How a leading hotel spa supports a great guest experience with technology

The Shandon Hotel and Spa in Donegal opened its doors as a resort only in 2016, but it quickly rose through the ranks as one of the hotel spas in Ireland.

With that kind of reputation to maintain, the hotel relies on delighting guests at every visit – and bringing them back time and again.

But with 50 luxurious bedrooms – all with sea views – 120 expert staff members, two bars, a top-class thermal spa and a leisure centre to manage, it’s quite a logistical task to make sure everything runs completely smoothly.

General Manager Carolynne Harrison says the hotel’s quality offering relies heavily on the support of its state-of-the-art property management system (PMS).

A PMS system provides the tools to manage and streamline all of the hotel’s key operations.

That includes enhancing front desk operations, helping staff create that all-important personal guest experience, and it enables bookings to made via the web both from a hotel’s own website and through online travel agents – a crucial element in today’s competitive market.

When the Shandon Hotel and Spa’s proprietors were investing extensively in the refurbishment of the resort, they settled on roomMaster PMS from NFS Technology Group to support their operations.

roomMaster is one of the leading PMS systems available, and it’s successfully used by around 6,000 hotels all over the world.

Carolynne said the decision has really paid off for the luxurious spa hotel.

“roomMaster works really well for us,” she said. “We were using it even before we opened – we had quite a bit of business on the books as early as that.

“The revenue management side of roomMaster is particularly useful. It’s very easy to use, and it integrates well with SiteMinder, our channel manager – I’ve had experience with other PMS systems that had a lot of snags.”

As well as taking advantage of online booking channels, the hotel has a strong direct booking strategy via its website.

“Some hotels pay commission on online bookings – but thanks to roomMaster, we’re pretty much commission-free,” said Carolynne.

“Our clientele is largely from the leisure market, rather than corporate, and about five percent of our business is weddings, with 10 percent groups,” said Carolynne.

“That means it’s important for us that the rate is always right, competitive and dynamic to capture that business.”

Via roomMaster and SiteMinder’s powerful facilities, the hotel’s rates and availability are automatically pushed out and co-ordinated at all times.

“Bookings are also automatically uploaded, which saves a lot of staff time,” said Carolynne. “Our staff find roomMaster easy to use, and the training is also easy.”

roomMaster can handle food and beverage management, revenue accounting, sales ledger, sales and marketing. It also helps manage spa facilities, and helps guests book sessions easily.

A PMS even helps make housekeeping more efficient – housekeeping staff can notify front desk whenever a room is ready for occupation via an app on a tablet or mobile, and inform maintenance easily of jobs to be done.

Shandon Hotel and Spa prides itself on its reputation as a destination for a real treat, and uses roomMaster’s Point of Sale option with giftcard capability.

“It’s great for us – we actually brought in £320,000 on gift cards in the first year,” said Carolynne. “The card can be used anywhere in the resort, which is useful for guests – it’s great for people giving friends and family a treat.”

Such a busy hotel and spa cannot afford any downtime on its PMS, and Carolynne also has nothing but praise for the support she receives from NFS, who have an award-winning 24/7 helpdesk.

“The support is very good,” she said. “Our NFS contact Yusef Patel is always available to help us – he’s even responded when he was on holiday.

“The level of knowledge at NFS about their system is excellent – I’ve worked with a PMS system before where people actually didn’t know much about it.”

NFS Chief Executive Luis De Souza said Shandon Hotel and Spa was a perfect example of how an up-to-date PMS can benefit a hotel.

“Around the world, the hotels that succeed are the ones that use the remarkable technology tools now available to them,” he said.

“roomMaster provides an excellent set of tools whether you are an individual hotel or a chain, because it is a web-based solution that you can access from your mobile device anywhere you have an internet connection.

“For groups of hotels, that can help to reduce duplication of roles by giving central head office capabilities from any location.

“We’re delighted that the prestigious Shandon Hotel and Spa chose roomMaster, and that our PMS is helping the hotel establish such an impressive reputation so quickly.

“It shows that in today’s challenging hospitality environment, roomMaster can give hotels the edge by helping them provide the exquisite experience that brings guests back again and again.”

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