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Software Options for Operating a Mid-Sized Hotel? 61

Posted by Cliff
from the digital-concierge dept.
curly_dan asks: "Can readers recommend any software packages suitable for a mid-sized hotel (100 rooms + restaurant + bar + function rooms) to use for checking guests in/out, billing, housekeeping, reservations, financial accounting and all other necessary functions for a busy hotel? Their existing system (which I don't want to name) is clunky, fails often, and the telephone support team seem unable to use or configure their own product and are frequently rude to the hotel staff. I'm interested in hearing the experiences on the software packages those of you in this business have encountered."
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Software Options for Operating a Mid-Sized Hotel?

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  • Suggestion: (Score:1, Funny)

    by Musteval (817324)
    Stop using MS Office for your hotel.

    You're not getting anything past anybody by not naming it.
  • Check-Inn (Score:3, Informative)

    by foQ (551575) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @08:59PM (#15267380)
    When I worked at a hotel (65 rooms, no restaurant), we used a product called Check-Inn. It had all of the features you mentioned, and was fairly decent. It wasn't awesome, but it wasn't too expensive, either. IIRC, they could do internet reservations in the latest release (which we weren't running).
  • by chesapeake (264414) <robert@nOSpaM.fearthecow.net> on Thursday May 04, 2006 @09:03PM (#15267397) Homepage
    While it is aimed at residential colleges, it offers functionality for billing, events/functions, room allocations and a bit more. Having been involved in a company which uses it, it's ok, except that users need local administrative privileges.

    Check it out here: www.starnetsystems.com.au [starnetsystems.com.au]

    Be warned, it's fairly expensive, but probably not prohibitively so.
  • Keep the PBX in mind (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pkhuong (686673) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @09:08PM (#15267421) Homepage
    You'll want to make sure that the new system interacts correctly and usefully with the hotel's phone system. Depending on that system, it could reduce the number of choices rather dramatically.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @09:09PM (#15267428) Homepage Journal
    Don't ask software geeks what's the best software for running a hotel. We may know software, but we know shit about hotels. You should ask other hoteliers.
    • We know lots about hotels! Cheap ones anyway..... NOT THAT I'VE EVER BEEN TO ONE.
    • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday May 04, 2006 @09:46PM (#15267608) Homepage Journal

      We may know software, but we know shit about hotels

      Perhaps he's hoping one of us stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
    • I've worked in hotels for over ten years, and I have a Slashdot ID not too much higher than yours...
      • giving up moderating this thread (honestly, probably wouldn't have anyway, don't know shit about hotel management software so this was the one commentso far i wanted to moderate), but......

        you should have tied you're responses further down into this or something. no one who isn't moderating is going to read down, compare, and see that you really do know what you are talking about. (and, consequently, are really being constructive to the conversation.)

    • Sure, but the slashdot user population is big enough that for any given wierd niche, there are likely to be overlaps - in this case, geeks that know about hotels.

      If you're willing to do some hacking, instead of paying money, this is worth looking into:

      http://www.opentravelsystem.org/ [opentravelsystem.org]

      It's based on OFBiz: http://www.ofbiz.org/ [ofbiz.org]
    • But seriously guys, I've worked at hotels (work at one right now actually) as a cook, and I can tell you, that there is a real shortage of ANY KIND of software.

      Be it inventory control, booking, checking in, personell management -you name it. Not only that, but most run over Windows, so you get the addittional problem of purchasing windows, running it and having the associated problems.

      Now the way I figure it, anyone building a system based on linux, where interaction with the actual operating system on the
      • But seriously guys, I've worked at hotels (work at one right now actually) as a cook, and I can tell you, that there is a real shortage of ANY KIND of software.
        If that's true, it's certainly not because there is a shortage of software geeks willing and able to write it. So there has to be some practical or cultural reasons hotel people don't use it. If you want to automate your hotel, the first question you need to ask is why it hasn't already happened.
        • I've often made the same "if it hasn't been automated, there's probably a reason" argument... under other circumstances, but you have to consider the corrolary as well. If you've managed to find a real untapped market you could really make an assload of money and make a lot of peoples lives easier if you spent some time working on it.
          • You're quite correct. But the first step on such a path is to figure out why the market never got automated. Because you're probably not the first person to realize that the market had never been tapped. Before you can succeed, you need to know why your predecessors failed.
    • I run IT for a 350 room hotel (Perdido Beach Resort) [perdidobeachresort.com]. We use Visual One [v1s.com]. It's feature rich, point of sale is intergrated... but they add too many features all the time and it's buggy... updates are a pain because they break things. I'm also pretty familiar with Springer Miller; we upgraded systems ~4 years ago from an old AS/400 system... Our #1 choice was Visual one, #2 was Springer Miller. Good luck!
  • Filemaker is the solution you are looking for. Much of what you have requested has pre-built packages and companies like Soliant Consulting [soliantconsulting.com] or Excelisys [excelisys.com] or you could even do it yourself [filemaker.com]
    • Seconded. FM has 2 big pluses going for it. It's highly customizable, and very easy to get started with. I use for at least half a dozen different things at work and home, and I'm not even getting half the functionality out of it I could be.
  • Roommaster (Score:5, Informative)

    by way2trivial (601132) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @09:30PM (#15267534) Homepage Journal
    free download to play with, never used anything better

    Hands down THE BEST software if you like to run a hotel.. bar.. integrates nicely..lots of add ons, evey serialed upgrade has just rocked with wish fullfillment.. the forum is good for 'how do i's although the owner/author/president can get snippy when he feels a post just isn't appropriate....

    www.innquest.com

    I've worked days inn, marriott, best western, one holiday inn briefly, and three independents, innquest rocks..

    you can create custom confirmation letters that adjust to the details of the bookings, with variables you set and using boolean logic.

    try it.. I can't tell you enough how much I think it rocks. yes- I'll gladly be known as a innquest fanboy...

    • Oh yeah (Score:3, Interesting)

      by way2trivial (601132)
      and a Howard Johnsons..

      Trust me.. download roommaster, play with the sample data.. it'll kill you with ease of use.

      it does require win xp pro on all terminals..

      First year we saved about 1k in postage by emailing our confirmations (independent motel) we also had much better communications because we had sent an email to everyone at point of booking, and again when their reservations had a deposit.. if we never recieved a deposit, 'usta be we'd cancel the bookings, now we send an email ahead, then recapture
    • Re:Roommaster (Score:4, Informative)

      by mbadolato (105588) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:11PM (#15267730)
      I've stayed at hotels that let you book online and they use Roommaster (or an interface to it). It's always been smooth, and there's never been a hitch.
  • MICROS (Score:2, Informative)

    by DrWily (660114)
    Stay far far away from a company named MICROS. Sure you may see them everywhere but their marketing and "support" are shady and underhanded. They will tell you that you need to upgrade every two years and if you say no then they will try to get anyone at your property down to the night auditor to sign a paper allowing them to do the install. They might even just come in and say they have to install then get the signature on the way out and you just signed away $10k to them.
    • You mean Micros-Fidelio [micros-fidelio.com]. I can vouch that their support is a little bit shaky, but I've never heard of them trying to force an install or upgrade on anybody who didn't want it.

      Their latest system, Opera, is pretty cool. It's written in Java and run from a standard web server (in our case, on the intranet). I haven't had time to test this theory, but I'd be willing to bet that it would work just fine on a standard Linux box with Java and Samba installed.

      Micros, the restaurant software, is pure crap. The back
      • Wow, talk about uninformed.

        Opera is the high end product, and FINANCIALLY way out of the park. Fidelio Express, now in Version 3 would be a perfect solution for a hotel of that size.

        As for your major mistake, only a REALLY OLD version of Micros restaurant software runs on SCO. RES (the most popular version of their restaurant software) had a new version (4) released in the past month, runs on Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server (and NT/2000/XP/CE clients). Again, a "junior" package exists which runs on the h
        • No, Micros 9700 (purchased new about 18 months ago) uses SCO's Vision product for all of the back-end reports and GUIs. (Another hotel I worked at (five years ago, true) used the 8700, which was all about SCO.)

          As for the KISS-compliance thing, we did have an upgrade that encompassed that, but we were also upgrading to multi-property (Opera was chosen before any other property was in the works), so it wasn't like anything was forced on us. Nor at the hotel that used the 8700. Nor the hotel before that that r
          • Express uses sybase.. version OLD. Yes, the 9700 and 8700 products use SCO, but those aren't really mainstream, especially not for the size of property the askee was requesting information for. Fidelio

            btw.. Express is more for 50-150 room properties.

            I fairly take back what I said, now understanding which product you were refering to. *shudder*
            • now understanding which product you were refering to. *shudder*

              Agreed on the quantity of ass it sucks. That's why the new property is eschewing Micros for their POS and using Aloha.
  • by ShmuelP (5675) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:07PM (#15267709)
    There was a wonderful looking [thedailywtf.com], easy to use system documented a while ago on The Daily WTF [thedailywtf.com]. It was even shown to have a truly elegant architecture [thedailywtf.com]. Check it out, you'll definitely be surprised!
  • Software!?! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Elitist_Phoenix (808424) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @10:22PM (#15267771)
    Mrs Richards: Now. I've reserved a very quiet room, with a bath and a sea view. I specifically asked for a sea view in my written confirmation, so please make sure I have it.
    Manuel: Qué?
    Mrs Richards: What?
    Manuel: Qué?
    Mrs Richards: "K"?
    Manuel: Sí.
    Mrs Richards: "C"?
    [Manuel nods.]
    Mrs Richards: "KC"?
    [Manuel looks puzzled.]
    Mrs Richards: "KC"? What are you trying to say?
    Manuel: No, no-no-no. "Qué" "what".
    Mrs Richards: "K what"?
    Manuel: Sí! "Qué" "what"!
    Mrs Richards: "C.K. Watt"?
    Manuel: Yes.
    Mrs Richards: Who is C.K. Watt?
    Manuel: Qué?
    Mrs Richards: Is it the manager, Mr Watt?
    Manuel: Oh, manager!
    Mrs Richards: He is.
    Manuel: Ah Mr Fawlty!
    Mrs Richards: What?
    Manuel: Fawlty.
    Mrs Richards: What are you talking about, you silly little man?!
    [She turns to hotel maid Polly.]
    Mrs Richards: What is going on here? I ask him for my room, and he tells me the manager's a "Mr Watt", aged forty.
    Manuel: No, no. Fawlty.
    Mrs Richards: Faulty? What's wrong with him?
    Polly: It's alright, Mrs Richards. He's from Barcelona.
  • Resort Data Processing? Gotta love the DOS-based interface, crappy Pervasive database, and insulting support. My friend (tech guy for the resort) got threatened with a cancellation of the contract by the president of the company - on a whim. I've been trying to convince him to look for other packages for years.
  • I'd LOVE to build an asterisk PBX [asterisk.org] to run a hotel. That would rock so hard. I'd done the design for an asterisk installation in that type of environment, but have never had the opportunity to deploy it. I'd highly recommend it if you want absolute total control of your PBX.
  • http://www.squirrelsystems.com/default.html [squirrelsystems.com] I have heard good things about these people and you can find them running all over, it's likely worth looking into. ;)
  • If you can find a used Fidelio 4 system anywhere, I'd recommend that. DOS-based (think Borland IDE), and configurable as all hell.

    Failing that, if you can find a Fidelio 7 system, try that. It's Windows-based and a bit finicky, but basically the DOS-based Fidelio with a GUI and uses SQL instead of dbIII.

    Opera, the current incarnation of Fidelio, would be overkill for your needs. (And requires an Oracle license.)
  • what did hotels do before the invention of desktop computers?
    • I know more history than I've experienced myself.
      But, in the period JUST BEFORE pc's were common, our hotel used a
      1-Micros Cash register to keep track of all the rooms
      2- 3 ring binder with 'graph' paper to keep track of availability
      3- boxes like 4X6 index card boxes for actual reservations

      process, you call the hotel, ask for a certain date, the agent steals the "book" from whichever phone (of three) it's sitting at, and looks at the two pages (rooms 1-40 on page one, 41-80 on page 2) and quotes availabili
      • The book was hands down the most important database at the hotel
        no backup was possible, if lost it would have been a nightmare to re-create..

        it held two pages for each week of the year, (there were too many rooms to fit on one page)

        it literally had to be passed from person to person during the day at an alarming rate

        it's the only paper item I've ever used reinforcing rings on (and been glad of their existence)

        occasionally a page would get so worn that it would be re-created by copying, but it was annoying
  • Check all the systems against the screenshots in Major Malfunction's infrared presentations. He seems to have 0wned most of the hotel systems out there. Couldn't find a URL to any of the presentations, but here is a Wired [wired.com] article that contains some information.
  • Epicor Scala (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ed Almos (584864) on Friday May 05, 2006 @06:26AM (#15268972)
    I can't speak for most of the Epicor software suite but I strongly recommend that you avoid their Scala product. It sucks, in fact let's say it sucks a lot.

    Ed Almos
  • by Duckz (147715)
    I work at a very large casino company with more than a handfull of hotels and several thousand hotel rooms, not exactly mid-sized, but the info may still be relevent to you.

    We use Agilysys's [agilysys.com] Lodging Management Software aka LMS. I believe Agilysys has a price range that may suite your needs. It has all the features you mention, and if it doesn't, they can assist in adding in modules that can do what your looking for.

    Hope this helps.

    --
    Duckz
  • Developing/supporting Property Management System (PMS)/PBX/Call Accounting interfaces and whatnot (large-scale proprietary stuff for some of the big boys - not commercial software) for hotels ranging from 80 rooms to 5000+ rooms. When I left the company I thought about starting a F/OSS PMS suite, but never persued it. Maybe I'll sit down this weekend and start to draw out some ideas. Maybe one day you'll see something on sourceforge geared towards mom-and-pop B&B's, small hotels, inns, and hostels.
  • There's a company called AutoClerk [autoclerk.com] out of California that offers an eponymous set of software that works wonderfully for our hotel, which has pretty much the same setup you do - 100 rooms, restaurant, bar, meeting rooms. It will interface with various other systems, such as the PBX, and other point-of-sale systems. We're currently using MICROS POS terminals in all of our revenue centers. The MICROS terminals run on Windows 98; the back end MICROS server is running NT 4.51 I think.

    AutoClerk is easy to w

  • Don't know that much about the software, but I have a friend who works for Newmarket International [newmarketinc.com]. I know this is the kind of software they do, but I don't know how good it is. *shrug*

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