It may just sound like a confusing buzzword but there are many advantages that cloud-based technology, or cloud computing, can offer your small business. In this blog we’ll give you a full rundown of how it can help, but we also want to touch on how it all works.

What is cloud technology?

The simplest way to describe cloud technology is that it replaces your need for notebooks, whiteboards, excel spreadsheets and any other manual tools you use.

Cloud technology stores and processes data and information on the internet rather than any physical space such as a notebook, desktop computer, or hard drive. Using the internet means this data can be accessed anytime from anywhere, on any device, while still remaining secure (if you’re using a trusted, secure, host). A simple example is if you’ve ever used and edited a Google document, stored photos on your iPhone, or used Gmail; you’ve used the cloud.

All you need to use cloud technology is a strong internet connection, you don’t even need wi-fi if you have a good 3G or 4G mobile phone connection.

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How does cloud technology work for small hotels?

Now you know what it is, here’s how it helps.

For small hotels using property management systems, channel managers, and booking engines, the cloud enables data and information to be stored and shared between them. For example, if a guest books a room on your website, the booking engine will send a message to the channel manager to update inventory on all channels. A message is also sent to the property management system so that reservations can be updated in real-time. All of this takes place without the need of human intervention.

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The main focus for operators like you is on hospitality; attending to guests and engaging with the people side of the business. This is why hoteliers are commonly a little behind the curve when it comes to adopting new technology, compared to other industries. Those who wait too long often miss out on new and innovative ways to make the business stronger or increase guest satisfaction.

The advantages of hotel cloud technology

The overarching advantage of cloud technology is that you have all the data you need centralised, always accessible, and working together to make life easier; saving a lot of time in the process.

Some other major benefits include:

Cost effectiveness
Cloud technology requires minimal upfront payment, since you only pay for what you need and operational costs are the responsibility of the provider. You’ll also never have to pay for repairs or replacements, like you do with hardware.

Time-saving and increased productivity
Cloud technology juggles data and automates processes at speed, meaning you can do more in a shorter period of time. Tasks like updating reservations, sending emails, taking payments, or even updating housekeeping schedules can be done in seconds using the cloud, all the while minimising human error.

More control
You decide who can use the system, adding as few or many users as you like. You decide when you want to make changes and it happens instantly.

Safety and security
Because information is stored remotely, there’s far less risk of anything being stolen, lost, or destroyed. With security measures in place to prevent hacking, the data of your property and guests will always be safe with a provider who is PCI DSS compliant.

Track performance and make decisions
Cloud technology uses connectivity and processing that wouldn’t be possible on a single computer, making it much easier for you to track and analyse data. It’s extremely valuable to be able to look at performance and metrics at the click of a button to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. From there you can create pricing plans, loyalty programs, or other ways to increase your profit such as using seasonal promotions or extras.

Remote working
Being released from your front desk to move around your property means you can help guests with tasks like collecting their bags, showing them to breakfast, giving them a quick tour of the building, or anything else they need without missing anything important.

Happier guests
Being able to accurately record guest details and keep them safely stored will allow you to personalise the experience of your guests. A personal touch is a big reason why travellers often return to a property they’ve stayed at previously. Cloud technology such as a property management system makes this much easier to achieve. On top of that you can also give guests a smoother experience with cloud tech, allowing them to check-in and check-out, open their door, make payments, and receive bills via their smartphone.

The standard operating procedure for hotels today is shifting dramatically from using books or spreadsheets to property management systems and channel managers, as business owners recognise the ease at which it can be done and also the increased revenue it can drive.

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Key takeaways

  • Cloud technology stores and processes data and information on the internet replacing things such as appointment books, excel spreadsheets etc.
  • This data can be accessed anytime from anywhere, on any device giving you the freedom to manage your property from anywhere.
  • For properties using property management systems, channel managers, and booking engines, the cloud enables data and information to be shared between them reducing the number of times you have to update the same information.
  • Cloud technology is cost effective, saves time, increases productivity, is secure, can be accessed remotely, allows for strategy development, and creates happier guests.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).