What does a hotel business need to survive in a competitive market? At the very least, two essential things – an online presence that simplifies reservations and a strict SOP that ensures outstanding customer service on-site. While the first attracts guests to your property, the other urges your visitors to turn into advocates. Smart hoteliers can successfully manage online and offline operations without compromising thanks to property management systems or PMSs.
Step into any luxurious hotel complex and you will notice multiple functions running smoothly with rarely any miscommunication. Managing and tracking the activities and tasks of multiple departments and individual employees is not simple. Thus, smart hoteliers employ technological tools such as spreadsheets to improve visibility.
In simple words, a Property Management System is an upgrade from the traditional spreadsheets! Hotel PMS is a unified system that automates daily operations and administrative tasks. It is one of the most important tools for achieving customer satisfaction. An efficient property management system is not just reliable but also saves valuable time (and resources).
Typically, Property Management Systems (PMSs) have a variety of modules each with a dedicated function. These functions range from handling reservations, aligning front- and back-end office operations, channel management, gathering customer feedback, etc.
For a long time, hotel property management systems were used by big hotel chains only. However, with the growth in technology, former corporate employees are now turning into smart hoteliers. And as smart hoteliers aka e-hoteliers entered the hospitality business, hostels, B-n-Bs, and homestay owners are also exploring technology to cope with the challenges of managing their properties.
With the help of user-friendly hotel Property Management Software, hotel owners or property managers can view the booking status of rooms and control reservations. Apart from the basic reservation functionality, it is also useful in planning housekeeping schedules, improving stock and inventory management of food and beverage, tracking POS revenue generation, etc.
As a smart hotelier, you need to be aware of the growing trends in hospitality to maximize your revenue. So, if you haven’t already installed a Property Management System for your hotel, this article is a deep insight for you. We will cover the most common functions and features of a hotel PMS software.
What is a Hotel Property Management System?
A Property Management System (PMS) is software that helps to simplify a hotel’s reservation management and administrative tasks. The most important functions include front-desk operations, reservations, channel management, housekeeping, rate and occupancy management, and payment processing. Legacy PMS software would only control reservation and financial transactions. However, with web-based hotel management software, you can manage end-to-end functions including housekeeping, POS management, and even Human Resources management. To summarize, a PMS facilitates all the major processes in a hotel related to internal and external operations.
8 Main modules of Property Management Systems
A modern property management system combines multiple workflows under one digital project using advanced software. A combination of modules and functions is used to design a hotel PMS to deliver optimum results. Depending on the tech and product, the functionality of one or more modules may be slightly different. Additionally, some vendors also market their systems in separate modules that can be integrated with an existing solution used by a hotel.
However, regardless of the property type, hotel Property Management Systems need to have all of these 8 basic modules:
For a modern hotel business, online bookings are the main sales channel. Therefore, the reservation module, which helps manage online bookings effectively becomes indispensable to a Property Management System.
A hotel reservation system should be able to hold all the inventory data and dates, regularly updating this information from the front desk.
The reservation system should be easy to integrate with the web-booking engine and other distribution channels. Larger chain hotels usually have one central reservation system for all properties, while independent hotels have their own reservation systems.
Key functions of the reservation module include checking room availability and status, updating vacant rooms across different channels, and the website booking engine. This function monitors double bookings and avoids last-minute cancellations. It also makes room for group reservations. For most hotel management software, the reservation module displays scheduled bookings and other customer information on a single dashboard.
#2 Front-desk operations
A front-office module allows the front-desk manager to view and update room reservation status, check guests in and out, and process payments. When a guest arrives at the hotel, they want to check-in as fast as possible. To ensure the guest is not waiting, a hotel PMS can be used for the collection of e-payments, and identification. This not only improves the guest experience but also reduces the load on the front-desk staff.
Some property management systems offer integration into check-in kiosks or allow checking in or out via QR code. By leveraging digital self-services, Hotelogix’s newest contactless check-in and check-out feature empowers guests to use their smartphones and avoid the front desk completely.
#3 Inventory management
Yet another valuable module of a hotel management system software is inventory management. Using a front-desk module, the front-office manager can gain information about the current and expected room status and reservations. With the help of this module, room status across various distribution platforms is updated in real-time. The inventory management module can help to allocate rooms automatically on various channels like online travel agents (OTAs).
#4 Channel management
The Channel management module offers a single interface to control and distribute inventories across different channels such as GDSs, OTAs, wholesalers, direct booking platforms, etc. A channel manager connects directly to the central reservation system that holds information about the availability and cost of hotel rooms. It acts as a plug and shares this information to multiple, different distribution channels. It makes room inventory available to travelers who want to book a room or property online, listing rooms on different sources. Also, a channel management module facilitates booking-related transactions.
Different distribution channels expose the inventory to different audiences. For example, connection to OTAs and some airline websites allow a larger number of potential guests to be reached, those who book flights or plan trips in advance. Metasearch sites compare prices across different channels, letting a customer make the best decision. Connections to global distribution systems assist non-leisure traveler bookings as well as group reservations.
Another channel of distribution is a website booking engine. An online booking engine allows travelers to make reservations directly via a hotel website bypassing travel agents and OTAs. It’s important to allow loyal guests to book directly, and website booking must be available to those who find a hotel online. A booking engine must be synchronized with the hotel website and its central reservation system, making it an additional sales channel. Using this module, smart hoteliers can process payments via integrated payment gateways.
#5 Revenue management
A PMS in itself is a useful tool in understanding the key hotel revenue management indicators, such as Occupancy, RevPAR (Revenue per Available Room), and ADR (Average Daily Rate). Insights from this module can be used to evaluate the hotel’s financial success. GDS and OTA integration help to maximize room rates and in turn affect revenue management. But when done right, property management systems can help a manager understand how to adjust the processes to achieve better results and control finances.
This module helps to increase the total revenue of rooms using forecasting to optimize occupancy, deciding whether to raise or lower inventory prices.
The revenue management module from Hotelogix enables dynamic pricing. Using algorithms, this module helps smart hoteliers price the rooms based on historical data about past reservations as it monitors competitors’ rates, weather data, and local events. It improves pricing strategies, and updates prices across all distribution channels to sell more rooms at the optimal rate.
PMS housekeeping module connects housekeeping staff to the front office. The front-office manager can make a list of tasks to assign for maintenance or housekeeping. On the other hand, the housekeepers can update room status. Using a cloud-based PMS, like Hotelogix, the housekeeping staff can update the status of their assignments or rooms through a mobile app or tablet.
The main function of this module is housekeeping management and property maintenance. The housekeeping module doubles as maintenance management and keeps a record of the hotel’s repairs and can assign an attendant who can solve the problem.
#7 CRM and customer data management
It is critical for smart hoteliers to collect and organize guest data to keep in touch with current and past customers during and after check-out. The CRM module integrates with the front desk and reservation system, collecting all guest information from these sources. It helps store guest data and provides a database in an accessible format.
Also, it includes guests’ contact information before and after their stay.
This module can also help organize marketing and promotions, measure guest experience, and pre-and post-stay services. The CRM module helps owners personalize the guest experience with membership and loyalty programs, which are especially important for hotel chains and resorts.
#8 Reports and analytics
To monitor current processes and understand business performance, hoteliers today rely on analytics. A PMS can serve as a business intelligence tool – collecting relevant data and providing property managers and owners with various types of automated reports. Depending on the hotel management software, it can generate room and tax reports, shift audit reports, departure/arrival reports, housekeeping reports, or other detailed reporting. Hotelogix’s PMS has automated night audit reports that are used to roll over a business day at the end of the shift.
What’s the future of hotel PMS?
Technologies in the hospitality industry are constantly evolving. As new hospitality tech products come into the market, their offerings, functions, and modules to optimize daily hotel operations will undergo transformations.
Trends for Online Hotel Management Software
Some top managers and founders of hospitality businesses believe hotel property management systems will have a more technical route for development.
Transition to Marketplace model:
Today PMS integration seems like hard labor (and it is!) Besides a channel manager and other internal modules, a PMS must integrate with multiple guest service technologies. This leads to a hotel ending up with dozens of apps, attached to a system. They are hard to manage and integrate. There are two possible options to solve this pain point: the first one is to get access to PMS’s partner solutions and advance the solution. The second one is a platform, similar to a marketplace, where the hotelier can find solutions compatible with their PMS.
As experts predict, new-generation property management systems will switch towards cloud and open API platforms, which will lead to a better connection between different modules and will sufficiently improve the speed and quality of data exchange.
The hospitality industry already adopted AI and Data Science. Hotel property management systems are no exception, especially if we talk about business intelligence, revenue management, and guest service (chatbots and e-concierges).
There are plenty of hotels that still use Excel, a paper-and-pen format, or legacy software today. But none of these fulfill the needs of a 21st-century hotel, especially when run by smart hoteliers. Hotel Property Management software performs multiple functions by integrating various modules in a universal, one-and-done solution.
It is hard to divide the individual functions of PMS into more and less important because all of them are necessary. A good hotel property management system will simplify reservations via the hotel’s website as well as alternate booking engines. Coupled with a front-desk operations module and channel management, it will ensure guests have a smooth experience until they check in to the property. Using revenue management, customer data management, and analytics, property owners will personalize the guest’s stay while maximizing profits for their own pockets.