A hotel management system is broadly speaking a computer software that allows hotel managers and hotel owners to keep track of front end and back end data. Some refer to it as a hotel management software (HMS) or property management software (PMS) but in its essence those three are interchangeable.
Modern-day hotel management systems incorporate a variety of features, which allow hotel managers to control everything from the front desk to the accounting department from a single hub. Historically, PMS emerged from the need for a centralized unit, which keeps track of everything that happens within the hotel ecosystem. Back in the day, information was exchanged between the receptionist, the accounting team, the housekeeping staff, and practically everyone else involved in one way or another in the running of the hotel.
Of course, this method of processing data was prone to failures due to human error. It wasn't also time-efficient by today's standards. Needless to say, hotel management systems as we know them weren't created overnight. The accommodation business first had to go through different platforms and programs, each of which dedicated to solving a specific problem. However, they all had way too many drawbacks. First of all, it was far from cheap to purchase an invoice generator, an accounting software, a front desk solution. Even if you had the money to buy these programs, it could take you up to several months to train your staff on how to use them effectively. But even then it was hard to make these systems communicate with each other in a meaningful way. No, Big Data, wasn't a hot topic 30 years ago. Not to mention that these programs were slow. They could literally crash your computer.
Luckily, nowadays we have smart solutions that are easy to use and are in most cases cloud-based. Cloud-based hotel management software is every PMS that is accessible via the internet and does not store information on your device. The thing about cloud-based hotel management systems is that you can access them from any device and they will perform fine, provided you have a reliable internet connection.
Instead of jumping from one program to another, one could simply do all property operational tasks in a single place where data really means something. Hotel management software is a powerful tool that can help hotel owners research their audience, see financial graphics based on current incomes. Additionally, operational processes such as invoice generation, checking guests in and out, running a reservation calendar, adding rooms or extras (mini bar, breakfast, etc), closing rooms for maintenance and/or cleaning, recording guest details could be easily handled by everyone with access to the cloud-based hotel management software.
Some PMSs are even powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that is capable of predicting future income based on current reservations. It can also detect crucial guest patterns you might have not noticed. For instance, the AI might statistically prove that it is pointless to market your hotel abroad, simply because your foreign guests account for less than 10% of your audience.
Cloud-based hotel management systems are superior to installation programs for several reasons. Obviously, they run on the cloud, thus giving you access to your database from anywhere anytime. You can quickly take a look at what's going on in your hotel while being thousands of kilometers away from it. That exempts the need for powerful computers since the only thing you need is a browser and an internet connection.
Efficiency and effectiveness get a boost because the centralized data storage. Since everything is kept in a single place, you don't have to cross-check between different departments such as housekeeping, accounting, reservations or front desk. This gives hotel owners the opportunity to see the big picture faster and easier. Not only that but it improves the communication between staff members as all the information they need is kept in one place.
Furthermore, your hotel management software could save you a lot of time on reporting. Report generation has never been quicker because the software is capable of generating live reports along with weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual reports. This gives more time for your staff at the front desk to actually engage with your guests and improve customer satisfaction.
You might be asking yourself, why do they keep bragging about the housekeeping department? How does it benefit from a property management system? Usually, housekeepers have to check with the front desk to see which rooms need cleaning. Then after the rooms are cleaned housekeepers have to manually check that in their reports and then again notify the front desk. This duplicate work costs hotels time and money. On the other hand, when the hotel utilizes a cloud-based property management software, the housekeeping department is notified when and which rooms need cleaning and after they are cleaned the system notifies everyone else that the rooms have been cleaned.
You can easily monitor guest behavior through a PMS and draft data-driven conclusions about your guests. The reporting system will give you a clue which extras are the most popular in your hotel. Of course, this also means that hotel management systems have an integrated billing system that allows you the quickly charge your guests should they buy a feature that wasn't initially included in their package.
Last but not least, the reservation engine lets you keep track of your reservation calendar, which updates itself automatically, once a reservation occurs. This is particularly handy as it removes the need for a staff member to manually accept reservations and simultaneously update the calendar. Instead, everyone can check who is coming and when they are coming in real-time.
If you are looking for a fully-fledged hotel management software, make sure to check out Roombre. We bet you'll love it.