Industry  |  16 February 2021  |  Eva Lacalle  |  5 minute read

What is a hotel PMS and what are the benefits?

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A hotel PMS unifies several key elements of a hotel back office and front-desk, within a single software system. This software can provide guest loyalty schemes, perform data collection/analysis tasks and help to deliver F&B services. Despite the many benefits of a cloud Property Management System, lots of hotels still depend on legacy software, handwritten records or excel spreadsheets – all of which are inadequate for the twenty-first century. As a result, hoteliers are searching for a one-stop-shop solution to oversee every process.

To run a hotel successfully in today's competitive market, it’s vital to keep pace with technological developments. Harnessing the power of automation to carry out daily admin tasks will improve your quality of service and produce happier customers. With a modern PMS, you can stand out from the competition and offer remarkable guest experiences. Choosing the best system for your establishment is a challenge, however – to make an informed choice, you need basic knowledge of these systems, so this article will cover exactly that.

 

What is a PMS in a hotel?

PMS can manage hotel bookings and perform other administrative duties. The main functions include payment processing, front-desk operations, reservations and channel/rate management. Typically, this software controls financial transactions and bookings, however some hoteliers use it to manage human resources and housekeeping too. The whole purpose of this technology is to facilitate the core processes of a hotel, with respect to external and internal operations.

Almost every establishment in the hospitality sector, from small hostels to large hotel chains, is using a property management system right now. This technology allows hotels to track a room's booking status and handle reservations. Nonetheless, there is more to its functionality than this. With the help of a hotel property management system, a hotelier can manage F&B services, back-office processes and monitor the occupancy rates of rooms. Let’s look closer at the functions that most systems support.

 

How does a hotel PMS work?

Hotels can use PMS software to perform time-consuming, complex tasks like accounting. Modern systems make it easy to do currency exchange, billing, cashiering duties and posting. Ledgers, financials and trial balances can be captured quickly, and reports can be generated in a flash. In addition, both advance reservations and walk-in bookings are simple to manage. If a large group of guests wants to book a stay, the software makes it convenient to record all the vital information.

Of course, before guests can check-in, you need rooms that are clean. PMS housekeeping software can mark the status of rooms as inspected, dirty, clean, out-of-service or out-of-order. Helpful features, such as a database for lost property and employee scheduling tools, are included too. A good Property Management System will be designed in a way that allows staff members to report maintenance issues, monitor progress resolving these issues, and deal with rooms that are out of service/order.

As far as front-desk operations go, a PMS will facilitate a fast and smooth check-in/check-out procedure. Staff will be able to find information easily, and amend this as required. All departments will be able to create reports that fulfill their precise needs.

Moreover, a PMS makes it simple to convert these reports into XLSX, PDF or email format, so that managers can use this data to make better decisions.

A well designed Property Management System will have a clear home screen dashboard, with information about in-house guests, arrivals and the occupancy percentage clearly displayed. Many of these software products also include occupancy forecasts for yield and rate management. Needless to say, technology that can perform all these tasks will help your hotel in a number of ways.

 

What are the benefits of using a property management system?

Saves time

This technology automates recurring tasks, such as invoicing guests, updating room availability and emailing guests before arrival. This way, you will have more spare time to spend on other tasks, like keeping your guests satisfied.

Improves efficiency and security

Hotels that rely on excel spreadsheets or handwritten records to manage front-office duties like billing, room availability and room reservations, are often less efficient over the long term. Moreover, if their paper documents and spreadsheets are destroyed or misplaced, they have no back-up plan.

Boosts revenue

Modern hotel management systems can collect data to monitor your hotel's performance, and then produce related reports. This allows you to track how well your property is doing, which in turn can improve your business strategy. For instance, you could use your system to introduce a dynamic pricing structure, thereby keeping more rooms occupied at competitive rates.

More convenient

Hotel management systems can be connected to channel management software. This means that you can accept reservations from different online channels, and each reservation will appear in your PMS. As a result, it’s easy to process all bookings from a single location.

 

What should you consider when choosing PMS software?

These benefits are all well and good, but you still have to choose the right software for the specific needs of your hotel.

Cloud-based product with mobile version

Typically, cloud software for hotels is cheaper than on-premises software, and there are no fees for maintenance. Instead, cloud software users pay subscription fees, based on how many rooms their hotels have. Better still, they are only charged for used modules. It is easier to integrate cloud software with other systems, like GDSs and OTAs.

In addition, cloud software can be updated smoothly and regularly, and it normally exists in mobile format. Having a tablet or mobile version helps different departments – such as front-office, housekeeping and management – to communicate better. This can improve guest services considerably.

Integration options

Hoteliers who already have systems in place, or who intend to integrate more software, should ensure that their PMS vendor offers integration services and supports all required APIs. If your hotel currently uses a CRM system, it is wise to choose a PMS that is compatible with it. This way, you will avoid having to hire a third-party technical contractor to carry out the integration.

The ability to customize

What you use your PMS for will vary, based on the type and size of your hotel. For example, if your front-office module requires a bed-based rather than a room-based management system, find out whether the vendor offers this degree of customization.

Make sure it's user-friendly

The more user-friendly it is, the quicker your staff will adapt to it. If the interface is unduly complicated, your operations might suffer during the transition period, and you will have to pay for staff training.

Price and return on investment

It’s important to calculate the right amount of money to pay. This applies regardless of whether you purchase an out-of-the-box solution, build a customized system, or wish to upgrade your current PMS. To ensure that your investment is worthwhile, take these factors into account: the impact on revenue and distribution, system maintenance and integration costs, and how much time you will save by automating certain tasks.

Quality of support

This software could malfunction at any given moment, but this must not impact your hotel services. For this reason, round-the-clock customer support is vital. Before selecting a PMS, search for feedback about technical support from other hoteliers. Also, you should talk to your vendor at length about support, to check that technical problems won’t significantly affect your business.

Conclusion

Most hoteliers, once they start using a cloud PMS with mobile access, view hospitality in a different light – and with good reason. After a reservation is made, guests can perform multiple actions via their smartphones, including submitting their proof of identification, making payments, and checking in remotely. Therefore, when guests arrive, they can be walked straight to their rooms by hotel staff and bypass front-desk formalities. Even better, guests can communicate with staff members through an app or web portal to request services.

PMS vendors regularly add new features to their software to fulfill the changing technological needs of hoteliers. With the Mews cloud, your systems do not have to be changed and there should be no additional expenses. All the updates to Mews software are carried out on the provider's side. These updates are released frequently too, so you’ll receive the benefits immediately.

Mews technology enables hotels to monitor and manage changes that occur on site throughout the day. Modern PMS software for hotels works in conjunction with other sophisticated solutions like virtual reality, AI and robots to help hoteliers attract more customers and get more bookings.

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Eva Lacalle
16 February 2021