Dude Ranch Software

It’s Time to Change Your Lodge & Ranch Management Software When…

If it wasn’t a farmer or stockman that coined the phrase, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” then there is a good chance it was the owner or operator of an all-inclusive guest ranch or lodge. For good reason too, because there is a lot of wisdom in that way of thinking. However, there is a difference between sticking with a tool that still gets the job done, versus falling behind the times. Furthermore, despite their incredible value as a real estate asset, most lodges and ranches have top-heavy expense models and depend on thin margins for cash flow.

When you add it all up, sometimes your software can be where the rubber meets the road. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. It’s important to understand a software change could be a welcome and big positive for your business, but be mindful a poorly managed transition has the potential to take you out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Whether you’re trying to pull through one more season on what you’ve already got, or ready to lean-in and finally upgrade your property management system, here are a few telltale signs that might help you get a better grip on the reality of your situation:

Your Team is Saying You Have a Software Problem

Pay attention whenever your team says “software is the problem” because it can mean a few things and they all need to be addressed. First of all, they may very well be right, so make sure to sit down with the primary users and have them walk you through real examples of exactly what the issues are. Again, you may find they have a very legitimate point, and there is an equal possibility a little training or a computer update is all that’s needed to right the ship.

It’s also very important to consider whether the feedback is coming from team members who are tech savvy or tech averse, and what percentage of your team is in either camp. One skillset does not trump the other, and people of both inclinations have important perspectives; however, their personal relationship with technology will provide context towards determining your next move. For example, an Office or F&B Manager may have a predilection for another program they’ve used in the past. This is a win/win if what they’re suggesting is also a good fit for your whole organization. But forward progress in one area can also mean two steps back in others, so be hyper-vigilant to look at the change from the viewpoint of all your managers and department heads.

However you go about familiarizing yourself with the team’s software experience, make sure to remain a skeptic to some degree. Do a deep dive and pull reports from your current system that will give you un-biased data-backed information as to how often the team uses it and what they use it for. It isn’t uncommon for staff to point the finger at technology when they have other challenges in need of different solutions. The flip side is that a software program not aligned with your culture can be a real drag on what would otherwise be a totally healthy and highly-productive team.

In short, the sooner it is identified and mitigated the better. The last thing you want is for software to change your company culture, and put you into a spiral of disorganization, staff turnover, and unanticipated expenses that pile up and crush your bottom line.

Your Guests are Saying You Have a Software Problem

As an owner and operator of a lodge or guest ranch you live in a loop of constant feedback tied to everyone your organization touches. From this unique vantage point, it’s common to measure the true nature of a problem by recognizing the importance of the channel from which it is coming. Since it is rare for a guest to take an interest in what software a lodge or ranch is using, take note whenever a member of your guest community has comments about their experience. As with any feedback there is the likelihood you can glean something productive from it; but if they are specifically saying your software is a problem, get to the bottom if it with urgency.

The guest has likely come to this this conclusion for one of two reasons. First, their guest experience was impacted in some way they hope won’t happen again. Second, they either noticed your team struggling with the software, or perhaps in a moment of frustration, a team member actually complained to them about it. This scenario may be of greater immediate concern because it means your team has an issue with the software and as a result now your guests do too. Additionally, whenever team members have difficulty preventing back-of-house challenges from disrupting the guest experience, it means a crack could be in the dike and you need to plug it asap.

You’re Saying You Have a Software Problem

Enterprising, resourceful, ruggedly independent, and successful people are notoriously averse to asking for help. They like to rely on their own ability to engender change and they begrudge excuse-making. Likewise, when you have a lot of responsibility and work at a feverish pitch most the year, you might become accustomed to working around some issues instead of pouring your energy into fixing every little thing. After all, you learned a long time ago life isn’t perfect and you’re better off taking a solutions based approach then you are insisting upon things changing before you can get the job done.

All of the above is typically true, until it isn’t, and hospitality management software can sometimes be at the root of what is preventing your organization from breaking through to the next level. If there is a voice in your head that keeps saying it’s time to change your software, do yourself a favor, and give that thought your more focused attention. It may turn out to be the best thing you can do for your team, your guests, your business, and yourself.



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