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Five Capabilities Small Hotel Operators Should Consider Before Choosing a PMS

As hotels and resorts come under pressure to offer ever-increasing standards of guest service and efficiency, for smaller scale properties, the challenge to deliver is compounded by an industry focused on creating costly PMS solutions that cater only to larger hotel needs. With fewer resources to rely on during their day-to-day operations, countless small hotels have been in urgent need of platforms capable of automating tasks and streamlining communications in order to relieve pressure from overburdened departments.

With newer technology closing this gap in service however, small-scale hoteliers are finally being provided with affordable PMS options capable of offering a level of efficiency that for too long has been out of reach. Yet as more PMS solutions become available for their market segment, smaller hotels should keep in mind that certain features remain critical to their ability to maintain long term guest satisfaction and revenues. This article, from FCS Computer Systems, discusses five capabilities that all smaller hotels should consider before implementing a PMS.
1)      Running front- and back-end operations so that you don’t have to. It goes without saying that an effective PMS solution should present hoteliers with the ability to automate time consuming tasks that are essential to running a successful business. While different solutions may offer a range of different features, for small properties on a tight budget, a core functionality that should be offered by any platform chosen is the ability to streamline the guest experience throughout the entirety of their stay. When provided with live and clear details on guestroom and rates availability for example, staff members can create and confirm reservations in a seamless flow that saves time for both themselves and for guests. Able to also store personal information in individual guest profiles, hoteliers can further expand on their capability to offer a customized experience by instantly retrieving any personal preferences.
2)      Information on your terms. As properties that operate with far less onsite personnel, it is vital for small scale hotels to have easy and quick access to data that is relevant to a specific need at a particular time. For such properties, an effective PMS solution should therefore be capable of offering a user interface that is both user friendly and that can customize the type of data provided. Via a simplified dashboard, staff should be able to effortlessly input and view information such as descriptions, rates codes and room type codes. A functional platform must also be capable of interpreting these details into actionable data. By integrating rate code information into a flexible software structure that operates in real time for instance, front desk staff can instantly manage and ensure that the correct pricing, packages or discounts are always applied. With properties often accumulating and having to deal with vast amounts of data on a daily basis, it is also important to have a solution that can offer tiered access based on the level of information that an employee needs to perform tasks. Such a feature not only streamlines operations and provides quicker access to relevant details, but also enhances a property’s data security abilities. 
3)      Seeing the big picture with performance reporting. Hotels stretched for time and resources often don’t have the time to analyze which aspects of their operations are functioning effectively, and which parts need adjusting in order to improve revenues, guest satisfaction or reduce costs. A worthwhile PMS solution should be able to offer financial performance insight with comprehensive reports that can track all revenue earned, any expenses incurred or any tax requirements that are needed to be taken into consideration. For greater and more personalized insight, hoteliers should also consider a platform able to produce reports on a daily, weekly, monthly or 24-month rolling basis. 
4)      Data at your fingertips with mobile compatibility. Staff based at a small property need to be on the move constantly to ensure completion of all tasks, so it is important to consider a PMS solution that is capable of being accessed and interacted with remotely. By implementing a platform that is mobile compatible, staff members can access reports and input data, regardless of location, by using their own smart devices. Such a feature not only allows users to keep information up-to-date 24 hours a day, but also ensures that hoteliers have the ability to make informed decisions at all times and from any part of the property or beyond. 
5)      A solution that fits your budget. A PMS platform that offers the above mentioned benefits means little if the price is simply outside of the financial reach of the smaller hotelier. Such properties are now able to find options that take their budgets into account, however. A reputable provider will work to ensure that their PMS platform serves as a source for increased profits, and not as a further drain on revenue.  Before committing to any solution, hoteliers should also consider whether a provider offers a free trial of their services, in order to determine if the platform is a good fit for their property.  
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