Here's how to find the best property management system for your hotel
What is a hotel property management system?
A property management system (PMS) is a software suite that property owners use to manage their business by coordinating reservations, availability, payments, and reporting in one central place. The PMS allows property owners to check-in and check-out guests, see room availability, make adjustments to existing reservations, and schedule housekeeping or maintenance events. 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).
How can a property management system improve hotel operations and profitability?
The property management system (PMS) is the backbone of a hotel’s 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 improves the 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.
What are the most important features of a property management system?
- Easy-to-use interface - Train your staff quickly and can reduce the likelihood of errors.
- Check-in/check-out guests and modify guest reservations - Keep track of guests and move them around as needed keeps you on top of your reservations and reduces the likelihood of overbookings.
- Central dashboard - See what is happening, what needs to be done today, and monitor your key metrics.
- Personalized taxes, fees, and policies - Customize taxes, fees, and cancellation policies in the combination that best suits your business.
- Government compliance - Comply with local tax reporting requirements and regulations.
- Guest communication - Improve the guest experience with automated pre and post-stay communications.
- Reporting suite - Generate detailed production and financial reports to improve business operations.
What makes a great hotel property management system?
- Channel availability and integration - 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 solution that reduces the overhead of managing and learning multiple systems.
- 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.
- Group functionality - A premium PMS can scale across multiple properties and grow with your business.
What is the typical pricing for a property management system?
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.
For a full breakdown on how PMS pricing works and download the 2019 Hoteliers Guide to Property Management Systems.
How long does it usually take for a hotel to implement a new property management system?
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.What are the 5 top rated hotel property management systems?
- Clock Software
- Mews Systems
- CloudbedsDownload the 2019 Hoteliers Guide to Property Management Systems