Making their first appearance back in the 80’s, the PMS, sometimes referred to as the hotel’s central nervous system, represents the backbone of hotel operations for the vast majority of hoteliers. The PMS is now responsible and essential for property and revenue management as well as distribution.
However, PMS systems have remained somewhat unchanged over the years and not only have legacy Property Management Systems (PMSs) outgrown their original purpose but hoteliers find themselves with an increasingly fractured online distribution network created by an increasing number of online channels. As a result, guest facing resources get allocated to back office activities, front desk employees spend more time transcribing reservations, and moments of true customer service become less and less a priority leading to a significant detriment to guest service and revenue.
But alas, all is not lost. With the rise of mobile and cloud technologies, newer more agile PMS’s have developed. Now almost every aspect of a hotel business can be hosted on the cloud through a cloud-based property management system (PMS), which can cover front desk, point of sale, housekeeping, channel management and global distribution, among other things. Now acting as the hub of all hotels integrations, with a cloud PMS hoteliers can have access to most-up-to-date and accurate information about their property via one login and a few simple clicks, whether onsite or managing on-the-go.
Here’s how you should focus your hotel management software strategy in the coming year.
Hotel Property Management: Designed to automate processes, cloud property management systems (PMS) are key to streamlining daily operations and customer service that results in satisfied guests and repeat business.
When compared to legacy-based systems, which can only be operated on-site, cloud based PMSs provided hoteliers with a new degree of freedom and a completely different level of control. With cloud comes mobility and accessibility anytime, anywhere meaning that not only are staff free from the bounds of the front desk so that they can attend to guests and operational issues more efficiently but with instant real time access, allows them to stay updated around the clock. With a cloud PMS, staff have instant access to guest data as well as housekeeping, maintenance and guest requests logged in the system, enabling them to tend to service issues in a much more timely and informed manner. With access to real-time information about which rooms are ready for guests, a cloud PMS helps improve inter-staff communication, housekeeping productivity and provide a more efficient check-in/out process.
By leveraging SaaS property management systems that use tablets and smartphones as the primary hardware device, daily processes can be much more efficient and employees are empowered to go above and beyond when providing the personalized attention that keeps guests coming back.
Hotel Revenue Management: Many hotels employ the use of a revenue management system (RMS) and they are many great products on the market – however using an RMS separate to your PMS has it’s problems leading to issues with overbookings, increased costs and missed opportunities to offer the most competitive room rates. “…a hotel’s pricing should be directly linked to live market conditions and availability. Yet, too few hoteliers can accurately determine what their availability is when the point-of-sale comes, making that availability impossible to manage at the same rapid pace that room bookings – and cancellations – occur in today’s dynamic online environment” Skift.
However with a cloud property management system hoteliers have access rate control & flexibility, advanced rate management, yield management, rate and stay restrictions all on the one system therefore allowing you to easily create, control and sell the right rates and packages at the right time to the right customers. When integrated with an automated revenue management system, cloud PMS help power dynamic pricing strategies based meaning you can even have occupancy adaptable rates that can automatically change room prices for each day depending on your hotel occupancy, and also on market and competitor analysis. Basically the system does everything automatically and you never need to worry about rate synchronisation, changing prices, or stop sales to prevent overbooking.
Which leads us to our next point – real time updates and distribution. With a cloud PMS there is no need for manually checking and changing rates across your channels – your cloud PMS will automatically update all your rate information across all channels in real time.
Hotel Distribution Channel Management: Distribution systems on the cloud can help hotels manage the complexities of distribution through a single online dashboard.
With an integrated channel manager, hoteliers’ only need to use one system to manage rates and rules cross all channels directly from their PMS – there is no longer a need to login to each channel to update your associated inventory and rates. Offering seamless connectivity, an integrated channel manager provides easier distribution of your online rates straight from the PMS. The channel manager can complete automatic inventory update and booking capture on all channels i.e. send automatic inventory updates to all connected OTAs, GDS and CRS virtually after every new booking, cancellation, update, block, release block or room status update, and booking details are automatically imported to the PMS.
Also direct connectivity between your PMS and channel manager not only puts your property in front of travellers all over the world, but also ensures that rates and availability are up to date in real time across all channels helping to maximize occupancy and revenue while at the same time reducing overbooking errors.
A cloud based PMS offers hotels all the benefits of a comprehensive management system without any of the huge infrastructural investments. With its seamless real-time integration possibilities with other systems, it provides a single platform through which hotel staff can access, update and track all the relevant information concerned with the day-to-day (as well as past and future) function of the property, across all departments, and even across multiple property locations.
With a cloud based PMS hoteliers can really take advantage of its powerful management capabilities leading to heightened customer relationships and increased revenue opportunities.
A strategy that leverages hotel management software holistically is the way to go in 2017.