At Capterra, we like to stay informed on the latest happenings in the hospitality management software industry so that we can give buyers the best software recommendations. That’s why I recently interviewed Thomas Lyle at Frontdesk Anywhere to see what’s going on in the hospitality space. See what he had to say about current trends they’re witnessing at Frontdesk Anywhere.
Q: Who does Frontdesk Anywhere target?
A: Frontdesk Anywhere targets independent hotels, motels, resorts, inns and B&Bs. These properties range in size and form from a family run bed and breakfast to a group of boutique hotels operated by a management group. Our customers want to take advantage of the efficiencies of Cloud Computing: very low or no start-up costs, no hardware to buy or software to download and install.
They also want real-time connectivity to online sales channels such as Expedia.com, Booking.com and the like. Those that do not have this functionality will have a traveler book on Expedia. Expedia will then send a fax to the hotel when something is booked. It is up to the hotel to make sure paper is in the fax and it’s working properly. The hotel then must take the fax and enter the booking manually before going back and confirming with Expedia. With Frontdesk, it directly connects. Bookings are populated into the database so that staff does not have to collect and double check that there is room. If there are price changes, it sends this information automatically. If there are a bunch of cancellations, it will update Expedia to try to fill those rooms.
There are three different levels of the product:
- The booking engine only – you have to manually collect customer information
- A Light version – includes the booking engine that is scaled down for mom and pop B&Bs because they do not need stat reports, audit trails, unlimited number of users
- The Standard version – includes Light version functionality plus updates on activity with travel agencies
Q: What would you say is the main way your software benefits your customers?
A: Frontdesk Anywhere helps its customers increase revenue. We have stories from our customers about how guest volume dropped but their revenue increased by double digits because they could better manage revenue with Frontdesk Anywhere. Others see both increased visitors and increased revenue after deploying our system. Our goal is simple: enable our customers to earn more by becoming more operationally efficient while providing better customer service at a lower cost.
Q: What makes Frontdesk Anywhere different from others?
A: Most of our competitors are based on older, desktop technology. This means someone, a paid consultant if not the property manager, must buy new hardware, install and then configure the application. Connecting to Web-based services, such as for selling online, is difficult if even an option. Furthermore, these products typically only support a specific type of computer. Frontdesk Anywhere is 100% online and web-based meaning there is nothing to install and can be used on PC or Mac. We provide flexibility to be used anywhere – at the property, at home or on mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads.
Users also are able to multi-task. Older systems force them to stay on one area at a time, which is very inefficient. For example, someone could be at the front desk, another guest walks in, and another guest calls. With Frontdesk, the user can simultaneously make updates for all of these guest needs.
Q: What recommendations do you have for hotels that are looking for software?
A: Once you have a general budget in mind, price should be the last consideration in your checklist. It doesn’t matter what the price is if the software doesn’t do what you need. First rather, focus on the features of the software and the company that makes it.
Trying to seriously demo, compare and analyze 10 – 20 applications is almost impossible. Get down to your top three or four selections as quickly as possible and then spend time trying them out and getting to know the people who will be supporting you for the long-term. With thoughtful decision making you will be able to make good use of your selected software application for years to come.