Running a hotel of any size is no mean feat and keeping track of revenue, operations, reservations, inventory, guest data and staff can be a monumental task; but reporting is a necessary evil, one that makes life as a hotelier/manager much easier. These reports assist in gauging successes, attracting more customers, providing better hospitality products and improving on overall efficiency, notwithstanding keeping stakeholders and management informed and happy.
Hoteliers are overwhelmed by the amount of technology, data, digital silos and vendors that is required – the typical hotel uses a multitude of vendors that do not talk to each other, and in many cases do not even know each other – bridging this data and technology gap to create an end-to-end solution should be a key driver of any successful hotelier.
Martin Louw, Rooms Operations Manager at the recently launched The Houghton Hotel in Johannesburg, a seasoned professional when it comes to new hotel openings, says that in his experience, having a hotel management system in place that allows for seamless, efficient integration is essential from the get-go.
He adds that The Houghton has a particularly different set-up from a typical hotel, requiring some flexibility in terms of hotel technology. “protel software from Ankerdata has been installed throughout the hotel,” says Louw, “and besides ticking all the boxes in terms of our requirements, the main value for us is in the reporting – protel has developed a separate reporting system specific to our needs that will manage and monitor the many different interfaces on-site, effectively and proficiently.”
There are many platforms available to the hospitality industry with the purpose of assisting hotels to collate and distribute data; however, they differ in their offering. Ian Lumsden, Sales and Marketing Director at Ankerdata, official re-seller of protel hotel software in Africa, says that it is important that the systems you implement are easily upgradable, are interactive, afford some flexibility and can operate over many platforms, providing a robust framework that is able to move data in any format through any number of destinations. “It makes sense to connect your entire hotel infrastructure to enable easy access, and to facilitate the immediate use and distribution of all customer– and business-related information anywhere within the hotel, in real time,” he explains.
Lumsden adds that there are also massive advantages to having OTA (Open Travel Alliance) and HTNG (Hotel Tech Next Generation) software that integrates with Cloud products and Apps. These next-generation solutions promote inter-operability of the many technology systems used in the hotel industry, such as property management systems, point-of-sale systems, telephone systems, building automation systems, guest-room entertainment systems such as video on-demand, mobile, cloud software, security, access control systems and many others, all of which can be reported on.