The story of software maker Cloudbeds, named the fastest growing travel and hospitality company in the United States, points to a larger trend for smaller hotels to embrace new tools to manage their properties.
Sean O’Neill, Skift
For years, owners of small hotels and hostels have purchased cloud-based software subscriptions, which typically give them access to business data from mobile devices and prevent them from being tethered to hardware. But it’s only recently that these tools have started to communicate with each other in a way that reduces headaches for homeowners.
Hoteliers without tech teams are often on their own, literally, when it comes to determining their software needs.
Many hotel and hostel owners with around 120 rooms or less use several separate online tools to accept and manage payments, manage their reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, distribute their rates on sites like Trivago or Booking. com, send e-mails and texts to customers, create and track customer profiles, and track and monitor room occupancy and inventory for check-in and check-out.
Many software vendors allow connections over connections over connections with various systems. The advantage is that you can connect your favorite channel manager for distribution rates to your favorite revenue management tool.
The downside to this common model is that systems may not share information smoothly or quickly. This could mean that a front desk worker has to perform many slow steps to check in a guest, or a general manager has to get in and out of multiple apps to complete a task.
The startup took a rarer path to create a comprehensive suite of tools. The advantage of having a suite is that there is only one login process and one interface, which can simplify worker training in the use.
One drawback is that a given tool in the suite may not be as complete as a tool from a specialist company. In March, Cloudbeds aimed to address the latter issue by opening a market where it will connect to third-party pay-per-view services.
So far, more than 22,000 hotel, hostel and vacation rental owners – 30% of whom are based in the United States or Canada – manage their properties using its systems, the CEO Adam Harris, who co-founded the San Diego startup with Richard Castle in 2012 and has raised more than $ 21 million in venture capital.
Cloudbeds is a small business, generating over $ 10 million in revenue last year. However, it plans to hire 50 more workers by June and highlights growth in a young and crowded market.
Sparkling and Fractured Market
Cloudbeds represents a new wave of companies targeting the so-called long tail of the market. Jonas Software recently implemented a hotel suite. Supported by Alibaba Shiji shoot StayNTouch and a set of related services.
These cloud companies challenge the pioneers who started out in the days of on-premises computer systems, such as Windsurfer by Scepter Hospitality Resources, Northwind Maestro PMS, and InnQuest RoomMaster, with 5,000 properties.
based in india Hotelogix, which combines more than 70 third-party systems with its property management system for centralized, enterprise-level control, has added properties at a rapid pace. Other players include Apaleo,
hostel road, eZee Reception anywhere, SiteMinder Small Hotelier, Mingus’ Hotello, Alley, RoomKeyPMS, Eviivo, and GuestPoint. In Europe, based in UK Guest line has registered more than 350 hotels on its platform.
A rare quality about Cloudbeds, compared to other property management software providers, is their eager willingness to offer their software to owners of vacation rental property managers. Until now, hotels and vacation rentals were considered too different products to run on the same software. Each industry has distinct clusters of software services reaching them.
Expect other players to emulate the movement as several factors are driving everything to converge in the hospitality industry, one of Skift’s megatrends of 2019.
Later this year, Cloudbeds aims to woo owners of multiple properties by using its current user experience to chain multiple properties into a single view rather than having to switch between multiple screens for each hotel. If successful, this design could be particularly appealing to property management companies managing dozens or even hundreds of properties. But one of the reasons it hasn’t become a standard interface is that it’s a tall technical challenge.
The platform model is one of the many approaches that are catching fire in hospitality technology. The smaller players’ move echoes how large hotels and chains have embraced cloud-based platform systems from Oracle, Agilysys, Infor, Amadeus Hospitality and others, as noted by Skift Research. in last year’s Hotel Tech Stack report.
More and more gamers are entering the game. In March, RLH, the Denver-based parent company of the Red Lion Hotels chain, began selling software. The franchisor has launched a subsidiary, RLabs, which targets independent and boutique hotels.