For many managers today, running a hotel without any cloud-based tools is almost unthinkable. Hospitality has always been a demanding industry to work in – any flaw in the guest experience is quickly impressed upon the hotel staff, and even friends and family. This is where a cloud-based property management system (PMS) has simplified things by taking on a large number of daily responsibilities, leaving the staff to better tend to guests.
Unlike most innovations in management software, PMS technology has nearly permeated an entire industry. The cloud platform has allowed independent hoteliers to implement the same level of management that only the larger companies could once afford. This ‘revolution’ in PMS accessibility has transformed hospitality.
Let’s take a look at some of the areas where Cloud PMS technology has simplified hotel operations –
1. Front Desk Management:
Guests checking in usually head straight for the front desk, as do the guests who are ready to check-out. Front desk managers are generally among the busiest members of the hotel’s staff – they’re responsible for shuttling guests in and out of rooms, managing reservations and staff, and just about any impromptu guest requirement. PMS technology has taken over a number of these tasks, such as reservation management. Incoming bookings, whether made online or offline, go straight to the reservation tape-chart from where the system auto-populates rooms to maximize utility. This takes a considerable load off the front desk manager’s back, who can concentrate better on more pressing matters.
2. Real-time Integration:
Real-time integration enables modern PMSs to connect to channel managers and the GDS, allowing the hotel to update room inventory seamlessly across all channels. This eliminates double-bookings and also allows the hotel to convert a cancellation into a new booking opportunity. 2-way XML connectivity ensures that even offline reservations are reflected in the inventory that’s displayed at all the other online channels. Modern PMSs can also share data with a number of other cloud based tools that hotels may use, such as revenue management systems like Xero. No matter what tools the hotel may need, most systems today can integrate to them and simplify the process.
3. Point-of-sale Terminals:
While room sales may indeed be the main source of revenue for hotels, income generated by other departments can also have a significant impact on the bottom-line. Restaurants, gift shops and other such points-of-sale (POS) can bring in a lot of money when efficiently managed by the hotel. A modern PMS enhances administration of these various POS terminals, some even create dedicated modules for each, complete with their own set of management tools. This allows the manager to quickly add any forgotten charges to the guest’s bill, avoiding any unpleasant events during check-out.
4. Staff Management:
A cloud based system allows managers to assign responsibilities and tasks to a number of personnel in various departments, all from a single point of control. The PMS also usually offers a separate touch-enabled dashboard or check-list which can be updated by employees on their own devices. House-keeping responsibilities for instance, can be assigned for a particular room automatically after a guest checks-out while managers can quickly scan for tasks that need to be fulfilled prior to a guest’s arrival.
5. Report Compilation:
As the PMS builds a bigger and bigger repository of information and guest data after extended use, the system can dive into this data on demand and produce a variety of reports that analyze different aspects of the hotel from housekeeping, room sales, POS revenue, and even guest trends. By taking over the report collection and compilation, managers can skip this painstaking step and get straight to analyzing the property’s different areas. A modern Cloud PMS can offer over a 100 reports specific to various factors influencing the hotel. This can allow the property to save money and bring down costs in the long-run.
Cloud computing is widely regarded as the best thing that ever happened to hospitality and the reasons are abundant. Barriers to entry were torn down as independent hoteliers were given the opportunity to invest in cutting-edge technology for a fraction of the cost.
The effects of this were cataclysmic and spread throughout the industry. As independent hotels became more popular, new trends began emerging in travel and even new types of travelers. Guests seeking a more intimate vacation can now shun the large brands and book at smaller properties on the very same OTAs that once only accommodated the biggest players.