Technology has changed the way we do business. The hospitality industry is beaming with a plethora of solutions to streamline operations. It is imperative to know which one would benefit your business the best. Hotel PMS and Channel Manager integration is one such ubiquitous solution that has emerged as game-changing resources for hoteliers. This potent combination has brought about a revolution in the hotel industry owing to its automated process and real-time online distribution.
What is Hotel PMS?
Hotel Property Management Systems or Hotel PMS, is a centralized system that helps to seamlessly organize and manage front-desk operations, including bookings, check-in, check-out, accounting, billing, budgeting, reporting, inventory management, and guest information, eliminating the hassle of scattered paperwork, and spreadsheets. It has consolidated everything into a single accessible online platform. The Hotel PMS further unlocks the full potential of your property by integrating with multiple other third-party software such as hotel channel manager, revenue management system, etc.
Benefits of having a centralized PMS for real-time management
A Hotel PMS is primarily used to provide a hassle-free consumer journey right from hotel booking to check-out. It is integral for hoteliers to provide a highly personalized and pleasant guest experience.
- Easy check-in/ check-out - A mobile-compatible cloud-based PMS system ensures quick and efficient guest service anywhere and anytime. This frees up your front-desk staff time by automating check-in, and check-out, enabling guest services, and assigning rooms they can easily handle with internet connectivity and from anywhere.
- Integrated back-office systems- You can streamline both financial management and operational tasks by seamlessly consolidating built-in connections with payment gateways, accounts payable, accounts receivable, property infrastructure platforms, and other hotel industry software. It minimizes manual errors with automated commission handling and accounts receivable, accurate guest folios, and precise billing procedures for greater efficiency.
- Mobile housekeeping - Enhancement of housekeeping efficiency as instant updates are made available on mobile devices on instances of check-out to intimate the need for room cleaning. It leads to greater flexibility for room management and improved response time.
- Guest data- It offers a centralized repository to consolidate customer data from multiple sources. Such a centralized approach simplifies data access and ensures data consistency. It also safeguards confidential client information owing to its robust security protocols, including access control and encryption. This prevents unauthorized breaches and access.
The Role of Channel Manager
The highly aggressive hospitality sector, managing inventory and rates across several distribution channels including websites and online travel agencies (OTAs), is crucial for increased occupancy and revenue generation. A channel manager integration streamlines and simplifies this process. It automatically updates real-time changes and adjusts listings across all channels at instances such as whenever a booking is made or there is a change in room availability or rates.
Benefits of Hotel Channel Management Software
A hotel channel manager allows hoteliers to get a bird’s eye view of all channels while checking their effectiveness. This helps determine which channels are generating more profit thus, enabling the adjustment of a distribution strategy accordingly.
The most prominent features and benefits of hotel channel management software are:
- Centralized inventory management - It helps simplify the management of room inventory across all booking platforms. There is automatic updation of room rates, availability, restrictions, etc.
- Real-time updates- The channel manager adjusts data in real-time which is in sync with any changes concerning room rates, restrictions, or inventory to be reflected instantly across all channels. This helps in quick adjustment as per market trends while enhancing revenue maximization opportunities.
- Performance analytics - Most channel managers come with built-in analytics tools that aid in tracking business performance across all channels. It analyzes data including channel performance, booking patterns, revenue, etc. This enables smooth decision-making for strategic distribution.
- Rate management- It helps hoteliers strategize pricing, and create and update details about price changes, promotions, discounts, etc across multiple channels. This helps to attract varied customer segments and augment bookings.
Key trends in distribution channels
There have been significant shifts in the distribution channels of the hospitality sector in recent years. This is mainly because of customer preferences, technology advancements, and competitive landscapes. As a hotelier, it is important to stay updated with the latest market trends to modify your distribution strategy as and when needed.
Some of the key trends in distribution channels are listed below:
- Increase in the number of OTAs- Online Travel Agencies or OTAs are widely used to make reservations by guests. OTAs offer the convenience of easy bookings while allowing customers to compare various options concerning pricing and services. This has led to the maximum number of hotels relying on OTAs for online visibility and broader reach.
- Emphasis on direct bookings - Most of the time OTAs charge high commission fees. This has also resulted in hotels focusing on investing in their websites to enable direct bookings. This allows them to keep a greater profit margin. This trend allows hoteliers to give a more personalized booking experience to guests with exclusive discounts and loyalty programs.
- Bookings through smartphones and apps - This trend has made hoteliers make their websites compatible with mobile devices. They have even made dedicated mobile apps to encourage a more personalized booking experience for customers.
- Increase in metasearch engines - Today we have a huge number of metasearch engines such as Kayak, Trivago, Google Hotel ads, etc. These search engines aggregate rates and booking sites’ availability for customers so that they can compare prices and opt for the best deals. This has made it imperative for hotels to make their presence felt on such metasearch platforms.
- Social media as a distribution channel - Hoteliers are now investing in great social media content on platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. These platforms play a major role in building brand value while also augmenting sales.
Understanding PMS and Channel Manager Integration
The real-time two-way integration of Hotel PMS and Channel Manager is a common practice to enable seamless communication between these two systems. Any changes in the room availability or rates done in the Hotel PMS will instantly reflect on all connected online channels, including OTAs, metasearch engines, and hotel websites via the channel manager. Similarly, any bookings done on the website or OTAs will reflect in the Hotel PMS. This means that there is no need to manually update the inventory and rates as it is taken care of by the Hotel PMS and channel manager integration. Such automated process leads to:
- 90% time savings
- Rate parity across online sales channels
- Improved ranking on OTAs
- More room sales
- Zero overbooking
To succeed in the highly competitive hospitality sector, it is crucial to take advantage of two powerful solutions: Cloud-based Hotel PMS and Channel Manager. The key is to select the right solutions that can integrate seamlessly with each other.