Property Management Systems for Hotel Industry
Property management systems (PMS) contains assets of computer software package capable of supporting a variety of activities in front office and back office areas.
The four most common front office software package are designed to assist front office employees perform functions related to
- Reservation Management.
- Room Management.
- Guest Account Management.
- General Management.
Reservation Management Software.
A part of Property Management Systems computer based reservation package enables a hotel to rapidly process room request and generate timely and accurate rooms, revenue and forecasting reports. Most lodging chains participate in computer based central reservation system.
Central reservation system typically stores the reservation data, track room reserve, control reservation by room type and room rate and monitor the number of reservation received.
Reservation received at a central reservation office can be processed, confirmed and communicated to the destination property. The most modern system allows two-way communication between central reservation office and hotel computers. This way accurate hotel guest room inventories and pricing are provided to both systems.
Various reservation management reports containing summary of reservation data and guest account status information can be generated. Current reservation management software also includes upgraded room control feature, guest history module and more detailed property information such as, bed types, guest room view and special features.
Room Management Software.
Room management software is a part of Property Management Systems maintains current information on the status of rooms, provides information on room rates, assists in room assignment during registration and help front office personnel co-ordinate guest services.
A room management module of Property Management Systems can also be used to provide rapid access to room availability data during the reservation process. This information can be especially useful in short-term reservation confirmation and room revenue forecasting. Room management software can provide front desk employees with a summary of each room status just as the room rack and information rack does in a non-automated and semi-automated hotels.
In the computerized Property Management Systems, the front office employee simply enters the room number at a computer system terminal and the current status of the room appears immediately on the terminals display screen.
Once the room has been cleaned and ready for occupancy, the housekeeping staff can communicate the room status by means of a terminal located in the housekeeping department or in some case through a telephone interface. With a computerized system changes in the room status are communicated to the front desk. In addition, front desk agent can enter a guest specific request into the computer to find a room that exactly needs his or her needs.
Guest Account Management Software.
Guest account management software increases the hotels control over guest account and significantly modifies the traditional night audit routine. Guest accounts are maintained electronically thereby eliminating much of the need for folio cards, folio tray and account posting machine. The guest accounting module of Property Management Systems monitors pre-determine guest credit limit and provides flexibility through multiple folio format. At checkout previously approved outstanding account balances can be automatically transferred to an appropriate account receivable file file for a subsequent billing and collection.
When the hotels revenue outlets are connected to the front office computer system, the remote cash register can be used to communicate guest charges to the front office. These charges can then be automatically posted to appropriate guest folios. This helps reduce late charges posted to guest account after the guest has departed.
General Management Software.
General management software cannot operate independently of other front office software packages. General management applications tend to be report generating packages which depend on data collected through reservation management, room management and guest account management programs. For example, general management software may be able to generate a report showing the days expected arrival and the number of rooms available for occupancy: a combination of reservation and room management data. In addition to generating reports, the general management module serves as a central link between front and back office computer system interface application.
Back Office Interface.
A comprehensive property management systems typically involves the hotels back office. Although front and back offices software packages can be implemented independently of each other, integrated system offer the hotel a full range of control over a variety of operational areas. Such areas include room sales, telephone call accounting, payroll and account analysis. An integrated system cannot produce complete financial statement unless all the required data are stored in the systems memory. Many reports generated by the back office system depend on the front office system collection of data. The four most popular applications are:
Account receivable software, which monitors guest account and account billing and collection when integrated with the front office guest accounting module.
Account payable application, which tracks the hotels purchases and helps the hotel maintain sufficient cash flow to satisfy its debts.
Payroll accounting application, which processes such data as time and attendance record, pay distribution and tax with holdings.
Financial reporting operation, which helps the hotel develop a chart of accounts in order to produce balance sheets, income statement and transactional analysis reports.
Front Office Interface.
A variety of front office interface applications are available to a fully automated logic properties using Property Management Systems.
- Non-Guest Operated Interface.
Some Property Management Systems interfaces that are not operated by guest include:
(a). A point of sale system, which allows guest account transaction to be quickly transmitted from remote point of sale to the front desk for automatic account folio posting.
(b). A call accounting system, which directs, prices and tracks guestroom telephone use for resale and posting guest account.
(c). Electronic locking system, which may interface with the room management application to provide enhanced guest security.
(d). A credit card settlement system, which can capture verify and authorize credit card information and settlement account.
Guest Operated Interface.
More and more hotels may provide computerized conveniences and services. Some hotels have gone beyond basic property management systems by installing a variety of automated devices that can be operated by guest. In some properties guest may inquire about in-house events and local activities through automated information devices in public areas.
There are two types of in-room beverage service system. Non-automated honor bars are stocked of beverage items in both dry and cold storage areas within a guest room. The bars beginning inventory level is recorded and changes in the inventory are noted by the hotel employees on a daily bases. Appropriate charges are posted to guest folio.
Fully automated guestroom, vending machines contain electro optical sensors that record the removal of stored products from designated compartments. When a sensor is triggered, the vending machine sends appropriate information to the front office accounting module for folio posting.