When running a hotel or resort, you’re going to make mistakes. Double booking a suite, not having a unit ready in time for a guest or even being overheard calling a customer a choice name or two! At that point, you just put up your hands, own the error and move on.
However, believing you have made a mistake when choosing your hotel or resort management software system is not something you can move on from so easily. Instead, of suffering from the decision, it would help if you focused on what’s not working and took an audit, looking for the signs, and confirmation, that you have made the wrong choice.
Only then can you accept the mistake and make the necessary changes to put your hotel or resort on the right track again.
But how do you know that you’ve made a mistake with your management software and that, even with additional training, it’s time to make a change? Here are six signs from Dan Taylor at Capterra that you need to look out for.
1 Their customer service isn’t responsive.
Customer service, both good and bad, is the number one area that business owners mention regarding hotel and resort management software.
According to GrooveHQ, 86 per cent of customers will pay more for a better customer experience. And with good reason.
When there is a problem, and there will be problems, you can’t afford to be left on your own to manage it. Having access to adequate and supportive customer service at any time of day can mitigate problems before they spiral out of your control.
Taylor explains: “If your software provider is in a different time zone, and you have an emergency outside their operating hours, you may only have email support. This might be satisfactory if you have a technical team in-house, but not if you need more handholding through the issue”.
If you feel like their customer service isn’t supportive enough for your team, it might be time to look for alternatives that offer 24/7 responsive customer service.
2 Too much clicking
If the software doesn’t make your life easier and streamlines your business processes, then it’s not good software.
While it is great to have sophistication and complexity available built-in, if daily tasks involve endless drop-down menus, buttons and forms with no shortcuts, then it is not simplifying your life.
Consider how many clicks are required to move from the dashboard to reservations. As a hotel or resort manager, this is something your team are doing time and time again.
Find out the following:
- Is the reservation process too complex?
- Is the user interface user-friendly or poorly designed?
- How many clicks are required to move from reservations to other aspects of the software, such as scheduling housekeeping?
If the feedback you are receiving from your team is that it’s just too complicated and mistakes are being made, it’s a red flag telling you to find an alternative.
3 Software doesn’t integrate with third-party sites
The dominance of OTAs is well documented – despite the hefty commissions they charge. Although there is a resurgence in direct bookings, websites such as Priceline and Booking.com are still popular because of price.
Indeed, research from SoftInn identified that 85 per cent of travelers say that price is the most important factor when booking their accommodations.
So, your management software must offer integrations with these third-party booking sites. If not, you may be managing this process manually which is prone to human error – or even missing out on potential bookings.
4 Not mobile-friendly or responsive
Fact – your software must work on mobile. Not only because this is where your customers are undertaking their research, comparisons and reservations. But it also allows you and your staff to be more agile and responsive too.
You will quickly know if there is an issue with the mobile responsiveness of your software when your customers complain about the booking process on their phones. Or they get to your site and bounce off it immediately.
Your staff might also be tied to their desks because they can’t access what they need when they are away from their desks, or the experience is too frustrating.
If your customers are turning away because your website is not responsive and your staff are hindered and infuriated, then it’s time for a change.
5 Software bugs and problems
Does your system regularly gets bogged down with bugs, glitches, frozen screens, and speed issues? Do you have to restart the program, avoid certain features and find workarounds?
Constantly battling with your software is going to frustrate your team and your customers. So instead, speak with your provider and arrange an engineer’s visit or call support to see if they can provide a long-term solution. And if this is not possible, it’s time to find an alternative.
6 Too expensive?
When choosing software, price shouldn’t be the deciding factor. However, if you need specific functionality for your hotel or resort, you may need to select the more expensive option. And a smooth-running, glitch-free operation means that you can focus on other aspects of your operation.
However, if you spend a considerable amount on software each month, your profit margins may be too small to justify expensive software. And, if you have to pay for additional upgrades and enhancements because they aren’t included in your package, this will have a net negative effect.
Your software needs to reflect the type of operation that you manage. For example, if you have a 10-room hotel, your software needs will differ from a large vacation ownership resort, actively marketing and selling and with a wealth of amenities.
Consider cloud-based options which can provide scale and cost-savings or free and open-source management software. They may meet your needs.
If you have identified some red flags, then it’s time to take action. Research your options, contact your current provider and begin exploring alternatives.
Over the coming months, we will be adding hotel and resort management software options to the IHS Supplier Network, so when you’re ready to make a move, check out our listings.