Top 3 Things Hoteliers And Property Owners Should Ask Their PMS Providers
Day to day operational hotel management is complex. Aside from the basic housekeeping and hospitality towards guests there is a lot that needs to be done behind the scenes to ensure that the hotel functions smoothly. Something as simple as forgetting to place an order or failing to invoice correctly can have dire consequences. Typically, this burden of responsibility would fall squarely on the hotel manager; but, with advances in technology there are now software solutions available to hotel managers to streamline and simplify their job role.
Unfortunately, the solutions on offer are varying in their degree of efficacy and it can be a nightmare sorting good platforms from poor platforms. With that in mind we have come up with 3 questions that hotel managers should ask their PMS (Property Management System) providers to select the platform that fits their needs best.
How Secure is Your Property Management System?
No matter where you are operating in the world, security is now probably the single-most important aspect when it comes to selecting a property management system. Data protection is treated with intense scrutiny among many court systems and regulators and it is only going to get further regulated as time goes by.
In the EU, the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has had a sweeping impact across the board for all industries and businesses. Protecting client information, storing it in a secure way and using personal identifiers such as numbers instead of names is paramount to the regulation with significant penalties in place for failing to so. In fact, the penalties are specifically designed to provide financial hardship to businesses that flout the rules with fines of up to €20 million. The idea being that if a company breaches the GDPR they will effectively be bankrupted and taken out of the market altogether.
Even if your company was able to stomach the cost, the EU can levy 2% of annual turnover which again would likely devastate profit margins. The key consideration when adopting a property management system is does it meet the regulation and is it providing adequate protection for your business. A common misconception is that the GDPR doesn’t have a global reach, it does, the EU can sanction companies all over the world if they have information about EU citizens. Given the transient customer base in the hotel industry it is no stretch to imagine you might have a couple from Germany check in at some point.
A good way to gauge this is to ask your PMS provider what they have done to safeguard businesses following the implementation of GDPR. Your provider should be able to answer with specific platform implementations that will be put in place to protect your valuable information and prevent breaches of both the data and regulation.
Does your Property Management System Encompass the Full Spectrum of Hotel Management?
Aside from security you will want to ensure that the platform that you’re selecting is fit for purpose. There is no point in investing in a property management system that is completely secure but without any practical functionality. You will want to look at the platform and identify all the useful features and look at how this will make your life easier.
Selecting a platform with limitations will ultimately be frustrating and fruitless. There are many instances of hotel and property managers investing in property management systems and then finding they are effectively doubling up their workload by using the system. This should never be the case.
A property management system should be multi-functional, time-saving and profit enhancing.
As a rule of thumb, you should check your property management system has all the following features;
Bookings and reservations come from a plethora of avenues, some are made traditionally using the phone, some are made online through a multitude of booking websites like booking.com. You will want to ensure that your property management system has an interactive calendar that updates in real time as bookings are made. This means that when you have Mr Smith on the phone booking a room you are not putting him in room 203 that has just been booked online.
Full Invoice Capability & Localised
Accounting practices play a crucial role in seamless hotel management. You should make sure that your property management system has invoicing capability as well as the ability to bill across different tax regimes. This is especially important when it comes to calculating if VAT is applicable on any given booking. Another consideration is that the system is delivered in a language that you and your staff can use. If your hotel manager only speaks Spanish, you will want to make sure the interface is delivered fully in Spanish for example.
Housekeeping & Room Maintenance
Sometimes things don’t go as planned, you may find a leak in one of your rooms and need to take it off the market temporarily while the issue is resolved. A property management system should allow for you to make changes to room availability and synchronise it across all the platforms that the room is advertised on. Another important element of hotel management is housekeeping, having a platform that keeps track of housekeeping as well as any problems that occur will significantly improve your housekeeping schedule and prevent guests from waiting around whilst the room is prepared. Again, this feature should operate in real time.
Reporting & Booking Management
The last key aspect to consider is that the property management system can produce accurate and useful reports. Some platforms produce reports that have no bearing on turnover or profitability and whilst it might be nice to view the information at a glance it has no real tangible benefit when it comes to making hotel management improvements. The last feature to look for is that your property management system can work with third party websites and applications, this is especially important when it comes to managing online bookings and check-ins.
Will I See a Return on Investment?
The final question is not as important as the first two, but it is a big consideration that you should be making. A hotel is a business at the end of the day, when adopting a property management system, you will want to know that you’re spending your money wisely and that the system is valuable to your business goals.
A good property management system will allow you to identify areas that you can improve on financially and help reduce unnecessary costs. It should also provide an effective solution to ease the amount of time taken to complete daily hotel processes and save your hotel manager time. This will then invariably allow to focus on other aspects of the job role such as promoting the hotel and increasing revenue.
Only once you have asked these 3 questions will you have an overall idea of whether the property management system you’re looking at is the right one for your personal hotel and property management business.
At hoteliga, we have developed a complete property management system that not only encompasses the fundamental aspects that are mentioned above but also provide a full range of features and benefits that would be instrumental in helping you grow your hotel business. We love showing off about the hoteliga property management system and all the great products it has to offer and always welcome questions about our system and how it can help you increase your profitability.