A good POS app can be invaluable for those involved in hospitality because it can streamline processes, enhance the customer experience, and improve your company’s ability to track key performance indicators. However, it is also crucial to follow a sensible process for finding the right app. In this article, you will learn more about how POS apps work, how you can choose the right one, and why this decision is so important in the first place.

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What are POS Apps?

A POS app is the name given to an application that is used to control a point of sale system. The app will allow employees of hospitality businesses to process card, cash and mobile wallet payments, but it is also important to understand that the uses of a POS system go far beyond simple payment processing alone.

Using a POS app, sales data and other important information can be automatically and continually updated in real-time. This helps businesses to keep their performance metrics up-to-date and can be used to inform everything from sales performance monitoring and employee performance monitoring, to revenue management.

The use of a POS app on a portable device, such as an iPad or tablet, also allows those devices to process payments, and this has the potential to enhance the customer experience by providing greater flexibility.

Why Choosing the Right POS App is Important

Selecting the right POS app is vital, but it is also important to understand that this will mean different things to different businesses. As an example, if you are starting a new venture, the best app is likely to be one that is fairly simple, user-friendly, and designed to make your business more efficient.

By contrast, if you are upgrading an existing app, you will want a solution with a better range of features, so you will need to think about the limitations of your current app. Furthermore, the type of business you run can influence your decision, as the best hotel app may not necessarily be the best solution for a restaurant, or a bar.

What Are Important Aspects to Assess When Choosing a POS App?

When selecting the best POS app for their business, there are a number of important aspects that those in hospitality management will need to assess or analyse. Some of the most significant of these are explored below:

Hardware and Software Budget

One of the most crucial aspects to consider when exploring POS apps is the budget you have available for both the hardware and software. However, this can be more complicated than it may initially seem, because POS systems can have vastly different structures or billing models, including upfront payments and monthly subscriptions.

With that being said, the costs of the POS app itself forms only one part of the equation. You will also need to think about the hardware that will be used as part of the system, including card readers, printers, cash registers, tablets, mobile phones, computers and any other device that may be used to process payments or store data.

On top of this, you may need to think about some of the associated or hidden costs, such as the cost of storing data, or the costs associated with accessing updates. Select software and hardware that does what you need it to, which provides scope for upgrading your system in the future, and which is within the budget you established.

POS App Features

Next, you will need to give careful consideration to the features on offer from the different POS app solutions on the market and compare and contrast these with the features that are most important to you. In particular, you may wish to focus on the following app features, whether they are present and how advanced they are.

1. Food Service & Restaurant Features

For parts of the hospitality industry focused on food and beverage service, such as restaurants, it can be important to find a POS app that offers relevant features. However, even within this sector, requirements can vary substantially, which is why some apps are specifically focused on restaurants, bakeries, or bars.

In fact, some apps target specific types of restaurant, such as fast food, pizza delivery, and so on. Specific features that may be relevant to you include menu creation, food ordering, online ordering, bill splitting options, restaurant layout features, food inventory features, and various communication tools.

2. Tools for Inventory Management

A key feature provided by high-quality POS apps is the ability to track inventory, so that you know how much of a particular product you have left, or in businesses like hotels, how many rooms are available at any given time. This information can be updated automatically as sales are made, saving time and improving accuracy.

Some of the advanced features that may be available here include stock alerts, informing you when inventory reaches a certain level, and automatic re-ordering, which can help to avoid situations where you run out of a product.

3. Customer Data & Marketing

Many of the best POS apps will also include features based on customer data and marketing. This may include, for instance, customer relationship management tools, allowing you to access information about the products specific customers purchased, their chosen payment methods, the demographics that make up your customer base, etc.

As data becomes more complete, it can also be used for marketing purposes, informing you about your customers’ preferences and habits, and allowing you to send marketing messages. Another aspect, which combines elements of customer data and marketing, is the creation and management of a customer rewards or loyalty programme.

4. Reporting & Analytics Options

For those involved with hospitality, another important feature to be aware of in a POS restaurant, bar, nightclub or hotel app is the ability to access reporting and analytics options. This is possible because the POS system is integrated with other tools related to the collection, storage and management of data.

As a result, you can potentially use your POS app to analyse information related to sales, access customer information, track other important data, and then analyse all of this to spot patterns and make forecasts. The insights gathered can also be presented in a number of formats, which is ideal for reporting to stakeholders.

Ultimately, reporting and analytics tools within POS apps are intended to enhance your understanding of your business, its performance, your customers, and their behaviours and habits. Using this to your advantage, you can then alter business processes and practices, in order to enhance the customer experience and optimise finances.

5. Internet Connectivity

Finally, it is worth considering internet connectivity when evaluating POS apps and their features. This will also require you to think about your current situation. For instance, do you have reliable and continuous Wi-Fi access? If not, you may need to think about a solution that will provide sufficient support during offline periods.

There may be options that can assist with patchy connections, such as the use of an on-site or lite server, which can enhance the reliability of your connection. This may be a more expensive route than finding an offline app, but it does provide the benefit of allowing continuous, 24/7 access to data that is stored and shared via the cloud.

Integrating Your POS App with Other Software

Once you have explored the range of features available in the different POS apps on the market, you should start to think about integration in more depth. After all, you are going to need your chosen app to be as compatible as possible with the other software you are using, and your existing business processes and operations.

In particular, it is sensible to look for integration options with marketing software, CRM software, accounting software, and hotel software, as this can help to save time and improve cross-departmental collaboration.

For restaurants, it could be worthwhile to integrate your POS app with an existing online ordering system, or with an existing reservation system, so that the data can be shared between these systems seamlessly. Meanwhile, where reporting features are present, you may wish for the files to be compatible with the apps you currently use.

Video: Restaurant Management – What Does POS Integration for Restaurant Software Mean? 

Support and Training

Finally, it is essential that those involved in hotel and restaurant management think carefully about the issues of support and training. With regards to support, this is likely to be an ongoing consideration and you will need to factor in everything from help with the initial setup, to assistance with technical issues.

This means exploring the level of support that is provided alongside the different POS apps and the associated services. You should also look into what the costs are likely to be and whether support is in-person or remote.

Alongside this issue, you should also consider training costs, the amount of training that is going to be required in order to bring staff up to speed, and whether or not you are going to need to bring in experts to provide this training. Costs in this area are likely to correlate with how advanced your chosen POS app is.

Consider Future Growth When Choosing a POS App for your Business

For those involved in hotel management and other aspects of hospitality, the concept of growth is important. Businesses do not stand still and, in an ideal situation, your business will attract more customers over time, leading to increased revenue and opportunities for further growth.

With this in mind, when selecting the right POS apps, businesses need to keep one eye on the future. While you may have some specific needs now, you should also give thought to what your needs may be in a year, three years, five years, and beyond. You will also need to research options for upgrading in the future, and assess how often new versions or updates are released. This will then help to ensure your investment is worthwhile in the long term.

POS Apps and Other Hotel Software Solutions

The right POS app is just one part of acquiring the best hotel software solutions. Some of the other tools you may need in order to optimise performance include a hotel channel manager, which will allow you to manage different distribution channels, a revenue management system, and a mobile check-in app.

Check out “Software Tips for the Hotel & Hospitality Industry” to access a variety of articles centred around software solutions, their benefits, how to choose them, and how to get the most from them.

Selecting the right POS app is vital, and doing so will require you to take into account a range of different factors, including the features on offer, your budget, future growth potential, and your other software solutions.

Importance of POS Apps in the Hospitality Industry

Having the right point of sale system can transform a hospitality business and help to take it to the next level, which is why it is so essential that senior figures in an organisation understand the full range of features, the ways in which they can be leveraged, and the overall importance of POS apps.

To learn more about this topic, read “POS Systems: Overview and Importance in The Hospitality Industry”, where you can access the most critical information about POS systems, POS apps, and their true value.

Benefits of POS Apps for Hotels

The hotel industry is a crucial part of hospitality, but hotels also have specific concerns, needs and expectations that are exclusive to them. With this in mind, POS apps can have benefits for hotels that may not necessarily be relevant to other businesses, or the benefits may be more significant within the hotel industry.

Read the article “6 Benefits of Point-of-Sale Software for Hotels” if you are interested in exploring a whole lot more about the ways that POS apps and POS systems can assist hotel employees, management, and their customers.

Reporting Features Within a POS App

Many people view POS apps as a means of processing payments and collecting and managing important data. However, in reality, uses for these apps extend far further. In particular, the best apps will provide reporting features, which can be invaluable for employees who need to report progress to senior staff and other stakeholders.

To find out more, read “A Deep-Dive into Reporting Features of POS Software for Hospitality”, where you will be able to read about the key features and how they apply to restaurants, hotels, bars and nightclubs.

POS App: Trends for the Restaurant Industry

In addition to understanding how to get the most from your POS app, you also need to be aware of the recent trends for using your POS system. This will help to ensure you do not miss out on potential uses and provide a competitive edge to rivals. Furthermore, you should also consider the future and trends that are likely as well.

Read the “Restaurant POS Systems: The Latest and Future Trends” article for more on the importance of keeping up with the latest trends, some examples, and an exploration of some of the trends that will shape the years ahead.

Maximise POS Apps Within Hospitality Businesses

The various features associated with POS apps provide businesses in the hospitality industry with great opportunities to maximise success. This can be achieved in a number of different ways, including upselling and cross-selling, customising POS apps to suit your business needs, and training staff to use the systems to optimise customer satisfaction.

To learn more about how to get the most from your POS system and to take full advantage of the various features, read through the “Maximise the Benefits of Point-of-Sale Systems in Hospitality” article.

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Revfine.com is a knowledge platform for the hospitality & travel industry. Professionals use our insights, strategies and actionable tips to get inspired, optimise revenue, innovate processes and improve customer experience. You can find all hotel & hospitality tips in the categories Revenue Management, Marketing & Distribution, Hotel Operations, Staffing & Career, Technology and Software.

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