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What is hospitality property management software?
Hospitality property management software enables hospitality businesses (hotels, motels, resorts, etc.) to manage administrative tasks such as reservations, front desk operations, housekeeping, room assignments, billing, online booking, and guest services. The software automates tasks including booking, marketing, and billing for various property types, which helps speed up overall processes, invoicing, room turnover, and guest communications.
The benefits of hospitality property management software
- Enhance guest experiences and build relationships: A foundational pillar of growth in the hospitality industry is enhancing guest experiences, and building/maintaining good relationships with them. Hospitality property management software can help improve consumer experiences through functionality such as mobile bookings, and technology-facilitated express check-ins and check-outs.
- Manage online booking channels/distribution: To survive, achieve success, and ensure visibility within the industry, hospitality properties must be present on multiple online platforms/channels for customers to find and book them. Hospitality property management software can manage these channels by integrating with online travel agents (OTAs) and global distribution systems (GDSs), expanding businesses' reach across the internet through a single system and helping them avoid double bookings.
- Manage revenue: Managing revenue and business strategies is critical for success in the hospitality industry. Hospitality property management software allows hoteliers and business owners to implement effective data-driven revenue management strategies that track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as average daily rate (ADR), revenue per available room (REVPAR), and more. It helps hoteliers create a flexible room pricing strategy, which in turn allows them to maximize revenue for their property.
Typical features of hospitality property management software
- Reservation management: Manage and track room reservations and allocation, including room status, guest count, and discounts.
- Front desk management: Check guests in and out, issue key cards, and manage requests related to room and reservation changes.
- Housekeeping management: Track the status of each room, delegate tasks to housekeeping staff, and organize maintenance reports.
- Online booking: Schedule and manage online appointments and reservations made through your hotel website, third-party booking engine, or an online travel agency (OTA).
- Maintenance management: Plan, organize, and oversee maintenance operations. Track maintenance requests and update their statuses to ensure the longevity of property assets.
- GDS/OTA integration: List rates and occupancy on various online platforms/channels and through third-party booking partners.
Considerations when purchasing a hospitality property management system
- Mobile reservation compatibility/functionality: Consumers spend more time on their mobile phones than ever before, and prefer to make and manage reservations using a mobile phone or tablet. Mobile compatibility/functionality also streamlines hotel operations on the backend, facilitating instant consumer communication. Before investing in a hospitality property management system, be sure it offers mobile booking functionality to meet your customers where they are and avoid losing out on associated revenue.
- Integration with other software: It's important for your hospitality property management software to integrate with your existing systems, such as property management solutions and customer relationship management software. Before investing in a hospitality property management solution, ask vendors about their product's integration capabilities to avoid siloed tools.
- Total cost of ownership: There are a variety of hospitality property management software systems available; choosing one that suits your budget and business requirements is important. Consider how hospitality management software will affect your staff's workloads, and evaluate whether your initial purchase will meet your needs over time or whether it'll require costly upgrades in the future. Additional costs related to upgrades, maintenance, employee training, and hardware/software installation can increase a system's total cost of ownership.
Relevant hospitality property management software trends
- The internet of things (IoT) and smart rooms will disrupt customer expectations: As technology helps customers make purchase decisions, hoteliers will gain more customers as they provide better facilities and smart rooms. Hilton is working on a "connected room" concept where loyalty program members will be able to control room lighting and HVAC systems through a mobile app. Marriott, on the other hand, is creating its own technology using Samsung's cloud-based IoT platform, ATRIK, which aims to connect 20 billion devices by 2020.
- Sustainability is preferred by customers: Modern travelers want to stay in hotels that are eco-conscious and eco-friendly, and are willing to pay extra for sustainable tourism. Tech innovations are facilitating such experiences, including solar energy, hybrid vehicles, and virtual reality tours.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) is improving customer service: AI-driven software and AI chatbots are increasing in popularity, and can help hoteliers through customer communications and request management. Hilton's robot concierge, for example, uses machine learning and AI to improve in-person customer service by providing destination information for guests.