Best online hotel management system

Moving to an online hotel management system is a big step for your business and you personally. Making change can be hard, especially when you’ve been so used to running your property a particular way for a long time.

However, manual methods of managing the daily operations of your hotel are outdated and, as you’ve probably realised, leave you at a disadvantage.

Currently you need to do everything to make sure the business is running smoothly. From managing reservations, to attending to guests, to maintaining the property, you don’t have much time on your hands. The good news is that when you start using your online management system, life will be much easier.

The challenge before this is choosing the best provider for your hotel. The best online hotel management system (otherwise known as a property management system or front desk system) gives you a comprehensive suite of features that are easy to use and affordable.

This page will help you understand everything you need to know about purchasing online systems and make a confident decision.

What to look for in an online hotel reservation management system

If you’ve made the leap and are moving online to manage your backend processes, you may as well leap as far as you can and look for a management system that can do it all. You should be looking for a provider that endeavours to cover all bases for small properties, ensuring you have an automated, centralised hub for your business.

At a minimum, when you invest in an online hotel reservation management system these are the features you should look out for:

  • Ability to process reservations via any channel
  • Checking-in and checking-out guests
  • Create guest profiles and manage guest booking details
  • Control inventory, rates, and availability
  • Organising housekeeping tasks and schedule
  • Processing payments, deposits, and refunds
  • Owning guest communications
  • Managing property maintenance
  • Produce business performance reports
  • Manage front office accounting

It’s a lot of functionality that makes you realise just how much you were doing on your own before, and perhaps what you weren’t doing at all.

This is also just the tip of the iceberg, since you’ll have the option of choosing an all-in-one system. All-in-one systems such as Little Hotelier include more than just a property management system. They can also encompass an integrated channel manager, booking engine, website builder, and payments solution.

If you aren’t familiar with these features here’s a quick rundown:

  • A channel manager allows you to sell and manage your rooms on as many third-party booking sites as you want at the same time. Inventory will be automatically updated across systems when a booking is made.
  • A booking engine allows you to take direct, commission-free, bookings via your website and social media pages.
  • A website builder will create a beautiful, functional, SEO and mobile optimised website for your hotel – integrating with your booking engine.
  • A payments solution will enable you to manage and process payments in your property management system with no need to wrestle with clunky terminals.

The beauty of an all-in-one system is that you have everything you need in one package and all the systems work seamlessly together to make your workload as light as possible.

Free online hotel management system

While you can’t secure an online hotel management system that’s free forever, top providers offer a free trial of their system.

The free trial will enable you to enjoy all the benefits of a product for a set period of time free of charge. You can use this time to learn the system, measure any results, and decide if it provides enough value to your business to warrant an ongoing investment.

In the case of Little Hotelier, you can trial the system for 30 days risk-free. When you express your interest you should be contacted within one business day to get setup; configure your software and begin your training.

After the month is up you can choose to become a billed customer or simply stop using the product. When you do become a paying subscriber there will still be no contract, you’ll simply pay a set monthly fee based on the size of your property.

To see how your property might be priced, visit Little Hotelier’s pricing scale here.

Compare providers of a web based hotel management system

A major benefit to choosing the right system for your hotel is to compare a number of options against each other. Comparing allows you to weigh up the various strengths and weaknesses, and see which products most closely match your priorities.

An easy way to compare providers is to use a review site such as Hotel Tech Report.

Here you can view system profiles with score and ratings covering the likes of:

  • Ease of use
  • Functionality
  • Return on Investment
  • Implementation
  • Integration
  • Price

There will even be recommendations on what type of property the product is most suited to.

One of the most important sections on the website is for user reviews. You’ll be able to read tangible feedback from hoteliers just like you who have listed their pros and cons, along with overall feedback. This is very valuable for you when it comes to making up your mind.

Another way you can compare providers is to visit social media pages. Reviews can be found here, especially on Facebook, and you can also look at how the brand and followers interact with each other. Choosing a reputable, popular, brand, is quite important since it probably means they have been around for a while and can support you.

How to choose an online hotel booking management system

As you research you’ll discover a number of factors you need to weigh up when choosing web, or cloud, based booking management systems. Identifying what you need can be helped by asking yourself some questions in regards to your business goals. 

In general, there are some key traits you might to keep in mind:

  • Is it an all-in-one solution?

This is certainly the best option for small properties who don’t want to deal with multiple systems but still want comprehensive functionality.

  • Is pricing flexible?

Rigid fees and contracts are not something you want. The individual nature of your property should be taken into account and you need freedom of choice.

  • How detailed is support and training?

You need support on hand in your local language and timezone to ensure you’re never left out in the cold if something goes wrong. Adequate training is also vital so make sure you establish this when you start your free trial.

  • Is it appropriate for your property?

It’s always best to choose a provider that was created specifically for your market i.e small hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses etc.

  • Are reviews promising?

Customer reviews are generally very reliable metrics to take into account so look for evidence that people have been happy with their experience.

  • Can you trial the product?

This is a must. It’s simply too risky to go in blind with such a crucial purchase for your business.

See how Little Hotelier can help you!

View a demo of the all-in-one hotel booking management system that is helping small accommodation providers be more efficient everyday.

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