What is a Hotel PMS?
A hotel property management system (PMS) is a set of solutions that hoteliers use to manage their day-to-day hotel operations activities such as reservations, front desk, housekeeping, maintenance, billing and invoicing, analytics and reporting.
All of these activities can be labor and time-intensive, so the goal of a modern (Cloud-Based) PMS system is to save hotel managers and their employees time and money.
protel Air main dashboard
Why do you Need a Hotel Property Management System (PMS)?
Today PMS capabilities have expanded beyond core functions like room inventory, reservations, housekeeping and room assignments, to include all areas of hotel operations. Now you can also schedule preventive maintenance, draw up room attendant sheets for housekeeping and even manage your meeting, conference and banqueting rooms.
Another area PMSs have significantly advanced is in the area of integrations. Open APIs have made it possible for tech startups, software developers and even well established behemoths to build useful and innovative technology that hotels can access with the click of a button. Integrations with third-party technologies, like channel managers, point-of-sale systems, payment gateways (VISA, Master Card, etc.) and accounting systems, put the power in your hands to choose the right technology to suit your hotel business needs.
Top 4 reasons why your hotel needs a property management system:
Efficiently Automates Daily Tasks and Responsibilities
Hoteliers who fully utilize hotel management systems use the system’s functionality to speed up and optimize their existing processes. With the right PMS, daily tasks are made much easier to handle provided the system has the right “tools”. These tools, or features as they are called, ensure that the day-to-day hotel business operations are taken care of.
It is important that a PMS streamlines and simplifies standard operating procedures (SOPs) such as posting restaurant receipts, checking guests in and out and makes it possible to add special offers for your store, restaurant and/or spa.
Another crucial element that needs to be built into the PMS ecosystem is to be able to integrate seamlessly to third-party vendor products so that the hotel can make use of all the latest hotel technology such as a channel manager to receive bookings from Online Travel Agents, Revenue Management to optimize income and POS systems for food and beverage management, totally irrespective of vendor. These features are must-haves for ensuring efficient hotel operations and maximum guest satisfaction.
Hoteliers who utilize property management systems see the benefit mostly in the handling of check-in and check-out processes, the handling of POS (point-of-sale) transactions, the management of guest relations, and the efficient optimization of housekeeping.
The guest experience is also enhanced as hotel staff can focus on guest needs and requests in person, rather than dealing with a wide range of hotel management system issues on the computer.
protel mobile app (Voyager)
Access to Hotel Data Online and On Multiple Devices
Whilst some users of hotel property management systems (PMSs) access the systems through a desktop computer or a laptop, there are an increasing number of hoteliers who now access the PMS through other devices, such as a tablet or mobile phone.
Of course, you don’t need to do this if you are more comfortable with a desktop or laptop, but once you have experienced the freedom and peace of mind that a mobile hotel property management system offers, your life as a hotelier will be a lot less stressful.
Mobile access is very useful when trying to manage the multiple different sales channels of your hotel business. Nowadays, in order to stand out amongst competitor hotels you need to be able to respond to requests in real-time which means you need constant access to:
- The channel manager to manage OTA’s (Expedia, Booking.com, etc.).
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
- The PMS to manage hotel operations
Effectively managing all of these factors from wherever you are will ensure your hotel (whether it be an independent hotel or a part of a hotel chain) reaches its business goals.
Enforce the Impeccable Quality of your Guest Records and Data
Aside from speeding up check-in and check-out processes and making other mundane daily tasks easier to handle, a good hotel management system will also greatly contribute to the way you manage your guest information and data.
A good hotel property management system will give you the power to manage the 3 most important aspects of guest data:
- Firstly, we have data collection, this is where guest information, i.e. name, date of birth, nationality, preferences, etc. is given to the hotel by the guest
- The second stage is data storage, where data is stored safely, securely and in a logical and easy to use way
- The final stage is data utilization, here is where the magic happens for you as a hotelier, with great quality data you can build targeted marketing and advertising campaigns aimed specifically at your target audience.
With high-quality guest data management, you will undoubtedly give guests a more personalised service, improving your relationship with guests and increase your hotel’s revenue in the process.
protel Air Reservations Screen
Choose Accurate Real-time Data to Optimize Decision Making
With the proper hotel management system, you have access to the most pertinent and accurate information exactly when you need it. This includes the room statuses, reservations, housekeeping duties, maintenance management and more. You no longer have to sift through piles of data from different sources – everything you need is on one single platform, available to you anywhere and at any time.
Not all hotel property management systems are the same. However, some are indeed better than most. That being said, look for hotel management software that can provide you with an intuitive and accurate way to manage your reservations, check-ins, and check-outs, and look for a hotel management system that offers integrations.
Integrations (with open APIs) enable hoteliers to pick and choose the best systems and software to improve their hotel operations without limitations. Being able to use the best technology goes hand-in-hand with maximising revenue.
protel Air Dark Mode
Benefits of Using Hotel Management System
Five years ago, as many as 25% of U.S. hotels still reported using pen and paper or Excel spreadsheets to manage all of their front-office tasks like room bookings, billing, and room availability. This can be an inefficient way to do things in the long run. And what would happen if your spreadsheet or paper records got lost or destroyed?
Using a hotel management system can save you time by automating recurring tasks like updating room rates and availability, sending out reminder emails to guests prior and upon arrival, and invoicing your guests. You can also connect your property management system to a channel manager so that you can take bookings on various channels online, and they will all arrive in your PMS, so you have a way to easily keep track of them all in one place. With a PMS system, your staff spends less time on administrative tasks and more time on satisfying your guests.
Using a modern hotel management system can increase your revenue by tracking your performance and gathering data about your hotel, analyzing it, and creating reports. From there, you’ll be able to see a clear overview of how your hotel is doing, and you can use this data to make better decisions about how to run the business. For example, you can use your property management system to adopt a dynamic pricing strategy, so you can keep more of your rooms filled at rates that make the customer happy.
Cloud VS On-premise PMS (Hotel Property Management System). Which is Right for Your Property?
Firstly; Let’s clear up the difference between cloud and hosted services.
Technically, the main difference between hosted services and cloud services is multi-tenancy. Cloud has it and hosted services do not. Multi-tenancy enables the sharing of IT resources and costs among a vast pool of users, from massive hotel chains to small bed and breakfasts as well as all kinds of other businesses, and makes it possible for infrastructure to be concentrated in secure locations with lower costs. This maximizes peak-load capacity and improves the utilization and efficiency of systems that are often only used up to 10-20% of the time. Hosted services generally do not offer the same cost-saving efficiencies, flexibility, or reliability as cloud services. As a result, cloud computing is more fitting if you want to ensure optimum uptime for your hotel and maximum data recovery should something happen to your on-premise data. One of the top reasons hotels go the cloud route is the inter-connectedness of cloud-based systems. They make it easy for hotels to integrate other modern technologies and make the most of hospitality-based apps that share data. Now to answer the burning questions you may have on your mind.
What IT requirements does my hotel need to run a PMS?
Cloud-based PMSs runs on a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform located on the internet. This is an innovative and easy way to manage hotel operations with low IT costs. Leading cloud-based PMSs can run off any modern internet-connected device. Kill the CapEx immediately!
The on-premise or legacy-based hotel system runs software on a computer via a server that is physically located at the hotel. All of which you have to pay for in full. Standard requirements usually consist of a PC or laptop with a good quality processor, an operating system (such as Windows 10), a database and a network with at least a 1GBPS capacity.
Which PMS is easier to install – cloud-based or on-prem?
One of the greatest advantages of a cloud-based PMS is it does not need any special installation or downloads. A few clicks by a novice user is usually all it takes.
An on-prem PMS usually has comprehensive infrastructure and technological requirements. These include hardware, software, databases and IT infrastructure. If you don’t already have these installed in your hotel, you will need to get them installed by a professional.
Will I need a dedicated IT person to manage the technical requirements of a hotel PMS?
Cloud – No
Cloud-based PMSs do not need dedicated IT personnel for maintenance and other day-to-day running of the PMS because each and every function is executed and the information is stored and processed, off-site, in the cloud. Companies that host cloud services have teams of IT professionals that maintain and manage the system for you.
On-prem – Advisable
The technical requirements of an on-prem system add considerable cost to implementation and maintenance. It is advisable to have immediate access to an IT professional that is able to troubleshoot the system.
How safe is my hotel’s data?
Cloud software hosts, like AWS, have the expertise and budget to implement robust security measures and procedures, including automatic data backups and 24/7 monitoring. This makes cloud systems a slightly more secure option than on-premise systems for independent properties.
With an on-premise system, data security is the hotel’s responsibility. In addition to installing firewalls and anti-virus programs on internet-enabled computers, keeping data safe requires the hotel to secure private networks, restrict access to server rooms, perform manual data back-up processes, and to have back-up plans, servers, computers, and generators.
Note: Anti-virus software and strict cybersecurity procedures is a good idea for any computer accessing the internet.
What financial considerations are there when purchasing a PMS?
Cloud-based systems are most commonly available via a subscription pricing model, typically based on a monthly fee, and normally a one-time setup fee. The pay-per-use subscription model makes cloud PMS an operating expense, and while the monthly cost adds up over time, the shift from capital to operational expenditure makes cloud-based PMSs a more affordable option for many smaller properties. With a cloud-based PMS, there are no hardware expenses (if your hotel has a computer or mobile device) and software upgrades are included as part of the SaaS rental package.
On-premise hotel management systems are a big initial investment and can cost hotels a significant amount for the software licences. Additional costs include annual maintenance, hardware and upgrades. An on-premise system is a capital expenditure that often requires its own financial plan, which can put it beyond the budget of many small and mid-sized hotels, B&Bs, motels and lodges.
I have third party systems, software and vendors that I use daily for my business. Will a hotel PMS be able to connect (integrate) to these systems?
Cloud PMSs can be easily integrated with most third-party vendor systems, especially if they are using common HTNG (Hospitality Technology Next Generation) coding and open APIs (application program interfaces). The good news is that all the serious hotel technology companies use APIs and HTNG. The ability for cloud-based PMSs to integrate to existing technologies greatly reduces the hotel’s IT requirements as you can keep existing technology or add new technology from suppliers of your choice as you are not locked into one vendor-preferred supplier.
On-premise PMSs can be integrated with external systems such as channel managers, point-of-sale (POS) systems and revenue management systems too, however, it can be a complex process that requires technical know-how, additional hardware, and an experienced IT development team to see the project through.
Will I be able to access my PMS anytime and from anywhere?
Cloud-based PMS are accessible via a secure login from any computer or mobile device connected to the
internet, anywhere in the world at any time. Modern cloud PMSs offer a high level of accessibility as
they are purpose-built to work via the internet.
While it is possible for on-premise systems to be accessed remotely from an off-site computer, it requires additional technical setup and, possibly, the installation of desktop virtualization products onsite. This will require some specialist IT knowledge.
Note: Remote access performance, for both cloud and on-prem PMSs, can be affected by various factors, including server workload, SSL certificate issues and network failures.
How often will I have to install upgrades and how difficult will it be?
Upgrades are fast, frequent and usually free-of-charge with cloud-based systems and can usually be deployed instantly. This means that accommodation providers always have access to the latest version of the PMS, including new features and innovations that keep them ahead of the competition.
On-premise systems can face lengthy development cycles, compared to cloud-based systems, and require relatively expensive and, often, time-consuming upgrades to remain current.
My hotel is very isolated with limited access to the internet – which is the best option for me?
An on-prem PMS is not dependent on an internet connection. Therefore, they can be very useful in remote areas with unstable connectivity.
What other benefits do cloud-based systems offer hotels?
Cloud-based PMSs equip both hoteliers and guests with improved agility and mobile functionalities that bring them together and create a more cohesive relationship. This allows guests to immerse themselves in the hotel experience rather than only looking in from the outside. This has been proven to increase overall guest satisfaction, which in turn leads to more bookings.
Hosting the hotel’s IT infrastructure in the cloud offers the flexibility to scale up or down instantaneously. The pay-as-you-go pricing can enable the hotel to keep all expenses in check, increase capacity during peak seasons and keep costs low during the offseason.
Choosing between a cloud-based and on-premise PMS can be a very tough decision. If you would like to know more about the two kinds of systems you can read about it here. If you would like to talk to a professional about which system works best for your specific hotel then click here.
A global, multi-cultural, privately-owned company, founded in Dortmund, Germany, and still run day-to-day, hands-on, by the two co-founders, Manfred Osthues and Ingo Dignas. protel hotelsoftware has been developing and selling technology and service solutions specifically for the hotel industry and related sectors for more than 25 years. The consistent focus on the demands of a single industry makes protel one of the most experienced and successful providers of hospitality technology.
In fact, we are the #1 property management system provider in several countries including Switzerland, the heart of hospitality. More than 14,000 hotels in 93 countries run a protel PMS. The protel hospitality platform offers a best-in-class, total infrastructure encompassing all serious hospitality IT solutions in one standard, accessible framework that is backed, administered and developed by a world-leading hotel technology brand.
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What is Hotel PMS and how does it works?
A property management system (PMS) is a set of software solutions that give hotel managers the ability to enhance their operating efficiency and deliver the best possible experiences for their guests. At its core, a property management system handles booking, check-in/check-out, room rates, billing, and performance analytics.
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