With so much innovation in today’s technological cloudscape, system integration (otherwise known as system interfacing) is not only key to maximizing operational efficiency but to staying current and competitive, too.
Integration has always been a fundamental characteristic of hotel property management systems (PMS). Converging core hotel departments, from sales to front desk to housekeeping to accounting, the PMS serves as a central point of control, eliminating the need to manually consolidate information between departments by automating and integrating processes.
PMS have also long interfaced to external systems like POS, electronic locking, call accounting, PBX, in-room entertainment, the GDS and OTAs, allowing these systems to talk to each other (share relevant data) in order to automate cross-system processes and improve efficiency property-wide. Now, as the hospitality industry increasingly operates online, PMS are also called to integrate with online reputation management systems, guest self-check-in apps, digital marketing software and online channel managers.
System integration allows you to streamline operations across your entire property by assembling the individual vendors that best serve your specific requirements — the best PMS, the best payment processor, the best online distribution channels, the best revenue management system — all working together to form a grand management machine. At the heart of hotel operations, it’s essential that your PMS plays nicely with vendors across the industry.
While integrating legacy systems has always been a complex and costly task, cloud hotel software, which is progressively built on common Web standards and open APIs, is designed with system integration in mind. So say goodbye to manually duplicating data between your PMS and other hotel software — it’s now easier and cheaper than ever to unite your property’s various systems for optimal efficiency and guest service.
PMS INTERFACES (In Alphabetical Order)
Call Accounting Systems – When a call accounting system is interfaced with a PMS, call charges are automatically applied to the correct guest folio, eliminating the need to add telephone charges to guest folios manually and ensuring accurate billing.
Digital Marketing Software – Interfaces between digital marketing tools and the PMS can save lodging operators time in their marketing efforts by automating management of guest communications. The interface allows the PMS to send live reservation information directly to the digital marketing system for automated pre- and post-stay email communications, special offers, electronic surveys and even personalized eConcierge platforms.
Electronic Locking Systems – With this interface, keycards can be encoded and managed through your PMS, which automatically sends relevant information (eg. room number, length of stay) to your electronic locking system. There’s no need to enter this information manually into your locking system – all you have to do is click a button and swipe the keycard to encode it.
Energy Management Systems – Interface your energy management system with your PMS to pre-condition guest rooms upon guest check-in and automatically switch to energy-saving mode upon check-out. This automation not only saves time, but money too, as lights, heating and air conditioning are turned on and off in a timelier fashion, conserving energy even further.
GDS, OTAs & Channel Managers – Direct integration between PMS and online distribution channels is a big time saver and helps to maximize online revenue. The interface allows GDS/OTA inventory, rates and reservations to be controlled directly from within the PMS — the PMS automatically pushes designated inventory, rates and availability to the channel, and reservations made through the channel are automatically sent to the PMS, with availability adjusted accordingly. No more precious time spent on manually updating reservations data across channels and the PMS.
In-Room Entertainment Systems – Interfacing your in-room entertainment system with your PMS is very useful for automatically posting pay-per-view and Internet charges to guest folios, eliminating the need to do it manually and helping to minimize guest-disputed charges.
Payment Gateways – Reducing the steps required to process card payments, and eliminating keying errors, this interface securely facilitates credit card acceptance through the PMS. Integrating your PMS with a payment gateway removes the need for a stand-alone credit card terminal and speeds up the check-in/check-out process.
PBX & Voice Mail – Integrate your PBX and voice mail systems to your PMS for effortless management of internal communications. A PBX/voice mail interface can automate such processes as activating and deactivating guestroom phones and voice mail upon check-in and check-out, and clearing voice mail greetings and voice messages upon guest check-out.
POS Systems – A PMS-POS interface automates the process of posting restaurant tickets or shop/spa charges to guest folios, improving accuracy and efficiency. The POS queries the PMS in real time to verify guest status and room number and then automatically posts the charge to the guest folio.
Reputation Management Systems – Reputation management systems help properties manage their online reputation and social customer service by monitoring social media and increasing review volume, among other important functions. By integrating your PMS with your reputation management system, the process of requesting and posting guest feedback via electronic post-stay surveys can be completely automated.
Revenue Management Systems – Direct integration between PMS and RMS (revenue management system) automates the process of updating dynamic pricing to the PMS, greatly simplifying yield management. Here’s how it works: the PMS automatically pushes pricing and availability to the RMS, and the RMS automatically updates accepted recommended rates in the PMS.
Self-Check-in/Check-out Terminals – Self-check-in terminals or kiosks allow guests to check themselves in or out, pay their bill, and maybe even choose their own room. As a guest-facing extension of the PMS, integration with your property management system really goes without saying.