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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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...Executive Summary

Competitive and economic challenges have forced those within the hospitality industry to change their business model to better manage expenses, while continuing to generate revenue and deliver high levels of customer satisfaction.

To compete efficiently in terms of customer service, operational efficiency and marketing, you have to automate when the possibility arises. There are a number of systems to aid this, such as the property management systems that look after the day to day running   s straight through to your booking engine and channel manager, not forgetting the customer relationship management systems used to market hotels. However these systems have been complex, expensive to install and use.  

In this report we looked at two computer systems used within the hotel industry, interviewed and summarised employees experiences while keeping the aim in mind in discovering which system would be more profitable.

Introduction

When deciding to access the main computer systems used within the hotel sector, we decided to pick two sister hotels within our local town that we knew information would be easily sought, being employees of each.

The Auburn Lodge hotel consists of 110 rooms and is situated on the outskirts of Ennis, making it an ideal location for people travelling to the Burren or the Cliffs of Moher. Whereas its sister hotel having 48 rooms takes a different approach, sitting in the heart of the town and owning the only nightclub in Ennis. When deciding whom would be best to approach when it came to gaining information about the businesses software programmes. We decided on the receptionist from each hotel, Mairead & Lauren.

The aim of this research is to discover which software is more sufficient and profitable. What piece of software is suited to what businesses? Hotels have a quick turnover of staff and although the software programme may be high tech and efficient, it will be less profitable if it cannot be used sufficiently.

Throughout this report we hope to discover the advantages and disadvantages of each software system and deem one to be more profitable.

For a copy of the interview--- see appendix A

Literature Review

Business Intelligence

A Business Intelligence system is a technology driven system for analysing data and presenting information that will be beneficial to managers and top decision makers in order to influence their final decision to being the best action for the business itself. Data is collected and subject to a transformation process in order to create information. Information involves placing data in a form of meaningful context so that it can be understood and acted upon. Information is the key factor when it comes to Business Intelligence and reduces uncertainty about a situation or event meaning that by managers using Business Intelligence systems, they can feel confident about their decisions and about their position within the market place going forward.

Business Intelligence systems combines data and tools to present complex and competitive information to critical planners or decision makers within a business. As time has progressed the amount of data available to support decision making has increased significantly. Data consists of raw facts or observations that are considered to have little or no value until they have been processed and transformed into actual information. By having an ample amount of data it deepens the demand for information systems to be developed in order to store all information given in a collective and meaningful manner.

The idea of this system is to improve the timeliness and quality of inputs to the decisions being made. Business Intelligence systems aid us in understanding what our competitors are doing and the effects these actions are having on our company.

The capabilities of an individual business let us have a greater insight into the latest trends and possibilities within a business. Business Intelligence systems have developed greatly as time has progressed and resources and capabilities have passed. Such as in the past, management information systems focused on telling the manager what happened today whereas now the improvement focuses on deciding what the best possible way to resolve the issue in question.

In order to achieve success a company has to have a clear understanding in regards to what system they are using, doing a comprehensive understanding of company   s dealings and customer base. The term Business Intelligence emerged from industry and coined by the Gartner Group in the mid 1990   s. A business information system has four major components, an area where its sources its data, a collection of tools for manipulating, mining and analysing the data within the warehouse. A nosiness performance management for monitoring and analysing performance and lastly a user interface such as a dashboard.

This includes business performance management for monitoring and analysing all information gathered. Well-designed Business Intelligence systems can give anyone within a company the ability to make better decisions by quickly understanding the various elements of information assets within the organisation and how they interact with each other.  They include personal data, product data, sales and marketing activity.

Hot soft

Hotsoft is a software programme designed to suit every need of the hotel industry, making providing effective, efficient and chivalrous service to your guests accessible.

    Hotsoft consists of well-known fully integrated products consisting of modules that can be easily added or expanded allowing effective and easy management from smaller operations to global, multi branded network of hotels and resorts  .

It can be deployed in any size environment, from a single property with just a front office to a large fully established hotel branch with various departments such as sales & marketing, catering, revenue management, quality management, back office and materials management.

Within the hotel industry, the size of the business varies along with the size and version of a software programme needed. But in any hotel, they will require front office management. The front office management system provided by hotsoft is a multi-featured module designed specifically for limited service independent properties and hotel chains. It   s large, easy to read display gives quickly to front desk functions with a hotel monitor programme that makes it easy to perform simple tasks such as checking a guest   s room number, to checking the availability and rates for special events such as New Year   s Eve. Features include reservations, front desk, cashier shift, housekeeping, night audit, system setup and a number of standard reports.

For a copy of hotsoft desktop see -Appendix B, C & D

Room-Master

Room- master is a hotel management software, that brings you powerful functionality in an affordable, easy to use, fully integrated, flexible solution that handles all ones needs from front desk reservations to housekeeping, to keeping track of online bookings directly into the system. Automatically generating a conformation email to each of the guests after booking. With room- master you have all powerful and easy to use tools at your fingertips. That includes front desk reservations, availability and bookings made via the web. Room-master also handles food and beverage management, revenue accounting, sales ledgers, housekeeping and sales and marketing.

    RoomMaster is the most powerful, flexible, easy-to-use, and affordable property management system. Our fully-integrated solution adapts to the needs of all types of properties, allowing you to work the way you want. RoomMaster provides you with the tools to manage your business efficiently, make it more profitable, and have more time to attend to your guests' needs.   

Room- master is available in three variations of editions. Standard, Enterprise and Premier.

For a copy of room-master desktop see- Appendix E & F

Methodology

The hotel sector seemed like the obvious choice to examine as we are familiar with the day to day aspect of hotel work. Once we finished conducting our secondary research using internet facilities and user manuals provided to us by the hotel. It enabled us with the necessary information to conduct a questionnaire to use during an interview. We saw an interview as being the best source of information, as the source was reliable and accessible.

Dr. Rita S. Y. Berry sees in depth interviewing as being the most successful & Patron:1987 suggests 3 basic approaches to conducting an interview. (i) The informal conversational interview (ii) The general interview guide approach or the approach we used (iii) The standardised open- ended interview.

    Researchers using this approach prepare a set of open-ended questions which are carefully worded and arranged for the purpose of minimising variation in the questions posed to the interviewees. In view of this, this method is often preferred for collecting interviewing data when two or more researchers are involved in the data collecting process.  .

Thus, decided the personnel best to approach when it came to gaining information about the software programmes, we decided on asking the receptionist from each hotel. Whose names were Mairead & Lauren. We decided a questionnaire would be most beneficial to ensure all questions were asked and answered.

After compiling a list of questions for both receptionists and getting permission from both, we arranged suitable times to meet with each. When asking for permission in taking part of this primary research, we brought a copy of the assignment brief, so they would have a greater understanding to what type of questions would be asked, how to deliver appropriate answers and if they felt comfortable participating.

Firstly, we met with Mairead, the head receptionist in the Auburn Lodge Hotel for the past six years. The interview began just after four o clock and finished at ten to 5. The interview took place in a lounge area, just off the side of the bar so the atmosphere was chilled and there wouldn   t be any worry with noise. Mairead was happy to produce an answer for any question directed her way. While the interview took place we had a recorder running to ensure we didn   t miss any important aspects and we were also jotting notes.

With one interview completed, it was to the Queens Hotel we went, to meet Lauren, just like Mairead so accommodating and any question asked was answered for. Our interview with Lauren commenced just before six and finished at twenty to 7. This interview was very approachable and we used the same mechanisms to record our information.

Findings

After completing both interviews, we used our recorded data along with our notes to complete a list of findings. Both companies have business software to cater for their own explicit needs.

Firstly, we will look at hotsoft, we interviewed Mairead in order to get a personal view of the advantages and disadvantages of the software. Mairead has worked in the Auburn Lodge for the past six years, making hotsoft the only system she has used. Within those six years, she has seen a number of receptionist using hotsoft, some already trained and some with no experience at all. She believes that anyone can manage the basics of the system. That it   s the need to know duties like occupancy for the midterm -to see if there is a need for kids club or not, regardless how many times you show someone how to do these steps, unless you have a broad understanding of the programme itself, it will be unaccurate and then staff will have to be paid what could have been an avoidable wage. In order to grasp the software itself it will take at least two weeks and then the receptionist should be able to man the floor by themselves.

When learning to use hotsoft, it is very basic mistakes that make the software difficult to manage and complete your shift on. E.g inputting a card payment as cash, not recording the right reservation number, inputting a reservation as an invoice meaning the receptionist doesn   t get payment, as far as she was aware it is to be sales ledger out. If no payment is later received, it is moved to a house account and if payment is never received it will later be written off as a bad debt.

The process of changing rates is very troublesome. Also, reservations with a room move are very difficult. When asking about the safeness and reliability of the software programme, we were assured that there is measures in place to prevent any security breach possible. Each day there is a different back up inserted to ensure all data is safe and that if the system fails, back up is on the drive itself. She went on to explain that within her years working in the hotel, there has been a situation where the system starts to act slow and cut off but in order to prevent any confusion there is an arrivals and departures list printed at the beginning of each day to ensure if anything does happen, the customer is not aware of the problem and business runs smoothly. Mairead assured us that if any neighbouring business or sister hotel asked about installing the software, that she would highly recommend it.

After conducting our interview with Lauren in regards to the room-master system we got great positivity when questions were asked, just like we had with Mairead. Lauren has worked in the Queens Hotel for the past two years but was just recently moved from the nightclub to reception. Lauren has been in reception for the past two months and says when she moved positions at first the task seemed daunting as she knew her job now would be a lot different to serving alcohol. When she first saw the software, she admits it looked very daunting, names and numbers everywhere that didn   t clarify with her. Training was made simple, notes were provided for reception am shift and reception pm shift. Notes were vague so it was up to the trainee to take her own. At the beginning, she kept forgetting that in order for the software to search a name the format had to be changed and the surname was always before the forename. Overall it took Lauren just under three weeks to become familiar with the software but says everyday she is still learning how to open or close rooms for websites or accounting for all the sales ledgers issued for that day. When asking Lauren about how safe and reliable the software programme is she assured us that the programme is under no threat and that admin provide a daily log of the guests coming in and out of the hotel throughout the day. Lauren did say that reporting could be improved; support is expensive and significant software updates required to frequently. Lauren hasn   t worked with any other software system that she could compare room-master but would also recommend it because basic functions are done easily but also do the more advanced processes splitting charges, direct billing, and packages easily. Reservations are easy to make, even when doing direct billing and group tracking. Availability is easy to see, with multiple views. Creating guest profiles, pulling reports, running housekeeping, tracking maintenance items are all easy and straight forward and there are no hidden areas that are hard to find.

Conclusion

Upon completing an assessment of the main computer systems used within sister hotels   The Auburn Lodge and The Queens Hotel we found that although using different programmes each have the individual pros and cons along with added features and versions. We conducted interviews to view the ins and outs of both software and got views from both experiences- one of the interviewees is a long term employee and the other having just moved position. By discussing with managers that have worked with both software systems in different hotel, we discovered that hotsoft is the better system, cost and experience wise. Whereas the only added feature room master has over hotsoft is the automated email generated response.

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