Choosing the right property management system for your hotel is a big decision, as it will impact the entirety of your business on a daily basis. While there are many options available on the market today, as well as many factors to consider, narrowing down your selection criteria and focusing on a few important areas can help ease the decision-making process.
The decision is even more challenging due to the changes brought about as a result of this pandemic, which has shifted the priorities for many hoteliers when it comes to essential functionality within a property management system. With that being said, here is a list of the key functionality any hotel should consider when choosing a property management system.
One of the staples of a good property management system is the ability to leverage mobile technology. Whether that is through a mobile application, or the ability to access the property management system from a browser, being able to operate the software untethered has almost become a must-have for the modern day hotel. There are many benefits to a property management system with mobile functionality, which ranges from the ability to generate and access reports on the go, to sending messages and communicating directly with staff, to performing housekeeping and maintenance duties without the need for pen and paper.
While mobility is a valuable feature on its own, it must be directly integrated to the property management system to unlock its full potential. For example, let’s take a look at the housekeeping scenario.
With a mobile PMS, a housekeeper could determine which rooms need to be cleaned first based on estimated time of arrival, which is already loaded within the mobile application and available for viewing on the mobile device. Use mobile checklists, which have even greater importance due to enhanced cleanliness standards, and which the housekeeper can go through and complete per room. Once cleaning is complete, the housekeeper marks the room as clean which then automatically updates the property management system for the front desk to assign. This is just one example of the many benefits that mobility has to offer when it comes to selecting the ideal property management system for your hotel. Learn more about the capabilities of our hotel front desk software.
2. Contactless Technology
The concept of contactless technology has become even more important as social distancing has become the norm, as well as the need to reduce physical touch-points throughout a guests’ stay on property.
The goal of contactless technology is to limit both physical contact and face-to-face interaction, which can be achieved by using contactless solutions that are directly integrated with the property management system. Some of the key functionalities include checking-in and out via a mobile application, sending messages from the front desk to guests and hotel staff, completing secure payments with a mobile device or chip reader, and using mobile keys to unlock room doors directly from a smartphone. The benefits of contactless technology cannot be understated, especially during times like these.
Guests will feel safer on property as they can bypass the front desk entirely during check-in and check-out, and even order additional services from their mobile device, eliminating the need to pick up the phone in their room. For staff, real-time integration between the contactless solutions and the property management system helps reduce reliance on traditional methods of communication between staff members. With the ability to send room assignments for housekeepers directly through the property management system to a mobile device, trips to the front desk can be reduced, which helps to protect the health and safety of hotel staff. To learn more about contactless solutions, check out our recent eBook: Guide to Contactless Solutions That Any Property Can Implement. Or use our contactless solutions infographic so you know the right features you need for your hotel.
While cost is always an important consideration, if a PMS cannot perform the basic functions your hotel needs to operate effectively, the price of the system becomes much less significant. A property management system should include key functionalities such as front-desk operations, back-office management, housekeeping, revenue management, reporting/analytics capabilities, customer relationship management, as well as a central reservation system.
These are the essential features that any property management software must have, regardless of price. During the research process, it is advisable to complete a demonstration of the entire software solution to ensure the functionality required is available within the PMS. If any of these core features are not available, or seem to be lacking quality, your hotel will likely have to integrate with third-party systems to operate your entire property. Not only is this costly, but processes can also become messy as information will be spread across multiple disparate systems. With that being said, ensuring that any property management software you are exploring has all of the functionality necessary is the first step to deciding if that system is right for your hotel.
4. Cloud Technology
In the property management software world today, opting for cloud PMS software is the smart choice for a few reasons. One of the biggest reasons to choose a Cloud PMS is cost. Cloud-based solutions are generally less expensive, as compared to an on-premise solution, as there is only a monthly subscription fee and there are no ongoing server maintenance costs.
Another great benefit of selecting a cloud property management system is the ability to integrate seamlessly with both GDS’s and OTA’s. Leveraging cloud technology, you can seamlessly connect to the property management software from anywhere, at any time, and from the browser of any mobile device or tablet. Data is automatically backed up, which ensures all information within the system is never lost.
There is nothing worse than trying to accomplish tasks within a clunky, difficult to use property management software. Not only will your existing hotel staff dislike using the software, but it will be challenging for any new employees to learn how to use and navigate the system as well. As you can likely already gather, this is not good for employee morale and satisfaction. When searching for a property management system, one of the first things to examine is the ease of use and overall simplicity of the software.
Just as a complicated user interface can hinder your employee’s ability to learn the software, a clean and easy to use system can help users adopt the solution much quicker. The less complex and more intuitive the property management system is, the less time you will have to spend on training and transitioning employees. Management systems are also regularly updated, so your hotel will always be up-to-date on the latest version of the software.
Another factor to consider, which often doesn’t come across in a product demo or through a brochure, is the reliability of both the software itself and the brand overall. A big consideration when looking at property management systems is uptime, especially when it comes to cloud-based solutions. While all solutions are not perfect, it is important to find a PMS that offers as close to 100% uptime as possible. This is imperative, as your hotel must be able to rely on your property management system to check guests in and out, while maintaining high-levels of guest satisfaction. Chorum PMS, for example, has maintained 99.99% average uptime between 2019 and 2021.
Another form of reliability comes from the management and stability of the brand itself. Some software systems may be owned by venture capital firms or private investors, who don’t always have the best interests of the software in mind, as their main goal is to earn a profit. With this in mind, look for property management software vendors that are backed by strong ownership with a solidified roadmap going forward. This will provide you with peace of mind that the software vendor you select will never be sold or dissolved at any point in the future.
Securing your data is one of the most important aspects of maintaining credibility and ensuring guest satisfaction. Any security breach is never good for business, let alone a big data breach that impacts your guests. This is why it is essential to select a property management system that goes above and beyond when it comes to securing and encrypting your hotel’s information. The last thing you want to be worrying about is having your data fall into the wrong hands, especially when you have the day-to-day operations of your hotel to manage.
An important consideration to keep your guest’s information safe is to leverage a property management software with point-to-point encryption (P2Pe). This ensures that all of the credit card data transmitted is done so in a safe and secure manner. As mentioned, this is an important functionality that is often overlooked and unconsidered. In today’s world, you can never be too safe – and partnering with a property management software vendor who places critical importance on the safety of your data is a definite must.
Demo a hotel property management system designed for today’s hotelier
Now that you have a better understanding of some of the important factors to consider when selecting a property management system, you should be well-equipped to make a more informed decision that better meets the needs and requirements of your hotel.
Put Jonas Chorum to the test and request a demo today! One of our product experts will gladly demonstrate our product offering and show you how can improve your business. Invest in a property management system that will take your hotel operations to the next level!