In our last post we talked about how your PMS should be customizable to your property-type. Today we’re going to cover the essential features your PMS must have.
Modern PMS software is loaded with features – there are so many, in fact, that it wouldn’t be very prudent to list them all here.
Instead we’re going to focus on the must-haves, the things your PMS absolutely needs to be able to do.
Requirements for Front Desk Operations
A property management system should make front desk operations easy and the feature set here should be very comprehensive. At the minimum it should include:
- A visual room chart (this may be called a tape chart or a rack, depending on the PMS). The room chart makes it easy for staff to see bookings by room over a period of time.
- The ability to quickly see availabilities and rates. Speed is important here – staff will check rates when people call in so it shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to pull this information up.
- Manage guest reservations. Whether someone walks-in or books a reservation months in advance, the management of this process is a cornerstone of PMS software.
- See a complete guest profile and history. It’s important to be able to reference guest information and history in order to give the highest levels of service.
- Check guests in and out. Quickly.
- Create invoices and booking confirmations.
While there are many more features available in modern PMS software, this is the core of the functionality for the front desk.
A Rate Management System is Important
Every PMS should have a rate management system that will allow your hotel to take advantage of flexible pricing.
If rate management is a brand new concept to you, here’s how it works: with a rate management system you can automatically change rates based on occupancy, days, seasons, or events.
Let’s say an event is happening in your city one weekend. You know that the hotels in your area will have elevated demand and you’re all but guaranteed to sell out your rooms. You can configure your PMS to automatically increase rates.
Likewise, if you have steady demand you can set it so that after a certain level of occupancy is reached, rates go up. This system is important because it helps maximize the revenue and profitability generated by your hotel.
Your PMS Software Needs Detailed Reporting
PMS software functions as the central place for your hotel’s data. All your guest history, rates, and interface connections will have their information flow into this system. How do you organize all this information? With reports.
The PMS should have reports built-in (that is to say they’re pre-built and can be generated in an instant), but the system should also allow for custom reports. This will allow your hotel to gather and view data in a way that suits your organization.
Other Important Features…
All PMS software should be able to do the following:
- Facilitate groups as well as individual bookings
- Have (or interface with) a loyalty program
- Allow for packages to be created, letting guests take advantage of bundled deals
- Configure special offers
- Be able to handle tax in your locale
- Integrate with OTAs and other 3rd party providers
That’s a fairly complete list of features that a PMS should have. We’ll cover some of the interfaces more in-depth in our next article, so be sure to look out for it.
Update: See part 4 here.