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How can I advance my property’s sustainability efforts right now?

“Sustainability is still a big priority for my hotel’s leadership team and our guests, but the current environment has made it nearly impossible to make additional investments in this area. What are some ways that I can use the technology we already have to make our operations more sustainable?” Sustainability has become a key goal for numerous hospitality brands and independent properties as companies become more invested in corporate social responsibility. Implementing an effective sustainability strategy gives hotels a competitive advantage in attracting guests as well as attracting and retaining top talent, as travelers and employees look for green, ethical, moral, and inclusive businesses that align with their personal values and goals. While physical methods for increasing sustainability might be more obvious—from installing low-flow showerheads and motion sensor LED lights to furnishing rooms with eco-friendly materials—there are many ways for hotels to take advantage of technology to support sustainability goals. Here are some low-cost, quick-to-implement solutions using a property management system (PMS) that can help hotels accelerate incremental change towards sustainability. 1. Go paperless Eliminate the need for paper in day-to-day operations by implementing digital registration, billing, and communications with guests. 2. Green housekeeping Offer a green rate to guests that is tied to housekeeping. If guests choose this option for their stay, housekeeping is notified to conserve resources such as not changing sheets and towels every day, not putting out small plastic toiletries and not stocking plastic water bottles in the room. 3. Give back Set up an optional carbon-neutral fee that guests can choose to add to their reservation, and donate all money collected to environmental causes. 4. Reduce plastic use Many property management systems integrate with keyless entry software that lets guests use a mobile device to access their room and other hotel facilities in place of plastic key cards. 5. Choose sustainable partners Ensure supply chain and tech stack partners are committed to sustainability. Check to see if your cloud-based PMS is hosted in an energy-efficient environment and if your PMS can interface with an energy management system (EMS). Answered by Matthew Galbraith, director of operations, RMS North America

RMS Unveils New and Improved Internet Booking Engine

SAN DIEGO (November 19, 2020) - RMS North America, a provider of fully integrated, cloud-based reservation and property management systems to 6,000 properties in the hospitality industry, unveiled its updated internet booking engine (IBE) to address the needs of modern travelers and help property owners increase their direct bookings. RMS’ IBE enables properties to accept direct online bookings from any device in real time and integrates with all other RMS distribution and property management features. Based on guest and customer feedback, the new booking engine combines enhanced functionality with design improvements to deliver a better user experience and increase conversion. “Our new booking engine is native to the RMS system and is a key piece of functionality for clients to drive direct bookings,” said Matthew Galbraith, Director of Operations for RMS North America. “This update gives operators the ability to sell at the category or room level, and offer curated upsells with images throughout the reservation experience to increase revenue per booking.” In the new RMS booking engine, guests will see a clean layout with a snapshot display screen showing relevant content, a shopping cart style booking process, the ability to view cancellation policies, and a handy map link for travel directions - all guest-centric improvements to create a better booking experience. For property managers, an additional perk is the ability to make it a seamless extension of their current website. They can add logos and customize colors to match their brand, and enterprise users can tailor the booking engine to each individual property in their portfolio. “As an important revenue driver for properties, RMS will continue to enhance the booking engine based on customer feedback,” Galbraith continued. “Our goal is always to help our customers operate efficiently and profitably, while enhancing the guest experience.”

3 Helpful Reports Your PMS Should Offer to Save You Money

The more you know about your business, the easier it is to make informed decisions. If you've been working with pen and paper for years, you know how time-consuming it can be to calculate earnings, make projections, or do tax preparation.  Thankfully, one of the best qualities of a revenue management system is the reporting module. Within this high-powered system, you should have access to reports that can be created automatically, at customized intervals, or on demand. When integrated directly into your accounting software, reports can provide you detailed perspective on what's working for you (or not). The less time you have to spend with a calculator, the more time and money you have to spend on running your business. Some of the most helpful reports your PMS should provide are Daily Reports, Weekly or Monthly Financial Reports and Custom Reports. Find out how to these reports can help save you money: Daily Reports Your system will automatically generate reports such as each day’s scheduled arrivals and departures, any balances on accounts, or alerts and reminders from your calendar such as bills due, equipment maintenance, or personal appointments.  Weekly or Monthly Financial Reports These reports have a slightly “taller” view of the business such as ongoing taxes owed, revenue received, or occupancy reports and trends. Your PMS should allow you to set the frequency that these reports are generated to help keep you and your professional team on track.  Custom Reports Every business is different, so each will have unique needs for reports. Your reservation software solution (and their supportive customer service) should allow you to set up a report that you want just once, and then automatically generate that report based on the frequency you need it. It can even be sent to you or your team members automatically.

The 4 Tools You Need to Manage a Property with Multiple Owners

From vacation rentals to short-term stay residences, many hospitality businesses/property management companies deal with properties that have multiple owners. This setup provides multiple sources of revenue for management companies including management fees and cleaning fees, but can be complicated when it comes to owner accounting, reporting and communication with owners. This is where a property management system with built-in owner management capabilities can simplify day-to-day operations and allow for the management companies to sell rooms or rental units on multiple channels. When evaluating systems, look for the following three tools to make managing a property with multiple owners of units, rooms or sites easier: Seamless Individual Billing Property managers need to be able to associate owners to specific rooms within their property management system, and have the ability to pay out an automatically calculated amount of reservation revenue from those rooms to their owners. For example, if someone owns Units B & C at a property, the manager can associate the owner’s name to those specific units in the system. When a guest comes to stay in Unit C, the owner management module will automatically determine the correct payout amount allowing the manager to easily pay the room revenue earned directly to the owner. With the right billing tool, managers can also save both time and resources by automating expenses billed to the owners, no matter the fee type. Look for a system that allows for a variety of billable fee types such as percentage-based commissions, housekeeping fees, monthly fees, credit card processing fees and more. Intuitive Owners Portal An owners portal is a powerful tool that allows owners to log in to a special view of the areas or rooms that they own within a property, and manage their own units. By giving owners access to an owners portal, they can create or modify their own reservations, export their own statements and more. The owners portal should also give property managers complete control over what owners have access to within the portal, and allow them to enable or disable owner access independently. Extensive Reporting Capabilities A variety of reports can help property managers better manage and communicate with owners. Owners should have access to detailed reporting that provides real-time visibility into their particular unit’s performance, such as the Owner Ledger Report, Statement Invoice and Owner Income Summary. Property managers also need visibility into the property’s performance as a whole, so the ability to view all owner statements in a single system can enable data-driven decision-making based on reservation and revenue trends. Built-In Inventory Rotation As a management company with multiple owners, it is important to offer an even distribution of bookings to each individual owner. To ensure fairness for everyone, a fully equipped system should offer inventory rotation that shows how often a room or site is booked and automatically assign guests to the least booked room. By implementing inventory rotation, you are guaranteeing that bookings are evenly distributed among owners.

RMS Walks for Hope: Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

At RMS, we give back to our community by working with organizations that focus on donation collection, fundraising, and providing social connection. We are dedicated to educating ourselves on the latest, most pressing needs of our local communities as those are ever-changing. Our goal is to serve as a source of hope in our communities and to bring comfort to those in need. November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and RMS has chosen to join in the fight against this disease by participating in a virtual walk. Throughout the month of November, RMS staff members will be walking to honor those currently battling, for those who have lost their battle and for loved ones who have been affected by Pancreatic Cancer. With our employees working remotely around the North America region, we will have members walking for hope across the country documenting their journey. Pancreatic cancer currently accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the US and about 7% of all cancer deaths with a five-year survival rate in the single digits. Nearly 57,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed this year alone. RMS is raising money for the Lustgarten Foundation, where 100% of every dollar raised goes directly to Pancreatic Cancer research. The Lustgarten Foundation is committed to giving patients a better chance for long-term survival. From basic science to the clinic, their funded researchers are investigating ways to detect the disease earlier, personalize treatment and develop better therapies. Support RMS Walks for Hope by making a donation to our team today. Your donations will allow for more research, identifying new treatments and help make a difference for those affected. Any size contribution is welcome and greatly appreciated. Fundraising will continue through November 22nd. Please use the following link to make a donation: https://events.lustgarten.org/team/323436 Stats from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreatic-cancer/about/key-statistics.html

RMS introduces a refreshed property management system

SAN DIEGO (December 10, 2020) - RMS North America, a provider of fully integrated, cloud-based reservation and property management systems to 6,000 properties in the hospitality industry, unveiled its biggest update yet with highly anticipated features to make life easier for owners and operators. RMS’ revamped property management system was designed to meet property owners needs in three main areas -- distribution, operations and guest marketing -- and features a fresh, user-driven interface. The new version introduces a brand new module market that gives users the ability to activate integrations and expand system functionality themselves, and includes enhancements to other features including advanced security protocols, interactive dashboards and contactless guest solutions. “Over the years, RMS has developed one of the most innovative hospitality technology platforms for properties of all types and sizes. This update increases value for our customers by enabling better access to the information and features they need most to achieve their business strategies,” says Reza Paydar, CEO of RMS North America. “This update is a result of meaningful feedback from our customers and our understanding of hospitality best practices. Software can have a significant impact on a business’ effectiveness, efficiency and profitability, and these new features will empower operators to optimize their operations and do more for their guests.” Key updates to RMS’ property management system include: - A redesigned interface with fresh iconography and a customizable toolbar with shortcuts to frequently used features for more intuitive navigation - OTA and guest upsell information added to the all-in-one reservation screen for greater insight into reservations with less clicks - Advanced dashboards, interactive charts and default templates for front office, financial and marketing users to enable more data-driven business decisions - A brand new market module that reduces reliance on manual system configurations by allowing users browse through and activate more than 50 connected modules including SMS messaging, guest loyalty, revenue management and more - Pre-check-in and self-service check-in functionality through the guest portal for faster, contactless guest experiences that are still personal - Enhanced security protocols for guest data protection including two-factor authentication and better user password management - Quarterly reminders to review scheduled reports and remove any reports that are no longer relevant to keep inboxes uncluttered About RMS As a leading provider of reservation and property management systems to the hospitality industry for more than 30 years, RMS supports over 6,000 properties worldwide and offers business insights, best practices, and innovative software to help hospitality businesses meet their strategic goals and respond to guests’ needs. For more information, please visit rmsnorthamerica.com.

The Importance of Media in Marketing

When it comes to growing and sustaining your campground’s customer base, marketing is the key to success. But since there are so many ways to reach your audience these days, you should consider—what kind of marketing generates the most engagement? To answer this question, think about how many of your guests read any signs or rules at your property. Very few people read lengthy content anymore, so it’s important to reach guests through their preferred method of gathering information - photos and videos! Using photos and videos as a main driver for your property’s marketing will allow you to create a visual story that shows people why they should stay with you. Nowadays, your property’s first impression takes place before guests arrive at your park *(it actually happens when they see that first photo or video online!)* which makes it extremely important to ensure you have high-quality images that give an accurate and up-to-date representation of the place they’ll be visiting. Mark Koep, CEO and Founder of Campground Views and recent guest speaker on our On Air with RMS webinar series, shared a stat from a Google report that 73% of affluent travelers (travelers that make more than $120k per year) would book immediately upon seeing a good video of a park. With this in mind, you should make a plan for, creating or updating your property’s visual assets, whether you do it yourself or hire a photographer or videographer to document your park for you. Start by mapping out which areas need to get filmed or photographed, including every available site, views from each site, your entrance, any special offerings, etc. Even if you’re not a confident photographer, any photos are better than no media at all, and will greatly enhance your marketing. 💡 TIP: Any iPhone camera is just as high quality, if not better, than a professional camera. Save yourself the hassle of worrying about equipment and use the mobile device in your hand to start promoting your property.   Videos are another great way to get people interested in your park. YouTube is the second most visited website in the world - so use this to your advantage! Create a video promoting your property and share it on YouTube. Koep shared that best practices for naming your video are to include the name of your property, the location of your property and a nearby landmark. For example, “Desert RV Park located in Yucca Valley, CA near Joshua Tree National Park.” This will help your video rank on both YouTube and Google, increasing the number of potential guests that will view it. Once these visual assets have been captured, the next step is to share them everywhere! The most important place to start is your property’s website. Choose one photo that best represents your property to be the main photo on your website’s homepage, the first thing online visitors should see.. Next, create a gallery page with all remaining and relevant media, including descriptions of where on your property those photos and videos were taken. If you were able to obtain images of each site, upload those images to your internet booking engine (IBE) so guests can see exactly what they are booking. Make sure your reservation system provider offers this functionality to help maximize your direct online bookings.. Your reservation system should also offer guests the option to book online through an interactive map, and the likelihood of guests booking a specific site is much higher if it has an image attached to it. Once your website has been updated with fresh property photos and videos, the next step is sharing those visual assets on third party platforms, including your property page on social media (i.e. Facebook) and your listings on search engines (Google) and OTAs (Tripadvisor)There are multiple sites that travelers use to find RV parks and campgrounds that allow properties to list their information. A few to consider advertising your property on include: - Tripadvisor - CampgroundViews - CampgroundReviews - The Dyrt - AllStays Photos and videos are phenomenal ways to entice guests to stay at your property and maximize your reservations. For additional information on using photos and videos to enhance your marketing, watch On Air with RMS: Episode 4 featuring Mark Koep, CEO and Founder of Campground Views, and Erin Philips, RMS Marketing Manager, here: https://www.rmsnorthamerica.com/product/resource/on-air-with-rms-episode-4

6 Features of a Supportive Park Management System

The past several months have put a spotlight on the value of ongoing support in the hospitality industry. RV park and campground operators need a software solution that equips staff with the tools necessary for ongoing success. Look for a supportive park management system (PMS) that offers these key features. Self-Guided Training A self-guided, online training module can conveniently work around your schedule and encourage self-sufficiency in learning how to use your park management system to its full potential. You should also be able to manage staff training hours and educate your team on using the system as needed. The flexibility of a self-guided training module is crucial for optimizing time management and letting everyone on your team learn at their own pace. Online Help Center A PMS that provides your staff with a searchable help center also fosters self-sufficiency and enables your team to find the answers they need when they need them. An online library of support articles, how-to videos and FAQs is a convenient and valuable resource for you and your staff, and a must-have for a supportive PMS. In-House Customer Support You should also be able to count on system experts if online education resources aren’t fully answering your question. A PMS with an in-house, highly knowledgeable customer support team can help ensure your park or campground is operating successfully. With PMS experts available to provide phone support when you need it, you can receive direct assistance to quickly resolve issues and get back to work. 24-Hour Emergency Support Make sure your PMS provider offers 24-hour emergency phone support to avoid delays if an urgent issue arises. Your staff should be able to reach someone if they have critical concerns, no matter the day or time. RV park and campground operators often work around the clock, and so should your technology. Service Requests Not all questions need immediate answers, and your staff isn’t always available to make a support call. Look for a PMS that offers online service request logging and reporting to communicate with your PMS provider and get issues resolved. You should be able to see a history of your support requests, resolution details, and the amount of time spent on requests to ensure you are receiving the ongoing support your park needs. User Events A PMS that holds user events for its customers benefits your business by providing face-to-face time with the people that support you and your staff. Whether they are conducted in-person or virtually, user events allow you to meet the people you interact with day-to-day, ask questions, receive software demonstrations, learn about best practices, and meet other owners and operators in the hospitality industry. Using a park management system that offers multiple support channels will enable your business to continue operating successfully, even after initial training and onboarding. A PMS provider that enables you to communicate quickly and effectively with a customer support team and ensures you’re equipped with the right resources to find information independently will create a lasting and personal support system for your business.

Trends and challenges for property operators in 2021

“2021 isn’t without its challenges, with the pandemic still prevalent in many countries around the world. What might have worked for hospitality operators in pre-COVID days now needs a rethink, as we adapt our strategies in response to this shifting landscape and changes in consumer behaviour.” Pete Ferris, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at RMS Cloud Travel patterns and guest expectations have changed beyond recognition, thanks to the emergence and global spread of COVID. 2020 was the year that took us by surprise, but 2021 will be the year we’re prepared. To help you navigate whatever 2021 throws at you, we’ve pulled together an in-depth report so you can plan ahead, anticipate guest’s needs and deliver a meaningful experience. The report includes tips and takeaways from industry leaders, revenue management experts and marketing professionals on how to tailor product offerings, boost guest engagement and drive bookings. “Operators need to understand how to deal with the shifts in business mix, consumer expectations and distribution patterns in near real-time. Forecasting with the help of real-time analytics and diagnostics aid businesses in being agile with their marketing and operations based on the most current data and buying behaviour.” Murtaza Rangwala of Pace Revenue We reveal the trends in guest behaviour, technology adoption, marketing shifts and revenue management to help accelerate your property on the road to recovery and set you up for a thriving future. Park operators - download your free copy of the report here. Hoteliers, moteliers, serviced apartment managers and management rights operators - download your version here.

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