Bed and breakfast management software has many names, the most common of which is property management system, or PMS. You might also come across terms like hotel management system, hospitality property management software, and front desk systems. These all mean the same thing, so try not to get confused!
You should only consider bed and breakfast management software that has these top five features:
1. Front desk management – This is the most basic functionality of a PMS, and it should handle the following as a minimum:
- View all of your reservations on a calendar page
- Add additional rooms and extra sale items to a booking
- Add new rate plans to existing rooms
- Close out specific rooms for a spring clean
- Move existing bookings around
- Process payments and produce branded invoices
- Check guests in and out
- Send pre-arrival and post-stay emails
- House all of your guest contact details and remember your returning guests
- Manage your housekeeping schedule
2. Cloud-based software – Cloud-based is just a fancy way of saying online – basically, instead of installing software on your computer, you access it via a web browser. That way, you can check on your bookings wherever you are and from any device – all you need is an internet connection. Plus, it means no upfront hardware-related costs.
3. Upsell and cross-sell tools – A PMS can help you earn more revenue per booking with in-built upselling tools. This makes it easy for you to create packages on your website, customised extras, and other sales items.
4. Guest communication functionality – A PMS will make it easy for you to communicate with your guests, with automatic emails that include booking confirmations, pre-arrival information and post-stay review requests – all with the look and feel of your B&B’s brand.
5. Sales channel management – Look for a PMS that offers a channel manager, as this means it has the power to distribute all of your available rooms across a number of external booking sites – all from the one login.
Need more info on features? Download our PMS buyer’s guide for a more in-depth breakdown and the costs involved.
Check out some of Little Hotelier’s features in this short video:
Bed and breakfast reservation software
Everything you do at your B&B revolves around reservations – if you don’t have a simple system to automate these, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to easily preventable problems like admin errors and double bookings.
However, looking for a tool that only handles reservations isn’t the answer. There’s no point have separate software to handle bookings, because this is just one small piece of a much bigger puzzle, and why automate one front desk task when the rest of your processes are going to let you down? Plus, the last thing you need as a busy B&B owner is the added hassle of having multiple systems for different things.
Instead, you need to find a provider who can do it all with one system – not just manage reservations, but also distribution, guest communications, housekeeping schedules, reporting, and more. That means, instead of looking for bed and breakfast reservation software, you should be looking for a property management system (PMS).
As we covered earlier, a PMS handles all of your operational tasks, including reservations and all the admin that comes with them – check in and check out, payment processing, booking confirmation emails, updating your availability… the list goes on. The best part? You don’t even have to be at your desk to do them all – just log in to your PMS from your phone, tablet or laptop and you’re away!
Is B&B booking software free?
You’ll have a hard time finding high quality booking software for free – and if you do, it’s likely to require a lot of IT work on your end. Sophisticated software like Little Hotelier’s booking engine costs money because there are teams of product developers and designers behind it, constantly working to improve the functionality and experience – so that B&B owners like you can focus on doing your job.
Having said that, you shouldn’t expect to pay a lot (check out costs in the next section). Plus, the best providers always offer a free trial of their platform and products before you commit to a purchase. This way you can get the full experience throughout a stress-free period where you can assess the various benefits the software offers your property.
Little Hotelier gives B&Bs the chance to trial the platform, including free B&B booking software, for 30 days and will contact you within one business day to get you setup. Just fill out this form to get started. After one month, you’ll have a clear picture of the long term goals you can achieve with B&B software like Little Hotelier and how much easier your day-to-day processes become.
Reservation software for bed and breakfast cost
Little Hotelier pricing is a pay-as-you-go monthly subscription – just a predictable, flat fee each month based on the number of rooms at your B&B. This means you can also cancel any time – there are no contracts to lock you in.
Little Hotelier’s PMS can be secured from USD $109 (GBP £87) per month if your property has five rooms or less. A property with 15 rooms will be charged USD $139 (GBP £111) per month. This is more than competitive, with some other major providers charging USD $159 (GBP £127) per month for 15 rooms. Watch out for any providers whose pricing model is based on bookings, rather than a flat rate – this is called commission-based pricing and it’s a one-way ticket to huge costs. An increase in bookings is a natural result of implementing a PMS, and no-one should take a cut out of that extra revenue.
With Little Hotelier, you can also choose to pay annually for a discount.
Bed and breakfast software reviews
If you can’t decide which bed and breakfast software provider you want to partner with, it’s very helpful to look at reviews. In most cases the reviews you read will be written by owners and managers with properties just like yours, so you can start to develop a more reliable opinion of the technology you may be about to purchase.
Hotel Tech Report is a reliable source to see what customers are saying about B&B software providers – including Little Hotelier.
Hotel Tech Report provides an easy to navigate dashboard so consumers can see at a glance how well a particular system is regarded. A percentage meter quickly communicates how likely the product is to be recommended, with a ratings summary alongside specifying the strength of support, ease of use, ROI, and implementation. A menu allows navigation to pros and cons, screenshots of the product, features, written reviews, pricing, integrations and more.
Make sure you evaluate scores and written reviews in conjunction to get a comprehensive overview of each software provider you’re considering. Either one alone may not hold all the information you need to put your mind at rest. It’s also possible that specific concerns some people have are not important to you, and vice versa. Ultimately though, after researching reviews you should have an impression on whether a product is delivering on its promises to customers – allowing you to make a confident decision.
Bed and breakfast reservation software: compare providers
Smart buyers never purchase the first option they see – even if it’s a great option – without first assessing the whole marketplace.
Reservation software such as an online booking engine is extremely valuable for your property. An online booking engine will enable your property take commission-free bookings straight from your website and Facebook page. Little Hotelier includes direct booking technology as part of the offering.
Comparing providers is absolutely something you should do, taking careful note of the difference between:
- Integration capability
When it comes to the top providers of bed and breakfast software, your ultimate decision may come down to something small, such as a slight difference in price or one specific piece of functionality you’re looking for.
Small properties such as B&Bs with less than 10 rooms require specifically tailored software solutions. If you’re in this position, software like Little Hotelier could be perfect.
Little Hotelier was born precisely to ease the frustrations of small accommodation operators, prioritising ease of use, time-saving, and revenue generation. When guests stay at a small inn they expect a warm welcome and a homely experience – something you can’t give them when preoccupied with manually performing the daily operations at your property.
Now you’ve decided reservation software is what you need, keep your business goals firmly in mind when making an investment decision. Direct bookings delivered by an online booking engine via your website and social media pages are probably going to be a priority, since you’ll save money you might normally pay as commission to online travel agents such as Booking.com.
It can be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want to invest in bed and breakfast software?
- What do I want to achieve for my business when using B&B software?
- What features of B&B software are important to me?
- Will the software make my life easier?
- What’s my budget for reservation and booking software?
Realistically, purchasing software to manage your property will certainly make you happier and your business more successful so it’s simply a matter of identifying who the leaders in the industry – one of which is Little Hotelier.