Defined as a platform that enables a hotel or group of hotels to manage front-office operations, a property management system plays a critical role in a hotel’s day-to-day operations - from reservations to managing room rates - and ultimately, its growth and evolution.
This guide is designed to describe the major aspects of a hospitality property management system. Ultimately, the information presented here will help decision-makers – owners, hotel or resort chain IT managers, or property general managers – to decide which property management system is right for you.
Consider one of the biggest challenges the hospitality industry faces today: As technology-savvy millennials enter the workforce and seek new travel experiences, they set new standards and shape the hospitality industry along its entire value chain. Millennials do take more trips per year than their older counterparts, but the biggest impact they’ve had is mainly due to them being “the first generation to handle everything digitally.” These new expectations are driving new standards, like making online room reservations and on-demand service bookings the new normal.
To recruit and retain millennial employees, there is also the need for a property management system to appeal to them through a user-friendly interface and additional functions.
Finally, if you want your property to go above and beyond guest expectations, you’ll also want to consider new technology offerings like mobile check-in or IoT (Internet of Things) devices that can be integrated with your PMS.
These challenges call for a next-generation property management software to elevate hospitality management. At Ultima Asia Technology, we understand that choosing the right property management software provider is no small matter. Every property or chain needs a PMS that’s adaptable, to accommodate your property’s needs and your guests’ expectations; expandable, because you want to grow your business; and scalable, in preparation for emerging technologies.
Here are the essential features you should look for when choosing a property management system:
Cloud deployment is one of the top features Ultima Asia Technology clients request for. Before the cloud existed, PMS solutions included physical servers and had to be deployed on premises. To update, upgrade and patch the software and manage the hardware, on-site staff had to be present and properties had to expend more resources.
Cloud technology simplifies this process. Some of the main benefits of cloud technology include fast deployment and automatic updates, reducing the disruption to service, the upfront costs and on-site IT manpower needed. These benefits make the Opera Cloud Property Management System more flexible, adaptable and scalable, allowing changes and expansions to be completed in less time than previously required with on-premise solutions - a very compelling reason to adopt it.
Cloud technology also automatically keeps room rates and availability changes up-to-date throughout the property management system and across integrated distribution channels, keeping prices and availability consistent across all channels, at the same time maximising revenue and reducing the risk of human error.
Mobility & Real-time Information Access
Cloud technology powers this next feature: mobility & real-time information access, both of which go hand-in-hand. In this day and age where mobile-first design is highly sought after, your property will have the competitive advantage. Opera Cloud Property Management System can be accessed anywhere through any internet-enabled device, so you can check guests in or out, assist guests, and even assign rooms without being tethered to the front-desk.
There are a number of ways that you can improve efficiency and guest satisfaction through mobility & real-time information access. You can send the housekeeping department instant updates as customer requests come in, or when a guest checks out so they can get the room ready for the next guest.
Real-time information access allows property managers to not only manage priority housekeeping tasks and assign them promptly, but also to oversee all hotel operations anytime, anywhere, empowering them with the knowledge to make strategic decisions to increase efficiency and staff productivity.
The possibilities don’t just end there. To enhance guest experiences and to anticipate their needs, hotels can now capture and store comprehensive guest profiles and pull up guests’ information whenever they check-in or engage a hotel service. By understanding guests’ personal preferences - what they like to eat or drink or what facilities they use - you can tailor a unique stay and reward your most loyal guests.
In the hospitality business, there is no one-size-fits-all technology solution or software. With different clientele, services, facilities and F&B offerings, each property is unique - and Ultima Asia Technology understands that, and that’s why we choose to work only with property management software that allows customisation and flexibility.
Customisation comes in many different forms, from specialised modules to support the property’s facilities, to simple modifications like altering languages and screen layouts for your employees. To start customising your PMS, consider the specialised modules your property needs to support its services and facilities and to address its current operational issues.
Specialised modules are additions to the core property management system. It could be a point-of-sale and a kitchen management solution for your food & beverage operations, an inventory management tool to process guest packages, or a scheduling, billing, and management solution for the hotel spa - everything you need to support your staff in creating the best guest experience.
Another highly relevant module that hotels need to boost revenue is a sales & catering functionality. With this module, you can maximise event sales and manage the function rooms and banquet spaces in your hotel or across your hotel chain with relative ease. You can also have a group room sales functionality, which includes access to real-time room availability, up-to-date pricing and group booking information, through a specialised module.
Choosing a solution provider is just as important as choosing the right property management system. It’s important to consider how well the solution provider can provide the auxiliary services needed to keep your property management software running smoothly: software installation, support, staff training, and software maintenance.
Owing to the complexity of a property management system, it’s not feasible that you engage a solution provider only for a one-time installation. You’ll need them to customise the software based on your growing needs, migrate data, find fixes whenever issues arise, handle upgrades and patches with minimal disruption to your business, conduct proper training for users of the software, and to provide learning tools and other resources. In a nutshell, you’ll need a trusted partner for the long haul to help manage your property management system.
As Oracle’s largest Southeast Asian partner, Ultima Asia Technology offers end-to-end service delivery, including localised language support and on-site user training. Click here to speak to one of our experienced consultants.