Hotel managers are kind of superheroes. They have to do millions of tasks every day to give their guests the perfect experience. Checking guests in and out, updating booking information for rooms, making reports, and monitoring how other hotel workers perform is just a tiny part of their work. Done well, their work results in excellent hotel service, which leads to guests coming back and recommending the hotel to others.
Back in the day, hotel management was a paper routine. We won’t even describe you how difficult it was to control everything and how many hours people spent on managing their day-to-day tasks in hotels. When personal computers became common, managing tasks in hotels became easier. Hotel managers used spreadsheets, and this was the first step to an organized system. But spreadsheets aren’t a solution for modern hotels.
Today, a management system for hotels is a necessity, not a luxury. There are lots of commercial Property Management Systems (PMSs) for hotels on the market, such as Cloudbeds, eZee Frontdesk, and Hotelogix. This type of software is used to manage front-office tasks such as making reservations, checking guests in and out, assigning rooms, managing room rates, and billing. But generic solutions don’t always meet the needs of hotel owners. We’re going to talk about why hotel owners decide to build their own custom management systems.
Why commercial PMS solutions may fail to solve some of your problems
Commercial hotel management software meets generic needs. That’s why this software may fail to handle your specific tasks. Let’s take a look at common problems hotel owners face when using commercial hotel management software.
Limited feature set
Most hotel property management systems provide core features such as:
- Rate plan management
- Front desk
- Customer database
- Channel management
These core features handle basic front desk and back-office tasks, making the property management system a central location for hotel operations.
But if your hotels have some special offers, you won’t be able to manage them with built-in features. For example, if you offer additional services at your hotels like excursions, sports activities, and car rentals, you’ll have to use additional software to track and manage these services. But when analyzing your hotel performance, all data relevant to your services is crucial.
On the other side, you can also overpay for features that your hotel management doesn’t require. So carefully look over the feature set to see if a commercial PMS can meet your business needs.
Lack of support for languages and currencies
Consider your hotel’s location when choosing a property management system. Some ready-made management systems are adapted only to a limited number of languages and currencies. When building your own management system, you can make it flexible to ensure your hotel workers can use the property management system in any country.
Risk of using outdated technologies
When choosing a property management system for your hotels, carefully check when it was created and whether it’s updated. Some popular management systems are quite old, which can mean that they’re developed with older technologies. Will this affect your hotel business? It could, actually. The thing is, the software may not be fast and efficient enough to handle all your hotel operations simultaneously.
When creating your own management system, you can choose modern technologies and be sure the software runs equally fast on all devices you use. Developing a hotel management app can help with brand awareness and attract potential customers.
Dependency on software support
Hotels are round-the-clock operations. And your hotels have to provide flawless service at any time of day or night. There’s no need to list all the issues that may appear when using management software. But it’s important to keep in mind that using a ready-made PMS means you depend on others when providing service to your guests. Plus, if your PMS doesn’t provide support teams that speak your language, you can face even more problems.
How property management systems can solve your hotel’s business needs
Generic property management systems for hotels aim to help hotel workers. But they don’t always provide the solutions that a hotel business requires. Let’s see which business needs you can solve when building your own PMS for hotels.
Providing better service
Hotels welcome lots of guests daily. To compete with other hotels and hostels, you have to provide perfect service. It’s a challenge to ensure that all of your customers get the best from your hotel. But these efforts result in improving your business. When guests are happy with your hotel’s service, they usually come back and book your rooms again, share positive feedback on platforms like TripAdvisor, and recommend your hotel to others.
A hotel PMS helps staff perform daily tasks faster and better — for instance, by helping hotel managers quickly check guests in and out. Hotel staff also benefit from such software, which makes it easy to receive guest requests and update the housekeeping status of rooms, for example.
Booking and billing processes are also part of most property management systems, providing guests with a great experience and letting them use online tools. Actually, all automated processes are implemented to ensure you provide an excellent experience to your guests and become aware of any problems right away.
Most of the repetitive tasks that hotel managers do are time-consuming. Implementing a PMS helps to eliminate time spent on routine tasks so hotel managers can spend this time more efficiently and focus on the bigger picture.
Transparent communication between hotel workers
The service your hotels provide mostly depends on your staff. To avoid misunderstandings and lack of information, all hotel workers should use one system to communicate and update information. That’s another problem that property management systems solve. When you store all information in one system, it’s easy for people to work together.
You can also provide your staff with a messenger implemented into your PMS system so no messages are lost or missed by your workers. Another great way to help workers be aware of all their tasks and see updated information is to provide them with a mobile app for your PMS. With a mobile app, your staff can get notifications when they have work to do.
For example, a housekeeper can receive a notification that guests from room 17 have already left, so they can clean the room. When all hotel workers are on the same page, it takes less effort to provide great service to your guests.
Third-party distribution channel management
Most modern hotels use third-party services like Booking.com and other online booking platforms and search engines to increase their chances of capturing hotel bookings. But managing multiple online channels takes lots of time, and it’s hard to update them constantly.
To make this easier, you can integrate third-party distribution channels and reservation systems into your property management system. Your team can manage all bookings in one place and avoid making mistakes that affect the guest experience. A PMS lets you forget about double-booking problems.
Hoteliers aim to improve their businesses all the time. Making decisions may be hard, as there’s lots of information to collect before analyzing the whole picture. To collect and analyze data, hotel owners use property management systems.
[Cloudbeds report example]
When you manage and track all hotel operations in one system, you can get reports so that you can analyze your hotel business and implement data-driven management strategies to increase revenue. Most commercial property management systems track key performance indicators such as average daily rate, revenue per available room, and gross operating profit per available room.
But if your hotel offers additional services that you can’t add to a commercial PMS, you may lose important metrics. When building your own PMS, you can decide which reports and metrics you need to get the full picture of your business. Having such insights is a necessity when making decisions and implementing new revenue strategies. As with reports, you can compare a hotel’s performance over time.
Travellers almost always look for the perfect accommodation and service online. Of course, high demand for accommodation has resulted in high competition in the hotel business. To provide a great guest experience and save time performing daily tasks, a property management system has become a must for hotels. These applications help hotel managers perform better and ensure that hotel staff provide great hospitality to their guests.
Choosing a ready-made solution seems simple, but it can result in many issues such as an unsuitable feature set, outdated technologies that slow down your system’s performance, and dependence on a third-party service when serving your guests. If you implement a PMS that lacks features you need to track the performance of your hotel and workers, you’ll likely need to add some other software to your workflow. But if you use multiple solutions for one hotel, you can’t track and analyze the performance of the hotel fully. And you’ll spend more time updating and checking systems than you would if you kept all the information in one PMS. That’s why some hoteliers decide to build their own management systems to be sure they meet all of their business needs.