(For those new to the column, Forward Migration is our term for companies moving from Wintel machines to Macs — or at least adding or increasing the number of Macs they use. A Forward Migration Kit is an overview of Mac OS products for a particular occupation, such as dentistry, accounting, etc.)
This week we’re looking at Mac software tailored to the bed & breakfast (B&B) industry.
DataBase DesignWorks has a solution that runs under both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. GolfSoft is a complete point of sale, inventory management, and booking system. Developed for the golf club/course industry, it tracks customers, food and beverage sales, pro-shop sales, purchasing, receiving, inventory management, credit book accounts, tee-time bookings and management, tournament bookings and tournament entries via the web or across your local area network. And GolfSoft comes complete with extensive report writing.
“We customize to fit the culture per the particular client,” DataBase President/CEO Ken Myhre told MacCentral. “Our specialty is small to medium size businesses.”
The InnFormed Manager from Informed Solutions is a software system designed to be easy-to-learn, easy to use and specifically for the inn/bed and breakfast industry. It includes a user manual, which explains all functions of the software and a business manual that contains ways to utilize the application to help you organize and manage your business.
It sports such features as a complete reservation history, guest history, automatic credit card lookups and built-in word processing with mail merge capability. The InnFormed Manager has management reports such as referral reports, occupancy reports, tax reports, and income booked reports. It comes complete with its own basic accounting functions and allows for export to Quicken and M.Y.O.B. Four different calendars, each capable of remaining open on the screen while inquiries and reservations are made, are available. There’s also the ability to export room availability to online reservation services keep you up-to-the minute in reservation software. A demo copy is available from the Informed Web site.
MacInn from Significant Software is property management software that handles both front desk and back office operations. Introduced in 1985, MacInn is in use worldwide in properties of many sizes. It’s available for a 30-day free trial.
Sixth Sense Café
While not exactly a Bed and Breakfast program, Sixth Sense Cafe Software can be useful for those running B&B operations.
The POS (point of sale) software can “turn a Mac or PC into a cash register, accountant, and business partner.” It’s purportedly designed from the cash register up and not from an accounting package down. Sixth Sense isn’t a module of an accounting program, but a fully functional cash register with inventory and customer tracking and control. It comes with reporting and graphing capabilities, and the ability to handle customer accounts including automatic statement generation.
Smotel, which has been released as freeware into the public domain, was developed about three years ago with FileMaker Pro. It offers automatic and manual booking facilities, client information and history database, several billing options for accommodation and extras, comprehensive operational and management report, and security features.You can find it at the Information Architects and FileMaker Developers site. “The program is old and cranky … but it works!” said co-developer Nicholas Rhodes.
Some people simply build their own B&B solutions. Mike Benonis likes REALbasic, the development environment from Real Software “which will let you build just about anything.
In 1997 when Lars Aldman and his wife at the time a opened a guest house, he, being a devoted Mac-man, spent some time searching for suitable management software. The quest wasn’t very productive.
“I found something made by an Australian company, but I forget the name,” he said. “Anyway it was far too big and complicated for us, so I found myself hacking something in FileMaker Pro. It wasn’t pretty if contemplate the algorithms, but it worked. It could show you what rooms were free on a certain day, give you details on guests instantly, write out a receipt or an invoice, and brings you statistics for any given timespace. Actually, for a small business, I can’t think of anything more useful and flexible than FileMaker Pro.”
Speaking of FileMaker Pro, Richard Hannon would consider developing a B&B package if he obtained the info he needs. Anyone interested in discussing the matter can e-mail him. Hannon will most likely develop a solution in FileMaker Pro version 5 so that it would work on both Macs and PCs.
Billy Ray runs a B&B at Front 30 Ranch, in Texas. It’s a Mac exclusive operation.
“We have Macs available for our guests (e-mail, Web surfing, etc) and use Macs to handle our B&B operation, together with our ranching activities. With respect to specific software, we use Excel for financial matters, Microsoft Works for database building, MS Word for document and ad preparation, MacInTax for federal income tax preparation, and both Netscape and Explorer for Web browsers. We did our own Web site using our Macs and readily available software (such as Macromedia Dreamweaver) and, believe me, we are not professionals.”
Several templates have been prepared, but the folks at Front 30 Ranch have no difficulty functioning efficiently with existing software, Ray said. He added that they wouldn’t think of using anything but Macs.