how to pick the right pos system for your hotel - pos system on a table

How to pick the right POS system for your hotel

Saturday, November 29, 2014

High-quality hotel management requires operations rooted in customer service, efficiency, and hospitality at every point in the customer experience. As tourism, travel, and vacations peak in demand, hotel operators will need to ensure that customers can book their stays with as much ease and speed as possible. 

One aspect of hotel operations that can streamline various hotel management processes is the introduction of a hotel point of sale (POS) system. Hotel POS systems are user-friendly and enable the customer relationship to be prioritized from start to finish. A POS system that can offer contactless payments, lightspeed bookings, and real-time pricing is a solution that will take your hotel business to the next level. 

Automating the guest experience with a POS system allows for hotel businesses to focus on what they do best: providing hospitality experiences that will bring guests back for more. When POS systems are introduced, hotel managers and operators can spend more of their time training their staff to establish a hospitality-based culture instead of completing tasks that have typically been completed manually. POS systems for hotel sites and businesses generate new possibilities for the entire hospitality industry at-large. 

What is a hotel POS system?

A hotel POS system is a point of sale system designed for use in the hotel industry and hospitality business operations. Hotel POS systems can streamline the various domains of management and operations, including automated transactions, detailed information about guest stays (such as guest phone numbers, credit card information, etc.), remaining room inventory, and tracking of the various charges from guest experiences, including hotel restaurant charges. 

Hotel POS systems offer versatile functions for hotel businesses, including hotel management software, sales software, marketing campaign features, and customer relationship management (CRM) features. The complexities of these integrations are important to recognize and illuminate the benefit of adding a POS system specifically designed for the hotel and hospitality industry. 

POS systems designed specifically for hotels offer full-scale functionality to capture and process the most important data that a hotel restaurant needs. Typically, POS systems in hotels are cloud-based and can operate on a variety of devices. Whether utilizing a mobile app for self-service or working from the back office, users will be able to access data and information about bookings in a no hassle, efficient way.
Generally, hotel POS systems include POS hardware (for example, a terminal to accept credit cards and mobile wallet payments, a receipt printer, and a cash drawer) and POS software (a database of functions to choose from such as transaction records, analytics, inventory, the capability for payment gateways, etc.) For the transaction process, the hotel POS system is able to send money from the guest's bank account to the hotel's linked bank account securely and safely. Typically, POS systems for hotel businesses can also recognize and accept gift cards which can promote a wider market opportunity for guests who wouldn't typically utilize hotel stays as part of their vacation or hospitality experience. 


What are the best hotel POS features for businesses?

The best aspect of integrating a POS system into hotel operations is the ability for the guest experience to be tracked from online reservation through booking until the final checkout. Ideally, the guest experience is not only tracked but is smooth and customized to the desires and needs of the customer. Guests can spend less time worrying about the booking process and instead focus their energies and resources on their overall getaway experience. After all, the guest experience is the ultimate factor for success in hospitality and hotel management, and a POS system fast tracks this opportunity for guests and hotel staff alike. 

Why do You need a POS system built specifically for hotels?

POS systems for hotels take into account the specific needs of hotel businesses, including all aspects of full-service operations. Many of these hotel POS systems offer customer relationship and guest experience functionality to support guests to have the most positive stay and experience possible. Guest experience data can be accessed in real-time. For hoteliers with multiple locations, some hotel POS systems can offer analytics and reporting to compare key metrics for various sites so that guest trends can be identified for better operations in the future. 

In contrast, a more generalized POS system may not include the customizable aspects of hotel POS systems, including check-in processes, room service capabilities, loyalty programs, booking engines, and overall property management software support. Moreover, hotel POS systems can be installed and used at various locations on-site, including at the front desk, lobby, hotel restaurant, hotel shops, and the hotel spa. When it comes to property management software (PMS), POS systems can integrate with PMS systems so that guests can pay their bill in real-time. 

Your hotel needs a POS system specifically for hotels for a multitude of reasons; the benefits, the competitive advantage, overall employee management, room inventory management, payment processing management, sales and revenue management, and guest reservation data management. 

Benefits of hotel POS software    

The primary benefits of hotel POS software is the ability to integrate all aspects of running a hotel business together. Hotel POS systems are able to support hoteliers in managing operations, tracking revenue, monitoring customer and guest service experiences, generating customer loyalty, logging accounting data, and keeping an up-to-date understanding of inventory management in real-time. As hoteliers have access to real-time metrics on the operational pieces of their hotel business, they can make agile business decisions to improve their business while ensuring guest satisfaction.

General POS systems may not have the functionality for hotel businesses that a hotel POS system offers. Hotel POS systems are designed to serve the needs specific to the hospitality business. For example, a hotel POS system may include an entire property management system that can track room availability, housekeeping needs, maintenance requests, and even connect guest bookings with the kitchen staff in case guests want to order room service. 

Moreover, POS systems designed for hotels are often designed with the function to work on a smartphone, mobile app, iPad, or other technology-based devices. Many bookings that guests request are done from a mobile device that can connect to the overall hotel POS system. The ease and speed of this opportunity allows for guests to access bookings instantly. Better yet, front desk staff and the guests can bypass some of the check-in processes that have historically taken more time to complete. Instead, guests can make their booking, arrive at the hotel, and even have a contactless check-in process. Automation in the hospitality industry is a unique opportunity to blend the innovation of technology while still providing guests with a highly personalized and unique experience. 

Competitive advantages of using a hotel POS software

The overall retail value of hotels globally is nearly $600 billion. As the leisure and travel market gets back on track following the COVID pandemic, it is critical for hotel businesses to stand out and provide exceptional service from the first guest interaction to the final guest interaction. Integrating a hotel POS system within your business model will help elevate hotel operations and management to stand out to guests and keep them coming back.

The primary way your hotel business can stand out from other hotel businesses is through the total integration of operations from room service to housekeeping within one system. Total integration promotes self-service opportunities, minimization of booking errors, guest loyalty, and back office controls for a snapshot into profitability metrics in real-time. Hotels that do not have a hotel POS system may not be able to utilize these features and thus will not be able to offer the same level of service as hotels with hotel POS systems. 


Employee management

POS systems for hotels create opportunities for streamlined processes with employees. Employees can utilize the POS system as a way to clock in, clock out, and go on break. Not only functioning as a payment processor, but the POS system can also track employee hours and overall employee productivity. Through managing and tracking this data, businesses can determine the number of employees needed during shifts and make employee-related decisions in order to boost sales and promote a desirable company culture. Hotel POS systems can support business operators to onboard employees through the easy collection of their information and provision of employee expectations and guidelines.
In regard to POS system adoption and utilization, POS systems for hotels offer easy-to-learn modules for training. Should an employee need additional help, many POS systems offer customer support and guidance for integration into your hotel business. Additionally, customer service support is usually included in POS system packaging and is often offered 24/7.

Room Inventory Management

Room status information for most hotel POS systems can be readily displayed on an interface dashboard. This data can be accessed by the front desk team so employees are up-to-date on what rooms are available, occupied, or will soon be available. Additionally, there can be customizations for room types and for guest types. For example, customers who are members or hold status with your hotel may want to have access to premier rooms. Concierge and front desk staff can utilize the POS system to help identify what booking options are the most helpful and appropriate for the client. 

Room inventory can also be updated efficiently in real-time due to integrations with housekeeping. Rooms, room blocks, and floors can be sorted and assigned to different teams or shifts of employees. Room inventory can then be updated with available times for check-in as the housekeeping team is able to clean the room and prepare it for the next guest. All of this information is accessible in a hotel POS system with a few simple clicks. 


Payment Processing Management

With a POS system, hotel businesses can accept payments in real-time, including deposits before check out. Contactless and mobile payments have become increasingly popular since the start of the COVID pandemic, and integrating these payment options at your hotel business will allow guests to be able to provide payment in the method of their choice, whether with a gift card, Apple Pay, EMV chip, or other digital wallet options. A hotel POS system offers this type of payment flexibility and minimizes the risk of your hotel business missing out on a potential booking. 

Customers can be assured that payment transactions are safe, easy, and quick. POS systems for hotels can also capture payments tied to customer-identifying information which supports integration with customer loyalty and rewards programs. Rewards points and reservations can be tracked along with payments so that owners and operators have a sense of their key market demographic. 

Sales and Revenue Management

As hotels are able to track all aspects of business, hoteliers will be able to gauge overall revenue in real-time, especially with access to sales information, expenses, and employee costs. Hotel POS systems offer reporting functions whereby managers and operators can review trends related to guest stays, restaurant patterns, price points, activity engagement, and overall revenue streams. The availability of this information supports strategic and operational decisions about room pricing, package deals, and marketing approaches for the hotel at-large. 

Hotel POS systems are able to generate real-time reporting, especially with sales and revenue, so that hotel businesses can review daily, weekly, and monthly performances. Regular access to these metrics allows for managers to track progress toward overall business operational goals. Reporting features enable hotels to compare their performance year to year, on an annual basis, to determine what is working well or not working well with workflows and steps toward profitability. 

Guest and Reservation Data Management

Guest and reservation data that are made through hotel POS systems eliminate the need for commission-based bookings through third party websites. As a plus, this allows for guest and reservation data to be controlled and monitored internally by your hotel management team. When a booking is made, certain aspects of the booking are crucial to capture, including the length of stay, early or late departure requests, early check-in options, and data related to loyalty or rewards programs that your hotel may offer. 

When the hotelier receives this information on the back-end, certain customizations or updates can be added to the guest reservation for a more personalized experience. These customizations can include food and service add-on charges, revisions to rates or inclusion in existing offers or hotel packages, and adjusting the rates to be in multiple currencies (especially if your hotel receives a lot of foreign visitors or tourists). 

For rewards program members or loyalty members, you can even customize certain hotel policies (for example, cancellations or bookings) to promote the flexibility and benefit of engaging with your hotel brand on a regular basis. With the online booking and gathering of guest reservation information, hotel POS systems can automate offers for guests to join rewards or loyalty programs if they haven't already done so. Therefore, the hotel POS system includes internal marketing strategies to include returning customers even from the start of the booking and reservation process.

Are you ready to take the next step with your hotel business and incorporate a hotel POS system into your operations?

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