Leaving behind the old approach
Until recently, hotels' only option has been a closed, out-of-the-box legacy PMS that tries to do it all - covering everything from reservations to loyalty programs to business intelligence tools. With so many features dependent upon each other, these systems are difficult to maintain, difficult to update, and difficult to customize. They are also prone to error; one failure at any point in the system can bring down the entire thing because all parts of the system are so closely tied to each other.
...and on to new possibilities with Apaleo
In contrast to all-in-one solutions, Apaleo gives you the freedom to create your custom tech stack. We provide you with core property management features: Reservation management, Inventory, and Availability Management, Housekeeping Management, Rate Management, Accounting & Finance, Automation, and Payments. You can then add on additional functionalities by connecting apps that are already integrated with Apaleo via our app store.
Thanks to our Application Programming Interface (API)-first approach, Apaleo guarantees that every single piece of data in Apaleo is completely available, accessible, and integrable. This means you can use the best, newest, and most powerful applications in our industry without the pain of replacing your entire tech stack. In other words, you can build a future-proof tech stack that accommodates today's business requirements but can also quickly adapt to tomorrow's needs and opportunities.
This guide walks you through five key steps that will help you get up and running with your dream tech stack:
- Get an overview of what comes with Apaleo
- Identify the additional app categories you need
- Find apps and connect them to Apaleo
- Get your tech stack live
- Keep your team onboard
1. Get an overview of what comes with Apaleo
Our property management app has the following core features:
Inventory and Housekeeping:
- Manage your room categories and units (bedrooms, meeting rooms, etc.)
- Add attributes (e.g. 1st floor, bathtub, sea view) to the rooms and filter them to quickly select and assign them to a guest
- Set rooms as out of service, out of order, or out of inventory
- Housekeeping module: housekeeping reports, set rooms as clean, inspected, or dirty
- Check-in and check-out in a few clicks
- View, filter, and export a reservation overview
- Amend reservations and folios
- Create group bookings
- Create invoices
Rate planning and availability:
- Set up your rate plan structure with derived or individual rates and manage them quickly with the bulk edit option.
- Set conditions, channels, policies, and restrictions for your rate plans.
- Set up prices and availability. Allow overbookings for selected days or time periods.
- Manage your services and create packages.
- Manage your corporate rates by creating company profiles and corporate codes.
Accounting and finance:
- VAT and the accounting schema come ready to use, and you are free to configure sub-accounts, city tax, or visitor's tax.
- Bookings are carried out in real-time with double-entry bookkeeping and in compliance with regulations.
- Invoices are available in multiple languages. Logos, text, and other fields are customizable.
- Extract your accounting data and plug it into your own accounting software. It's also possible to connect your accounting system via API to Apaleo in order to transfer automatically accounting data into your main ledger.
- Collect guest payment information from multiple channels through a centralized process. From when guests book a room, when they grab a drink at the bar, to when they check out. All transactions are recorded in one place, easily manageable for staff.
Refund, split, and post payments directly from our UI. Furthermore, settlement reports and invoices with the summary of the monthly payment fees are automatically generated and available directly in the Apaleo account.
- Automate check-in, check-out, and the night audit
- Set payment automation so that your staff can save time and errors in processing manually these payments. Payments can be automatically collected at check-in, check-out, when reservations are created, and even when reservations are canceled or set to no show.
The best way to get a concrete sense of what features come ready to use with Apaleo is to fully use your test environment. You can sign up for a test account here and find all documentation you need to set up a property in our help center.
2. Identify the additional app categories you need
Once you have a clear idea of what comes ready-to-use with Apaleo, you will have a better sense of what additional features your business needs. These additional features will be provided by specialized apps.
At a minimum, in order to be operational, you will need to connect apps that enable you to receive bookings and communicate with guests.
- Distribution: In order to connect your room rates and availability to online travel agencies and global distribution systems, you will need a Channel Manager. To enable direct booking through your hotel website, you will need an Internet Booking Engine (IBE).
- Communication & guest journey: Apaleo itself does not send any emails, such as booking confirmations, invoice copies, etc. To communicate with your guests, you will need to connect a Guest Mailing or Guest Journey app.
Other "must have" app categories are Key Encoders, Finance, and Sales and Catering Management.
Depending on your business needs, there may be additional areas of your operations you want to digitize.
Recommended: Revenue Management Systems (RMSs), Housekeeping Systems, Reporting tools, Upselling and Instant Guest Messaging
Nice to have: Rate shoppers, Digital Key Systems, and Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs)
To get an idea of how your tech stack could look, check out the "Inspirational Tech Stacks" section in the Apaleo Community. (The link only works for Community members - sign up here if you are not yet a member).
3. Find apps and connect them to Apaleo
Once you have determined the app categories you need, it's time to explore the different options in each category. You can find all apps that are integrated with Apaleo, sorted by category, in the Apaleo Store.
Some differences between Apps in the store:
- App connection: some apps can be directly connected to Apaleo via the "connect App" button in the Apaleo Store, while for others it is necessary to contact the App for setup ("contact" button in the Apaleo Store).
- User Interface (UI) integration: some apps have a UI integration with Apaleo, where you can access the app directly in your Apaleo account. Apps which do not have a UI integration still send/receive information from Apaleo but are not visible in your Apaleo account.
- Apaleo Pay: some apps have an integration with Apaleo Pay, meaning that they can make use of your Apaleo Pay account to process payments. In this way, you can ensure that all transactions made within your account are consolidated. The level of integration can vary, so check with the app what level of integration they currently offer.
A good first step is to contact all apps you are interested in for a demo. Here are some helpful questions to ask during a demo:
- What features are relevant for my team?
- How is this app different from other players?
- What is the level of integration with Apaleo?
The last question is particularly important: keep in mind that it is not only about what features the app offers in general but rather what features you, as an Apaleo user, will be able to use, and how.
Several of the apps offer a free trial, allowing you to test them in your Apaleo account. You can also check out the App Insights section of the community. (The link only works for Community members - sign up here if you are not yet a member).
4. Get your tech stack live
Once you have explored different apps and determined which ones best suit your needs, you will need to project manage the connection of all of them to your Apaleo account. This entails determining the timelines together with each app, to get each one live by your desired date. Ensure that these timelines align with your Apaleo property's go-live timeline.
5. Keep your team onboard
An important step in ensuring the success of the new tech stack is making sure your team is fully on board with it. Ideally, the team should be involved throughout the tech stack building process - from providing input in initial discussions of operational needs in order to determine what app categories are needed, to receiving training on how to use the new apps to optimize their daily work. It is important for everyone using the tech stack to understand the broader purpose behind it so that they can contribute to its successful rollout and provide useful feedback for future improvements.
Tip: for each app, identify a product champion within your team who can oversee the use of the app and ensure it is being used to its full potential.
Keeping your tech stack up-to-date after you go live
The job of building a tech stack is a continuous process. After you go live with Apaleo, we encourage you to continuously collect feedback from your team on what is working well and what is not, as well as ideas for additional automation. Based on this feedback, you will probably want to adjust or expand your tech stack.
Of course, alongside your changing internal needs, the hotel tech world is also constantly changing. Every month, more and more apps join the Apaleo Store, meaning there are all sorts of new ways in which you can optimize your guest and staff experience. In order to stay up to date with the latest innovations available on our platform, don't forget to frequently check our community. There you will see when new apps are available in the store and discuss the latest trends in our industry as they emerge.
The magic of Apaleo doesn't end with the apps already available in our app store. Thanks to our open APIs, you can digitize and automate custom actions, processes, and workflows within your account. You can enrich your account with additional reports, or even build new apps. If you have an in-house developer team, they can find more guidance here. If not, refer to this section of the community to connect with custom developers.