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Sitting at the heart of a hotel’s IT setup, a property management system is key to many operators’ business. Ross Bentley explores the latest trends


property’s IT system and its core function is to manage room bookings and inform staff and managers how many rooms have been sold or are vacant for any particular night, as well as the rates for individual rooms. PMSs can also interface with electronic lock- ing systems, allowing key cards to be encoded and managed. Many larger hotels also integrate their energy management system with their PMS to set room temperatures upon guest check-in and automatically switch to energy- saving mode when they check out. Likewise, because they are at the centre of operations, PMSs have traditionally linked to telephony and in-room entertainment systems, restaurant and bar points of sale, and golf and spa booking facilities, so in-property services that have been used by a guest can be centrally captured and billed for.


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In addition, PMSs are being integrated with travel management systems to manage corporate bookings, as well as revenue man- agement systems, so rooms are sold at the right rate, at the right time. More recently, the advent of the internet and


online bookings has meant that PMS provid- ers have opened up their systems to be more outward-looking. A PMS can sit behind a prop- erty’s own website and offer availability and current room rates to online bookers. PMS pro- viders have also partnered with third-party web- sites, social media platforms and online travel agencies (OTAs), such as Booking.com and Expedia, to enable hoteliers to maximise their revenue by updating their real-time availability to these different channels and manage the dif- ferent terms and conditions from these sites.


CONTINUOUS INNOVATION With this history of continuous innovation it comes as no surprise, then, that PMS com- panies are continually innovating and adding new modules to their systems to provide hote- liers with supplementary functionality. Guestline, for example, recently launched a new price comparison tool called Price Assure to enable hoteliers to display live OTA prices on their website to drive direct bookings. Guests can compare the total cost of their stay on the hotel’s website against five other online channels to give potential guests the assur- ance that they are getting the best rate on the market if they book direct. Another PMS provider, Infor, has intro-


“A PMS can sit behind a


property’s own website, and offer availability and current room rates to online bookers”


www.thecaterer.com


duced several new modules, including an activity scheduler that manages any activ- ity that might take place within a hotel, tak- ing into consideration factors such as the duration of the activity, any age restrictions, equipment hire and even if any car parking spaces might be required. According to sales director for hospitality,


Calum McIndoe, another addition to the Infor suite provides hoteliers with “a 360° view of the guest” displaying their historical spend and preferences and suggesting future offers for them based on this information. McIndoe says: “Twenty years ago, hotel


Technology Prospectus 2017 | 45


property management system (PMS) is a fundamental part of any hotel’s operation. It sits at the heart of the





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