Hoteliers of all shapes and sizes know that managing a property in 2019 takes a lot of work. In order to keep your property moving and working efficiently, software plays an essential role. SaaS property management systems have changed the game for property owners. But not all property management solutions are created the same. To help you find the best one for your company we’ve compiled a list of the most important features you should consider while searching for the best hotel property management system.
The global hospitality property management software market is predicted have a growth rate of 8.0% from 2019 to 2025 and will reach $1.17 billion by the end of the forecast period. The primary growth driver for this market is the growth in tourism. According to a Deloitte report, there has been a historic surge in travel demand experienced by segments in the travel industry. With the upward and positive trend in travel and tourism, hotels and hospitality businesses are looking to keep pace with the demand while reducing cost and maintaining quality service offerings. Property management software helps managers and business owners handle daily operations, manage accounting and financials, as well as track and schedule tenants, availability, and bookings.
The above visual shows the trends in property management software for managing hotel rooms and guests. The top 10 must-have features of property management software we’ve included here follow closely the direction that this type of solution is charting. If you’re a new business, take this as a guidepost as you navigate the hospitality industry. If you have been in the business longer, take stock of features you may have missed and evaluate the software you’re using. Maybe its time for an upgrade to a more robust solution that can scale as your business expands and takes in more clients and handle bigger operations. For the meantime, let’s go over the essentials below.
An interactive calendar is essential to any property management system. A calendar allows property owners, managers, and employees to visualize their reservations and availability in different ways. Managing rooms and reservations can feel like an intense game of Tetris sometimes and a calendar helps give you a new perspective. You’ll find new opportunities to create more reservations and optimize current flow.
One of the most important features of a property management system is rate plan management. In today’s market, your hotel’s rates are probably affected by a few different variables including distribution channel, season, day, etc. Therefore different rate plans are extremely necessary. A good property management system will allow you to create rate plans and derived rate plans and then easily assign them to reservations.
Distribution is one of the major ways that small to medium-sized properties can compete with large hotel brands. Channel managers have become common and relatively cheap over the past few years. They’ve become essential to managing any type of property. When shopping around for a property management system, make sure that it connects to a powerful channel manager.
Choosing a channel manager that has direct, two-way integrations with many distribution channels will make all the difference in the world. While your property may not want to join every available channel, you’ll want as many options to choose from as possible.
Reporting is essential to any business and your property is no different. When choosing a property management system, there should be a robust reporting module built in. There are many different types of reports that a hotel should run every night. A few examples of reports that should be run every night include a room and tax report which shows all your room revenue associated for the day or a shift audit report which shows the transactions each cashier performed for the day.
Generally, we separate reports into three categories:
Production Reports: Production reports help you understand how your property is operating per rate plan, distribution channel, RevPar, ADR, and occupancy calculations. These reports should be used to make strategic decisions on distribution, pricing, and the like.
Financial Reports: Financial reports are just what they sound like. They’re the nitty gritty numbers that report revenue, taxes, commissions, net income, etc. These reports help you understand what money is coming in and going out. They’re also essential for tax and government reporting purposes.
Daily Activity Reports: Daily activity reports help keep you and your staff on the same page every day. Arrival, departure, and in-house reports keep track of your guests and help run a smooth operation. Every day there are hundreds of things happening at the same time and these reports help bring order to chaos.
Shared inventory allows you to sell the inventory in different formats. For example, shared inventory allows you to sell the same private room as multiple different room types. The purpose of this tool is to sell the most sought after room types to the people who want them at the right time. As a property, you don’t always know exactly what is in demand, whether it’s a room with two queens or a king. With shared inventory, you’re able to cater to the best of both worlds and offer what the market is looking for.
Shared inventory often enhances a property’s yield management strategy. Yield management is the practice of frequently changing rates and availability in order to get the most money per available booking or make your property the most competitive. Shared inventory helps make your shared inventory offerings even stronger by offering the same physical inventory in multiple different formats.
Direct bookings have become a popular topic over the past few years and for good reason. Online distribution channels that can bring more business to your property are great, but they come at a cost. And sometimes, that cost is significant as commission percentages increase. However, if a traveler has found their way to your website, you deserve to capture their direct booking. And you’re much more likely to capture their lead if you have a streamlined direct booking engine on your website.
Gone are the days where guests are willing to fill out an inquiry form and then wait for you to email them back. A good booking engine allows guests to research their different options, check availability, complete payment, and receive a confirmation in one session.
Even the large hotels, who generally have a pretty tight relationship with online travel agencies, have made a massive push towards direct bookings in the past couple of years.
A good property management system will also act as a basic customer management system. Your previous guests’ contact information is a huge asset that a lot of properties neglect to use. Email marketing is still very much alive as 69% of businesses still spend time and money on it. Other than being able to tap new leads, you can also use it to keep in touch with previous customers about local happenings, discounts, and other important information.
Depending on the property, you may have a significant amount of returning guests. Having customer profiles will help you keep track of personal information to make their stay even better.
Point of sale integrations is one of those small details that make a huge difference in a property management system. Accepting and modifying reservations becomes easy and seamless with a point of sale integration. Property management systems that separate their POS from their reservation and transaction system are at a greater risk for error and mismatched data.
Pricing intelligence is the latest technology to become more accessible to hoteliers of all sizes. Pricing intelligence is the process of collecting and acting upon real-time consumer and competitor activity. Pricing intelligence is directly related to yield management in that it allows you to make intelligent decisions based on real data.
Pricing intelligence software allows you to create competitor sets that group and track their rates and occupancy over time. Benchmarking your performance against your competitors is one of the best ways to optimize your offering. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing your pricing strategy and sometimes it’s more complicated and requires you to reevaluate your amenities or offering.
Related to reporting and revenue management, a good property management system will allow you to add transactions to various accounts. Most properties need some sort of POS to manage payments for their bar, restaurant, small store, etc.
In today’s day and age, there are many hotel management software options and functionalities at all price points. No matter what type or size of property you operate, there is likely a solution of there that will work for you. The ten functions listed above are some of the most basic and important in today’s ever-changing market. Put you and your property in a position to win with increased intelligence and efficiency.
The features we listed above will form the core tools of your business. Together with automation and integration capabilities, they will help you streamline your operation and extend your platform to do other functions such as accept online payments and keep detailed information on your customers and transactions. If you want to know more of what a property management system can do for you, check out our top software in this category. Sign up for Cloudbeds free demo here.
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