Put simply, an EPOS system is the hardware and software that enables you to run and manage your hospitality business effectively. It can provide tangible savings on staffing, accounting and waste. And it can provide an uplift in sales through providing intelligence on the most popular items / experience / menus as well as the most profitable times of the day. As well as facilitating payments, an EPOS system gives you rich data on your customers behaviour that you can use to maximise your offer.

There are a number of EPOS systems on the market, but all are not equal and likewise your needs will be different from others depending on the number of ‘offers’ your attraction provides; the market you serve and the degree of flexibility you need. Here are some of the things to look out for when assessing which system is right for you.

Cost – make sure you qualify the following before signing up: -
  • Is there a setup fee?
  • Is there a one-off payment for the software and hardware and/or is there a monthly or annual subscription and/or is there a commission to pay per booking?
  • Are you able to add/remove features or is it an all or nothing package?
  • Are updates included for the lifetime of your rental?
  • Is there a free trial period?
  • Check the length of your contract, is it annual or a monthly rolling contract?
  • If you did decide to move to another system how easy is it for your data to be migrated and in what format is the data transferred?
Technical Support – even the most technologically savvy users find that problems can and do occur from time to time. Make sure you check: -
  • Whether technical support is included in the price and is this unlimited?
  • During what hours are you able to contact someone for help?
  • How is support provided? Can you speak with someone if you need to or is help via a chat or email function?
  • Is there a manual that you can download or access online?
  • How is your business covered if the software is down for any length of time or your hardware malfunctions affecting your bookings?
Site Links – if your attraction is being advertised and booked elsewhere you will need to ensure instant live updates: -
  • Does the system have what is known as a Channel Manager that allows your sites to communicate with each other?
  • Does the channel manager allow you to update rates automatically as well as availability?
Ease of Payment – how flexible is the payment system: -
  • Does it link with secure payment systems that allow your guests to pay by all major credit and debit cards?
  • Does it accommodate other payment systems such as PayPal?
  • Are you able to take stage payments – for example, a deposit and final balance if you are offering group experiences?
Flexibility – how much flexibility does the site have: -
  • Are you able to have multiple rates to accommodate different ages / special offers and promotions?
  • Are you able to programme in different rates for different days of the week and entry times?
  • Are you able to programme in different packages?
  • Are you able to limit the number of tickets sold?
  • If using for a café, how easy is it to upload / change menus?
Administration – does the system just manage your inventory or can you integrate a communications programme: -
  • Can the system help you to automate tasks such as emailing booking confirmation to your guests?
  • How easy is it to manage/change your room inventory?
  • How will it notify you of cancellations?
  • Does it need to have housekeeping/maintenance modules?
  • Can you run reports? 
Appearance – although left to last, this is equally as important
  • Does it look appealing and is it easy to use?
  • Does it work equally well on mobile devices and i-pads as it does on laptops?
  • Can you tailor the booking form or are you restricted to a pre-designed template that may not capture information you would like and may not match your style?
There are a variety of software providers on the market with more joining each month. A sample selection is shown below:-