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PMS integration: Why two-way connection between a hotel PMS and channel manager is critical

  Posted in Distribution

What is PMS integration?

Your hotel property management system should effectively be the lifeblood of your property; controlling, automating, and accelerating a huge range of operational procedures.

Its power is magnified when you can integrate it with other systems to create an entirely cloud-based hub to run your business.

Two-way integration is an essential tool for hotels who want to stay competitive in the massive, modern online marketplace. Integration allows for the convergence of essential departments such as sales, front desk management, housekeeping, payment processing, and revenue management.

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Competition is hot in the online booking space. Hotel bookers now have access to vast amounts of information through comparison websites (metasearch channels), search engines and online travel agencies. Now more than ever, hotel bookers are using more than one booking engine to plan their travel.

So it makes sense for accommodation providers to list their room inventory and rates on as many online travel agencies as possible, in order to increase your chances of capturing the fickle hotel booker.

Until now, hotels have been limited by the time and effort it takes to manually manage multiple online channels.

But new distribution technology is freeing up hotel resources, allowing hoteliers to concentrate on broadening their market reach by integrating their Property Management System (PMS) or Central Reservation System (CRS).

The ability for your PMS to accept and share relevant data with other internal systems, including data from external channels, eliminates any need for time-consuming manual work on your behalf. This is why it’s important you use a PMS with strong connectivity and look for large industry-leading tech providers for your other systems.

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PMS & channel manager integration

SiteMinder’s channel manager for hotels will help you increase online revenue, streamline business processes and reduce your cost of guest acquisition. Plus, we integrate with over 300 PMSs around the world – more than any other channel manager!

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Two-way integration with a top channel manager is essential if you want to gain a competitive edge in serving guests better and staying profitable long-term.

How two-way integration works

Using a channel manager solution builds a link between a hotel’s PMS/CRS and Revenue Management System (RMS), and the hotel’s chosen booking channels.

Information is then instantly exchanged over this two-way connection from the hotel to online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia, Booking.com, HRS, Hotelbeds, Orbitz and Agoda.

When accommodation is then purchased via one of these online booking websites, the hotel’s PMS updates itself, meaning the days of manually entering each booking are over.

Meanwhile, real-time rates, availability and restrictions are automatically sent from the PMS to the hotel’s various online channels. Hoteliers can now maximise room inventory and revenue without the fear of overbooking.

Two-way integration cuts down the cost of acquisition substantially; for every reservation that is automatically populated, the hotel can then use that time to manage their guests effectively and spend more time on the overall guest experience.

There are many other advantages of two-way integration, such as retaining revenue that would otherwise have been lost due to delayed cancellations, and increasing revenue by maximising online exposure with automated inventory and rate updates.

What life looks like without PMS integration

This is what you can expect if you don’t have a channel manager integrated with a PMS:
1. Manual distribution of inventory and rates across multiple online channels is extremely time-consuming, prone to errors and exhausting.
2. The process of updating rates and inventory across OTAs is NOT in real-time.
3. This definitely gives rise to overbookings.
4. There is no guarantee of selling your entire inventory.

Sounds amazing, right? Now let’s delve further into the benefits of PMS and channel manager integration.

Benefits of PMS and channel manager integration

The benefits of marrying your property management system with a channel manager are many, especially surrounding the increase of bookings, reduction of overbookings and double bookings, and improving brand visibility.

Let’s look at four major benefits:

1. Automatically list ALL your rooms on ALL booking channels, at the SAME TIME
Channel managers update your rates and availability in real-time across every channel you list your rooms on, meaning there’s really no restriction on how many channels you want to connect with to sell your inventory. Automation of inventory and rate distribution makes the process super quick, accurate and extremely efficient.

2. Say goodbye to spending HOURS in OTA EXTRANETS
The channel manager and PMS will work together to process and update reservations so you don’t have to log in to each OTA’s extranet to do so (and risk making mistakes). The same applies to cancellations, so any cancelled reservation will be bookable again within a few minutes.

3. GUARANTEED reduction in overbookings
Double bookings and overbookings are a big challenge for hoteliers who run their property manually. It’s simply too hard to manage channels and reservations in a timely manner when you have to log into multiple extranets. The automated nature of a channel manager makes these headaches a thing of the past, as the to-and-fro communication between the channel manager and PMS happens in seconds.

4. Attract international guests and get ready to be FULLY BOOKED
Your channel manager will give your brand visibility a real boost. With the ability to connect more channels you can significantly expand the audience and geographies you can reach, and help target the specific guests you want. For example, SiteMinder’s channel manager connects to over 400 OTAs around the world – and you can connect to as many as you want. A channel manager puts your property on the global map; integration with your PMS makes sure you can efficiently manage all the extra bookings.

PMS features you need for strong integration

Not all property management systems are created equal, so here’s what to be aware of if you aim to use your PMS to its full potential.

Here are some necessary features:

1. Registration, guest accounting and reservations management capabilities
Guest-facing applications are hugely important for hotelier’s in regards to capturing bookings, checking-in or out, and integrating with other channels like in-room systems, central reservation systems, and online travel agents.

2. Housekeeping features
Guest satisfaction can be impacted by many factors, including housekeeping. If a room is not cleaned properly or in a timely manner, or room service and other requests aren’t fulfilled, a bad review will not be far away. A good PMS will help organise this process by storing data and helping create personalised guest profiles.

3. Technology and data integration
Being a key part of day-to-day operations it’s imperative the PMS integrates easily with your other technologies, such as a channel manager, and data sources to ensure everything runs smoothly.

4. Mobile capabilities
Mobile optimisation is a key component of any hotel technology, and that includes the processes involved in a property management system such as mobile check-in and communication with staff.

5. Point-of-sale features
A payment system built into a PMS is perfect for processing minor guest charges such as transport tickets, attraction tickets, postage stamps, or other sundry items.

6. Performance reporting
Visibility into the key drivers of your property’s performance and revenue is essential to successful business strategy. The mountain of data hotels are sitting on is invaluable and a good PMS will provide reporting capabilities.

7. Setup, support, and training
A new PMS will likely introduce a long term relationship with the hotel technology provider so it’s imperative your property gets an adequate level of expertise to train and support you.

A great PMS (that has all of the above) is Little Hotelier, if you have 30 rooms and under. For larger properties, check out our list of 300+ PMSs our channel manager connects to.

Mythbusting property management systems and integration

Some hoteliers are reluctant to adopt technology or start using new systems for fear of changing or losing the processes they already think are working.

Many of the concerns or assumptions are unfounded. Here’s what we’ve seen:

1. You think cloud-based technology is confusing or hard to use
Because it’s intangible and seemingly floating in the air, some hotel managers believe using cloud technology will be hard to learn and too confusing to keep track of. The opposite is true. A PMS allows you to keep everything in one place and it can never be lost. You can access your data from any location so long as you have the Internet.

The many tasks that you perform using multiple programs or books can be done from one central location with a fully integrated PMS. This also means you can collaborate better with other staff who need access to the same information.

2. You worry that sensitive data is insecure and vulnerable
While the information in your cloud PMS isn’t kept under lock and key it is encrypted and backed-up. Nothing is stored ‘onsite’ so even if your computer breaks or your laptop is lost, your data will remain accessible to you.

With data in the cloud you don’t have to worry about viruses or bugs, and hacking is much less likely to succeed thanks to firewalls and authentication gateways.

3. Your current software works just as well as cloud-based technology
It’s unlikely this is true and even if it is, it won’t be for long. Cloud software is constantly being updated and evolved meaning users automatically get the benefits included in their monthly fee.

If your current server isn’t updated, it becomes slow and vulnerable, while updating it requires extra time and greater cost that has to be done too regularly.

4. You believe a web PMS is only suitable for large hotels
The reality is that smaller or independent hoteliers are often stretched thinner than anyone. With less staff and more responsibility, the time and hassle saved by using a cloud-based PMS is vital and could be the difference between getting the bookings needed for maximum occupancy or losing revenue on empty rooms.

5. You think hotel technology is too expensive
Cloud-based systems are actually very cost effective. You never require any additional hardware, backup solutions, licensing, updates, fixes. There’s also no lengthy setup process and with the time you save using it, more resources can be directed towards increasing guest experience and revenue streams.

Key takeaways

  • Your PMS should be the lifeblood of your property
  • Two-way integration is an essential tool for hotels who want to stay competitive in the massive, modern online marketplace
  • PMS and channel manager integration delivers more bookings, less double-bookings, better communication, and increased automation
  • By automating tasks, PMS integration will help you reduce errors made during manual processing
  • Remember to look for key features when identifying a PMS and other systems to use at your property
  • Cloud-technology is the easiest and most effective solution for a hotel business
  • Even smaller, independent, hotels can benefit from a PMS and integration

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