Sinclair Design is pleased to announce a raft of new Hotel System features that centre around a new smartphone app. Although optimised for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and looking and working exactly like a native app with all the usual swish iOS interface behaviours, this new webapp can also be used on Google’s Android and Nokia’s Symbian devices.
Installation takes seconds and once logged in to their Hotel System web-based PMS, staff can see room reservations, expected arrivals, rooms occupied, and expected departures for any day, for a single hotel within a group, all hotels, or just one floor. Bookings are colour-coded as per the parent application, and tapping on an allocation allows the user to see all the relevant booking information such as length of stay, number of occupants, agreed charges, guest and client summary details, transactions and invoices. If authorised, the user can also amend most of the booking details, and can even create a new room booking and guest record for walk-in guests.
The new multi-language and multi-timezone web app covers everything a manager might want to know about room occupancy when away from the office, and will also allow staff to operate via 3G or Edge should the hotel's internet connection fail. Whatever is entered on the new app will instantly be shown on the parent hotel PMS.
Housekeepers can select to view room and booking status information for any hotel and/or floor, colour-coded for easy identification of priority tasks. For example, a cleaned or inspected room will be listed in green and will also show if a guest is expected, staying over, or departing. Housekeepers can change a room status (e.g. from dirty to clean) from their iPod Touch or smartphone as they leave the room, and can raise maintenance issues if required. Front desk staff will then immediately be able to see when a hotel room is ready for occupation.
Maintenance staff can view a list of all rooms in a hotel (or by floor) that have outstanding maintenance issues, and can change or cancel those states from their iPod or PDA. Housekeepers and maintenance staff are particularly alerted to rooms that need cleaning or maintenance once a guest has checked out and another is due in the same day.
Further to all of the above, hoteliers can now operate a paperless restaurant EPoS system. A waiter with an iPod or smartphone can select to see and change table bookings by restaurant and station, and by hour or day, and can even create new table bookings for walk-in guests. When the guests are seated, the waiter can quickly select the required meals and drinks from an intuitively simple EPoS interface designed for speed and flexibility.
Once the meal choices are confirmed (with a single tap), the kitchen manager can view the list of requirements on a report optimised for a wall-mounted tablet computer such as an iPad (but equally usable on a desktop PC). Each item is listed such that the kitchen manager can tap it as he calls the order, and it then moves down the list to the 'being prepared' section which is colour-coded accordingly. Once the items are ready they can be 'tapped' and the waiter will see the change of status either on another display, or on his iPod or smartphone. All the various timings are logged and reports can be customised for specific or multiple departments e.g. kitchen, bar, room service.
At the point of payment, the entire order can be split and charged or posted as required by the waiter. For example, one meal could be charged as cash, another posted to a room account, and another to a client's account. At any point during service, the waiter can see all other bookings due for the relevant station or restaurant, and the system even alerts the waiter when an outgoing booking is getting close to an incoming booking.
A web application is a business management tool of the software variety that runs on a powerful, secure, centralised web server. Because such systems are normally classed as 'mission critical' (in other words a business could lose income or even fail completely without such services), server redundancy and data recovery procedures are standard practice when hosting web applications.
Users of web applications connect to a central web-server via the internet, using nothing more complicated than a browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer with SSL data encryption (as with secure online banking). This means that the client-organisation only needs to maintain a stable ADSL connection and basic Macs or PCs — the hassle and worry of running and securing application servers and complex databases is removed from the office environment.
What's more, multiple users can instantly connect to the system from anywhere in the world with an internet connection (dial-up or broadband), meaning that staff from businesses spread across several national or global sites can login and work wherever they find themselves — even from home or an internet cafe in the Algarve ...now that's progress!