The Property Management Systems (PMS) landscape has evolved in recent years with the proliferation of open Application Programming Interfaces (API), cloud-based computing, and third-party integrations.
To keep up with the changing landscape, there are a plethora of modules and functionalities—both in-house and third-party—a PMS should be interoperable with to meet hotels’ needs.
Adding strategic value to the hotel management software, PMSs integrated with the software hotels already use orchestrate their operations regarding room reservation, cleaning and maintenance, staff management, front and back of house operations, and digital services for guests.
Below are 5 software capabilities that centralize data and utilize open APIs to enable the critical integrations that a robust PMS needs.
Central Reservation Systems
Hotels are using Central Reservations Systems (CRS), which work as the main module in their PMSs, to execute direct booking, confirmations, cancellations, and even room blocking for individuals, groups, and businesses. Since the CRS contains the hotel’s availability, current and future rates, and inventory data, it manages online and offline bookings all in one centralized system through integrations with:
- Global Distribution Systems (GDS): An advanced CRS integrated with third-party GDSs such as Amadeus, Travelport, Sabre, SiteMinder, and Pegasus enables transactions between travel bookers and suppliers.
- Online Travel Agencies (OTA): Integrations with popular third-party OTAs like Priceline, Kayak, and Expedia pushes and pulls vacancy data to and from various platforms to reach a large range of guests looking for hotel rooms to book.
- Point of Sale Systems (POS): further integration with digital Point-of-Sale systems (POS) authorizes efficient PCI-compliant credit card deposit per room.
In addition to fully automating the booking reservation and confirmation processes, hotels are looking to take advantage of the data made available by the CRS. Data that offers hotels more comprehensive planning, forecasting, and insights to be used in their marketing.
Hotels know that answering guests’ questions without them having to ask is one sure-fire way to not only improve guests’ experiences but also reduce the amount of labor that hotel staff needs to complete. This is why they look to concierge applications that can be accessed through a mobile device to provide guests with various services. All without the guests having to leave their room—or before they even get to the room with app-enabled check-in.
Programmed applications for mobile devices integrated to Amadeus Hotel Service Optimization Solutions (HotSOS), for example, enable user-facing remote check-in and check-out, as well as geolocation services. Integration with outside services helps users find the best dining options or the nearest museums and attractions based on geolocation and third-party integration.
Within the hotel, the apps can access amenities like spa bookings, wake-up calls, and room service or food deliveries. Hotel billing solutions, integrated with each hotel room through apps, allow guests to seamlessly purchase additional items from the comfort of their rooms.
Concierge applications also double as a direct marketing channel through integration with a hotel’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. While using the app, guests can receive promotions for the hotel’s restaurant or bar to persuade them to use the various amenities the hotel has to offer. And guest profiles can be built with analytics from the applications for CRM reports that detail guest preferences.
Cleaning, Maintenance, and Staff Management
Housekeeping, maintenance, and employee management are other areas of operation that hotels are using software to optimize. With your PMS software, tracking housekeeping tasks, fulfilling general maintenance schedules, and managing employee-related processes is possible through integrations with a hotels’:
- Housekeeping and Maintenance Modules: Staff can access personalized digital schedules through cloud-based digital portals on mobile devices or tablets that organize daily cleaning and maintenance priorities and enable accountability. Housekeeping teams can mark rooms as clean, dirty, or out of order to maintain a hotel’s hygiene strategy. And an efficient turnaround of rooms after checkout can be ensured during busy seasons when time frames between check-ins are minimal.
- Inventory Management Systems (IMS): Cleaning products, servicing items, in-room amenities, mini bar stock, linens, and toiletries stock can be easily monitored. Staff can see what is available, what needs to be ordered, has been ordered, and whether or not the items have been received or are pending.
- Human Capital Management Systems (HCMS): Recruiting and onboarding, time and attendance, payroll and taxes, benefits administration, ACA compliance, and performance management are all orchestrated through this Human Resource (HR) based system that minimizes compliance risks and contains costs by automating time-consuming HR procedures.
Having all of this information in one centralized PMS system gives the front desk visibility of up-to-the-minute room statuses so that they can accommodate early check-ins or room moves without needing to radio the housekeeping or maintenance supervisor while HCMS consolidates multiple systems into one unified HR solution.
Front-office software capabilities integrated into your PMSs will aid hotels with everyday tasks that need to be completed by the staff manning the front desk. From staying up-to-date on current and upcoming reservations to modifying bookings, a range of visibility and systemized task management can be offered to your clients.
Integrated front-office modules allow front desk staff to issue key cards, check guests in and out, fulfill housekeeping requests, manage room-related requests, process payments, issue receipts to guests, and perform audits all in one secure system.
Front-office staff should be able to utilize interoperable modules that productively access up-to-the-minute information to allow them to make modifications or requests that take immediate effect and are reflected in other modules through APIs. For example, if a guest requests new towels, front desk staff can ensure that the housekeeping module reflects which room is requesting them so that housekeeping staff can carry out the request.
Back-Office and Accounting Modules
Many cross-departmental operations happen behind the scenes in hotels to make everything run smoothly. Back-office modules integrated into your PMS will streamline hotel accounting processes such as:
- Payroll: Payroll dashboards should include solutions such as dynamic payment schedules, automated tax deductions capabilities, easy direct deposit Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT), check and paystub generation, and benefits management modules.
- Accounts Receivable: Recording sales receipts and creating invoices is accomplished through multifaceted accounts receivable platforms that can provide SMS and email alerts to keep accounting staff current.
- Accounts Payable: Payable tracking software with customizable protocols for different expense and liability types and bill/purchase management modules with intuitive entry forms enable the recording, categorizing, scheduling, and approving of payments.
Accounting software, that automates billing, such as QuickBooks, can be integrated to additionally generate invoices, capacitate budgeting and forecasting, and produce profit/loss analytics as well as enable tax preparation.
Meeting Modern Hospitality Technology Needs
The hospitality industry expands with every passing decade, with the rate of growth currently surpassing rates of global GDP growth. As more guests, year to year, travel for business and leisure, hotels, in particular, are supporting their staff and services with the most up-to-date software and modules.
Keeping up with the most current demands of the hotel industry is essential as a PMS provider. And the most sought-after PMSs are those that integrate with the most widely used and illustrious platforms, modules, and systems. Highly interoperable systems are the only way to offer hotels robust and responsive platforms with the plug-and-play functionality they require.
PMSs that meet Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) standards offer the technological consolidation and data integration capabilities that meet hotels’ demands for highly functional systems. The specifications of these standards work to produce vendor alliances and facilitate the integration of applications, all to provide hotels with easily managed, continually evolving hospitality software solutions that meet technology needs on a global basis.
When it comes to hotel software development, developers who utilize HTNG standards are essential for augmenting your custom hospitality software with the most contemporarily relevant and expertly developed APIs.
The ability to provide software that addresses the needs of all property types and sizes with modern, cloud-based, and industry standard compliant hotel management solutions will guarantee your position as an industry-leading hospitality tech provider within the ever-changing marketplace.
Tyler Boykin is a Director of Sales at Chetu, Inc., a global, custom software development company, where he oversees the Hospitality & Travel, Transportation, Events & Meetings, and IT Service Management accounts, as well as a myriad of partner tools. A graduate of the University of West Georgia, Tyler joined Chetu in 2013 where has risen through the ranks of the sales department and helped the company grow into an award-winning organization.