satisfaction is guaranteed.

The system ensures security for them, too. They can be sure that the payment information they provided will not be misused in any way.

So, to cut a long story short, one very small step in the form of payment automatization means a considerable improvement of the hotel services and a significant move towards the future.

 

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