They are young, curious, working hard and partying even harder. Their home is the world and they always wear a smartphone to connect with family and friends and find new places to go and things to do. Yes, you guessed right - they are millennials, the new top spenders in travel and hospitality. With this huge generation outnumbering previous ones and becoming the biggest consumer segment, we witness a boom in the hostel and hybrid accommodation sector. And since these modern travellers bring new demands to the industry, hostel managers and owners need new tools to help them meet the challenge.
We have come up with 5 pain points of hostel owners and how they can be relieved by hostel management software.
Selling rooms, beds and both of them, actually managing the same space.
While millennials, in general, don't want to pay too much for accommodation and prefer to book a hostel, some still require a higher level of comfort in terms of more privacy, own bathroom and similar. To meet this new demand, many hostel owners begin to offer beds in shared dorms and private rooms. This is where a hostel reservation system differs from traditional hotel software.
Usually, this duality of hostel inventory is what keeps hostel managers awake at night. Managing beds and dorms that are actually the same physical space can be tough. Once you sell one bed from a dorm, you can no longer sell the dorm as a private room. But to keep revenue high, you still need to be able to sell the remaining beds in that dorm. A hostel reservation system is able to do this automatically, i.e. to block the dorm but to leave the remaining beds available for sale.
Online Distribution through multiple hostel-specific channels
Millennials are online bookers by default. A hostel management system with integrated booking engine and channel manager is of great help here. Having the two as parts of the hostel PMS software means that the above mentioned dual inventory is always synchronised and correctly distributed to all sales channels. Rates and availability are altered according to the real occupancy so that more beds and/or rooms can be sold, but never too much. With this, the hostel can sell through the own website and the most popular OTAs like Hostelbookers without worries about overbookings. And by applying various sales rules and rate types, prices can change automatically to guarantee higher revenue and profit.
Two-way guest engagement and communication.
Hostels are primarily servicing young travellers that prefer personalised digital experience over cookie-cutter uniform services. Digital experience is a combination of modern technology and human intelligence both put in favour of the guest. It can start with personalized emails with relative information regularly sent to customers before and during their stay. Another advanced solution is a hostel self-service app where guests can check in, checkout, pay, book extra services and more. A virtual concierge adds even more value by helping young travellers feel the vibe of the place and find things to do on or off the property. All of the above along with some upsell offers that bring more revenue for the hostel are the smart way of digital interaction with tech-savvy guests. One thing is very important here - all property-customer communication channels should be conversational, which means that information should flow in both directions.
Management of more than just reservations.
Hip travellers are actually spending more than one would expect from a backpacker. But they prefer to pay for experiences and entertainment than for luxury rooms and amenities in hotels. To translate this emerging need into new services (hence, revenue) foresighted hostel managers have started to offer various extras, onsite entertainment, tours, activities and more.
A hostel management system that can handle extra service sales and is integrated with a restaurant and/or bar Point Of Sale system is ideal for properties that want to catch up with the trends. Selling various tours or onsite activities and posting the charges directly to the folio of the guest or offering happy hours in you eating facilities are great ways to engage with guests and win their hearts by doing your best to enhance their stay.
Capability to deal with the dynamics of hostel managers and staff.
Hostels often employ young people that don't stay for too long. With this, easy training of new employees to work with the software is crucial. Strict control, on the other hand, is also very important. Other must-have specifics of a modern hostel management software are mobility and cross-device and platform compatibility so that staff can use the software on the go. This counts especially for understaffed properties where one employee has to deal with various tasks, often using different modules of the PMS program, like combining reception and restaurant duties. With a mobile and multifunctional hostel software, it will take a click or two to switch from the check-in screen to the bar menu.
A lobby kiosk is another way to enhance the guest experience. Young travellers love their independence and hate wasting time. Crowded receptions and waiting in line are definitely not their favourites. Instead, they could go to the kiosk to check in, encode a key card, pay, checkout. Most routine operations are taken off the hostel staff thus leaving them some extra time to focus on more important guest interactions.
In recent years hostels evolve from just inexpensive lodging facilities to local cultural hubs, sociable places for young people to stay while travelling but also to experience the typical local atmosphere, to be entertained, to meet new friends and even to combine work with travel. The emerging trend in this hospitality sector is the offering of different levels of comfort, high class amenities, entertainment and extra services. Today we are talking about hybrid accommodations that are specially designed for the tech-savvy and at the same time emotional younger audience. They are seeking memorable experiences and sociable environment while still willing to administrate their journey from the comfort of their smartphone. A versatile hostel management software with integrated online distribution, guest engagement and rate management is the answer for modern forward-thinking proprietors that want to outsmart their competitors and deliver the digital experience their clientele expects from a lodging provider in the 21st century.
About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 50 countries.