A property management system (PMS) can be one of your property’s greatest assets. A good PMS streamlines everyday tasks and increases efficiency. However, a bad PMS can make your life miserable. A PMS should make your life easier, not harder. Here are the features you should look for when deciding which software product to use.
When you log in and open your property management system, a friendly, helpful dashboard should greet you. An easy-to-read and understandable dashboard provides an instant snapshot. With the right information, you’ll be able to complete tasks faster and easier. Your property management system should offer you a swift homepage that updates in real time.
Information about occupancy, arrivals, and departures will likely influence other decisions such as rate and yield management. This info needs to be right at your fingertips in a clean, intuitive interface built with clarity in mind.
This is a screenshot of myfrontdesk’s dashboard. Notice the flat design that improves information clarity and aids usability.
You also want to look for sales and cancellations functionality. These tools allow you to see today’s sales and cancellations so you can make the appropriate changes. Whether you need to release availability or make rate changes, you can’t do anything until you have up-to-date information.
Cloudbeds includes this information in myfrontdesk’s dashboard. Property owners want to know the most important information upfront, and a dashboard is incredibly helpful.
A calendar is a great way to visualize reservations and give yourself clarity. With an easy-to-read calendar, you are able to see availability and unlock new possibilities. For example, if you view your reservations in an Excel spreadsheet, you might not see a hidden availability.
Here’s what we mean. Say a guest is booked for a regular room for three nights and that same room is unbooked the night before. Now, you know your property and guests almost always book a minimum two-night trip. You also see availability in your suite for three nights. If you release the original regular room reservation you can see not one, but maybe two more reservations. Your one-night stay loss just turned into two more bookings and you upgraded a current booking.
It doesn’t always work this way, but a calendar will help you see instances where guests can be moved to optimize occupancy.
Even better than a calendar is an interactive calendar. Cloudbeds’ product myfrontdesk allows you to modify and move reservations directly on the calendar. Our feedback tells us this is one of the most popular features among Cloudbeds customers. Throw away those spreadsheets–we’ve got something better for you.
Housekeeping functionality will help keep properties of all sizes running smoothly. Your property management system should automate administrative tasks and create more efficient systems. A housekeeping report falls into this category. Your property management system should know which rooms need to be tidied up or completely cleaned for an arriving guest. Myfrontdesk allows you to assign employees to clean certain rooms. You can print this report and give it to your housekeepers. Then, once they’ve finished, you can update room statuses which will make check-ins a breeze.
BAR functionality allows you to control your rate plans. With BAR, you can manage promotions, employee rates, and respond to market conditions. Your PMS should allow you to set BARs for your different seasons (i.e. to set them higher for busy seasons, and vice versa).
With BAR built into your PMS, you won’t have to worry about manually managing each and every single rate on a day-to-day basis. Easily set the rates you want for certain time periods and leave it be. But, make sure that it’s easily changeable. You want to be able to change rates to match any number of situations.
Along with BAR, you should be able to easily change rates and packages. Creating promotional codes and special rates should be a breeze. Streamline the rate process with easy-to-use tools.
A payment processor built in to your PMS will help you streamline accounting and keep more accurate reports. If a PMS does not have a payment processor, you will have to manually update the ledger in your system. And as you know, manual input greatly increases the likelihood for errors.
Reports are an essential part to any property. We wrote three articles about reports you should run every night; one about revenue management, and another on learning revenue management secrets from big chain hotels. Needless to say, we believe reports and knowledge are the best way to take your property to the next level. Your property management system should have built-in reporting functionalities. Your PMS already houses your reservations, rates, and occupancy, so let it do the work for you. Knowing the stats should be the easy part, and will facilitate an easier analysis.
Choose a property management system with a commission-free booking engine. Direct bookings are among the most valuable sources of revenue for most properties. You shouldn’t have to pay to get bookings you worked hard for. When a PMS comes with a booking engine, you do not have to worry about integration problems.
The screenshot above is our booking engine mybookings. It is mobile responsive, commission free, and as you can see, the client was able to easily customize it to match their existing website branding.
Choosing a property management system with the right suite of functionality is essential to running an efficient property. We believe the functions listed above make property owners’ lives easier. When shopping for a PMS, look for a system that enhances your work, not impedes it.