Hotel Software: A Development Guide for Small Hotels and Guesthouses

It’s pretty obvious why large hotel chains need hotel management software for handling their immense workloads. Yet small properties like boutique hotels and guesthouses experience a similar need for streamlining and automating a plethora of tasks.

The problem lies in the fact that out-of-the-box hotel management systems, which may perfectly suit hotel giants, are only partially applicable to smaller hospitality market players. Small hotels and guesthouses need custom solutions to help them manage bookings, accounting, front desk, and back-office processes, often handled by only several team members.

Despite the corona crisis, today the number of small hospitality companies in the US has almost reached five thousand. In 2021, the earnings of boutique hotels and guesthouses in the US are expected to exceed $18 billion.

Obviously, this growing market needs property management systems to help hotel owners reach their business goals while maintaining the highest standards of service and creating memorable guest experiences.

In this blog, we will talk about the advantages of hotel management systems for small hotel industry players, and explore the must-have features of a custom hotel PMS. Read on to learn more!

Defining hotel management systems

The hospitality sector is embracing digitization. As the number of smartphone and Internet users grows, more and more guests are starting to enjoy and prefer digital experiences. These customers use hotel reservation software and recommendation services for finding and booking hotels. They also love using digital means of communicating with the hotel personnel, helping navigate through different activities during their visit and leave testimonials on social networks.

Hoteliers, on the other hand, increasingly use automated solutions for staffing, accounting, managing assets, and more. A hotel property management system comprises a set of software services for running and managing routine hotel workflows.

Many hospitality providers use ready-made systems for property management. Others choose to develop custom hotel software solutions tailored to meet their unique needs. Such systems have a number of advantages for hotel owners, management, and personnel.

Let’s now take a closer look at the benefits of property management software for a small hotel.

Advantages of hotel management systems

Understanding the benefits of a hotel management system is easier if we look at some of the small hotels’ specifics.

Small hotels and guesthouses are run by a limited number of staff members who are torn between tasks they have to attend to and juggling different roles. The management needs mobile solutions to help them get a holistic view of the hotel processes while they are off the premises.

These hotels are often operating at limited budgets and are looking at an optimal set of hotel management system features for a reasonable price.

In this regard, here’s what a good PMS system brings to the table.

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Streamlining operations

Traditionally, everyday processes of a guesthouse, rental property, or hotel require switching between a number of software applications and are prone to human error. PMS systems aggregate the features of numerous software apps, automate rule-based tasks, eliminate errors, and account for seamless workflows.

Such systems also integrate with third-party services to meet specific requirements and needs.

Improving maintenance

With hotel PMS software, smaller properties are better equipped for effectively handling maintenance, cleaning, and catering tasks. The system sends quick notifications about room service needs so that the staff arrives on time for cleaning and preparing the rooms for other visitors.

The asset management is handled in a similar manner – the system reminds property managers to purchase the inventory and the necessary supplies.

Facilitating checkouts and check-ins

The PMS systems account for quick and easy check-ins. Similarly, guests may easily check out, and the personnel can quickly assign rooms or order all kinds of guest services.

Managing revenue streams

Modern PMS software integrates with payment gateways, accounting modules, and payment processing systems. This helps manage the property finances, monitor the expenses and revenues, and benefit from the analytic insights derived from the financial data.

Delivering personalized services

PMS systems also use big data to track customer preferences and behavior patterns. Property owners can monitor how the behavior of a particular guest or a customer category changes depending on a season or other circumstances, and come up with tailored offerings and personalized services.

Safeguarding customer data

Most of the PMS systems are cloud-based. This means, all personalized guest data, including credit card details, is encrypted and stored in a secure cloud environment and guarded by advanced systems for data protection.

Simplifying digital marketing

A great property management system integrates tools for digital marketing, such as marketing channel management. Hoteliers can perform marketing tasks easily, using customer insights obtained through data analytics, and directly inside a PMS environment, without having to switch between apps.

Improving staff communication

Hotel PMS software enables personnel to communicate faster, schedule and delegate tasks. Equipped with smartphones and tablets, the staff is no longer required to stay in one place. They can quickly attend to the most urgent tasks as soon as they get notifications.

Opening new growth opportunities

Relieved of the routine and tiresome tasks, the hotel staff can concentrate on what’s really important. Added time and resources allow hoteliers to focus on strategic planning, looking for new revenue streams, and fostering customer relationships.

Enhancing customer experience

By optimizing a number of property management processes PMS systems consistently improve the quality of services and the customer experience in general.

Visitors get to enjoy a memorable stay and top-notch personalized service, which is hassle-free, seamless, and delivered in a timely manner. This helps property owners build stronger and lasting customer relationships.

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Examples of top hospitality software for small hotels

Picking the best hotel management software for a small hotel can be a tricky task. Vendors tend to target large hotel chains and often overlook SMB companies in the hospitality sector. However, there are some really good exceptions.

Below is a list of hotel management software for small properties that you may find attention-worthy.

1. Hotelologix

This app is a multipurpose tool targeting both large hotels and small properties. Available on a SaaS basis, it syncs with a number of third-party services. The solution boasts a robust reception module and integrates with booking and accounting modules to simplify hotel operations.

The app automates room service and inventory tracking and can be expanded to include modules for managing revenue streams and marketing channels. The monthly payment for Premium editions is $65.

hotelogix-app

2. Frontdesk Anywhere

This award winning solution is perfect for managers that need to multitask and can’t stay at front desk all day. This hotel management software for small hotels also includes features that facilitate booking, maintenance, finances, and distribution management system with 350 channels.

The price will depend on the number of rooms in a hotel and starts at $80 per month.

3. Hotelfriend

This PMS suite is intended specifically for SMB hospitality companies. Hotelfriend helps small hotel owners manage and automate every facet of small property management – from booking and reservations to accounting and staff management.

The platform also covers channel management and helps connect with marketplaces and online travel agencies (OTA). The app is a SaaS residing on an AWS cloud infrastructure, which ensures a high level of data security. The pricing is moderate and starts at $9,41 per month.

hotelfriend-software

4. Easy Innkeeping

This HMS has a modular structure. Each module is intended for managing a particular area of operations. You may purchase these modules separately, if all you need, for example, is a small hotel booking software, or buy an entire suite covering every area of hotel operations – from front desk to digital marketing.

The pricing for the app starts at $59 for a basic version, which can be scaled to include a CRM, tools for e-mail marketing, and integration with accounting apps.

5. RoomRacoon

We’re saving the best for last: an award-winning app, RoomRacoon has been rated #1 at HotelTechAwards in 2020. This platform has every feature that small hotel management could possibly need, plus it brings users a vast number of integrations to include even more functionality.

The suite features marketing and CRM tools, a POS system, and pricing intelligence. The app supports multiple languages and currencies. The monthly pricing depends on the number of rooms in a property and starts at $3-$6 per month. 

Surely, each of these tools has pros and cons. Just like any out-of-the-box software, the tools listed above are universal, and may not be capable of covering all of your specific needs. If you need a tailored solution, building your own hotel management software is the best decision.

Things to consider before the hotel software development

How to create a hotel management system? For hoteliers, the answer to this question lies in defining their business needs, choosing the development company, and, most importantly, deciding on an optimal feature set.

Below is a checklist of things to consider before you begin the development.

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1. Define the HMS modules you need

Running a small hotel presupposes controlling workflows across several business domains. Your custom HMS system should help you manage the most essential areas of your business, such as bookings and reservations, accounting, task scheduling, finances, promotion, analytics, and customer relationships.

Define your priorities and make sure you include the corresponding modules in your system. Note that some of the key functions may be added through integrations with third-party services. 

2. Pick the most important features for each module

The next step involves determining the must-have features for each of the modules that you choose to include.

A Booking & Reservation module, for example, could include features like:

  • Online bookings: Most people prefer online bookings over emails or phone calls. The online booking feature of a small hotel management software system helps hoteliers accept booking requests directly from the hotel website.
  • Managing reservations: Once a room is booked, the hotel staff gets all the reservation details and starts processing the request: changing the room status, making sure the rooms are available for a scheduled date, ordering additional transportation or room service, etc.
  • Distribution channel management: This feature is responsible for maximizing marketing outreach through collaborating with Online Travel Agencies.

A Staff & Tasks management module could include features like:

  • Tasks delivery: This feature is responsible for assigning tasks to hotel personnel and monitoring how they progress. Hotel managers can set the tasks remotely through a PMS system, which enables staff to work more efficiently and get new task updates in real time.
  • Back office management: This feature helps managers keep their hands on the pulse of staff management processes, assign shifts, get updates on sick leaves, vacations, days off, and salaries.

A Monitoring & Analytics module:

  • Revenue management: This feature monitors income and spending.
  • Reporting: Quick report generation for taxes, statistics, and other purposes is one of the key hotel management software features.

A Customer Communication module:

  • Tools for managing customers’ data: A feature for handling, storing, and managing customer data would surely enhance every property management software.
  • Invoicing: Automated invoicing feature will ensure that the invoices are issued fast and are free from inaccuracies and errors.  
  • Surveys and notifications: add these tools if you intend to run customer surveys and notify them about the available opportunities and discounts.

Want to develop custom hotel PMS?

We at Eastern Peak have a hands-on experience in building property management software for hotels and can help you create technology solutions that meet your hotel business needs.

Contact us

3. Create an attractive user interface

Even if you’re building a small hotel property management software for internal use only, make sure its interface is convenient, easy to use, and visually attractive. You and your staff will be spending a lot of time in an application environment, so do your best to make the user experience smooth and pleasant.

4. Choose an optimal tech stack

After you’ve listed all the core requirements for your small hotel software, you need to decide on a best-suited tech stack for bringing it to life. We recommend that you use the Typescript language and Angular platform for the front-end part of your hotel management system software.

For the backend part, use JavaScript and Node.js framework, MySQL database, and Swagger API documentation. AWS provides scalable and reliable infrastructure services for building hotel management systems software.

5. Provide support to all integrations

You may need to integrate your system with third-party tools for accounting, POS system management, and channel distribution tools. Each hotel has its very specific needs, so you may need your own unique set of integrations.

For example, you may choose not to build your own booking module, and instead integrate your system with small hotel booking software. 

6. Ensure scalability

Even if you don’t intend to expаnd your hotel business in the near future, plan for scaling your system in advance. Scalability will also ensure the non-disruptive performance of your platform during peak seasonal workloads.

7. Think about 24/7 tech support

Even if the system you build is 100% reliable, at some point you are bound to experience some tech difficulties. Initially, your personnel may be in need of a helping hand as they learn how to use the newly built system.

Choose a trustworthy tech partner that is ready to offer you 24/7 tech support and is committed to helping you resolve any of the potential problems.

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Conclusion

Managing a small property can be as challenging as running a large hotel chain: the staff and resources are often limited, so owners need comprehensive toolsets to help them handle and distribute numerous processes and tasks.

Instead of using disparate tools and software, Automated Property Management Systems combine all the features needed to manage small hotels, guesthouses, condos, or rental property easily and effectively.

PMS software is capable of accelerating time-consuming processes, eliminating human errors, streamlining routine processes, and helping deliver unforgettable guest experiences.

Looking for a  tech partner experienced  in hotel management  software development to build hospitality software for small properties? Contact us now for a free consultation!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is hotel management software (HMS)?

HMS is aimed at helping hoteliers and property owners manage a broad range of operations – from reservations to accounting and personnel management.

Hotel management software is an umbrella term that may include both basic solutions and end-to-end Property Management Systems (PMS) combining a wide range of features for hospitality management.

How does hotel management software work?

Modern hotel management software leverages technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), big data analytics, natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning (ML) to streamline the processes across every facet of hotel management operations.

The hotel management software may also extend its functionality by supporting third-party integrations.

What is the best hotel management software?

We would recommend solutions like:

  • RoomRacoon
  • Easy Innkeeping 
  • Hotelfriend
  • Frontdesk Anywhere
  • Hotelogix

These solutions have both advantages and shortcomings. If you need an HMS to perfectly suit the requirements of small property management, it’s best to go for custom-built software.

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