Technology innovation, driven largely by the advances in software development, now enables hotels to replace time-intensive, paper and spreadsheet-heavy processes. The more powerful and complex the technologies become, the more efficient and guest-centric possibilities they present to the businesses.
Currently, people are forming new habits: they are getting more dependable on the Internet, mobile devices, and their everyday activities are rapidly moving into the virtual environment. Hence, it is vital for hotel businesses to change the way how their business function proactively and incorporate new technologies to improve the level of the service quality and better serve their guests.
In this article, we will review what the property management system is, its key features, identify why it is crucial for hotel businesses to implement it and how it is beneficial for them. Also, we will compare the most popular PMSs and present the research results. Let’s delve into details!
What is the property management system
Traditionally, a hotel property management system referred as PMS was defined as a platform that enabled a hotel or group of hotels to manage front-office capabilities, such as booking reservations, guest check-in/check-out, room assignment, managing room rates, and billing. It provides possibilities to access, update and track all the relevant information concerned with the day-to-day functions across all departments and even across multiple property locations the hotel staff faces. Below you can see the structure of the property management system:
Key property management system functionality
Currently, more hospitality companies recognize the benefits of a hotel-specific property management systems (PMSs). They offer features crucial to hospitality such as online booking engine, reservation and housekeeping management, front-desk and guest relationship management, point-of-sale, reporting, more to provide a more seamless experience.
According to the recent research, 77% surveyed request online booking engine, 75% surveyed request reservation management while 61% surveyed are looking for housekeeping management. Front desk management (58%) and point-of-sale (34%) rank fourth and fifth in terms of desired functionality. Let's consider the key functionality in details:
Booking is a critical option for any hotel property management system. Today, bookings come from a wide range of sources such as hotel’s or travel websites, corporate clients and airlines, travel agents, etc. Hence, the reservation feature should be included to make it simple when managing room bookings, room inventory and allocation, to collect e-payments with ease.
In the example, we have depicted how the reservation feature is seen in the property management system. Group and individual bookings can be made easily. You can book as many nights as you like. From the booking’s screen, you can change its status (4 states available: New booking, Confirmed, Checked in, Checked out), add more rooms or guests, apply discounts, write down notes, etc. By hovering over a reservation, you will get quick access to essential information regarding that booking.
Front-desk operations is a basic feature to simplify the check-in and check-out processes for the staff. Just like any other operations, the front desk staff may have to make changes to reservations such as room change, change dates, assign rooms, and so forth. This should be relatively easy to carry out in a secure system, the modifications should take immediate effect and should make the process easy and not hinder it.
Yield management or revenue management allows you to automatically adjust the prices of your rooms depending on your property's occupancy. If you’re operating with just a few rooms left in your inventory, this feature will enable to increase the price of the left rooms.
This feature allows you to automatically reduce the rooms price to speed up the sale process to yield your rates, set up different types of restrictions, and create packages and special offers. Implemented algorithm enables to identify the prices based on competitors’ rates, weather, local events analyzed data.
Channel management is generic for hotels, apartments, holiday rentals, and more. This is why the PMS should also include this feature to serve customers better. This means that travelers that book hotels through online travel agents (OTAs), Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), wholesalers, direct booking platforms see your availability as it is updated in real-time because your property management system distributes all of your available rooms across a number of channels. This feature is essential to eliminate manual work involved, facilitate booking-related transactions and maximize your revenue.
Housekeeping functionality will help keep properties of all sizes operating without a failure. The hotel property management system should automate management tasks. The system will help to define whether some rooms need to be cleaned up or completely tidied up for the next arriving guest, and assign employees to clean certain rooms. Once everything is done, you can update room statuses which will make check-ins a breeze.
In the example above, you can see how housekeeping feature is seen in the property management software for hotels. There are 4 statuses available: Progress, Inspect, C-out, Fix. Once everything is done, you can update room statuses which will make check-ins a breeze.
Customer data management
Hoteliers should collect and organize guest data to keep in touch with current and past customers during and after check-out. The CRM feature should be integrated with the front desk and reservation system to gather guest information from these sources. This feature provides a database for keeping guest data in an available format. This feature can also help organize marketing strategy, create a more personalized guest-focused experience and loyalty programs for a spectrum for hotels.
This feature simplifies and optimizes your hotel workforce automating manual tasks, gaining visibility into back-office and administrative operations, tracking and accurately reporting, gaining efficiencies, and reducing the cost of the back-office operations. Back-office management feature may include the following:
- Event management.
- Spa and gym management.
- Human Resource Management.
- Asset Management.
- Conference Room Management.
- Space Management.
You can control all your back office and administrative operations and streamline them while decreasing cost and eliminating human errors.
Keeping track of revenue, reservations, and inventory is difficult and time-consuming. Reporting is essential to any hotel business growth. Generating timely and consistent reports are not just something to do in the off-season or when you have time. These reports give you valuable insights into your hotel performance anytime: Daily Report, Occupancy Rate, ADR (average daily rate), RevPAR (revenue per available rooms). Reporting feature will help you analyze how you are doing on the ground, identify potential issues such as overbookings and improve your hotel management.
Property management software presents a wide array of methods for hospitality companies to handle daily tasks, such as taking reservations, checking guests in/out and tracking housekeeping. Due to mentioned above hospitality staff ensures that reservations are entered into the system, the housekeeping staff is organized on-time, and guests are checked in fast.
Benefits of property management system
Hotel competition is more intense than ever, and it is no wonder that hoteliers are seeking to leverage the benefits of next-generation technologies to their advantage. We have identified the multifold benefits of the property management system for the hotel business. Let’s take a closer look!
- Improve guest satisfaction and the quality of the guest experience.
- Streamline hotel operations and reduce operating costs.
- Increase hotel occupancy, revenue, and profitability.
- Improve performance reporting and business intelligence.
How to choose property management software
How should hoteliers go about determining which solution best fits their needs and will most likely deliver the benefits they seek, with minimum hassle and expense? There are many factors to consider, but first and foremost, hoteliers should consider the extent to which the PMS would likely improve operational efficiencies — and, also, the overall quality of the guest experience.
When selecting a hotel PMS, independent hoteliers should look for a system with the following core features as reservation, front-desk operations, yield management, channel management, housekeeping, customer data management, back-office management, point-of-sale services, reporting.
These features should not be optional add-ons but fully integrated into the system to deliver a seamless experience and improve a hotel’s operations, financial performance and ability to meet guest/visitors needs.
Comparison of the property management software
Hotel targets many markets and can be classified according to the markets they attempt to attract their guests. The common type of markets includes business, airport, suites, residential, resort, timeshare, casino, convention and conference hotels.
We have divided the hotels into 4 groups according to their types:
- hotel chain and resorts;
- extended hotels/extended-stay, timeshares, vacation rentals;
- conference and banquet center&hotel;
- bed & breakfast/homestays, inns, hostels, motels.
Let’s consider property management software for the hotel types in details below:
1. Hotel chain and resorts
This is a large group of hotels to be considered. Owners of this kind of properties should focus on the following features such as booking, front-desk operations, POS services, back-office management, yield and channel management, housekeeping and reporting to speed up business operations and provide better quest experience. Below you can see a comparison of the PMS solutions that suit this type of hotels:
Let’s consider in details the following examples of PMS software for this group of properties. Oracle PMS provides a comprehensive and scalable solution that is available at three Premium, Standard, and Lite levels. Hotels owners that have already implemented this solution into their business are satisfied with profile and accommodation management, housekeeping, multi-property configuration, multi-language and global currency support, but want the check-in/check-out processes to be improved.
5stelle is another example. It is cloud-based and sales-oriented software. It includes everything you need for the administration and the front office, including PMS (hotel, spa, meeting rooms, parking), fully integrated Booking Engine, full OTAs (with a two-way Channel Management) integration, customer relationship management. Hotel staff can stay connected to the reception wherever they are, even with a tablet or smartphone.
2. Extended hotels/extended-stay, timeshares, vacation rentals
For properties of this type, basic PMS functions are multi-property management and an online channel management module. Most of the solutions for apartments and timeshares exist as customized versions of hotel property management systems. However, there are PMSs focused on serving these particular types of properties.
Let’s consider in details the following examples of PMS software for this group of properties. Maestro PMS as an example is cloud-based and brings the following modules: reservations, front desk, sales, space and club management, and dining POS. Maestro aims to simplify things, enabling hotel managers to run everything from one dashboard. Hotel managers are satisfied with available features and excellent support, and like the solution can be hosted or installed on your premises. Mews Commander is cloud-powered, enables hoteliers to manage their operations from anywhere in the world. It focuses heavily on building a modern, intuitive user interface with user experience at the core. With time-saving features, including online check-in and real-time housekeeping, Mews provides hotels with the tools to save more, sell more and provide their guests with a modern, personalized experience.
3. Conference and banquet center&hotel
Hotel managers of this group turn onto the back-office management with conference and catering. These features are essential when serving guest of these properties. Let’s look below:
Let’s consider in details the following examples of PMS software for this group of properties. RoomKeyPMS is cloud-powered software that lets you run your hotel while tracking every detail and connecting to hospitality systems across all of your locations. RoomKeyPMS helps maximize your RevPAR and ADR with a product offering and channel management features. Mentioned remains up-to-date with evolving technology and pioneered a full suite of guest lifecycle product offerings. roomMaster is another example, is easy to install and configure and allows you to focus more on delivering quality services and less on the software. Some of the feature worth mention is the front desk functionality that helps you to manage walk-ins, check-ins/check-outs, reservations, etc. It helps you connect directly to platforms like booking.com or Expedia eliminating the middlemen, keeps all guest information at your fingertips and makes guest management a breeze.
4. Bed and breakfast/homestays, inns, hostels, motels
Hoteliers who manage these properties are not interested in too many options and additional features as compared to others. They are mostly focused on reservation tool and integration to a hotel's existing reservation platform. Let’s take a look at them in details below:
Let’s consider in details the following examples of PMS software for this group of properties. Easy InnKeeping is an easy-to-use, mobile-friendly software. Hoteliers can synchronize availability and reservations on multiple platforms (channel management feature), can integrate with credit card processing, POS, or swipe card modules. To make website designing easier for you, Lodgify system provides a wide range of templates. To make reservation booking simpler, it offers a unique calendar feature to display the dates, rooms availability. It has a multilanguage capability that helps hoteliers to provide a more personalized experience to your visitors which can turn out to be a fruitful investment.
A hotel PMS solution is critical to any hotel business. It streamlines a property’s most commonly executed tasks. Processing reservations, guests check-in/check-out, assigning rooms, guest/group management, tracking inventory, billing, and reporting will be quickly and easily completed with a PMS featuring an easy-to-use interface and intuitive system design.
DDI Development team has a vast experience in building hotel booking websites, property management systems for diverse hotel types. Our experienced and skillful team can bring your idea to life. Let us know, and we will help you gain more revenue and engage more customers.