Purchasing a hotel automation system: Tips to make the right choice

As is the case with finding any solution, the first step is acknowledging and identifying the problem. 

Managing your hotel manually is a BIG problem. Managing your hotel via a multitude of systems that may or may not communicate with each other is also a big problem.

A hotel automation system can certainly make all these worries disappear, but it’s important to choose a system that enables your business in the best way possible, so you have total control over the way it’s managed.

Choosing a system that you feel confident in requires a lot of market research to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the various providers you could consider partnering with.

This page will help you identify what you need to look for in a hotel automation system and what bases you should ensure a potential provider can cover for your hotel.

What’s the best hotel automation system?

You need a robust hotel automation system that can help you handle all the operational processes at your property. Think about the major tasks you need to handle and find a solution that can deliver on all of them to dramatically reduce your workload, so you can manage your property quicker and with more clarity.

These capabilities include:

  • Processing reservations
  • Checking-in and checking-out guests
  • Manage guest booking details and guest profiles
  • Managing inventory, rates, and availability
  • Organising housekeeping tasks and schedule
  • Processing transactions such as payments, deposits, and refunds
  • Owning guest communications
  • Managing property maintenance
  • Generating business performance reports
  • Handling front office accounting

Listing all this out is kind of amazing – since you’ll realise how much work you were doing by yourself before. It will be very satisfying to lighten the load and transfer all of it into one centralised system where you can setup and manage your hotel operations at the click of a button.

These must-have features might not be promised by every provider so make sure you refer back to them during your research.

We think Little Hotelier is the best solution for your hotel because it was created specifically with small accommodation providers in mind. It understands the needs of your business and works on delivering the essential features and automation to make life easier and more profitable at your hotel.

Hotel automation products: What are your options?

There are countless systems across the hotel industry that automate processes, but many of them are one-dimensional. You might need to purchase three or more separate products to really feel like you’re on top of your property management. 

So in this respect you have plenty of options that include:

  • Property management systems
  • Online booking engines
  • Channel managers
  • Payment solutions

It doesn’t make sense to run so many systems at once when there’s a better option; getting it all in one!

In the case of Little Hotelier’s all-in-one automation system you not only get a property management system (also known as a front desk system), but you have the option of also gaining an online booking engine, integrated channel manager, website design software, and a payments solution.

This kind of product offering will prove a lot easier for a small business like yours because everything you need is included in one seamless package. All the systems are automatically integrated and are designed to share data via two-way connections. This means you only have to do something once and everything will be updated automatically (and instantly).

With this is mind, it’s extremely important to compare providers. The best way is to check industry-related review sites such as Hotel Tech Report

Here you’ll discover a whole range of metrics that detail the quality of many hotel automation systems, such as:

  • Likelihood to be recommended
  • Quality of customer support
  • Ease of use
  • Functionality
  • ROI
  • Value for money
  • Integration capability
  • Implementation process

Written customer reviews from your peers will be available so you can get a tangible sense of what other hoteliers think of a particular system. This type of feedback is valuable so you can compare your own priorities with what others have said about a product.

Social media is another important avenue for checking out reviews and discovering how positively a brand is viewed in general.

How to choose a system for automation at your hotel

There are many factors to weigh up when selecting the best hotel automation system(s) for your hotel. Once you understand exactly what you want, you can make not of what features and requirements are non-negotiable.

To help narrow it down think about these questions:

  • Is it more than one system?

An all-in-one solution that includes a PMS, channel manager and booking engine is by far the best option for small hotels.

  • Is payment processing included?

An integrated payments solution is invaluable for your property because it will allow you to process payments, deposits, and refunds quickly and easily within the product environment.

  • Is pricing flexible?

You don’t want to sign onto a system that has lock-in contracts or rigid fees. The individual nature of your property should be taken into account when it comes to billing.

  • Is the customer support.. supportive?

When you need help you’re going to need it quickly which means local support in your timezone and language is imperative. 

  • Are reviews positive?

The words of current or past users carry a lot of water and knowing if people have been happy with their experience should be a significant indicator for you when deciding on your provider.

  • Does a free trial exist?

Trialling and becoming familiar with hotel automation systems is essential. It’s likely you’ll never look back once you begin using one but it’s important to be sure.

A no-risk free trial is particularly important because it means you don’t have to wait around wondering how long it will be before you see the results of operating and paying for a new service. During your free trial phase all the setup and training will be covered and by the time it’s over you will have already seen how much an automation system can help your hotel. It’s also why you can feel so confident about making the final purchase decision.

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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