As a globally trusted Hotel PMS vendor, we always try to help hotels make more out of their technology investment. Here is a comprehemsive guide that would help hoteliers across the globe in their effort to select the right Hotel PMS.
Part I – How to select the best Hotel Property Management System
For hoteliers across the globe, business requirements are changing rapidly which has led to an unprecedented rise in the adoption of various hospitality technology solutions. Among all the hospitality technology solutions, a Hotel Property Management System is the one that plays a major role in automating and streamlining the entire operations at hotels.
To be precise, a Hotel PMS Software integrates with many other technology platforms and works as the nerve centre of hotel operation. In other words, a Hotel PMS is always at the forefront of all the technology solutions.
Importance of Hotel Property Management System
Adoption of a Hotel Property Management System is of great importance as this is the most essential piece of application that helps hoteliers to better manage hotel operations, cut costs, save time and man-hours, avoid operational errors, sell more online to earn more and serve guests.
Buying a Hotel PMS System requires a lot of due diligence. Because, a Hotel PMS System with restrictive features will never help you grow your business. Here we explain the three most important stages you must consider carefully while buying the best Hotel Property Management Software for your hotel enterprise –
#1 Research stage
Yes, a detailed research is the first and one of the most crucial steps when it comes to buying a Hotel PMS. Do a careful need assessment of your technological requirements and budget. Once you have clarity on these aspects, it is now time to look at the options available in the market. In this phase, it is advisable to –
- Look at software listing sites – Visit software listing sites like Capterra to understand what existing users have to say about a particular Hotel PMS. This will also help you compare several systems in one place. Do a feature-wise research to find the one that matches your requirements and budget.
- Do another round of research – While listing sites like Capterra help you compare several Hotel PMS systems, we also advise you to do a second round of research by visiting some of the PMS websites and talking to their consultants. You can also take free trial to understand how the PMS works. It will help you understand their all their features in-depth as well as their pricing. Do take a look at their client list and don’t forget to go through their case study page.
- Listen to influencers – You can also consider following hospitality industry influencers to know their views on a particular Hotel PMS. Their unbiased reviews will help you with your buying decision.
- Find out what PMS successful hotels are using – If you are a 50-room independent hotel in New York, find out what Hotel PMS Software your competitors (in your category) are using. If the PMS they are using is helping them address all the issues, you can consider buying the same system.
- Talk to your peers in the industry – Talking to fellow hoteliers to understand their views on several Hotel PMS Systems can also be beneficial. It will help you identify the leading or popular systems, based on which you can make your decision.
- Ask for quotations from vendors – This is important. Explain your requirements and ask them for quotations. It would be better, if you ask multiple PMS vendors for their proposals. This way you can take an informed decision on which PMS best suits your exact business needs as well as your budget.
Assuming that you are done with your research, and you are now convinced to buy a Hotel PMS for your hotel, your next step would be –
#2 Consideration stage
Post-research stage, you are now in your second stage of buying – that is consideration. Let’s assume that you have selected 3-4 Hotel PMS Systems during your research phase. Now carefully considering and analysing each of them will ease the buying process for you. Here are a few steps to help you out –
- Look at cloud Hotel PMS Software – In today’s technologically advanced business environment, you can’t rely on server-based PMS that was built decades ago. Time has changed and so has the hotel business. You need to stay updated and relevant and only a new-age cloud Hotel PMS System can help you in this.
In this context, you must consider working with known cloud PMS vendors those have evolved their system and have good experience in handling large hotels.
- Ask about the comprehensiveness of the Hotel PMS – Find out how comprehensive the Hotel PMS you are about to buy really is. Look at all the features carefully. See if it ensures the real-time flow of inter-departmental information. Because, disparate platforms with multiple data silos can lead to increased workload, operational errors, futile processes, and higher costs.
- See if it helps you sell more rooms via online channels – Selling more rooms to see increased revenue is a huge challenge. In this case, a cloud Hotel PMS plays a critical role by integrating your hotel website with a smart web booking engine. It helps you generate more direct bookings. Moreover, you can also sell more rooms directly via your brand’s Facebook page. Not only this, it comes integrated with a channel manager to help you with real-time distribution of rates and rooms across all the connected OTAs.
- Find out its integration capabilities – For hoteliers, it is also important to take care of your online reputation. But you surely can’t handle this manually. Find out if the PMS is integrated with an online reputation management tool/guest review collection tool to help you in this. You also need to find out if the PMS is integrated with a revenue management tool.
- It should help you to setup multiple POS outlets – The PMS should allow you to setup multiple POS outlets at your property like restaurant, café and spa, so that you can sell more non-room items to grow your revenue. Plus, the integrated POS system that comes with the PMS should help in posting guest bills to their rooms to ensure accurate guest billing.
- See if it can help you with rate management – Now as an independent hotelier, you might find the adoption of revenue management solution a little expensive. In this case, your PMS must come to your aid. Check if it can help you create relational rates, seasonal rates, multiple rates support in a single day and most importantly, with occupancy-based dynamic pricing.
- Find out it the PMS helps you scale your business – The Hotel PMS you select should help you scale your business. Suppose, you are currently a 50-room independent property, but over the next year you want to add 10 more rooms, the PMS should help you add and sell them in no time. Same goes with POS outlets too, when you plan to add a few more outlets to sell more non-room items.
- Look at its reporting capabilities – You can’t ensure an efficient business process if you don’t have the right data with you. Do take a look at the PMS’ reporting capabilities, the types and number of reports it can help you with. In-depth reports on the various aspects of your hotel business can enable you to make data-driven decisions, at the right time. It would be especially great if the PMS comes integrated with a business intelligence tool to further assist you with this.
- Find out if it helps you go mobile – This is very important in today’s mobile-driven business environment. It would be a major plus if the vendor offers you a Mobile Hotel PMS. It can help you access data and keep an eye on your hotel operations on the go. It frees you from the confines of your office.
Moreover, a Mobile Hotel PMS can help you manage complete front desk functionalities like check-ins and checkouts along with several other housekeeping operations from your smartphones.
- Do consider the user-friendliness of the system – Your hotel staff should find it easier to work on the Hotel PMS. If they struggle to understand the PMS workflow and find it difficult to work on the application, you are sure to face tons of errors. So, the point here is that a user-friendly Hotel PMS will help you save a significant number of man-hours so that your staff will get enough time to offer the much needed ‘personal touch’ while serving your guests.
Assuming that you are done with the research and consideration phase, it’s now time to move on to the final stage – buying stage. Here is how you need to go about it –
#3 Buying stage
This is the most critical stage of your Hotel PMS Software buying decision. Now, since you know what you want from a Hotel PMS System and have almost selected a few vendors, you need to ask the below mentioned questions to go ahead with your buying decision –
- How fast is the implementation process?
Ideally, a cloud PMS vendor will take 2-3 weeks to implement the PMS at your property that has around 50-room. This includes third-party integrations that you have opted for and staff training. Sometimes, the implementation time may vary if data migration (data from your old PMS that needs to be transferred to the new PMS) needs to be done.
- What about software upgrades?
With a cloud PMS in place, you really don’t have to worry about this. Software updates are released on a regular interval and are free for you. You don’t have to spend anything on software upgrades.
- Who ensures my data security?
Again, the responsibility to take care of your critical data is with the PMS vendor. The cloud PMS ensures constant data backup and efficient cyber security to protect your business-critical data from being hacked. For example, Amazon Web Services guarantees your hotel data security when you select a cloud Hotel PMS from vendor like Hotelogix.
- What about post-sales support?
This is where you need to be a little more curious. Ask the PMS vendor about their support system. You need a system that allows you to reach out to their support team round the clock. If they provide you 24/7 support, find out how fast they respond to your complaints. Without the guarantee of a prompt and efficient support, you PMS will not be up and running all the time and this would never help you realize your goals.
But before you make your final decision, it pays to be aware of the non-negotiable features of a PMS. Knowing exactly what you need from a PMS software can help you filter out the options easily and also be more confident of the ultimate decision.
Here are the 5 must-have cloud based Hotel PMS Software Features that every hotelier needs to be aware of…
Part II – Must-have features of Cloud Hotel Property Management System
Rapid innovations in the domain of hospitality technology enable hoteliers like you to bring in a higher level of automation to your hotel operations. The more powerful, comprehensive and all-in-one these technologies become; the more the benefits you can reap.
Usually, a Hotel Property Management System, also referred to as a Hotel PMS Software empowers hotels (both independent and chains) to handle several front office workflows such as managing reservations, check-in/check-out, assigning housekeeping tasks, managing room rates, billing, etc. But that’s not everything. Today’s smart cloud PMS also helps hoteliers like you to sell more via multiple online channels to make more revenue.
Key cloud Hotel PMS Software features you should look for
#1 Reservation Management
At your hotel, you must be getting bookings from various sources including phone calls, walk-ins, website, Facebook page, OTAs, offline travel agents, corporates, etc. Without a smart Hotel PMS Software in place, it would be difficult for you to manage all these efficiently. The PMS should come with an intuitive reservation management feature as part of its front desk functionalities to make it easier for you to handle room allocation and bookings. Be it a group booking or FIT booking, it should help you to manage everything from your front desk including changing/modifying reservations such as change dates, assigning rooms to guests, apply discounts and promo codes, check-in/check-out and so on.
#2 Housekeeping Management
This is a very important feature that helps you serve your guests way more efficiently. Working in complete sync with the front desk of your Hotel PMS, housekeeping management improves service efficiency. It should enable you to see the room status in real-time. It should let you assign rooms and tasks to your housekeeping staff from the front desk console. The system should also help you track task completion status to make sure that the room is ready to be occupied.
#3 Guest Data Management
The cloud Hotel PMS should record all the key guest-details like their full name, type (FIT or corporate), gender, nationality, contact details and special preferences including likes, dislikes, payment methods and room type booked during the last reservation/stay. This feature helps you understand and serve your guests better during their current stay as well as in the future. This can also help you come up with a targeted marketing strategy.
#4 Distribution Management
This is considered as one of the most important Hotel PMS features that helps you with an efficient inventory distribution process. With a booking engine integration, it should help you to generate more bookings via your website and your brand’s Facebook page. The PMS and channel manager integration should help you distribute your rates and inventory in real-time, across all the OTAs you are connected to. Not only this, it should also help you with GDS connectivity to get more bookings from multiple offline travel agents. Furthermore, it should also help you to sell more via leading metasearch channels.
#5 Back Office Management
Managing your hotel’s back office operations is equally important to ensure the overall success of your hotel enterprise. That’s why the hotel property management software you plan to adopt must help you with this too. Be it materials management, maintenance management, F&B costing, HR & payroll management and financial accounting management, each and everything that comes under your hotel back office operations should be managed by the Hotel PMS.
Part III – Key benefits of Hotel Property Management System
To stay competitive, hotels across size, location, rating and offerings are migrating to cloud Hotel Property Management System. However, what about you? Are you too looking at the cloud as key to your hotel enterprise’s success or you are happy with your old server-based PMS?
If you are still not convinced about the cloud Hotel PMS System benefits, you should consider looking at some of the below-mentioned points –
Here are some of the key cloud-based Property Management System benefits –
#1 – Reduced costs – Reducing costs is undoubtedly the most important benefit of a cloud-based hotel management software.
With a server-based system, you need to invest in a dedicated server and IT staff to adopt and maintain it. Then, there is also licensing fee and software upgrade fee along with annual maintenance costs.
But with a cloud-based Hotel PMS, you don’t need to worry about all such expenses. You don’t have costly hardware and servers. Software upgrades are automatic and free. No paid staff training, this means you get to save money on this. You don’t need to spend on data security as the PMS vendor takes care of it. There is no large up-front investment and most importantly, the pricing structure of a cloud PMS is mainly based on a subscription model.
#2 – Easy accessibility – This is yet another important benefit that you get to see with a cloud Hotel PMS. Hoteliers using on-premise PMS have to remain in the confines of their offices to access the PMS. This means it is difficult for them to access the PMS and hotel data while on the go. This clearly does not empower them to make an informed decision when they are not at their properties.
However, a cloud-based PMS can efficiently help you address this issue. Such systems can be accessed from any workstation (outside your property on a smartphone, desktop, tablet or laptop) without the need for software installation. You just need stable internet connectivity to get going.
For example, take a look at the management dashboard of Hotelogix cloud PMS. The management dashboard helps you with all the critical data of your hotel in a usable format. With data like ARR, RevPAR, House Status, Occupancy Percentage/Analysis, Business on Books and many more at one place, the PMS enables you to analyze the past and current hotel performance, predict future and formulate strategies.
#3 – Greater inter-departmental transparency – Imagine when a guest arrives to check in, but your front office staff has no idea if their rooms are clean and ready to be occupied. Similarly, just imagine the impact if you don’t get to know if the guest request/complaint has been fulfilled on time or not. All these would lead to guest dissatisfaction, right?
Such areas in your operations can easily be handled by a cloud PMS. Information flows between all the departments in your hotels and enables your staff to access them in real-time. For example – your housekeeping staff marks a room ‘ready to occupy’ upon cleaning and the front desk staff get to see the same so that they can check-in the guest without any delay.
#4 – Enhanced operational efficiency – A cloud PMS System helps you automate and streamline your daily tasks. Thanks to this, the degree of manual intervention becomes zero making the whole process less prone to mistakes/errors.
For example, daily tasks like managing reservation and housekeeping, updating inventory and rates on multiple OTAs, maintaining multiple POS outlets, handling guest billing and accounting, and many more tasks get automated. Moreover, such automation helps you save staff time so you can get them to better attend to your guests’ needs.
#5 – Increased hotel rooms sales and revenue – Another hotel software benefit is that it helps you increase your hotel’s online visibility helping you reach out to newer and a larger target audience. It happens with the integration of a channel management software. While this integration helps you with an even and real-time distribution across OTAs, the same also helps you grow your online visibility, which is critical to your hotel business in today’s increasing environment of online hotel booking.
Not only this, with a cloud PMS in place, you also get to sell more rooms via your website and metasearch sites. It also enables you collect and manage guest reviews to strengthen your brand’s online reputation. Positive guest reviews on your hotel surely influence a potential guest’s booking decision in your favour. All these lead to more bookings that translate into enhanced occupancy and revenues.
#6- Efficient multi-property operation – If you run multiple properties across locations, then a cloud-based hotel management software is the right choice for you. It allows you to centrally manage operations across multiple properties with a single sign-in. You can centrally manage travel agents and corporate profiles for all your member properties. You can even implement property-wise revenue management strategies and can access unit-level and group-wise guest history. It can also empower your central reservation office to manage all offline and online booking across all your properties.
The last word
Cloud-based hotel property management system is the ideal piece of technology that can help hoteliers like you to handle end-to-end operations, save on CAPEX, reduce operating costs, sell more online, increase occupancy, revenue and profitability to witness instant ROI. Most importantly, it helps you gain a competitive advantage in many ways.