Dear Customers,


Chain hotels require integration of data across their entire organization. Furthermore, business intelligence is vital on a real-time basis for management to make proactive decisions, tactical and strategic. In techno speak, you may have heard of ‘real time, on demand and active data warehousing’.

Staying ahead of competition is a primary goal of every hotel. To achieve this goal hotels have to provide value for money, respond to guest services faster, having an efficient channel and reservation system, deliver memorable guest experience and having timely and accurate reporting provided at every level of the organization. Hence, it is a challenge for IT managers to do so especially in a dynamic environment having to deal with:

·         Increased data volumes form POS, Web bookings, CRM

·         New channels of business such as web bookings have created instant process and retrieval of information e.g. at the time a hotel room is booked, credit check, room inventory check and customer information needs to be validated

·         Regulatory and Government compliance requires record keeping for much longer especially security, risk and fraud detection

Furthermore, IT managers have to address demands both internal and external. Automating and integrating processes for linking business processes can be complex such as online customer feedback to CRM systems. This means both data management and business intelligence procedures. Often POS information going back five years is required for marketing. This can be varying levels of historical information as well as numerous attributes and analytics.


Chain hotels or medium to large independent 4/5 star hotels generate about 50 plus reports and business intelligence every month for management review. With disparate systems, it can take 10-15 days or more to compute these reports. In one chain hotel in the Far East, it is sent out nearly a month later. Studying the reports may take another five days. With about 20-25 days into the month, any corrective decisions taken are most likely mixed or ineffective. With momentohs® enterprise, it is possible to generate reports and business intelligence within 24 hours at month end. With momentohs® enterprise you can improve business performance by streamlining processes, increase efficiency by providing a flexible system that can be tailored to your needs, standardize operations and reduce costs. The real value is Real Time Decision Making – the winning formula in a down economy.
 

Mehboob Hamza
(mehboob@sscomp.ae)

 

 

Pump Up the Revenue, Not the Volume - Part One

By Jack Chang Chin Liang, Project Executive, Seven Seas, Malaysia.

The airline pricing system is something that has driven consumers crazy, always making them scrambling for flights in advance due to the fluctuating prices of the seats on board. Banks too are dabbling with their own instruments such as mortgages, car loans and home-equity. What actually drives and determines these changes in figures and numbers? In the hospitality industry, these situations go even deeper. The minute a customer checks in to the hotel; it is just the beginning of his/her spending spree, which may range from not even a single penny out of the pocket to thousands of dollars on revenue centers’ such as spa, posh restaurants and bistros, retail outlets and casinos.
 


Welcome to the interesting world of Revenue Management, an art and science in maximizing that ever important row in your annual report, net profit. Scientific because it deals with the branch of knowledge and facts of customer spending patterns and behaviors’ in a systematic and logical manner while the art (experience) comes into play by when a balancing act is required in determining bookings between regular customers vs. a special situation of a one off event where the guests may splash thousands of dollar on the visit. Revenue Management has been long introduced in the hospitality industry and its rewards, when implemented successful is visible. Yet, many hotels and resorts worldwide apply it haphazardly. On the other end, those that have successfully implemented Revenue Management are now taking it even deeper integrating it into the hotels’ Customer Relationship Management and Sales and Marketing.
Too many hotels are focusing on having their room status to be fully occupied. Hotel owners, especially fail to see the fact that having a lower room status but higher yield based on revenue optimization will improve the bottom line compared to a hotel that is taking in guest blindly or in a first come, first serve basis. It’s even more contradictory in the gaming industry, whereby it is actually proven that lowering room rates do actually yield greener returns. An interesting case study to look at is Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel. Between January to November 07, 98.6 percent of the rooms were complimentary and nearly 100 percent are complimentary on most weekends. Thus, the average room rate is approximately $6 per night. Although their rooms were on the house, Cherokee guests “pay” on an average, $565 per night, in food and gambling.


Revenue Managers are a new breed and highly paid and the trade off is between hiring a full time revenue manager or engaging an external seasoned industry. Many five star hotels can afford to have a full time Revenue Manager or in the case of chain hotels, have one based on geographical cluster. Most hotels have key members of their team who are familiar with the business patterns to digest and number crunch manually. Alternatively, one can put in place an almost fully automated Revenue Management system that churns out simple instructions and reports for the operation team to follow. Both methods, if done correctly should be able to register commendable increase in revenues and ultimately, profits. But the latter option gives the freedom and ability to the hotel to utilize their acumen in interpreting the results and focus on other more important issues, which can never be automated, such as face to face interaction with customers. This makes the revenue decisions to be significantly optimized by a Revenue Management system with internal and external data and bare minimum human intervention and input. Hotels that are still caught in yesteryear manually operating and tweaking their room rates and selecting customers to check in will find themselves far behind. In fact research shows a hotel with a full time Revenue Manager can double the profits. A common mistake is for hotels to have Reservation Managers do Revenue Management. Both positions are different and can create conflict of interest. Wearing two hats at once and be able to interchange in between can be confusing.
It is crucial to have a reliable and trusted Revenue Management System (RMS) in place to optimize the hotels revenue from all angles. This in turn will give confidence to hoteliers to make the right decisions when request for reservations swamp their emails inbox and web reservation systems. The advantages and likelihood of maximizing their true revenue potential and achieve greater financial stability far outweighs the investment in a RMS.


In Part Two, we will discuss the burning issue of Revenue per Available Customer (REVPAC), Revenue per Available Room (REVPAR) or Gross Operating Profit per Available Room (GOPPAR) and what a PMS should have to enable a truly enterprise-wide Revenue Management System.


The author is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from University Malaya who has previously done stochastic optimization work and research for automobile manufacturers’ Mercedes Benz Malaysia and also Proton Holdings. He has also done internship with Accenture and had a course work attachment with Motorola Technology and is now researching multi-objective optimization for the Hospitality Industry with Seven Seas Computers Sdn Bhd, Malaysia.

 


Smart Restaurants – What it takes to win - Part Two
By Puru Nanda, Client Relationship Manager, Seven Seas, Dubai.


Since the Early Days the world of restaurant POS systems & POS technology in general has come a long way .In today’s day and age hospitality operators/owners are much more tech savvy than they’ve ever been, and the vendors are slowly responding to this fact. This article outlines the top features a hospitality operator should be looking for in a new Restaurant Management system.


Consider your present restaurant business; you may be utilizing Cash Registers, your staff process orders using slips, all your menus are printed, one of the staff attending the register takes the payment and so on. You are happy that your business is running fine. But, think again. Is your present setup sufficient enough to handle a sudden rush? Do you have a system that would streamline your work force? Do you have Intelligent POS?


To prepare for better times manage a healthier restaurant business flow what you need first is a good POS with advanced functionality. Unlike restaurant cash registers, point of sale systems can do things beyond cash counting. It can become the nerve center of your business controlling every aspect from menus to sales-reporting and thereby multiply your productivity. Good POS for restaurants can do wonders; but, the hardest part is to choose one from the right vendor. Listed below are some of the criteria in helping you to select the Right Vendor.


Data Reporting
The top two most critical issues every hospitality-based business needs to capture are food cost and labor costs. Keep them in check, and your chances of succeeding in such a competitive market are greatly increased. Modern POS systems will help you be on guard by allowing manager’s access to important, easy to understand data on demand, and in real time. A POS system with state of the art data reporting capabilities will allow you to forecast business volumes, which gives managers the information they need to fine tune scheduling and avoid unnecessary labor costs. Time and attendance can be precisely monitored. Real time and instant access to data also allows managers to spot problems quickly and make snap decisions to address discrepancies in cash flow and adjust inventory levels. The POS system will pay for itself many times over if it can help you be on top on these two issues alone.

Back Office Management & Database Integration
Having all your POS terminals linked together, combined with the ability to run reports, make menu and pricing changes on the fly, check inventory levels and consolidate payroll at one central location is crucial to running your business efficiently and profitably. Your POS system should allow you to do this quickly and easily, all from the back office. Database integration and back office management capability should be at the top of your agenda.


Customer Relationship Management
Effective promotions can go a long way in boosting profits. Determining if your coupon or gift card program is working as it should, however, can be difficult. POS systems that can quickly help you evaluate which promotions are working and which ones aren’t, can save you time and money. Having a POS system that can keep track of customer history, their likes and dislikes, comments, etc. can give you valuable insight into what future promotions to design, and which ones should be attractive. Effective customer loyalty and points programs keep your customers coming back.


Payment Security
Payment security is crucial in today’s marketplace. With the incidence of fraud and identity theft reaching epidemic proportions, safeguarding the safety of your client’s credit card data is vital.


Enterprise POS & Multi Location Capability
For those who operate large and multi-location operations, choosing the right POS system has never been easy. Due to logistics and a host of other obstacles, businesses with multiple locations were forced to be creative in how they coordinated the collection of cash and data. Businesses such as these require enterprise wide POS systems that offer features such as client recognition capabilities, hospitality and retail sales, gift card processing, quick and easy debit and credit options, and more. They also require a POS system that can get around cabling and network issues, and preserve precious data in case of a system or network failure. If your company fits in this category, a reliable and flexible enterprise POS solution is a must.


momentohs® dining is a fully integrated state of the art software for restaurants that meets the above criteria and exceeds current industry standard software.


 

The author is a degree holder in Hospitality Management from one of the top prestigious university’s in Switzerland and has been working with major 5 Star hotel chains for the past 8 years especially in the Food and Beverage Department. This includes two years with the Jumeirah Group, Dubai. During the last few years, he has been exposed to technology and software systems and presently is a Client Relationship Manager in Seven Seas, primarily addressing the hospitality sector.
 

 

Deep in remote South Luangwa National Park - Zambia, lies Mwufe Lodge, a getaway into the wild life of Africa. While Mwufe Lodge has packages and trips with guides to bring them into the savannah to encounter the wild spirits of Africa, one can actually experience wildlife creatures in the resort itself. Guests are pleasantly surprised by the sight of elephants, yeap, a herd of elephants, going through the resorts reception verandah. The herd, numbering ten, is led to the lodge each day by the matriarch, Wonky Tusk. The hotel was unwittingly built on the route to the herd's favourite mango trees and the elephants have seen no reason to change the path trodden by generations before them. According to the resort manager, the herd appears every November as the mangoes ripen, 'This is a totally natural phenomenon, the elephants come here of their own accord and it is certainly a rare but magnificent sight.'


The Lodge has 18 en-suit thatched chalets each with its own private decking area from where you can view the rich wildlife. Each chalet has its own sunken bath tub with a private view of the lagoon. What better way to relax and forget the pressures of city life than to soak in the sights and sounds of the African bush.

 

 

 

In our previous newsletter, we discussed about how taking care of a customer and giving them delightful surprises such as returning their lost items is the best marketing tool for a hotel. This time around, we will be zooming into customers who have a word or two to comment, be it on the hotel amenities, service or the quality of food.


For this purpose, momentohs® has their unique Guest Complaint and Guest Feedback feature. For the Guest Complaint feature, there is a complaint log at the momentohs® Front Office module, either in Front Office or Housekeeping section and the reports can be printed out or emailed to respected department heads. On top of that, there is a “action taken” remarks column for managers or people with administrative rights to key in their follow up comments for that particular complaint. Complaints are easily traced by users as momentohs® will auto generate a transaction number for each complaint. Managers can easily use the ‘find’ button to search for the complaints either by transaction number, guest name, room number and so on.

 


For the Guest Feedback feature, one can create the forms and questions according to the hotels needs or individual taste. There is no limitation on creating the feedback form and there is level of satisfactory of the guest will be analyzed on a weighted scale, whereby the score and value can be, again, set by the user. Once the forms has been filled out by the guest, the user can key the info into the system and viola!, the system will do the calculations on the weighted score average for the users perusal.

 

 

Syed Irfanuddin Quadri
Business Solution Services
E mail : siquadri@sscomp.ae
Direct : +971 4 308 3645
Mobile : +971 50 7187292