Before the pandemic started, there was a big gap in hotel technology adoption and guests’ tech expectations. There were a few pioneers like Marriott or Hilton that experimented with innovations and offered mobile check-in and direct entry to rooms through the app.
However, most groups were not ready for and didn’t invest enough in tech, fearing that hackers may hijack mobile devices to access personal data. Things have changed since then and we’re seeing much bigger interest in innovations and IT spending that is a 50% level higher compared to the level before the crisis.
The STR forecast for the future of the industry is also optimistic. Based on it, 2022 will show a higher level of recovery.
In this respect, the adoption of hospitality software with the right features can significantly speed up the return to normal. But what are those tools that are true must-haves for any hotelier in 2021? Let’s find out below.
Best hotel software features for 2021
Here are the top-8 features hoteliers want and need today:
- Front desk
Traditionally, the front desk is the face of the hotel and the biggest contact area. All its activities are aimed at supporting guest transactions and services.
With the technological advancements and challenges of the new norma, the front desk has become fully automated, organizing the guest life cycle in the hotel in a new, digital, and contactless way. The tool allows to manage and customize reservations with the comfortable search, smart filters, and user-friendly interface.
With an automated Front Desk, the hotel staff can see the real picture of the hotel’s occupancy, view all operations, including room type availability and rates in a clearly laid out calendar, change dates by drag-and-dropping reservations in the calendar, extend or reduce the guest stay, add individual or group booking, check-in, view housekeeping status, chat, learn all the room details, and more.
- Integrated Channel Manager
Channel manager is a valuable ally for distributing inventory to multiple sales channels, maintaining visibility, increasing chances of bookings, and providing a complete overview of sales channels’ performance.
The reliable Channel Manager should seamlessly integrate with the hotel’s PMS and allow to receive reservations from the most important OTAs like Booking.com, HRS, Expedia. It supports two-way data exchange to ensure that the information updates across all channels are correct.
To avoid overbooking that has negative impact on guests loyalty and revenue, it is important to implement real-time synchronization solution. It’s a big plus if the Channel Manager works on a cloud-based infrastructure so that the staff can get access to it at any time, from any device, even from home.
- Booking Engine
The Booking Engine or button allows to sell rooms through the hotel’s website at 0% commission and thus increase direct bookings. As of now, it is more than just a button for room reservations on the homepage. With HotelFriend Booking Engine, hoteliers can sell not only accommodation but also services, promote deals, centralize all hotel offers within one place, and accept payments. Thanks to it, guests can organize their whole trip without even talking to someone.
- Contactless Room Opening
In the time of social distancing, room entry without face-to-face interaction is a sought-after and desired convenience for guests. Keeping this in mind, HotelFriend has become the first to offer a native app that connects with SALTO, providing its customers with contactless room access solution.
In addition, it is an eco-friendly and cost-saving option as there is no need to use traditional plastic key cards or cardboard, replace or maintain door components when keys are lost.
- Digital Payments and mobile POS
The convenience of instant payment is must have now. Guests can easily pay online for orders, rooms, or services. The integration with Stripe ensures safe payments and protects guests’ data from leakage. Such a virtual mobile POS lets make payments through the client’s smartphone with ApplePay or credit card on the go.
The digitalization of the order and payment process helps provide customers with lots of quality services like booking a room directly from the cash register, transferring all bills from it, processing reports. The latter became possible thanks to HotelFriend’s successful integration with Gastronovi.
- Mobile check-in and out
Self-check-in/out through smartphones is a great feature that allows to minimize face-to-face interaction in the hotel, save time, and forget about long queues at the front desk. Guests can complete the registration procedure, order food or services, and pay for them prior to their arrival, and thus avoid touchpoints. No person-to-person communication, no expensive additional gadgets, no paper usage, everything is done through guests’ own smartphones.
- Mobile Apps
Conveniences like digital check-in, ordering, and mobile room access mentioned above are compelling reasons for customers to download the Concierge app. It provides exactly those contactless experiences and mobility guests want today. For hoteliers, it becomes a revenue booster that increases visibility and accessibility, optimizes the management process, and improves communication between guests and the staff via live chats. In fact, it becomes an opportunity for hoteliers to build a fully virtual hotel.
What’s more, HotelFriend PMS synchronizes master data with cash registers and has all the required services connected with a POS system. This means that all the data is transferred to the cash register and then is sent back automatically.
- Cloud TSS
Cloud TSS stands for the technical security system that can be operated in a cloud. It
offers a number of benefits over hardware TSSs, including quick and cost-effective Integration into a POS system. All the data is exchanged automatically via interfaces.
Cloud TSS is flexible, secure, and meets all legal requirements. For example, according to German law, all the data must be stored in Germany. All HotelFriend solutions are compatible with this requirement and are GoBD-compliant.
The value of adopting and using the right features will bring immense growth to the hotel business even in times of crisis. As we look at 2021, we see the increased interest in the above-mentioned offerings. And fortunately, hoteliers can have them all thanks to HotelFriend. Get ready to implement a strong technology to be at the top of the game right now.