Consumers today are more comfortable with technology solutions than ever before. The mass adoption of mobile devices (i.e., smartphones) is a major reason why. But hardware is only half the answer. The other half is the explosion of high-quality, web-based softwares.
Modern web-based business software is commonly referred to as 'software-as-a-service' (or SaaS). The advantages of SaaS solutions are that they are affordable, easy to implement and never out of date.
Today, even business verticals that are usually slow to update their technology stacks, like the hotel industry, are reaping the benefits of this software revolution.
Hotel software tools can now streamline and improve operations across every department at a property — from the front desk to the back office.
But, with so many software options available, it can be a challenge for hoteliers to discover which types — and which providers — are the most effective at meeting the needs of their properties.
In this post, we’ll cover why hoteliers need to invest in modern technology solutions and examine the 10 most essential software tools and providers of 2022.
Why Modern Hotel Software Is Critical to the Operations of Any Property
Just because the hospitality industry is literally older than recorded history, doesn’t mean that hoteliers today can ignore modern business practices or consumer behaviors. All consumers — including hotel guests — have gotten more used to engaging with a business through a digital environment. But it isn’t just for the sake of guest satisfaction that hoteliers need to deploy modern solutions. To remain competitive and maximize revenue, up-to-date technology is now an absolute must.
Let’s now take a quick look at some of the key areas in which the right hotel software can have a big impact.
More people than ever are paying for hotel rooms with debit and credit cards. And this means hoteliers are constantly working with sensitive data. The problem is, data thieves are always lurking. In July of 2022, Marriott International confirmed that it lost 20 gigabytes of sensitive data to hackers. Unfortunately, this also included guest credit card information. The right hotel software can help protect against these threats and ensure you are up to date with the latest security standards.
Operations & Staff Efficiency
The correct combination of hotel software solutions can make staff much more efficient across a property. And this is especially true for departments like the front office and housekeeping. Making these departments more efficient can help hotels provide the same great guest experience with fewer staff. This can be particularly important during a labor shortage or inflationary period.
An excellent guest experience is one of the most important elements of any successful hotel. And the software deployed at a property that guests interact with can make or break that experience. This is why it’s important for hotel’s to opt for guest-facing software solutions, like Contactless Check-In and Guest Messaging, that are easy-to-use and offer a low barrier to entry (i.e., no app downloads, no new hardware, etc.).
Also, it’s important to note that consumers actually want to engage with technology solutions during their stay that streamline administrative processes and provide more autonomy. A recent Oracle and Skift study found 73 percent of travelers are more likely to stay in a hotel that offers self-service technology.
Revenue Generation & Management
Hotel finance and sales team are very familiar with the challenges of demand forecasting and growing revenue. However, today’s web-based software solutions can make these tasks easier than ever. They also enjoy regular updates, so you know your toolset will keep up with the latest revenue management trends.
Fraud and chargebacks can cost hotels thousands of dollars per year and a lack of proper modern hotel software can make the problem even worse. In fact, many hotels still use paper forms to process credit card authorizations even though they are no longer PCI compliant. Being out of PCI compliance makes it almost impossible to ever win a chargeback. It also increases the likelihood that a hotel will become a victim of fraud. However, modern digital solutions can bring hoteliers into compliance and provide various levels of fraud detection. This helps hoteliers prevent most chargebacks and win them if/when they happen.
The 10 Most Essential Software Tools & Providers
Now that we've covered the areas of a hotel business that modern software can affect, let’s look at the 10 most essential tools for any property. The recommended providers of these tools were included in this list based a variety of criteria, including:
Endorsements by the world’s top hotel brands — Global hotel brands like Best Western, Wyndham, Choice Hotels, Four Seasons, Radisson, Millennium and others, extensively evaluate a software provider before giving their endorsement. Therefore, it’s a good bet that if a brand is trusted by one of these companies, it can be trusted by your hotel.
Number and quality of third-party reviews — Independent third-party reviews by people that actually use the software are one of the best ways for hoteliers to know if they can trust a technology provider.
Range of solutions available on the platform — Many hotel software providers offer point solutions that only have one main function. All of the providers in this list offer comprehensive platforms that address multiple business problems.
Scale and diversity of target audience — Not every type of technology solution works for every type of hotel. This list includes providers that have a large number of customers across all kinds of properties.
Let’s dive in…
1. Guest Management System — Canary Technologies
A Guest Management System (GMS) is an integrated suite of guest-facing, web-hosted software products. These solutions generally act as a conduit between hotel staff and guests and are used to streamline communication and tasks of all kinds.
Canary Technologies offers the industry’s leading guest management system for hoteliers and other lodging property operators.
Endorsements by the world’s top hotel brands — Canary Technologies has endorsements from: Best Western, Wyndham, Choice Hotels, Four Seasons, Radisson, Millennium, Ace, Standard, Preferred Hotels & Resorts and many more.
Range of solutions available on the platform — Canary provides an extensive range of technology solutions under one roof. The platform also offers many two-way integrations with other systems.
Scale and diversity of target audience — Canary serves 20,000+ hoteliers in more than 70 countries and works with both luxury and economy hotels of all sizes.
Built on top of a robust PCI compliant architecture, Canary’s GMS helps hotels drive more revenue, enhance the guest experience, increase 4- and 5-star reviews, reduce chargebacks and fraud, and improve staff efficiency.
Contactless Check-In: Provides hotels with the ability to seamlessly check-in guests without exchanging credit cards, IDs or registration forms. Canary’s solution reduces the time required for check-in and checkout from 10 minutes to less than one minute and helps reduce credit card fraud by 75-90%.
Contactless Checkout: Increases the number of 4- and 5-star hotel reviews on TripAdvisor and Google by up to 350% and improves housekeeping efficiency by immediately informing staff when rooms are vacant and ready to be turned over.
Digital Upsells: Allows hotels to offer upgrades and add-on amenities to guests from the time of booking all the way through checkout — resulting in thousands of dollars in new revenue per week. Hotels using Canary Upsells have seen a 40% increase in ancillary revenue.
Guest Messaging: Enables front desk and concierge teams to easily communicate with hotel guests at scale, saving valuable time through automated, broadcast and direct messages.
Digital Authorizations: Removes PCI non-compliant paper credit card authorization forms from a hotel’s third-party booking process. Beyond the inconvenience of dealing with pen and paper, traditional paper authorization forms are insecure and annually cost hotels thousands of dollars in chargebacks. In moving the process online, Canary vastly improves the guest experience while introducing PCI compliance and significantly reducing risks for hotels. Hotel’s using Canary’s Digital Authorizations typically reduce fraud and chargebacks by up to 90%.
Digital Contracts: Enables front desk and sales teams to get contracts securely signed more quickly by customers. This digital solution also cuts down on paper waste, contributing to a hotel’s overall eco-friendly efforts.
2. Property Management System — OPERA
A Property Management System (PMS) can be thought of as the hotel software equivalent of a nervous system. It’s within a PMS that hotel staff members will handle many of the day-to-day tasks that are involved in the operation of a hotel including managing reservations, guest check-ins and checkouts, room assignments, room rates, billing and analytics.
One of the most widely used and comprehensive PMSs is OPERA by Oracle. Oracle Hospitality created its OPERA Cloud Property Management product to simplify IT and centralize data, making key information accessible to all of the relevant players at a property.
Range of solutions available on theplatform — OPERA offers a large variety of native solutions within its PMS and comes with access to a large marketplace of other important softwares that can be easily integrated.
Scale and diversity of target audience — OPERA is one of the most prominent PMSs in the world and is used by a wide range of hotel chains, including Accor Hotels, Meliá Hotels International, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Travelodge Hotels UK, Crown Resorts, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Rydges Hotels & Resorts, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Jupiter Hotels, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and more.
OPERA Cloud Property Management boasts an open architecture, built-in integration services, and open APIs to accelerate innovation and exceed the needs of hoteliers.
Web-based hotel PMS: Tailor-made for hotels, OPERA Cloud is cloud-based hotel software with the key capabilities to help every type of hotel, of any size, succeed.
Mobile-enabled: OPERA Cloud enables hoteliers to serve their guests from anywhere on the property and empower staff with real-time updates.
Integrated operations: OPERA Cloud integrates with Oracle’s point-of-sale and kitchen management solutions to ensure efficient food and beverage operations.
Key data at your fingertips: OPERA Cloud tracks all the data you need to make informed decisions in a simple-to-use, hospitality-focused solution. The platform enables property-specific or group-wide reporting — from high-level metrics down to individual transactions.
Cloud Digital Assistant: The OPERA Cloud Digital Assistant helps users execute routine tasks such as house status, room management, and reservations.
3. Central Reservation System — SynXis
A Central Reservation System (CRS) is a type of software that enables hoteliers to manage inventory and rates in real time and push that data across multiple distribution channels. A CRS is what allows hotel operators to handle guest reservations more effectively and acts as a single source of truth that ensures guests aren’t overbooking through any given channel.
Endorsements by the world’s top hotel brands — SynXis is the CRS of choice for hotel groups across the globe, such as JA Resorts & Hotels, Blue Diamond Resorts, Salinas Hotéis e Resorts and others.
Range of solutions available on the platform — SynXis Central Reservations can be provided alongside a suite of other solutions that help increase reservations, such as digital marketing tools and a command center for your call center agents.
SynXis is available in eight languages and enables you to enforce unique, fine-tuned distribution strategies that reach the broadest points of distribution in the industry.
Wide-ranging partner connectivity: SynXis seamlessly integrates with over 155 property management, 15 revenue management, 21 customer relationship management and 25 channel management solutions.
The most distribution in the industry: Grow core contribution and brand loyalty with out-of-the-box loyalty integration and the industry’s largest global distribution ecosystem.
Real–time rate & inventory information: Capture more revenue with accurate information on rate parity and room availability across all channels from a single source of truth.
4. Booking Engine — SiteMinder
When used effectively, a Booking Engine can be one of the most valuable types of software that a hotel can invest in. Booking engines are special applications that connect a property’s website to their CRS and PMS. When a guest lands on the website, the booking engine provides the user interface that guests will actually use to make a reservation. Any booking engine used by a hotelier must fit comfortably in the design of the property’s website and seamlessly integrate well with the other components in a hotel technology stack.
SiteMinder is consistently ranked as one of the best booking engines on the market and widely used by hotels all over the world.
Endorsements by the world’s top hotel brands — SiteMinder powers some of the most successful hotel groups, including: Best Western, Choice Hotels, Hyatt, Warwick Hotels & Resorts and more.
Number and quality of third-party reviews — HotelTechReport ranked SiteMinder the Best Booking Engine of 2022 and Capterra named it a Top Performer for the same year.
With an award-winning pedigree, hoteliers can be sure that this tried-and-true platform will help maximize their direct bookings. SiteMinder is designed from the ground up to optimize every step of the direct hotel booking experience.
Full guest journey control: SiteMinder enables you to offer upsells to guests as they make a reservation. You can also boost customer confidence with crystal clear information and cancellation policies.
Facebook conversion tracking: Hoteliers can easily measure and optimize marketing campaigns on Facebook and Instagram.
Mobile-friendly bookings: SiteMinder makes it simple for guests to book from their mobile devices with a seamless 3-step booking experience designed for the small screen.
5. Market Intelligence Platform — OTA Insight
A Market Intelligence Platform enables hoteliers to get crucial insights into industry trends and their surrounding competitive set (compset). These software tools provide real-time hotel booking intent to uncover new revenue opportunities through the use of millions of unique data points.
A solid market intelligence platform is extremely useful for planning future business operations and critical for calculating key hotel KPIs that require outside compset data, such as market penetration index (MPI) and revenue generation index (RGI).
OTA Insight’s Market Insight solution offers one of the most comprehensive market intelligence platforms for hoteliers and other lodging industry professionals.
Number and quality of third-party reviews — OTA Insight was ranked #1 on HotelTechReport in 2022 for Business Intelligence Software, Rate Shopping & Marketing Intelligence and Parity Management Software.
Range of solutions available on platform — In addition to its Market Insight product, OTA Insight also provides Rate Insight, Parity Insight, Revenue Insight, and other related products.
Aggregating data across OTAs, GDSs, flight data, holidays, alternative lodging and meta review sites data, Market Insight enables hoteliers to quickly grasp market demand pre-booking and make informed decisions about their properties.
Comprehensive predictive analytics: Anticipate fluctuations in demand to capitalize on valuable opportunities before they occur with data collected from a wide variety of sources. Market Insight by OTA Insight enables hoteliers to see industry trends forming up to 365 days in advance with segmentation by sub-location, length-of-stay and accommodation type.
Dynamic compset: OTA Insight maintains the industry’s first compset that dynamically adjusts to current market conditions, providing up-to-the-minute information about rival hotels.
Instant alerts: Receive real-time alerts with important information that enables you to take advantage of market conditions.
6. Revenue Management System — Duetto
A Revenue Management Software (RMS) is used by hoteliers to determine the appropriate price for a specific type of room, at a specific point in time, in a specific channel to maximize revenue and profitability for their properties.
To accomplish this, RMSs look at historical and current data from a wide range of sources and cross-check these figures with demand forecasts to recommend rates for each customer and room type across distribution channels. It’s been reported that hotels that start to use an RMS can see 7-20% increases in RevPar.
Duetto provides modern hoteliers with one of the world’s most innovative revenue management systems and is used by thousands of hotels all over the world to reliably increase their revenue.
Number and quality of third-party reviews — With more than 200 reviews on HotelTechReport, Duetto was named the Best Revenue Management System of 2022.
Range of solutions available on the platform — Duetto provides a full suite of products that covers all elements of revenue management under one roof.
Duetto’s RMS is powered by Open Pricing, flexible automation, and demand-based forecasting. The platform empowers revenue teams to deploy and scale profitable strategies while driving incremental customer value through real-time data integrations and alignment across departments.
GameChanger: Duetto’s core pricing management product, GameChanger, uses adaptive algorithms to help hoteliers create informed, competitive pricing and revenue strategies.
ScoreBoard: One of the industry’s best forecasting tools, ScoreBoard helps hoteliers create day-level forecasts quickly and retrieve instant business insights through custom reports.
BlockBuster: Duetto BlockBuster enables hoteliers to optimally price group business. Working in concert with GameChange, BlockBuster helps you find the perfect mix of group and transient business at the right rate, at the right time.
7. Listing Management Software — RateGain
Listing Management Software is used by all kinds of entrepreneurs to keep important facts about their businesses consistent across various public profiles. In the hospitality space, the important public profiles hoteliers should worry about the most include OTAs and GDSs, along with review profiles like Google Business and TripAdvisor. Any successful local SEO marketing strategy will include the use of a listing management software.
Listing management software acts as a single source of truth for basic information about your hotel that every guest would want to know (e.g., name, address, phone number, business photos, etc.). These tools enable hoteliers to update content across every demand partner simultaneously from one centralized location.
Headquartered in India, RateGain was founded in 2004. Its Content Management System is a widely trusted platform for listings management solutions and is one of the world’s largest processors of electronic transactions for travel and hospitality.
Scale and diversity of target audience — RateGain is used by all kinds of hotels all over the world and provides support in 9 different languages.
Range of solutions available on platform — RateGain offers a wide array of services under one roof that includes: social media management, competitor pricing intelligence and more.
RateGain enables hotel operators of all kinds to easily manage important information about their business across key channels to improve customer confidence and increase bookings.
Auto-Generated Tags: AI powered tagging makes it easy for you to manage, modify and update images, eliminating the need of manual tagging.
Content AI Wizard: RateGain’s Content AI Wizard helps hoteliers identify which attributes are the most critical to drive conversions across all demand partners automatically.
One-Click Distribution: RateGain enables hotels to push complete, correct, and consistent content across all demand partners in a single click.
8. Digital Tipping — Canary Technologies
Digital Tipping is one of the newest softwares to appear on the hospitality technology scene.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry suffered a historic staffing shortage that put a fresh focus on ways to attract and retain hotel staff. Additionally, guests today (and consumers at large) say they carry less cash than ever — cash that traditionally could have been used to leave a tip with a concierge or housekeeper.
In this environment, Digital Tipping emerged as one of the most effective ways to deal with this problem.
Canary Technologies provides one of the industry’s leading digital (or “mobile”) tipping solutions. Canary’s tipping software is available as either a standalone product or an integrated element of its Guest Management System.
Endorsements by the world’s top hotel brands — As stated above Canary Technologies has endorsements from some of the most well-known brands across the globe, including: Best Western, Wyndham, Choice Hotels, Four Seasons, Radisson, Millennium, Ace, Standard, Preferred Hotels & Resorts and many more.
Scale and diversity of target audience — Also as stated before, Canary serves 20,000+ hoteliers in more than 70 countries and works with both luxury and economy hotels of all sizes. The company is deeply experienced in designing software for nearly every hotel type.
Canary’s Digital Tipping solution is available as a standalone product or as an integrated part of the platform’s comprehensive Guest Management System.
Works Across Currencies: Canary Digital Tipping seamlessly works with all currencies and enables hotel guests to quickly and easily offer tips to staff members without the need to carry cash or download an app.
Cashless Tips by Department or Individual: Guests can leave cashless tips by department or individual. Multiple individuals can also receive digital tips at once through a guest’s mobile device.
Automated Tax Forms: Canary’s Digital Tipping solution handles all of the administrative work for a hotel’s finance department to make it as easy as possible to manage cashless, digital tips.
Large events can be a challenge to manage for the F&B/Catering and Sales Departments at a property. However, a full-powered customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed specifically for hotels that integrates with the rest of your technology stack can make everything much more manageable and efficient.
Endorsements by the world’s top hotel brands — Amadeus Sales & Event Management has relationships with top brands, such as Marriott, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotel Group, Loews Hotels & Co, and more.
Scale and diversity of target audience — Amadeus Sales & Event Management software is commonly found throughout the world at various types of properties that provide catering services.
Amadeus Sales & Event Management (Delphi) is a favorite among catering teams and comes highly recommended by industry professionals.
Group Business Collaboration: Whether you’re managing a small board meeting or giant group, Amadeus software enables your team to collaborate with the event planner quickly and easily to achieve the desired experience.
Automated Tracking:Track any changes or modifications and share them with all parties, ensuring flawless delivery.
Automated Assistance: Amadeus automates tasks and workflows for significant time savings.
10. Hotel Marketing Software — TripTease
Though not related to the day-to-day operations of a hotel, a property’s marketing efforts are equally important to its bottom line. There are a variety marketing tools that help help a hotel drive more bookings (both direct and indirect) and loyalty sign-ups across a brand or portfolio. And it’s important for hoteliers to choose those tools wisely.
TripTease is a complete hotel marketing platform that enables hoteliers to get more bookings at a lower cost.
Endorsements by the world’s top hotel brands — Trusted by Hyatt, Best Western and Rosewood, TripTease has been signed off on by some of the largest hotel brands.
Scale and diversity of target audience — From limited-service to luxury, TripTease has provided some of the hospitality industry’s leading marketing services to today’s most well-known hotel brands.
Increasing direct hotel bookings is one of the most effective ways for hoteliers to drive more revenue for their property. TripTeases marketing solutions enable them to do exactly that.
Paid search: Increase direct bookings with the use of unique data combined with personalized keyword messaging.
Budget spend optimization: Focus your spend on high-return, lower-funnel traffic to bring guests back to book directly.
Performance insights: Learn from your performance to build new direct booking strategies confidently.
The modern guest expects a digital-first experience when they engage with hotel properties. Forward-thinking hoteliers clearly need to embrace this new reality to thrive, but guest-facing technology isn’t the only area in which hoteliers need to modernize. The back-office and other departments can heavily benefit from the introduction of modern hotel software.
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