What is a Hotel Management System (HMS)?
A Hotel Management Software or HMS is used to streamline hotel operations such as bookings, accounting, guest relationship management, price setting, invoice generation, and much more. Convenient to use, these systems use cloud-based storage to ensure data remains available to everyone in the team at any point in time.
“Hospitality is simply an opportunity to show love and care”
With the rising competition in the market, several companies claim to offer the best Hotel management software. It can be quite a dilemma to choose from several options.
Here's what to keep in mind when selecting an HMS:
At least 80 % of your business needs should be taken care of by the HMS. From reservation management, CRM, reports, Channel maintenance, online booking engine, etc., the basic features should help you streamline your daily business operations and cut down tedious tasks for your employees. You can integrate bookings and accounting systems into one place for other facilities like the spa, gym, restaurants, conference rooms etc. The reception will have access to all the required data with information about availability, reservations, and invoicing to assist customers.
Suppose the current software does not have the necessary functions. In that case, you will be forced to purchase other software to manage your business that can significantly impact the performance as you will be switching between software at once.
When you kick off the hotel launch, all seek to put long-term plans into action. In the beginning, the basic features prove to be extremely productive and help you scale up. Once that happens, your business needs will expand, so you will need to accommodate them by adding new features, third-party integrations, increased website loads, storage space, etc.
If your business continues on its upward trajectory, you might require to purchase a more expensive HMS package and migrate to a new system. So when you are selecting an HMS, do think about the expandability of the software for future use.
Third-party integrations are vital for Hotel management software. While direct bookings may improve guest loyalty, none can deny that Online Travel Agencies are one of the biggest sources of revenue. Many hotels see a large portion of their bookings come from OTAs.
With a channel manager, these OTAs have information about the room availability and other necessary information. Not to miss, the software should come with built-in reports that display how the channels are performing and whether they have been effective or not. Optimiser offers Oracle-Opera integration to ensure data is transferred seamlessly and customers get instant responses for their queries.
The rooms booked through these OTAs will be updated in your HMS and reduce the number of rooms being displayed in real-time. All the information is automatically updated on all channels without you needing to fuss over updating it.
Data privacy is the biggest concern of many guests as it is one of the biggest threats of the 21st century. You will need a system that ensures that all the customer information will be safe and secure. Cutting-edge practices by such software have been taken up as security remains the top priority apart from automating workflows and streamlining the business process.
SaaS providers are the main targets of hackers who seek to compromise servers to receive information in bulk. All the rights and data of an off-the-shelf solution should be carefully noted and recognised which rights belong to the provider. It guarantees that the provider will not sell the data to someone else.
The biggest challenge of HMS is that these are not easy to use. The right hotel management software comes with various in-built features; a large manual to mull over might not be the best way to improve productivity and business operations. If your employees do not know how to use the system, you are in a dangerous predicament compared to when you did not own an HMS. Even if the provider gives out demo sessions to the employees, they can only remember so much. No one will be able to use the software to its fullest potential due to its sophisticated interface.
Another important function is that the system is customisable. While it may seem trivial initially, an intuitive system that is easy to customise goes a long way to improve your business undertakings.
Most of the HMS are paid. The prices depend upon the size and functionality set. Some are quite expensive and can go up to 3700 GBP or more per year for bigger hotels.
The issue here is that there is no guarantee that the system used by bigger names will suit your business needs. Some choose to build their HMS system, while others try the software before landing the right one. The trick is to identify your hotel needs and leveraging them while selecting an HMS.
Selecting an HMS can be a daunting task if you do not know what you are looking for. While these tips can assist you in decision-making, trying out various software can give you a peek into your business needs and whether the market has companies equipped with the feature. Even if you choose to build your system, this can be an enlightening experience and help you tailor software that suits your business needs.