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Buyer's Guide

by Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: December 9, 2016

A resort differs from a hotel in a few notable ways: Hotels are often located near main roadways, and serve as a nightly “home base” while travelers explore the surrounding area. Resorts, however, are often destinations in themselves. When it comes to software, they both require identical feature-sets, but resorts need some additional functionality to manage the more varied activities offered.

In this guide, we’ll differentiate between hotel management software and resort-specific systems, cover key considerations for prospective buyers and explain the pricing models.

What Is Resort Management Software?
Common Features of Resort Management Software
Key Considerations
How Is It Priced?

What Is Resort Management Software?

When compared to hotels, resorts tend to be spread across more land, which gives them space to offer more activities and amenities, such as horseback riding, nature excursions, golfing, tennis and more. Also, travelers often plan events at resorts to enjoy the natural surroundings and facility amenities, including weddings, business outings and other occasions.

While a resort requires the same reservation and front-desk software features offered in a hotel management system, these extra amenities bring with them potential issues. Resort staff must plan ahead and ensure scheduling is efficient to avoid problems that could drive away customers.

Therefore, resort management software supports the common functions of hotel management software, such as reservations, front desk and housekeeping management, point-of-sale (POS), maintenance capabilities and guest management capabilities—along with other, more specialized features. These can be offered either within an integrated suite or as standalone modules, and can integrate with an existing property management system.

Common Features of Resort Management Software

In addition to common property management functions, resort-specific software often offers one or all of the following features:

Spa management Spa services are commonly offered at resorts and require certain features to operate smoothly, such as appointment scheduling, a guest preferences database and inventory managing capabilities.
Restaurant POS & restaurant management Some hotels have dining options, but most resorts have full on-property restaurants to manage. Restaurant functionality typically includes a POS system with debit and credit card processing, inventory management, employee scheduling and marketing and reporting features.
Catering & event management Resorts can manage weddings, corporate retreats and other events, with food and beverage inventory management and cost analysis, invoicing, staff management and reporting functionality.
Retail POS A resort may offer shopping options to guests, from a basic general store to a clothing or jewelry shop. Like food and beverage establishments, these stores may require a POS system with debit and credit card processing and inventory management.
Activity management Many resorts utilize their acreage to build world-class golf courses that draw thousands of players each year. Golfing and other popular activities, such as tennis, hiking or fitness classes, require scheduling software to maintain tee times and appointments, track member information and manage retail inventory.
Club management For membership services, such as for a golf clubhouse, a resort managing system can offer features that allow staff to create, modify and manage membership entries. This can also include features to maintain a loyalty rewards program; users can automatically notify loyalty program members when they earn points to encourage booking again.
Maintenance management Because resorts typically offer a wide variety of activities and services, maintenance is important to fix sudden infrastructure problems and keep facilities functional, safe and clean for guests. Maintenance functionality can help companies create a schedule for the upkeep of landscapes, buildings and machinery.

Key Considerations

Resort managers should carefully consider the needs of their property before selecting a resort-specific system. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when making a decision:

Promotional functionality. Perhaps it’s a mountain full of snow to ski on; maybe it’s a sparkling beach, or a popular hiking trail through the nearby forest. Whatever the case, resort managers must promote their property’s strongest features to drive business. Choosing a system with strong marketing features, custom website creation and social media integration can help convey the character of your resort to the appropriate traveler segments.

Global Distribution System (GDS) integration. The GDS is a large network of hospitality companies and online travel websites that hotels and resorts can connect to using a central reservation system: a software feature that consolidates a hotel’s inventory and manages its Internet distribution. This ensures that your resort’s room rates and inventory are represented accurately and updated in real-time, so customers have the right information when booking online. Tapping into this system also increases the number of sales channels available to resorts, which can significantly increase revenue.

How Is It Priced?

Like other systems designed for hospitality or property management, resort management systems are priced by either a monthly subscription payment or a single, upfront cost:

Pricing ModelDescriptionExamples
Subscription-based, or “Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)" A monthly or annual fee, typically based on the number of rooms or units. Often denotes Web-based software. RezOvation, WebRezPro, FrontDesk Anywhere
Perpetual license fee A one-time, per-user or per-computer fee, which can increase with the number of rooms. Some products allow multiple users on a single license, while others require an additional license for each user.  Northwind Maestro, RDPWin, Execu/Suite
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