Working in the hospitality industry comes with several moving parts. There’s menu engineering to do, a bar opening and closing checklist to create, order management to handle, and likely a restaurant training manual to create.
You also have to manage customer service while meeting the needs of your bar staff and other employees. It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin at some point.
How do you keep all of these plates spinning? With hospitality software.
This blog post covers six common questions about hospitality software. Keep reading for the details.
What Is Hospitality Software?
Before you go looking for the best hospitality software for your needs, it helps to know what it is. Hospitality software is any single platform or group of tools that automates some or all of the work for an establishment in the hospitality industry.
Hospitality establishments vary and include businesses and institutions like those in the restaurant industry, hospitals, bed and breakfasts, bars, and hotels. Each institution’s software needs are different based on its client base and standards of service.
Why Do You Need Hospitality Software?
Service-oriented businesses have a lot of data to manage across both tangible and intangible aspects of their operations. Hospitality software streamlines the collection, assessment, use, and sharing of this data.
On the physical side of service, there are items like glasses, plates, flatware, and towels to maintain. On the immaterial side, there are aspects like secure payments and excellent customer service, which helps prevent a dine and dash.
If your business doesn’t have a central tool for these ongoing tasks, you risk inaccurate or missing data. This can lead to incorrect calculations when reviewing your inventory turnover ratio, shrinkage, and inventory forecasting.
What Are The Features of Hospitality Software?
A digital tool is only as useful as its features. When the platform you’re using has the functionalities you need, it makes your team’s work much simpler. If your tools and data are split between departments, operational efficiency is stunted.
In order to pick the right hospitality software, you should know what to look for. Here are key features that should be in any tool you’re considering:
Whether you run a bar, restaurant, hotel, or other outlet, you have hundreds of items to track. Wine, meal ingredients, and tableware are just a few examples.
Unless you love inventory tracking, ABC analysis, and learning new inventory reduction tactics, chances are you’re looking for a way to speed up the process. Useful hospitality software includes at least one inventory control feature. Once you’ve inputted data including your merchandise inventory, it will track how much you’ve sold, when, and where.
Another feature the hospitality software you use should have is payment processing. This is being able to take payments by several means, including credit card, payment gateways, cash, check, and gift card--all of which must be PCI compliant.
If you sell online in addition to in brick and mortar stores, you’ll also need eCommerce payment processing. Research payment gateway providers first so you can pick the best payment gateway for your business. If your business is a restaurant or eatery or features one in addition to your main business model, make sure your hospitality software is compatible with restaurant payment technology like contactless payments.
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Third Party Integrations
The third feature your hospitality software should have is integrations with other business and eCommerce software. We live in a technology saturated world, and reliance on technological systems is always growing.
If your hospitality business has been up and running for more than a year or two, you probably use multiple platforms. Being able to integrate your email list, accounting software, and lead capture tools is a boon for productivity.
Carefully evaluate the type and amount of integrations your preferred hospitality software offers. Can they connect to the email service provider you use, whether that's an eCommerce email marketing platform or another one? What about HR platforms and other restaurant technology, like restaurant accounting software? Take your time with this, as it’s a key part of your decision.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hospitality Software
Looking to make sense of the different tools and platforms out there? You aren’t alone.
We researched a few of the most commonly asked questions about hospitality software. Take a look at our answers below:
What Are the Software Programs Used In a Front Office?
Software that’s usually used in front offices includes reservation tools, scheduling software, word processing tools, and graphic design software. Businesses that have front offices are checking customers in, setting appointments, and making reservations.
Employees that work these roles often send emails and update documents, too. If you’re looking for robust front office software, make sure it provides all the features you need.
What Kind of Software Is Used In Housekeeping?
Businesses that offer housekeeping services use software programs that track the status of rooms. Such tools oversee the supply levels of those rooms, their vacancy or occupancy, and maintenance needs.
What Are Hotel Management Systems?
A hotel management system, or HMS, is a software application that tracks and automates specific elements of a hotel business. In most cases, this includes which rooms are available, pending maintenance requests, upcoming room reservations, and payment records.
An HMS may also provide HR capabilities or integrate with HR software systems. This includes who is working which days, who is on vacation, and employees’ contact information.
What Is Hospitality Management System?
A hospitality management system (HMS) is a back-end software tool designed for restaurants, hotels, banquet halls, and other hospitality businesses. HMSs handle the majority of the tasks that a hospitality manager would otherwise complete manually.
Some common capabilities you’d find in HMSs include:
- Dining room management: Creating a seating plan, requesting reservations, and monitoring guest feedback.
- Guest management: Managing guest reservations, billing, and feedback.
- Menu engineering: Creating menus based on available inventory, profit margins, and dietary restrictions.
- Human resources management: Tracking employee hours, calculating payroll, and managing employee training.
- Wholesale goods ordering: Finding wholesale suppliers (learn how to find vendors if you haven't already), ordering wholesale products in MOQs and EOQs, tracking the delivery of goods, and organizing them in the business's storage areas.
How Much Does Hospitality Software Cost?
Pricing varies between providers and depends on your specific software needs. Some providers will let you try their software for free before committing to a contract or monthly billing. You should also factor in equipment costs if your software requires specific hardware.
You may need to purchase new computers if your current computers are too old to support the software. You’ll also need to take into account one-time installation costs and ongoing support and maintenance fees. All these expenses can add up, so be sure to consider them when budgeting for hospitality software.
What Is Hospitality Information System?
A hospitality information system (HIS) is an information technology (IT) solution used in hotels and other hospitality establishments. It allows hotel owners and managers to manage reservations, guest feedback, and other aspects of their business.
A HIS generally includes booking management, either through self-service or a call center; guest relationship management; and an availability and reservation system. A hotel management system may also have other functions, including a property management system and a reservations management system. The acronym HMS stands for hotel management system and is generally used when describing the software that a hotel would use. The acronym HIS stands for hospitality information system and is often used when describing software for businesses other than hotels, like restaurants and bars.
How Do Hoteliers Benefit from Hotel Management Software?
The most obvious benefit of using hospitality software is that it reduces manual effort and makes your operations more efficient. Reduced effort usually translates to more time for other tasks.
Hospitality software also helps you improve your bottom line. It allows you to more accurately forecast inventory, better manage your menu, and analyze your sales data.
This gives you insight into your customers’ needs. You can also use this data to identify which menu items to highlight, which ones to retire, and which items to add to your menu.
Using hospitality software also helps you improve your customer service. You can store guest feedback, respond to guest complaints, and raise guest satisfaction. You can also use software to track employee performance and address issues before they become major problems.
What Property Management System Do Most Hotels Use?
There are many property management systems (PMSs) on the market, so it's difficult to pinpoint one as the most popular for hotels. PMSs are designed for hotels and other hospitality businesses. It can be used for everything from guest check-in to accounting.
A PMS makes it easier to run your hotel. It allows you to manage your property more efficiently and gives you insight into your business. It also helps you improve your bottom line and makes it easier to find staff.
There are several benefits to using a PM system for hotels, including improved efficiency, better business insight, and a streamlined guest experience. Choose the hotel PMS that best meets your needs.
A Little Bit of Hospitality Never Hurt No One
Choosing hospitality software for your venture is a pivotal moment in your business. Feel free to request a demo of any software you want to invest in, as chances are it isn’t cheap.
Using the recommendations in this blog post sets you up for success. When you do choose a hospitality software platform, make sure your team gets trained on it, too.