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Hotel Management Software Development Guide: Features, Process & Cost

The hospitality business is a fast-growing niche that develops day-to-day in different countries all around the world. Successful hospitality businesses have to improve themselves and optimize their work processes, in order to keep the lights on. 

What is the best and most obvious way of optimization in today’s digital environment? Of course, it is the implementation of management software that makes hoteliers’ lives easier and guest experiences better.

And for sure, you can use ready-made software solutions designed for different departments and needs – as a lot of hotels do. But this software is often oversaturated with unnecessary functions and doesn’t have the features that a particular hotel really needs. Obviously, such software won’t help to get rid of all the pain points. 

It remains clear that nothing works better than a custom software solution tailored to a specific business with its specific needs. You can have your own software that will contain only the functionality you need. This set of features will be combined into one system for all departments, with unified databases and automated processes for entering and processing information.

 If you don’t want to change all the tools you currently use, you can develop a custom “shell” for them, combine them into one system, and add the necessary functionality as needed.

The most cost-effective approach is to allocate a budget just once and develop the software that will 100% satisfy your needs so you never again pay for using imperfect tools.

Considering this, we create a detailed guide for the development of a hotel management system based on market forecast, business needs, and worldwide user experience.

So let’s explore the most important features of an HMS, the development process stages, and also the cost of its development in 2023. 

What is hotel management software?

An HMS, short for hotel management software –  is an instrument that is designed to automate business operations and processes in hotels. 

It’s worth noting, that an HMS can fit both small and large hotels, but depending on the size of businesses, software may have different functions.

This type of software was developed initially to let hoteliers manage front-office activities, such as check-in and check-out, booking reservations, managing prices of rooms, and billing guests. Thereby, an HMS replaced hard, tedious, and inflexible paperwork. 

hotel management software

But today the technology of managing hotel processes has expanded beyond a front office. Nowadays, an HMS is a central part of the hotel business. 

It helps hoteliers not only to control processes, conduct business operations and generate profits but also to make the guests’ experience amazing and unique.

The processes of automation and optimization, represented by an HMS, have the potential to enhance the satisfaction of clients by providing faster and more precise service, decreasing waiting times, and elevating the overall quality of experience. 

Moreover, a system can speed up the hotel employees’ work processes by taking over repetitive tasks and allowing them to work faster and bring more value to your business for the same costs. Additionally, an HMS can enhance operational efficiency by minimizing mistakes, improving productivity, and reducing costs.

Top Features of an HMS

top features of hms

Hoteliers face the challenge of providing a personalized experience for every guest, as well as running the business efficiently. The introduction of a hotel management system to your business will help to achieve all of these points. 

But when you decide to implement an HMS, the big question is what features it should have. It is obvious that software should have a user-friendly interface. However, some other features are not so apparent to those who want to optimize their businesses. Therefore, let’s explore the top functions of effective hotel management software.

1. Housekeeping and maintenance

This feature helps to assign various duties to housekeepers, manage room statuses, and organize staff’s work efficiently. 

For instance, a front-office manager can create a list of necessary tasks for housekeepers, and update the room information immediately. Also, customized hotel management software development may include an application for staff, allowing housekeepers to communicate with front-office personnel in real-time mode. 

An HMS enables employees to manage operations effectively and instantly conduct all customer requests without the need to contact other departments either by phone or email. 

Another not less important function of an HMS is maintenance management. Through an HMS, you can manage maintenance by recording all failures and repairs. 

Every member of the hotel team should have access to a list of assignments, work instructions, and other information from a smartphone, laptop, or another device. With a work process built in this manner, each team member knows precisely what to do, when, where, and how.

2. Billing, Invoicing, and Accounting

Billing and invoicing, cashiering, and currency exchange can be challenging tasks that consume a lot of time. For this reason, hotel management software should be created to simplify these processes and make staff activities more efficient. 

For example, guest payments can be managed, edited, and invoices can be generated and sent automatically. Invoicing for services and add-ons can also be easily managed.

Using custom-developed HMS, you can connect accounting with other departments (f.e. front office, procurement, etc.) and operations in the hotel – so it helps automate all financial data entry. Such a solution helps to optimize data accounting and reduce time-consuming processing work.

3. Booking Engine

The decision of a guest to book a room in your hotel is influenced by numerous factors. One of them is the presence of a booking engine and its performance. The best result can be achieved if this engine is perfectly compatible with an HMS.

The online booking mechanism is like a guide for hotel guests. With just one click, they receive information about a room, its availability and cost, breakfast and lunch options, and additional amenities. 

At the same time, the sooner a reservation is confirmed, the less likely a client will choose another hotel. 

A booking engine is an excellent process optimization tool, as it can replace several employees at once. You won’t have to rapidly reply to letters and calls anymore because an engine will do everything for you in seconds.

4. Front-desk and Back-office Management

The business is more than just planning and investments but, firstly, people. An effective hotel management system helps all employees to successfully administer a hotel and serve clients. 

Thanks to an HMS, front-desk workers get an opportunity to control reservations, rates, and room availability. Thus, they can add or change a reservation, make changes to room descriptions, and extend guests’ stay with one click. 

An HMS can also offer many features for back-office management, here are some of them:

  • Management of conferencing and events. This function is directly related to the planning and holding of different meetings or events. 
  • Inventory Management. This feature includes all processes related to the control of assets and products, for example, ordering, storage, and distribution. 
  • Human resources management. An HMS can centralize and optimize all processes related to hiring, training, or outboarding employees, as well as personnel data management.
  • Marketing. You can manage, launch and analyze successful marketing campaigns directly from an HMS. 

5. Channel Manager

Channel manager is an essential and reliable tool that will make your hotel visible on any booking platform. In addition, a channel manager will help you keep up-to-date information about rooms, prices, and availability on these platforms. With this feature, you won’t have to worry about unpleasant situations when one room is booked by several people or inaccurate prices.

Thanks to hotel management software, you can easily incorporate a channel manager into your business, and manage an unlimited number of distribution channels. As a result, you will be able to get more bookings from different platforms, which means you will boost your income.

6. Customer Data Management and CRM

Most hotel management systems have CRM modules that help to collect and manage customers’ data. Thanks to the implementation of CRM, all the necessary personal and contact information about your guests will be in front of you. Also, you can add information about new guests to the system or edit the profiles of regular customers.

With the help of an HMS with a CRM module, you can:

  • send personalized emails and offers to customers;
  • run a customer loyalty or membership program;
  • send documents for registration or invoices to customers by email;
  • see service ratings and reviews from each guest;
  • reduce queues during check-ins, because all customer data is already in your database;
  • leave information for hotel staff, etc.

Using hotel management software with CRM will help you better understand your guests, their behavior, and their preferences. 

Thanks to this, you will be able to provide guests with VIP service and get more bookings, positive reviews, and recommendations for your hotel. Also, it will increase the chances that customers will return to your hotel again in the future.

7. Seamless Third-party Integration

Hotel software should be open to third-party applications and services if you want to attract more customers. Integrated applications can be responsible for various aspects, including booking, marketing, data analysis, and so on.

For example, thanks to integration with online travel agencies, hospitality businesses can reach a wide audience of potential clients. Hotel managers can effortlessly modify room details and pricing on various booking platforms in this scenario.

Hotels can also benefit from integration with third-party guest engagement platforms providing the possibility to find all the information about the hotel, order food, call a maid, etc. using a smartphone.

8. Self-Service App for Guests

Nowadays, customer-oriented hotels are doing everything possible to ensure that their guests have the most personalized and wonderful vacation. One feature that makes it possible is a self-service app.

Thanks to such applications, guests can independently and remotely pay for their stay, order food, or some kind of service to their rooms. In addition, applications for guests provide the possibility of mobile check-in and check-out.

With an HMS, you can implement a guest self-service app and create a better customer experience. 

Process and Cost of the HMS Development in 2023

After you learned all the information about an HMS and its functions, you have decided to order the development of the customized software for your hotel. 

But what’s next? Let’s look at the stages of the development of software.

Foremost, you need to choose a company that will develop the custom software solution for you. For example, you can find and contact outsourcing companies. You can learn more about the benefits of hiring an outsourcing company here.

When you have already chosen tech specialists with the needed expertise, you need to present your idea to them. After that, the process of bringing your idea to life will begin.

The hotel management software development process includes:

  • Planning and estimation. Together, we form a concept with all the necessary features according to your business-specific needs. Then we plan data security, easy changeability, and scalability of the product, and choose the most cost-effective development approach.
  • Prototyping and design. Our IT specialists build a basic prototype of your future software based on the developed user journey map – client-oriented design, attractive interfaces, etc. We clearly define the product’s architecture, third-party integrations, and secure data processing. 
  • Implementation.  Tech specialists develop mobile and web applications using Agile development methodology and the latest technology stack. 
  • Quality assurance. The purpose of this process is to perform product defects reporting, tracking, fixing, and retesting until the product reaches the quality requirements. 
  • Deployment. Delivery of a fully functional and tested product that is available to end users.
  • Maintenance. Specialists provide the product’s health check, application monitoring, as well as application customization according to the needs and feedback from real users – your employees and guests.
full cycle software development process

What about the costs of custom hotel management software development? 

The cost of developing each project is different. If we are talking about software development for hotel management, the cost will depend on the number of functions and their complexity. 

The approximate average cost of custom hotel management software development can vary from $30,000 to $80,000 and more (depending on the product complexity). This price is possible if you cooperate with developers from Eastern Europe. The development cost can be 2-3 times higher if you choose specialists from the USA, Canada, or Western Europe.

Many processes, such as project management, integration of third-party applications, and design can be priced separately. It also has an impact on the cost of the development. 

Process and Hotel Management Software Development with ImproveIT Solutions

In conclusion, it’s worth saying that building and developing a business is like a puzzle. A successful hotel business requires excellent customer service, attention to details, and a focus on creating a welcoming and hospitable environment for guests. We can help you with one of the pieces of the puzzle – effective software.

ImproveIT Solutions is a software development company based in Ukraine. Our team has brought to life many ideas, including projects such as software for hotels. Therefore, we have relevant experience and expertise in this matter. 

We are working with hospitality projects and have a deep understanding of this industry’s needs.  Our developers constantly create and implement different features for the specific HMSs.  Developing a booking engine, a channel manager, or a reservation system is common practice for us. Check our case studies here.

We will not only help to form a concept with all necessary features according to your business-specific needs but also provide the most cost-effective approach to the development process. Your software will be planned and realized carefully – from a client-oriented intuitive design, and secure data processing, to the possibility of easy scaling according to your growth.

Our solutions enable hospitality businesses of all sizes to enhance their productivity and simplify their operations. Feel free to contact our specialists to discuss your product and get a detailed project analysis and quote.