There are several basic IT tools for organizing sales in the hotel business. In general, to automate the process of booking up to 20 rooms in a hotel, it is enough to connect to the channel manager. In hotels with 25 rooms or more, a wide range of services should be implemented. Among them:
- CRM (customer relationship management) – is a customer relationship management system that is designed to automate interaction strategies, in particular to increase sales, optimize marketing and improve customer service. It works by storing customer information and history, establishing and improving business processes, for further analyzing the results.
- PMS (property management system) – is a hotel management system that allows you to manage the number of rooms, control the occupancy, and make reservations for the number of rooms.
- Channel manager – is a single software tool for automating sales management in a hotel that combines several sales channels. It makes it possible to automate sales, change the availability of rooms, as well as tariffs, create various promotional offers from one interface, without the need to manage this data on each sales channel separately. According to Marika Kudinova, a hotel consultant, an expert in online sales systems, a channel manager at the hotel prevents overbooking, and also ensures price parity.
- Booking Engine – is a booking module for a hotel website. It allows you to book a room online on the hotel's website, pay for it, change dates or cancel your reservation. This module can and should also be integrated with PMS.
The choice of PMS system depends on the capabilities and needs of the hotel.
Technology of interaction of these programs
It is important to understand that all of the listed software tools can be integrated with each other (exchange data without user intervention) or work standalone.
The CRM system is often used by hotels with 25 rooms or more. “One of the important areas of work in this system is the conduct of corporate sales, transactions, etc. It is a CRM that allows you not to lose a single stage of communication, even if your staff changes, since all information is stored in the company or client card and can always be processed,” said Igor Grechko, CEO of Expert Solution.
Also, on the basis of CRM, they build business processes for communication with all guests at various stages. Examples: communication with the guest after check-out; formation of a special offer for a guest who chooses between hotels and canceled the reservation; sale of additional services to a guest who has already made a reservation (transfer, SPA, etc.).
“The CRM system can be integrated with PMS at the level of exchange of bookings, guest cards, companies that are formed on the PMS side to form mailing lists, sales funnels or end-to-end analytics in the CRM system. Examples of popular programs include Bitrix24 (Russia), Salesforce, Terrasoft, and others,” shared Marika Kudinova.
PMS is now used by almost every hotel. “This system accumulates all information on hotel occupancy, stores guest cards, can count income, generate tasks for maids, print fiscal receipts, make key cards, transfer financial results to accounting and much more. The functionality of the system itself depends on the level of PMS,” said Igor Grechko.
There are many PMS on the market - from very simple to professional, with great functionality. The selection of a system depends on its capabilities and the needs of the hotel. Among the providers: Servio, OPERA Cloud, Fidelio, others.
PMS can work standalone or interface with channel manager or Booking Engine. It is "or", not "and". It is necessary to consider integration options from these systems in more detail.
If the channel manager is integrated with PMS, then all management of availability and rates is transferred to the PMS side and there is no longer a need to manage this data in two systems. Using a channel manager without an interface with PMS is rational when you do not have the last one, or several sales channels are connected but are not actively used.
Channel manager - a single software tool for automating sales management in a hotel.
Booking Engine can work in three configurations:
- as a standalone product with its own admin panel;
- as an integrated product in PMS;
- as one of the sales channels in the channel manager.
The work option is selected according to the need. If you only need a website booking module, then the standalone option is best. But then you need to remember to administer it: enter current prices, control the availability of rooms. The option of working with integration will allow you to leave the booking module as an autonomous robot that does not need unnecessary administration and receives all the data itself.
An important element for the booking module is the hotel website. And in the market you can order it or make it yourself, to use the website builder for the hotel, the admin panel of which is maximally adapted to the needs of the hotel. Naturally, the website should include a booking module as the main element of offline sales.
If the channel manager is integrated with PMS, then all availability and rate management is transferred to PMS.
What offers are there on the Ukrainian market?
There are a number of software products in Ukraine that include several all-in-one solutions. There are also those that can be combined with other solutions, choosing the most convenient option for yourself.
“As for the channel manager, most of them are developed in Russia. And with Ukrainian roots, there is only one of them - this is EasyMS. Therefore, most hotel management systems work in connection with third-party services adapted to work in Ukraine: TravelLine, YieldPlanet, Cloudbeds,” says Artem Dmitrichenko, owner of EasyMS.ua hotel service.
For clarity, we will show in the table the options for using and integrating products from various companies. It should be noted that many Ukrainian companies used the Russian programs Bitrix24 and TravelLine. Bitrix24 has two products: CRM and website builder. The last one can be easily replaced, but there are some difficulties with CRM.
Options for using and integrating software products for sales organization in the hotel business
|Product Names||CRM||PMS||Channel manager||Booking engine||Hotel website builder|
|Having an own solution||Yes||No||No||No||Yes|
|Ability of standalone work||Yes||-||-||-||Yes|
|Integration with other systems||Yes||-||-||-||Yes|
|Having an own solution||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ability of standalone work||-||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Integration with other systems||-||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Having an own solution||No||Yes||YieldPlanet||Yes||Yes|
|Ability of standalone work||-||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Integration with other systems||-||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Having an own solution||No||Yes||-||Yes||No|
|Ability of standalone work||-||Yes||-||-||-|
|Integration with other systems||-||Yes||-||-||-|
|Having an own solution||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Ability of standalone work||-||No||No||No||No|
|Integration with other systems||Yes||-||No||No||No|
|Having an own solution||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Ability of standalone work||No||Yes||No||No||-|
|Integration with other systems||No||Yes||No||No||-|
“The above proposals, with the right combination, can “painlessly” replace Russian systems for the hotel. In addition, we may soon see new Ukrainian software products for hotels, because the demand for this service has clearly grown,” commented Artem Dmitrichenko.
Ribas Hotels Group experience
The Ribas Hotels Group mainly uses the PMS system Servio. “For hotels with a small number of rooms, we use the Ukrainian EasyMS. In addition, we have completely switched to the YieldPlanet channel manager, since it is made in Poland. If we talk about the Booking Engine, we use Servio, and for small hotels (up to 20 rooms) we use EasyMS,” said Alina Radchenko, Head of Sales Department, Ribas Hotels Group. According to her words, the company did not have to radically change the automation system, because it initially preferred Ukrainian and European products.
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