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Here's what we'll cover in this guide:
Hospitality, hotel and resort customer relationship management (CRM) software supports businesses in addressing two major challenges: growing customer loyalty and improving customer satisfaction. The hotel industry remains under intense pressure to maintain adequate occupancy levels, as well as grow share of wallet through the promotion of dining, spa and other complementary services. Hospitality firms rely on this technology to maintain and grow market share and profitability.
In addition to core customer relationship management functionality, hospitality industry programs will include the following features that tailor it to the industry:
|Full integration||Many solutions for the hospitality industry combine relationship management with other features, specifically property management, hotel management and central reservation systems (CRS) that manage the entire reservation and check-in process. If you’re not getting a fully integrated solution, it’s important to select a program that can connect to your other systems to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.|
|Loyalty management||Use the profile to maintain detailed information on guests, including contact info, activity history, participation in promotional or loyalty programs and even detailed preferences for VIPs. You can then leverage this information to set up loyalty programs designed to keep guests returning.|
|Sales activity management||Sales activity management is especially important for facilities that host a substantial number of private or corporate events. This would include event-triggered campaign marketing and capabilities for permission-based marketing campaigns.|
|Dedicated hospitality applications||Typical hospitality applications include concierge help desk, incident management, room service and tools to manage events, catering and group sales.|
Hospitality CRM software can be divided into several segments: hotel, resort, casino, travel and restaurant. Specific programs are available for each of these segments, and there are also systems broad enough to address all segments of the hospitality industry. For example, CRM software for casinos has specific functionality for player contact management and analytics that provide information on game and player trends within the casino. Solutions for travel organizations, such as an airline, would have specific loyalty program capabilities that could track mileage and trigger promotions and upgrades when customers reach certain pre-determined point levels.
Specific questions to ask when evaluating hospitality industry CRM software are:
Similar to the traditional customer relationship management market, the biggest shift in hospitality software is a move to the cloud. This type of solution is hosted off-site and delivered via the Internet. Hotel software systems with this deployment model typically cost less because they don’t require properties to have their own servers. And as a result, more businesses are able to afford the technology.
Also in recent years, hotel systems have started to go mobile. Developers have recognized that users continue to work on the go. So, they’ve launched mobile application and mobile site versions of their hotel automation programs. Below are recent announcements from the top lodging software makers.
Libra OnDemand. Hospitality systems maker Libra OnDemand recently released “Responsive Design,” an email feature update that customizes displays for tablets and other mobile devices. This includes communications such as reservation confirmations, pre-arrival communications, thank you emails and survey requests. The correspondence will no longer be hard to read, squashed or require a lot of scrolling. The SaaS mobile application also provides tools for users to communicate with guests through social media. The update is part of the company’s suite of applications for sales, marketing, loyalty programs and event planning.
Sage Act! Sage also recently announced new mobile and e-marketing capabilities. The new app-style product turns your Android, iPhone or iPad into a virtual office. Users can access contacts, activities and calendars from anywhere they use their device. The company at the same time released Sage ACT! Premium Mobile and Sage E-marketing for ACT!.
Also recently, the company formed a partnership with sales tax automation provider Avalara. The new Avalara Accountants Resource Center provides Sage Accountants Network (SAN) members access to educational resources on how to best service small businesses. Users can access white papers on the latest sales tax trends, webcasts, a tax form library and sales tax calculation tools.
Maximizer. Maximizer updated its customer relationship management system this year with the goal of easing navigation and enhancing integration. Developers added a “My Work Day” feature that lets users add additional data to contact pages; including social media information, notes, custom fields and links to external documents. The company also added a new mobile app, which syncs in real-time with the software through an Internet browser.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The company announced the beta release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013—the company’s first ERP solution for Windows Azure. The product is designed for small and mid-market businesses to optimize operations and control costs. Earlier this year, the company made a service update to its offerings, including the ability to access the app virtually on Windows Phone 7, the iPad, iPhones, Android and Blackberry devices.
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