The world of accommodation has come a long way since the biblical times, in that there are numerous options for travelers today. There is something for everyone ultra-budget travelers, backpackers, students, business travelers, luxury travelers, long-termers, etc.
The term ‘hotel’ is used as a blanket term today, as there are several sub-categories within. However, hotels still refer to accommodations that operate on a ‘per night’ basis. Apartments, on the other hand, cater to longer stays and operate on slightly different rules. In this blog post, we will take you through how apartments are different from hotels and how an apartment management system can help increase operational efficiency.
HOW DIFFERENT IS AN APARTMENT FROM A HOTEL?
The behavior of bookings is the main difference between hotels and apartments. Like we just mentioned, the primary difference lies in the duration of stay. A hotel caters to guests who stay for a few nights, who are billed ‘per night’. Apartments, however, cater to people who seek an accommodation for a longer duration – weeks, months, etc.
Apart from this primary difference, there are others too, such as:
Services such as room service, health centres, housekeeping, wellness centres, etc. are typical of hotels than of apartments. Typically, apartments offer accommodation and that is all. They are perfect for someone who isn’t on a vacation but has, perhaps, moved to another city temporarily. In such cases, guests tend to look for accommodation options that are basic but comfortable. This is where apartments come in and fill the void.
2. Night Audit:
Night Audit is another feature that is associated with hotels, and understandable so. Since a stay is always calculated on a ‘per night’ basis, hotels perform night audit which has two functions. Night Audit allows hoteliers to carry forward all transactions attached to a guest onto the following day in addition to rolling over to the next day. As in, unless night audit is performed, not only is the invoice not up to date but the date itself will reflect the last time night audit was done. This is a very important feature for hoteliers as it helps them sort out their accounts every night before shutting shop. If not for night audits, front desk staff would find it extremely challenging to collate accounts associated to each guest, do the math for all transactions, across all POS outlets, and generate invoices at the time of check out. Night Audits, whether you like it or not, are a must-have feature you must look for in a hotel PMS.
But this is not true in the case of apartments. Since bookings are made for much longer durations, night audit does not really apply to apartments. Also, since there aren’t any POS outlets to keep track of, transactions are limited to room rent and nothing else. This is why night audits don’t apply to apartments.
3. Check-in/ Checkout:
When it comes to hotels, check-ins and check-outs are processes that need utmost attention as they are the first and last interactions with the hotel. So, ensuring that these processes are streamlined to perfection, causing no inconvenience to the guest whatsoever, is crucial to improving guest satisfaction.
This isn’t the case with apartments. Typically, there is no formality of checking guests in or out, at least not as elaborate as it is in hotels.
4. Front desk:
Like we discussed in the previous point, there is no system of a reception area, a frontdesk or check-in/checkout in an apartment, as in a hotel. Since guest experience is not the biggest priority for apartments, they work differently when compared to hotels.
Just like with all the points above, hotels focus heavily on making the stay as seamless as possible for the guests. This involves factors like transportation, gift shops, activity centres, bars, restaurants, etc. all of which add to the guests’ experience. The more the POS, the more seamless and diverse the experience, the higher the chances of guest satisfaction.
Apartments, on the other hand, rarely have any POS outlets if at all. Even in such cases, it is usually only laundry or housekeeping, which again are outsourced to vendors who charge the guests separately for those services.
Apartments usually come with a fully-stocked pantry, that works on a pay-as-you-use model. The inventory is tallied at the end of the stay and guests are required to pay for whatever they have used from the pantry. But this is not akin to a POS outlet.
Hotels, contrarily, don’t have this system. The closest to a pantry in a hotel would be the mini-bar or the snack-bar.
These are some of the differences between apartments and hotels. Having discussed these, it is but natural for us to wonder if a system that helps manage hotels efficiently would also work for apartments. The answer is both yes and no. Let me explain…
Yes, because the basics of hospitality management do not change whether it is a hotel or an apartment. Meaning, reservations are still reservations, cancellations are the same and invoices are invoices. These foundations are constant across all accommodation options.
No, because the behavior of these reservations, cancellations and invoicing are different in apartment management as compared with hotel management. This needs to be carefully dealt with, when deciding a Property Management system for your apartment.
The features of an Apartment Management System are different from those of a Hotel Management System. Here are the features you need to look for in an Apartment Management System, if improving operational efficiency is your objective:
Your apartment management system should give you the option of ‘advance posting’, wherein you can select the duration of stay in advance and mark them as weekly/monthly/quarterly/half-yearly or annual, depending on how long the guest wishes to stay.
2. Invoice for advance paid:
If a corporate makes a booking at your apartment, they normally pay an advance amount for which they need an invoice. Your apartment PMS should be able to generate an invoice for advances taken against bookings.
3. Inventory & Material management:
Be it for toiletries, pantry supplies or bed linen, inventory and material management for an apartment is different. Your Apartment Management System will have to be able to tackle this bit and provide you with a solution that allows for efficient inventory and material management.
HOW HOTELOGIX CAN HELP YOU?
The Hotelogix Property Management System comes fully equipped with all the features that you need to manage your apartment smoothly and efficiently. Thousands of properties of all sizes and types have benefited from our dynamic system, and so could you.