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What is a Hotel Property Management System? (Hotel PMS Basics)

A property management system (PMS) is a hotel management software suite that property owners and front desk workers use to manage their business by coordinating reservations, online booking availability, payments, and reporting in one central place. The Hotel PMS streamlines operations for front office staff and guest services in a hotel business to check-in and check-out guests, see room availability, make adjustments to existing reservations, and even can have back office functionality (schedule housekeeping or maintenance ). With a central system, hoteliers can better manage and monitor the key metrics needed to run their business (e.g. average daily rate, occupancy, and RevPAR).  To learn more check out our in depth article: What is a Hotel PMS?

 

What are the Most Important Features of a Hotel PMS in the eyes of Hoteliers?

  1. User-friendly interface Train your staff quickly and can reduce the likelihood of errors. The best PMS solutions today are self-service and help to streamline operations by enabling hospitality businesses to check in guests faster. Many modern platforms can even be operated from a mobile device via mobile app.
  2. Check-in/check-out guests and modify guest reservations – Keep track of guest profiles and move them around as needed keeps you on top of your reservations and reduces the likelihood of overbookings.
  3. Central dashboard – See what is happening, what needs to be done today, and monitor your key metrics. ;View reservation management details in your PMS solution.
  4. Personalized taxes, fees, and policies – Customize taxes, fees, and cancellation policies in the combination that best suits your business.
  5. Government compliance- Comply with local tax reporting requirements and regulations.
  6. Guest communication – Improve the guest experience with automated pre and post-stay communications.
  7. Reporting suite – Generate detailed production and financial reports to improve business operations. Helps property managers understand booking channels.
  8. Payment processing – Ability to take credit card payments in compliance with local and global regulatory standards.

 

What Integrations Should a Hotel PMS System Have?

Central Reservation System: core hotel industry data to help run your hotel (note that many hotel chains have proprietary CRS systems) while independent hotels typically use off the shelf solutions.  A CRS allows your hotel to distribute efficiently via major GDS platforms like Travelport, Amadeus and Sabre

Revenue Management System: increase revenue with better rate management

Booking Engine: online booking engines display PMS inventory to take online reservations

Channel Manager: channel management software helps manage connectivity to OTAs like Expedia, Booking.com or even a vacation rentals platform like AirBnB

Hotel operations software: Your PMS absolutely must integrate with key service optimization and hotel staff collaboration software

Hotel CRM: A PMS is the nucleus of your hotel centered around inventory; however, to operate efficiently hoteliers also need a CRM system centered around guest profiles.  Your CRM must be able to pull data from your PMS to populate profiles and calculate key metrics like recency, frequency, and monetary value

* all integrations should ideally be facilitated via API in order to improve connectivity and mitigate errors or downtime

 

What Makes a Great Hotel Property Management System?

  1. Channel availability and integration – While hotel property management software doesn’t always have an integrated channel manager, it’s critical that your software vendor has a strong integration to a top rated channel manager if this functionality is not integrated. Premium vendors allow you to sync your availability to multiple channels in real-time and provide booking engine functionality. Some vendors offer an all-in-one hotel software solution that reduces the overhead of managing and learning multiple systems.
  2. Depth of reporting and analytics – In addition to basic reporting functionality, some PMS’s allow you to monitor market data, create automated rules and triggers adjust prices and provide insights related to pace, pickup, and occupancy.
  3. Group functionality – A premium PMS can scale across multiple properties and grow with your business.
  4. Check-in kiosk – In the age of covid it’s critical that your hotel can facilitate contactless check-in for guests and a kiosk is one of the best ways to deliver that comfort and safety
  5. Automation – a great PMS can be programmed to automate key processes within your hotel from check-in to chargebacks and more

 

How Much Does a Property Management System Cost (Pricing)?

Pricing for cloud-based PMS products are typically based on how many rooms or properties utilize that system. Many PMS products have calculators on their website that will help you better understand what to expect for pricing. Be wary that some PMS systems will charge additional fees on top of monthly fees. These additional fees can include percentage commission on direct bookings, implementation/setup fees, interface fees to connect to 3rd party systems, etc.

A budget PMS starts at around $50 per month and scales upward based on occupancy and/or number of rooms. Premium pricing for a PMS starts around $200 per month for the smallest properties and scales upward based on occupancy and/or number of rooms.

 

Setting Realistic Hotel PMS Implementation Expectations

For most cloud-based systems, implementation can take one to three weeks depending on: how many reservations need to be imported and who is importing the data (some PMS will offer services to do this for you), the number of properties and rooms you have and any customizations you would like to add.

Implementation will typically start by setting up the application – setting up rooms, room types, adding rates, and importing/adding existing and future reservations. An implementation coach or representative may work with you through the setup process, and verify your setup. Finally, you will connect your channels or channel manager to start taking reservations. Done correctly, there is no downtime between switching systems. A good PMS will also provide access to a video training library and knowledge base of its features to help new users get started.

A successful implementation requires an initial investment in time to configure your property properly – it’s an investment that has a direct impact to the efficiency of your operations later. For example, setting up your cancellations policy now will allow you to enforce that policy later.

How do I know when it’s time for my hotel to move onto a new cloud PMS?Purchasing a new PMS is an investment in time and resources; however, there is considerable opportunity cost that needs to be considered. The right PMS can improve the customer experience by reducing errors like overbookings, improve occupancy rates by connecting your available inventory to your booking engine and channel managers, and help make your more money by letting you adjust your rates quickly- across all of your channels based on market conditions. On average, our customers enjoy an average profit margin increase of 15% after only three months. This more than pays for the investment and effort involved with migrating to a new system.

 

Hotel PMS Benefits

Property management software or hotel PMS is the backbone of hospitality industry operations; the PMS eliminates costly overbookings by managing room availability, coordinates with any connected channel managers to improve room occupancy, accepts payments, and performs key day-to-day functions such as transferring guests, updating room rates, and managing housekeeping tasks. The PMS can automate and improve a hotel’s business operations by providing competitive intelligence, automatically adjusting prices based on availability, and providing analytics and reporting functionality. The PMS enhances the guest experience by remembering customer preferences and sending pre and post-stay communications. Many PMS systems can also integrate with other technologies such as point of sale systems, payment processors, hardware manufacturers, and guest experience software.

 

FAQ

What does a property management system do?

A property management system is “mission control” of a hotel. The PMS houses all reservation information, guest profiles, room status (clean, dirty, or out of order), room types and rate plans, folios and invoices, and reporting. Staff from nearly all hotel departments use the PMS, from front desk and housekeeping to sales and accounting.

 

What are the types of property management system?

Property management systems range from simple tools for basic reservation management to cutting-edge tech that can support the needs of a modern hotel or resort. Property management systems can be cloud-based or on-premise, and many systems offer integrations with point-of-sale systems, revenue management tools, channel managers, and more.

 

What is property management system and how does it work?

A property management system is software used by a hotel to manage all rooms, rates, reservations, and guest billing. Each room is represented in the system so staff can manage nightly rates and reservations for that room, plus track whether it’s clean or dirty. The PMS also holds all guest contact info, history, and billing information.

 

How PMS is used in a hotel?

Hotel staff use a PMS to manage all aspects of hotel operations. Reservations agents manage reservations in the PMS, front desk agents use it to check guests in and out, housekeeping staff rely on the PMS to know which rooms to clean, and accounting staff use it to manage guest billing.

 

Is Property Management expensive?

Property owners typically pay between 8% and 10% of monthly rent revenue to a property manager at a residential property. Vacation rental property management is more expensive; management fees are usually between 20% and 30% of revenue. However, when considering the time and expertise needed to manage a property, hiring a property manager is often worth the expense.

 

Why is property management system required for hotel staff?

A hotel without a property management system is like running a business without using email. Without a PMS, hotel staff cannot manage hotel operations in one central system. A PMS allows various staff members to book and manage reservations, check guests in and out, collect payment, and run reports at the same time, from any computer.

 

What are the skills of a property manager?

A property manager needs a combination of communication skills, business acumen, and technical know-how to succeed in their job. Property managers must communicate effectively with owners, tenants, and vendors, and knowledge of building codes, maintenance needs, and is helpful. Marketing, customer service, and budgeting are also essential skills for a property manager.

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