When you first decided to graduate from your pen-and-paper method to using software for managing your hotel, you probably didn’t expect to be faced with that many choices. You know that somewhere in that huge pile of software products there’s the one solution that is perfect for you. The only question is: How do you find it?
The first step is to eliminate a large chunk of products that just cannot work for your individual situation. Most software products will fit into one of the following categories:
The software is installed on one computer, all data is saved locally.
The software can be installed on several computers, the data can be stored either locally in a network or online.
SaaS / cloud based software
“Software as a Service” is a concept where the entire product is hosted. There’s no installation necessary and the data is stored online.
Each solution has its advantages and disadvantages, and not every type can be used in every situation. So here are 4 questions you can ask yourself in order to determine which products may be the only ones that can work for you.
1. How much of ‘you’ is there?
Are you the only one managing your business or do you have employees? As a single manager, an installation on your computer might be sufficient. With employees, on the other hand, you may need more access points.
2. Designated offices: One or more or none?
Do you have an office or reception desk where you do all the work? Or are there several places, e.g. a reception desk and a back office? Or maybe you don’t have a designated place at all, because you’re renting out holiday homes on the side? If there’s only one office with one computer, a single-computer product can work even if you do have employees. Likewise, if you’re always out and about, you may need to access your data from different devices and a cloud service may be best.
3. Online or offline?
How reliable is your internet connection? A cloud solution is easy to set up and you won’t have to worry about software updates, but it’s not ideal if your connection is slow or spotty.
4. Planning to expand?
Are you in the process of building up your business? Or are you a long-running family place? Do you want to renovate and maybe work more from home? Whatever it is you’re planning to change (or not change) about your working situation, take that into account when you choose. It may be better to get a software now with features you won’t immediately use if it can accommodate your foreseeable future needs.
With the answers to these questions you should be able to eliminate the products from one or even two of the groups mentioned above. When you look at a software product now, make sure to first ask if the product falls into “your” category. If not, don’t waste your time!
Finding the perfect software for your hospitality business seems like a daunting task until you’ve found which type of software to look for. By asking yourself these few strategic questions, you will quickly be able to separate the metaphorical wheat from the chaff.