Hotel PMS Integration – Monetizing Through WiFi
Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller than you’re part of the road.
Imagine walking into your hotel, and before you are through the revolving door, your wireless access is turned on, your room key is delivered to your mobile device, and you are offered a free drink – poolside. Too good to be true? Not so. Resorts all over the world are looking to wireless technology to improve the guest experience. Implementing these technologies as they are available can mean happier guests, as more and more people expect concierge services delivered to their mobile devices.
So how to resorts and hotels get there? By adding technology to their properties to set the stage for added services. In hospitality, more and more property owners are incorporating cloud-based Property Management Systems (PMS) designed to maximize efficiency and increase revenue across all locations. Cloud-based models of software run over a network on many connected computers at the same time. These systems provide user-friendly templates, 24x7x365 accessibility, and allow for the digitization of old processes to ease paperwork and reduce costly errors. PMS systems are controlled through central interfaces and are used to manage room reservations, guest amenities, room inventory, accounting and billing. But it doesn’t stop there.
Learning the ins and outs of hotel PMS integration effectively within a wireless network can ensure guest satisfaction by allowing guests the option to choose their WiFi package instantly. Personalized information can be delivered to guests throughout the property, and all billing is done seamlessly. When done automatically, you can eliminate manual data entry that can lead to errors, missed billing, or billing disputes with guests. And as personalization becomes increasingly important, hotels can offer guests tie-ins to rewards programs. With an integrated Property Management System, your services can be recorded, controlled, and efficiently optimized.
The hospitality procurement industry is continually affected by a variety of factors. For a company to have true staying power, it must grow and adapt.
How it Works
In order for all guests to access data on all of their devices – from smart phones to laptops – certain technology must be in place to accommodate everyone, at the right bandwidth. In addition, the right wireless technology can help with housekeeping management, room inventories and guest services. This is done by connecting your Internet gateway seamlessly to your PMS. A hotel’s gateway differs from a standard business gateway, due to the variety of Internet access options needed throughout a hotel. A standard business gateway provides connectivity and security features to all of the network’s users and prevents unwanted access to the network, but a hotel Internet gateway must do this and much more. A hotel Internet gateway is the backbone of a robust and reliable hospitality network. Serving as an operations framework, many different particularities fall under its umbrella, including—but not limited to the following:
- Account Management
- Access to All Property Interfaces
- Security Management
- Mobile Management
- Guest Analytics
One of the most valuable and new functions hotels are pursuing is the gathering of this data, as well as pertinent guest preference information via their Property Management Systems. By consolidating processes and managing results, your business will have the benefit of streamlined analytics about your customers – from their room preferences and frequent usage of amenities, to their wireless bandwidth needs and room invoices. Data that can then be used to optimize your services to help keep your guests happy and coming back for more.
Reaping the Rewards
One of the ways hotels can do this is offering tiered WiFi that is integrated with a PMS. Hotels and other businesses that currently offer free WiFi to their customers have the opportunity to increase their revenues by switching from completely free Internet service to more flexible tiered Internet pricing model. Essentially, this tiered pricing model allows free basic WiFi access to all guests with the option to upgrade to higher bandwidth for a small charge. By implementing this technology with a PMS system, properties can automatically track usage, and bill guests accordingly. The revenue received from the paid upgrades can be utilized by hotels to see where they can provide the best services for the greatest ROI.
For example, when a guest checks in, he/she can be prompted with a message when they log–in to upgrade wireless access from free” to add additional bandwidth options. When integrated with the PMS, the billing for this service is automated for this guest –as well as say his wife and kids who also have wireless devices in the same room. You can offer free trial Internet access and convert your customers into paid subscribers. The entire process is automated, and follows the rules you specify: number of log-ins per day, available bandwidth, and much more. Giving your guests the ability to pay for an upgrade is very important, as business users will typically not be satisfied with free-level service. However, users needing only to browse the Web or access email would appreciate a free offer, and possibly upgrade in the future.
Properties are also creating rewards programs centered around tiered WiFi – like a frequent flyer” incentive program for WiFi. The more points a guest earns, the more WiFi bandwidth access they are given. These types of incentives are proven to not only increase guest satisfaction, but also brand loyalty. When tracked using a PMS, this process is automated so when a guest checks in, their rewards are applied instantly.
Based on present and past information about guests, your place of business will also know more about the various demographics your establishment strives to serve. Without a solid structure that produces intelligence on guest relations, gauging success is near impossible. By integrating a PMS and WiFi system, hotels and other properties can deliver content to guests as soon as they enter the hotel – based on their preferences. It can also allow your staff to record information on room preferences, housekeeping needs, etc. and update the information from a wireless device directly into a PMS. Who hasn’t been frustrated when you are told your room isn’t ready – even after the stated hotel check-in time? With an integrated PMS, housekeeping may be able to inventory a room and have the data automatically populate the PMS right from a mobile device as they are working – ensuring the room is ready on time for the next check-in.
Anticipating the Next Wave
Integrating Property Management Systems with WiFi is a crucial first step for hotels that want to stay ahead of the curve by offering guests premium services, while also helping to pay for those services. Not only will it improve guest experiences, it is also a powerful tool to help manage complex systems, inventory and services – from one easy location. Frequenters no longer hope for WiFi options and personalized amenities, they expect them – and use them to determine where they want to spend their money. With an integrated system, you can be prepared for the next evolution in WiFi. With Hotspot 2.0 and other wireless applications around the corner, hotels, resorts and other guest service industries must stay at the forefront in order to attract guests. Ensuring you have the latest information, and a robust wireless network is the best place to start.
Deep Blue is committed to ensuring that its’ customers have the latest information to make accurate and knowledgeable decisions on the installation, usage and application of their WiFi system. Incorporating the newest trends and technologies into an existing or new WiFi system will be a key factor of success as Internet access and ease of use become increasingly important to consumers. Various PMS integrations through Deep Blue can help you prepare for the next evolution of WiFi. To discuss how this model, and other monetizing systems, can be incorporated into your business, please contact us today.