If you are looking for the best hotel management system, you are fantastically spoiled for choice. Lots of quality cloud-based booking engines and property management system creators are trying to outperform each other.
Chances are, you’ve also stumbled upon WordPress. Of course, it currently powers the biggest number of all websites in the world – almost 31%. And this number is growing repeatedly: from 27% in 2016 to almost 31% today. Probably you even use WordPress for hotel or property rental website!
Looking for Hotel Management Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best Hotel Management Software solutions.
To make it clear, if you happen to be new to the term, WordPress itself is not a booking software, it’s a content management system (CMS) for building any sort of a scalable website. And WordPress software is absolutely free (we are talking about wp.org self-hosted websites).
Hundreds of creative and professional web agencies around the globe create a design (themes) and software (plugins) solutions for WordPress. Booking engines for hotels and rental property management tools are not an exception.
Simply put, if you need to find the best hotel reservation software, you should also consider WordPress plugins. If you are already a lucky WordPress user or haven’t built a website yet, this is your read.
Long story short, while WordPress for hotels is a wise solution for many small and midsize businesses, many proprietary hotel PMS providers spread bad rumors about WordPress to kill the competitor.
One of the misconceptions most people have is that WordPress is only for blogs and that it’s not scalable, which is definitely not true. I’ve worked with WordPress for hotel websites more than 2 years and already got a good list of reasons why WordPress can be a perfect solution for hotels, especially those on a tiny budget or small B&B owners.
But it will be unfair to list the good sides only. In this post, we’ll try to look through both pros and cons of using WordPress for hotel websites and WordPress booking software.
Pros of using WordPress for hotel websites:
1. WordPress offers (the most) affordable booking plugins
Even hoteliers with a modest budget can build a professional looking website with a full-blown booking system.
But don’t take my word for it, compare the prices of the systems.
WordPress hosting and design expenses are around $300/a year on average for all. WordPress for hotel booking software can cost up to $60, early or one-time. For example, the cost of the most recognizable choice among WordPress booking plugins, MotoPress Hotel Booking, is just $49. You pay once and use it for as long as you want. However, you may optionally pay for tech support and updates in a year.
The cost almost never rises depending on a number of rentals, so you can basically rent out unlimited accommodations without extra expenses. As far as I know, the price of a proprietary booking software is very often increased in a direct proportion to a number of rentals. And the core system is much, much more pricey.
Moreover, once you buy a WordPress plugin, you own the software. You can edit it or have someone tweak the code as it’s open for editing. However, the code of proprietary software is generally closed.
It’s worth mentioning that in WordPress, very often you can find a theme with a plugin combo (design + a reservation plugin). In other words, it’s your chance to significantly cut down expenses.
2. WordPress bookings plugins provide all you need for a modern booking functionality
Hotel management software for WordPress, including booking functionality, is usually jam-packed with features.
It is focusing on all the essentials of the modern hotel management system: inventory control, flexible rates depending on seasons, great systems of taxes and fees, flexible booking rules, accountability, discount system, a built-in online channel for synchronizing bookings with OTAs, an easily manageable booking calendar, different booking confirmation modes (with or without a payment), etc.
Managing all upcoming automatic booking requests or adding reservations submitted over the phone manually won’t a be a struggle for your staff.
In short, the best WordPress booking plugins are built using the best coding practices to optimize and automate the hotel management work.
3. User-friendly system
If you think that WordPress is for techs, you should know that this is the biggest myth. Of course, if you are a solo website owner, you’ll need some time to learn the system interface, but this doesn’t mean you need to learn to code. WordPress dashboard is highly user-friendly.
WordPress booking plugins generally come with a more or less standard toolset for managing your hotel or any other type of a rental property online.
4. Freedom of choice and extendability
One of the biggest known strengths of WordPress is its plugins. That is free, freemium and premium functionality for different purposes.
For example, if you need just a bare-bone events schedule calendar or a basic contact form, you can even install free solutions and you use them for as long as you need.
You can change and install any advanced or utility software any time on your website, configure it the way you want or even add your custom features to it (in this case, developer’s help might be a need).
Many times, hotel websites also need to feature their restaurant offerings on the website. With WordPress, you can easily install either complex or simple restaurant software to display a restaurant menu in a modern way and optionally enable online payments. Basically, you won’t need to subscribe to dozens of SAAS providers to implement a full-blown hotel management or restaurant software on your WordPress website. You’ll just need a couple of, generally non-expensive, plugins.
5. Safe online bookings
To process paid online booking safely, the main things you need are an SSL certificate (https) for your domain name, quality hosting and popular payment gateways implemented. The first 2 things don’t depend on WordPress, but the last one should be integrated into your WordPress website with a help of eCommerce WordPress plugins.
Using those plugins, you can easily enable the international payment systems to accept a full or deposit booking payment (PayPal, 2Checkout, etc.). Of course, they are used by millions and are absolutely safe.
6. Helpful WordPress community
WordPress community is one of the biggest in the world. There are tons of quality blogs, forums and online courses that can help you solve any issues with any aspect of your WordPress website. You can also ask people for advice in any WordPress dedicated Facebook group and no doubt, a friendly tip is guaranteed.
Moreover, WordPress provides lots of SEO tools to help you optimize your website content and structure to improve the visibility of your local hospitality business online.
Sounds like a fairytale? Not exactly. Time to uncover the part 2.
Cons of using WordPress for hotel websites
No software is perfect, WordPress also comes with its downsides. There is always such a thing as fit and purpose, therefore WordPress can be your perfect solution if only it fully meets your needs.
If you really love all the pros I’ve listed above, consider the flaws before making a final decision.
Let’s list the main problems hoteliers may face using WordPress:
- Hotel management software may lack any specific feature required for running your website. Though reservation and property management plugins in WordPress are really powerful, you may not find an ideal plugin for your particular case.
- An OTAs channel manager in the vast majority of hotel booking plugins uses iCal file format for bookings synchronization. If you rent out your property on any OTA that doesn’t support this format (but don’t worry too much – popular ones do), you’ll probably need to integrate a proprietary software into your WordPress website.
- As we’ve said, you get more freedom on your WordPress website. More freedom, more responsibility. You are the boss on your WordPress website and if you don’t outsource the tech side management (like backups, spam protection, security, etc.), you’ll need some more time to figure out how to set the things on the autopilot yourself. As for the booking app, it will take up to several days to get familiar with the interface.
What do you need to get started?
To start building a hotel WordPress website, you need to perform the following steps:
- Buy trusted hosting to store website data.
- Get a domain name (usually can be brought along with hosting space).
- Install free WordPress software on your hosting.
- Choose a WordPress theme (design) and a WordPress booking plugin or get a combo (sometimes the hotel dedicated themes come packaged with booking plugins).
- Consider possible extra expenses: integrating any local payment gateways, translating your content with a help of multilingual plugins (those can be free or paid), etc.
Over to you
The biggest thing that scares people away from WordPress is non-awareness that it’s really suitable and powerful CMS for building a scalable hotel website as well as implementing a mature, fully functional booking engine.
WordPress is growing in popularity all the time, hotel and restaurant management software vendors in WordPress continue giving more strength to their products. Lots of booking plugins already offer a PMS and a channel manager in one software, so it’s easier for you to set up and manage the lodging business website and deal with online reservations.
On the other hand, WordPress supports any third-party proprietary booking services, so it’s a win-win solution in any case for those who just start building a hotel management website. For independent properties and small hotels, WordPress is undoubtedly the most budget-wise solution.
Of course, as any software, WordPress has its drawbacks, but as you see, pros easily outweigh cons for different hotel website scenarios. We hope that this post will be your stepping stone to the hundreds of WordPress benefits in your hospitality business journey.
Can you name any other WordPress pros and cons for hotels? If you have any idea or question about WordPress for hotel rental property business, feel free to share it in the comments section below. I’ll be happy to answer!