Independent, multi-property boutique chains have grown tremendously in the past few years, as travelers seek out unique, immersive stay experiences. These growing brands offer travelers the best of both worlds, delivering a distinct brand image and unique service philosophy of an independent property, coupled with the consistency and professionalism associated with larger chains.
But as a chain grows in size, or as a brand makes the leap from single to multi-property ownership, they often find it difficult to maintain operational efficiency and a consistently delightful guest experience. More properties mean more employees, guests, and managers to coordinate 一 and more potential fail points that could affect the reputation of the entire brand. Boutique chains also face the challenge of maintaining brand consistency, while also giving individual properties the space to innovate and provide a uniquely authentic guest journey.
Fortunately, mobile technology can facilitate great hospitality and effective management at the chain level. In this article, we’ll explore how a mobile PMS platform with robust chain capabilities can streamline operations, delight guests and promote brand loyalty, maximize revenues, and help boutique chains expand their business even further.
Never Discount Mobile Flexibility and an Intuitive Interface
One of the main advantages of mobile platforms is their ability to allow hoteliers to manage their brand wherever they have an internet connection, enabling them to serve guests anywhere on the property, or adjust rates and restrictions on the go. This mobile flexibility is doubly crucial at the chain level where hoteliers may have to run between properties in a city or manage in a separate region or tier level.
It’s also important for the platform to have a user interface that is intuitive, easy to use, and makes it simple to switch between a chain or regional dashboard and its constituent properties. A dashboard at the multi-property level should make it easier for a hotelier to view their entire region or chain at a glance, with easy-to-read performance metrics for each individual property, such as availability, occupancy, and BAR.
Always Interact With Guests as a Unified Brand
Every time you ask a loyal, longtime customer, “have you stayed with us before,” you reset the relationship back to zero. This is doubly true for multi-property brands: Guests should know that their preferences, special requests, and loyalty perks won’t be “reset to zero” whenever they switch properties within a chain. The goal for a hotelier should be to deliver a brand 一 not just a single property 一 that can become a “home away from home” for repeat guests. This can be especially effective for business or bleisure travelers, who might travel to numerous destinations but require consistent excellence in their standard of service. When a customer knows that they can experience their own personalized version of an ideal guest journey whenever they stay with your brand, you are more likely to earn their patronage for life.
The key to achieving this level of personalized service is building a personalized guest profile that can be accessed at the regional or chain level. By accessing a guest’s profile across the entire chain, hoteliers can better determine a guest's loyalty, stay, and rate preferences, as well as any special requests or preferences they may have expressed at another property. Being able to easily access chain-wide availability can also be enormously helpful in reducing overbookings, and lessening the impact of a walk: If you have to walk a guest, it would be a lot easier to send them to a sister property in the same neighborhood or city, than to send them to another brand (which usually results in the loss of a loyal long term guest).
Maximizing Revenue by Gaining a 360° View of Chain Performance
The first step to maximizing revenue on the chain level is to get a 360° view of your chain’s performance. While this is technically possible with traditional, on-site PMS platforms, it’s often error-prone and time-consuming, as hoteliers have to generate and correlate multiple reports from separate individual properties, and then manually generate regional or chain-level performance metrics from that raw data. Hoteliers should look for a PMS that provides streamlined multi-property reporting in a single PMS instance, so users can gain valuable insights without administrative headaches.
Chain-level analytics can also aid hoteliers in instantly setting rates and restrictions for the entire chain, or allowing them to adjust rates based on a geographical region, hotel tier, or by individual property. A multi-property availability screen can also empower associates in central call center booking rooms who need to quickly convey rate and occupancy information to companies or groups, or who may need to book a large group into multiple properties in a city.
Embrace Asset-Light Scalability to Quickly Expand Your Business
A mobile, multi-property PMS can help hotel brands embrace an asset-light business model (ALBM) for future expansion. An ALBM approach focuses on adding properties and capabilities while minimizing upfront investments in physical assets. It allows a boutique chain to expand quickly while maintaining their focus on operations and enhancing the guest experience.
By their very nature, mobile PMS platforms promote asset-light scalability when compared with traditional on-premises platforms. Because a mobile PMS is based in the cloud, there is no need to install and maintain costly on-premise servers whenever a hotel brand expands its portfolio. Similarly, cloud-based platforms with an open-API architecture and regular product updates obviate the need to pay for costly proprietary updates and integrations to scale your tech stack.
A PMS with multi-property configurations can promote this asset-light model of scalability even further by radically streamlining the process of configuring new properties. By utilizing detailed hotel templates, hoteliers can copy existing rates, room types, and guest records onto a new property, or quickly standardize rates and room types in a region or tier. In this way, hotel brands can reduce the start-up time for new properties, while ensuring that new PMS instances are automatically added to the brand’s network.
Your Brand is Greater than the Sum of its Properties
Independent boutique chains may represent the future of the hotel market, but running one comes with its own unique sets of challenges. With more properties comes more difficulty in coordination, and more chances for reputation-harming errors. Running a successful boutique hotel chain requires mobile platforms that allow you to interact with guests as a unified brand and quickly switch between chains, while seamlessly switching between chain, property group, and individual property views. With the right set of multi-property capabilities, a mobile PMS can help you streamline operations, gain revenue, quickly open new properties, and promote customer satisfaction and loyalty.