Change can be a daunting prospect, especially when it involves time, resources and complex decisions. For many busy lodging operators, disrupting the status quo is a concept that just doesn’t fit into their demanding schedule. But if that schedule is fraught with inefficiencies and you’re struggling to keep up with daily tasks and the expectations of your guests, something’s gotta give before your bottom line does. Here are seven clear signs it’s time to change your property management system (PMS).
1. Daily Tasks Take Too Long (and You Know There Must Be a Better Way)
The whole purpose of a property management system is to streamline daily operations; if your PMS is not making your work day easier, it’s not doing its job. By automatically synchronizing data between departments, a modern PMS should simplify and speed up daily tasks such as taking bookings, checking guests in and out, assigning rooms, tracking housekeeping and issuing invoices.
If you are spending (wasting) too much time manually duplicating data, clicking through a bunch of screens to complete a simple task, or frequently dealing with the likes of double bookings and rate errors, your current PMS isn’t effectively consolidating data. A clunky PMS is detrimental to efficiency, guest satisfaction and, ultimately, revenue (not to mention your sanity!).
2. You’re Stuck Behind the Front Desk
The modern independent hotelier is busier than ever. Actively engaged in the various facets of operation on- and off-site, lodging operators can’t afford to be chained to the front desk all day. Property management software that is installed on a single front-desk computer hampers efficiency and service by requiring staff to drop what they’re doing and return to the front desk every time they need to check or update information. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Modern cloud PMS are deployed online, which means the system can be accessed via a secure login on any computer on- or off-property, as well as on mobile devices. Anywhere, anytime access allows authorized staff to access key information (from guest folios to room status to performance reports) from anywhere on or off the property, improving response times for service and operational decisions.
3. You Can’t Create the Packages You Want or Easily Track Ancillary Sales
More and more revenue managers are taking an increasingly holistic approach to revenue strategy, looking beyond RevPAR (revenue per available room) to maximize total revenue — including revenue from additional services and offerings such as package components, F&B, retail items, meeting space and activities.
Ancillary products and services are a great way to provide value to guests and increase total revenue. If your current PMS doesn’t support managing and tracking ancillary sales through features such as revenue codes, flexible package management, point-of-sale functionality/integration, booking add-ons and ancillary sales reports, it’s inhibiting revenue growth.
4. It’s Difficult to Stay on Top of Online Bookings (Or You’re Not Getting Any!)
The way consumers shop for travel has changed dramatically over the past decade, with most travelers now purchasing flights, accommodations and activities online. For accommodation providers, it’s crucial to be visible online where potential customers are looking. Properties that do not provide the ability to book online are losing a significant chunk of business.
A PMS that connects (through two-way integration) to online sales channels automates the process of updating availability and rates across those channels and capturing online bookings in the PMS. Through this direct connection with online channels, your PMS expands your property’s reach, simplifies inventory management and gives you greater control over distribution.
If your PMS doesn’t integrate with a direct, mobile-friendly online booking engine for your website, online travel agencies (OTAs) like Booking.com and Expedia, the Global Distribution Service (GDS) or a channel manager, it’s time to find one that does.
5. You Spend too Much Time Manually Duplicating Data Between One System and Another
If your PMS doesn’t integrate with your other hotel systems (such as POS, payment processing, CRM, keycard, in-room entertainment, call accounting, PBX and voicemail, and revenue management systems, as well as the aforementioned online distribution channels) you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time manually re-keying and managing data from multiple systems. For example, you may need to cross-check different systems to add call charges, restaurant charges or pay-per-view charges to a guest’s bill upon check-out.
Manual duplication of data between systems slows down critical daily tasks like processing reservations, guest check-in and invoicing, and is prone to error too. It’s time to find a PMS that integrates with your other systems to automate cross-system processes for optimum efficiency and accuracy.
6. You’re Missing Opportunities to Build Guest Loyalty
As technology within the hospitality industry increases along with guest expectations, accommodation providers are becoming more and more focused on providing a personalized guest experience. If you are struggling to identify repeat guests or are finding it hard to keep track of guest requests and preferences, you’re missing valuable opportunities to build and strengthen customer loyalty.
To provide a personalized guest experience you have to know your guests. A PMS that doesn’t allow you to record guest profiles (complete with information like stay history and guest preferences), lacks automated guest email functionality, or doesn’t integrate with CRM or guest engagement software is inhibiting your relationship with guests.
7. It’s Hard to Get at the Numbers You Need
Most property management systems provide some level of reporting, from booking, occupancy and revenue reports to custom reporting features. While tracking and analyzing standard KPIs like occupancy rates, ADR and RevPAR is key to growing any lodging business, every property is unique and may require additional reports tailored to the way the property operates. A good PMS will offer the ability to generate customized reports, allowing you to easily filter, sort and export the data you need.
A PMS that fits your property’s reporting requirements is critical to long-term success, so if your PMS makes it difficult or impossible to generate the numbers you need to evaluate and grow your business, it’s time to look for one that does.
As the center of control for daily operations, your property management system has a direct effect on your bottom line. If you’re experiencing some of the red flags mentioned above, it’s time for a change. Check out our recent blog series, What to Look For in a PMS Today: Part 1 – Essential Features and Part 2 – Important Considerations for help with choosing a new system that is right for your property. You might also like to read our white paper, Full Steam Ahead: A Guide to Changing Your Property Management System, which includes a handy checklist to guide lodging operators through the process of implementing a new PMS.