Technology in the hotel industry continues to advance at a rapid pace and hotel property management software (PMS) remains essential for hoteliers looking to improve how they run their business.
The key to reaping the benefits of an effective hotel management software system is to select the right one for your property. It’s critical that you know exactly what the hotel management technology is and why it is important for you to implement it at your hotel.
All hotels need some variation of a property management system (PMS), however not all PMS systems are created equal and it can be confusing knowing which one is best suited for your property. We’re going to take you through everything you need to know about hotel PMS so you can make the best-informed decision for your hotel.
Table of contents
What is a hotel property management system?
Hotel management software is technology that allows hotel operators and owners to streamline their administrative tasks while also increasing their bookings in both the short and long-term.
Your hotel management system is not only important for your own day-to-day operations, but it’s a vital part in improving overall guest experience. From the beginning of your guests’ online booking journey until the completion of their stay and their feedback once they return home, your hotel management system is there to enhance their experience.
Finding a hotel management system that offers the features you both need and want is necessary to effectively manage your hotel in the global economic climate.
Cloud-based PMS solutions are a superior way to automate and accelerate all the important processes at your hotel including;
- Taking and confirming bookings,
- Managing reservations,
- Generating bills and reports,
- Room transfers,
- Checking/editing availability,
- Guest communication.
Cloud-based technology can handle all these tasks with ease because of its ability to deeply integrate with channel managers, booking engines, and revenue management systems. Despite this, there are still concerns over the validity and cost effectiveness of cloud-based PMS tools, such as:
Is a hotel PMS software important?
PMS hotel software is incredibly important for any business looking to optimise their daily tasks. From collating data in one place to automation processes – these are key to ensuring time-consuming activities are completed quickly, boosting overall efficiency. This means you can focus on the more important hotel operations.
Here are some of the benefits of a hotel property management system.
- Reduce time spent on administrative tasks
The right hotel management system should do a lot of the work for you, minimising the amount of time spent on admin tasks, allowing you to focus your efforts and energy on the big picture. The software should also provide you with valuable data on employee retention, satisfaction and productivity.
In today’s fast-paced travel environment, it’s critical that you automate as many tasks as possible. A property management system can help you tremendously with that.
- Increase your online presence
Management software that is integrated with a website builder allows you to accept direct online bookings and develop a user-friendly website. Naturally, this can increase your relevance in search engine results and online presence, allowing more travellers to discover your property during their online booking journey.
- Build relationships with guests
Develop a better rapport with your target market segment. Loyal guests that have stayed in your property a few times will appreciate the improved experience.
Hotel management software not only benefits returning guests but the technology will allow you to reach out to new markets that would not have discovered your brand.
- Manage your distribution
With a property management system in place that integrates with a channel manager, you’ll be able to advertise across many channels whilst maintaining rate parity. From the large OTAs and GDSs to individual retail travel agents, you’ll be able to instantly provide real-time booking information to your agents that will help drive bookings.
- Manage your revenue
Using innovative pricing tools that allow you to create a flexible room pricing strategy, you can maximise revenue per room at any given moment.
Pricing your rooms right is the key to succeeding in this competitive industry, and having these tools available can help your hotel’s revenue management strategy significantly.
- Increase bookings
At the end of the day, the point of every feature within your hotel management business solution is to boost the bookings your property receives.
Whether you want to increase your off-season bookings or expand your offerings to new market segments, the right hotel management software can improve success for your property.
Features of a hotel property management system
Management systems are important for both hotel operators who manage large chains as well as independent hoteliers. There are several purposes it can provide, including:
Your property management system should help you efficiently and effectively manage your reservations by automating the process for you.
It allows you to focus more on interacting with your guests. A PMS also significantly reduces the risk of overbooking your rooms, directly improving the guest experience at your property.
And with travellers today more likely to book online than they are to call or partner with a travel agent, you need to consider both direct bookings and third party bookings. This will allow you to maximise the revenue generated per booking. Consider software that integrates with an online booking engine.
Front desk operations
This functionality will allow a front-desk manager to view and update room reservations, check guests in and out, and process payments. Guests want a seamless check in experience. Convenience is key, so having a system that enhances processes will ensure your guests are happy and enable your staff to have more time to support guests.
Managing a hotel with software that offers a channel management will allow you to create and implement a diverse distribution strategy that continually drives bookings. Creating partnerships with different types of agents in the industry, from OTAs to GDSs, is necessary to survive in a competitive climate.
A Revenue Management System (RMS), helps a hotel management team to understand how to adjust and improve processes to achieve better results and optimise finances. Key management indicators such as Occupancy, RevPAR (Revenue per Available Room) and GOPAR (Gross Operating Profit Per Available Room) are all measures that are considered to help improve pricing strategies to sell more rooms at the most optimal rate.
Customer data and CRM integration
Collecting and organising guest data is critical for any hotelier. A CRM system needs to integrate with the front desk and reservation system in order to collate all guest data from each source. This will then provide a powerful database for your management team that can help you keep in touch with guests during and post-checkout. This will boost marketing efforts, allow you to share promotions, and encourage guest feedback. Repeat customers can be rewarded through loyalty programmes, which are particularly important for large-scale hotel chains and resorts.
A housekeeping module within your PMS system can connect housekeeping staff to the front-office team. The key functionality of the housekeeping module is for property maintenance, such as management of room status, cleaner assignment and assignment of tasks for housekeepers. If you’re using a cloud-based PMS software, housekeepers can simply update the status of tasks through a digital device.
Point of sale services
It’s likely there are multiple point-of-sale touch points across your hotel. Whether it’s front desk, a hotel restaurant, or spa, a point-of-sale module in your PMS system is indispensable when it comes to handling transactions. Its purpose is to automate and keep financial data secured in one place. This will improve a guest’s experience when they are looking to charge products and services to their room for a seamless experience throughout.
Invoice and payment options
When your hotel PMS system integrates with your payment system, you will benefit from faster payments, a reduction in errors and more options for automatic payment processes. This is not only beneficial to your guests but can be efficient for your hotel staff. These payment systems are designed to process debit and credit card payments at reception, payments made online, and can automatically create invoices for guests.
Making data-driven decisions is key to understanding and enhancing your business performance. Reporting and analysing allows you to review current processes, determining what is working well and what needs improving. An effective report through your PMS can allow for better strategic planning, and depending on the PMS software, you may be able to generate audit reports, housekeeping reports and so on.
Hotel property management system integration
A hotel PMS integration refers to the seamless connecting and operating of the PMS system with other softwares. This could be your hotel channel manager, online booking engines or payment processing. Your hotel PMS system is the heart of your property operations and this can be amplified when successfully integrated with other systems to create a cloud-based hub that helps run your business. The ability for your PMS hotel software to connect and integrate with other systems eliminates the need for time-consuming admin work on your behalf.
Things to consider when choosing a property management system for your hotel
Choosing a program that offers a web editor or website creator will allow you to build a clean, appealing and user-friendly site that encourages guests to book their stay at your property. Some top features to look for:
- Integration with other softwares
- Self service interaction functionality
- Easy reservation and upselling processes
- Supports classic and dynamic price models
- Helps detect repeat customers
- Simplifies daily routines
Challenges with a hotel property management system
Some hoteliers may have a hesitancy towards implementing a hotel property management system. There are a few reasons why you may think a PMS system poses a challenge. For example:
- Cloud-based technology is hard to use and confusing
- Sensitive data is not secure and vulnerable to hackers
- Current software is just as good
- A PMS is only suitable for large hotels
- Technology is too expensive
Many of these concerns are groundless and there’s plenty of data that shows how overall a cloud-based PMS can provide you more control over your hotel business, in some of the following areas:
- An extra degree of customisation,
- Reporting and data analysis capabilities,
- Integration with other third-party systems like OTAs and booking systems,
- Ease of access through any location and device.
List of property management systems
There are hundreds of property management systems on the market. The most important aspect when choosing one is to ensure it’s easy to use, has all the functions you need, and that it is able to integrate with your other important systems, such as your channel manager.
Some popular examples you might come across include:
- Little Hotelier
- Frontdesk Anywhere
- eZee Frontdesk
The list goes on. Finding a PMS if you don’t already have one will require some research and evaluation.
Hotel property management software: Questions you should ask providers
Selecting the right hotel software is critical, particularly in a world where consumers are relying more heavily on their devices with each passing day. An investment into the right software can make all the difference to your overall success as a hotel operator, but will require some research.
These are seven main questions that you should ask your hotel system provider as soon as possible:
1. How does the product maintain its relevance in the hospitality industry?
While the core of a technology system may remain the same over time, the product will need to adapt to changing trends and preferences from travellers within the hospitality industry. You need to ask this question so you have an understanding of how technology can aid and support your hotel’s growth along with the industry.
2. How often is the platform updated or upgraded?
There’s always room for improvement within softwares and technology, and the best hotel software providers will ensure that regular updates and upgrades are available for their clients. It’s important to have an understanding of how often these upgrades will be available, how you’ll be able to successfully implement the upgrades and how they might impact your distribution channels or reporting.
3. What level of customer service will you receive from the company?
Unfortunately, far too many hotel technology providers focus on hard sales tactics without much support after the purchase is complete. You will want to verify with the provider that there will be an on-hand contact to support the software, provide training when requested and work with staff after the technology has been installed.
4. Is the hotel platform secure?
Security should be a top priority with your chosen hotel technology provider. Ask about the details regarding their security features, as it’s imperative that both your hotel and guests’ data is secure.
5. How easily can the system be personalised?
Hotel technology providers need to offer a versatile system that includes not only the generic features that are necessary for any hotel, but also adaptable features that allow a business to personalise the platform to a particular brand. Ultimately, your investment in technology needs to result in a system that works specifically for your hotel.
6. What reporting features are available?
Some of the most important features of a hotel management software include the reporting features. Verify that you’ll be able to run detailed reports using live data, as this is the only way to get an understanding of the market, your performance and competitors to ensure that you can grow your brand.
7. How can I access the hotel technology system once implemented?
Be sure that you are investing in a system that allows you to run your hotel from anywhere. You need hotel technology that is optimised for all devices, including smartphones and tablets.
The future of PMS in the hotel industry
A hotel property management system is an essential business tool for any hotel or property. Technology drives everything we do in our daily lives, so having top-of-the-line software in place can enhance your business model immensely. Hoteliers depend on this technology to run seamless front-of-house operations, including front desk management and back-of-house operations, such as reporting.
By upgrading your PMS system, you are staying up to date with the latest technological trends, and enabling your business to meet the demands of today’s travellers. Expectations from both guests and staff are continuously evolving so your hotel software needs to match to keep up. Flexible payment options, keyless entry and self-service check-ins are just some of the ways that the hotel industry is moving.