I recently returned from attending the InnQuest Software’s User Conference that was held in Las Vegas at the beginning of the month. I went to represent one of my clients who uses InnQuest's roomMaster 2000 as their property management system. It was the first time I have attended a conference like this. I had met with the Canadian division in October for some one-on-one training and problem solving, but this conference was much larger than that. I estimated that there were nearly 150 attendees according to the full list in our guide book. The main focus of the conference is highlighting some features of InnQuest’s roomMaster 2000 property management system (PMS) that some hotels may not be utilizing completely. In addition, they were giving teasing glimpses of the next version of roomMaster, version 15. Since I know there are well over 400 properties in Canada alone using the software, I thought I would run down some of the changes for those interested. I’ve included contact information at the bottom if people wish to request a demo of the current version (14.5).
Version 15 is scheduled to be released at the end of July. It is currently going into a few beta hotels in the United States in May, then a few properties in Canada and Internationally to test for compatibility before being publicly released. There are quite a few enhancements to revenue management features, front desk operations, group blocks, and more. I can’t include screenshots, of course, but nothing has changed with the user interface apart from a few extra checkboxes here and there.
A big change for the revenue management aspect of roomMaster is going to be the inclusion of Hybrid Rates. A Standard Rate is provided for a given period (range of dates, days), as is a Hybrid Rate, but the Hybrid Rate allows you to specify which Standard Rate is available beyond the dates of the Hybrid Rate. This is going to be useful for groups, special packages, promotions, and seasons.
CONV Rate is created as a Hybrid Rate for August 5–9th, with RACK as the alternative. CONV is set at $100.00, RACK at $150.00.
A guest calls in to make a reservation for August 4–11th, staying the full week of the convention. Their total stay would look like this:
Aug 4: $150.00
Aug 5–9: $100.00
August 10: $150.00
This change is probably the one feature I am looking forward to the most out of everything. It will make reservations much easier, and help with yield management. The Hybrid Rates can be a Derived Rate, as can the alternative.
- The Availability by Room Type screen will include the colour code of the Yielding Profile. By selecting the Show Rates button, the rate will be displayed with the corresponding Yielding Profile.
Front Desk Operations
- Upgrades/Wait List is being changed to help you determine whether there is a possibility to upgrade a returning guest to free up a room valued at a lower amount. This will help develop brand loyalty by rewarding guests who stay frequently with a complimentary upgrade to a higher priced room. The Rate Code on the reservation will also be changed to green so the agents can easily determine that the room was upgraded and the rate should not be increased.
If a room is marked as “Dirty” and there was no revenue posted to that room for the previous audit date, the “Normal” cleaning status is changed to “Normal-Not Sold” on the Housekeepers Report. This will help management of possible improper room usage.
For example, a Front Desk agent takes a walk-in at 10 PM, has the guest pay cash. The same Front Desk agent is returning at 7 AM to check that guest out. Instead of checking them into the system, they set the room status as “Dirty,” and pockets the cash. Management will be able to see that the room was cleaned beforehand and can approach the staff as to why it was marked as dirty.
A nice feature, but one of those features you really hope you don’t need to use that often, if ever.
roomMaster.net is the backend service that allows bookings to happen through the website and be downloaded into the PMS automatically. The system is in sync with roomMaster, meaning room rates and availability are exactly the same - no chance of the hotel being oversold by accident. If a hotel receives a large amount of bookings through the website, this is a great service to use as it is commission-free.
With the new version of roomMaster.net, it is being optimized for touch screen devices and becoming mobile-ready. Guests can make bookings through their mobile devices easily, and the hotel can offer special discounts for people that book through their mobile devices, as well.
The next version goes a step further than that though. Once the guest has checked into the hotel, the mobile version of roomMaster.net will allow them to view their folio on their mobile, and allow them to do an express checkout.
The mobile version will allow users to get directions to the hotel using their GPS-enabled device, and quick access to the property’s phone number from the Contact Us screen.
iQ-Anywhere is the service that allows management/owners to access the roomMaster system through a web browser (mobile or desktop). It only provides access to the essential services, to get a quick snapshot of the hotel’s occupancy, the arrivals coming into the hotel, seeing maintenance issues, and look at the upcoming availability. You can also change the status of a room to clean/dirty/unavailable or enter in a maintenance issue. Useful if you want to provide your Housekeeping Manager with a mobile device to update rooms immediately, instead of returning to the Front Desk or their office to make the updates.
Using Group Blocks is incredibly easy in roomMaster, and they have made an impressive amount of changes to make it even better.
- Tentative Groups allow for block information to be entered, without blocking off any rooms.
- Discounts to be added to a group block, instead of creating a new rate code. Enter 15% off RACK instead of the normal procedure of creating a new Derived Rate and using that rate code within the group.
- Comp Factor is used to determine how many complimentary rooms a group gets per number of rooms booked. I wasn’t positive whether it makes the adjustment from the folio automatically or whether it was only for reference purposes.
- Billing Type is used to let the Front Desk know whether guests pay on their own, all charges go to a Master Folio, room and tax goes to a Master Folio, or just room charges go to the Master Folio.
- Online Promo Codes can be setup in the new version to allow guests to book through the website, if the hotel is using roomMaster.net
- Booking Pattern is a screen that displays how well the group block is being used, plus highlights the dates the group is using outside of the original dates blocked.
In Summary and Contacts
There are probably going to be even more changes made in the coming months - in fact Robert Paresi, the President and main developer of roomMaster, made a coding adjustment during one of the breaks in the day. According to others, it wasn’t the first time he has made changes on the fly like this before. I also left out some of the new features for the iQ Scheduler and PoS system that I am not familiar with.
I am quite excited over what I did see presented, and am suggesting that most hotels strongly consider upgrading to the Premier Edition of roomMaster. The features available, plus the new changes, make it worthwhile in my opinion. The Yield Management system alone is worth the upgrade price as it has the potential to increase your revenues easily without much work.
To learn more, I would suggest getting in touch with the sales representative for your region. If you would like to hear more about the benefits of using roomMaster or my preferred CRS solution InnLink please contact me.
For other regions, check out the website: InnQuest