What to look for in a Property Management System (PMS)

By Cloudbeds, October 19, 2018

In the world of hospitality management, there are a number of daily tasks to oversee. A property management system (PMS), when properly designed and utilized, can help your day-to-day management and maximize the profitability of your business.

In the past, a property management system has referred to an online program or software designed for residential or commercial property management. More often than not, however, a PMS refers to software used in the hospitality industry to manage operations such as:

  • Reservations
  • Guest check-in/check-out
  • Room assignment
  • Room rates
  • Billing

Some property management systems can integrate with hospitality applications already running in your property, like point-of-sale systems or revenue management programs, while other property management systems offer a complete solution for all of those needs.

One of the great things about hotel property management system technology is that platforms have evolved to offer greater applications that replace the time-intensive, paper-and-spreadsheet-heavy processes of the past. A PMS software is now a critical part of any successful hospitality business and enables the owners and managers to run a smooth operation internally while delivering a seamless and unique guest experience.

Hospitality owners and managers looking for ways to optimize their business operations should invest in a property management system that can help lower costs, increase revenue, and provide the best possible service.

PMS technology can be designed to manage a single property or multiple units and can range from simple software solutions to systems with extensive features. Whatever your needs, there’s a property management system technology that’s perfect for your business, and here we’ll examine what to look for in a property management system to make your life easier and save you both time and money.

Why Should You Use Property Management System Technology?

Choosing the right property management system technology is all about creating an efficient work environment within your business. The right PMS can offer many benefits, including reducing time spent on administrative work so you have more time to focus on other areas of your business, like guest experience.

A good property management system can also minimize operational costs – such as administrative costs – and increase revenue in the form of better inventory distribution on booking channels. A flexible PMS should also be able to integrate with third-party products and services such as payment processing tools, point of sale services, and revenue management solutions so you can customize the way you run your business.

While making your life easier, the right PMS can also give your business a competitive edge in the marketplace by more efficiently distributing your room inventory amongst different OTA channels with channel management. The more travelers who see your property, the more bookings you’re likely to receive, especially if you’re connected to channels that directly cater to your ideal travel audience. Therefore, a PMS integration with a channel manager will help your property get more visibility while also allowing you to update your room inventory on all the OTA channels you connect to, saving you time and preventing overbookings. 

Additionally, a good PMS will help you create customer profiles that allow you to better understand your guests. By centralizing your customer data in a secure location, you can improve the quality and accuracy of guest expectations by knowing who they are as a customer. You can then analyze your PMS data to understand your guests’ booking patterns and create customized packages that target your audience more directly, as well as accommodate trends in your buyer’s behavior. 

Which Property Management System Should You Choose: Cloud-based or Installed Software?

In the competitive world of hospitality, the key to success lies in capturing and maintaining market share. In addition to competing against other properties, peer-to-peer stay options have emerged as another avenue for customers to use while traveling, creating an additional competitor for hospitality property owners to contend against.

This fierce competition for market share makes choosing the right property management system vital to running a successful hospitality business. But is cloud-based or installed hardware right for you? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Both of these systems are designed to automate a property’s operational processes for greater efficiency. The biggest difference between the two comes down to technical requirements, cost, and accessibility. So which one gives you the most bang for your buck?

What Functionalities to Look for in a Cloud-based, All-in-one Property Management System?

Since, in most cases, a cloud-base property management system is the better solution, you should now focus on choosing the right cloud-based PMS for you. So what functionalities in a cloud-based property management system should you look for to deliver the best service to your guests. In order to eliminate overbookings, increase productivity, and have access to comprehensive reports and analysis, you should seek out a system that provides all-in-one services.

The main features to look for in an all-in-one PMS are:

  • A booking engine to easily receive and manage direct bookings
  • A channel manager that allows you to effectively distribute your inventory to travel markets around the world
  • A simple dashboard for enhanced online check-in and check-out process capabilities with a clean calendar view for reservation management
  • Third party integration abilities
  • Powerful analytics and reporting tools to help keep track of metrics like financial reports, daily activity reports, property status, ADR and RevPar and more
  • A housekeeping module to organize services and staff
  • 24-7 customer support and IT assistance to help with PMS set-up
  • Pricing and revenue management capability

In addition to these functionalities, there are some other topics you may want to consider when selecting a property management system. For instance, it is important to know key aspects regarding the PMS service provider, such as: the amount of hospitality experience they have, whether they offer online training and support for transitioning your data to their system, and if that support is available 24/7.

It’s also important to consider which aspects of running your business cause the most issues for you and your employees. Where does your business need the most assistance? Do you need help cutting down on administrative tasks? Do you need a system to consolidate all of your data in one place? Do you need help reaching different markets? Do you need better data analysis to help you understand your customer base? Defining what you need from a PMS allows you to better select the right PMS integration technology for your personal business needs.

Do Your Due Diligence

When considering what property management system to buy, be sure to research property management system reviews to compare their different features and see what product users are saying about their experience. User reviews, especially ones from similar properties to your own, are a great way to understand the efficacy of a property management system.

Additionally, be sure to review the PMS company provider. Evaluate the company’s future plans to expand and add new features and updates.

For more information on a property management system, check out Cloudbeds. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’d love to chat.

About Cloudbeds

Cloudbeds creates cloud-based hospitality management software that simplifies the working lives of professional property owners, operators, and employees. Tens of thousands of hotels, hostels, vacation rentals, and groups in over 135 countries trust Cloudbeds’ award-winning software. Founded in 2012, Cloudbeds has expanded to hundreds of team members in 31 countries who altogether speak 17 languages.

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