10 Must Have Features for Effective Hotel Management Software

Elevate your hotel's performance with the right software. Our checklist of Top 10 must-have features for hotel management software has got you covered.

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The hospitality business is a fast-growing industry that is developing by introducing contemporary technologies and innovations. Times of economic upheavals, such as the COVID pandemic, have shown that digitalization has become a crucial element for business survival and recovery.

 

The majority of hotel service providers said that the automation of operations would be one of their first priorities in the next several years, according to the research of the PhocusWire. A study by Hoteltech found that hoteliers must pay special attention to universal property management systems to remain competitive. To do this, hoteliers should put the hotel management system at the top of their investment priorities.

 

The market data also shows the importance of developing solutions for the hospitality business. According to the prognosis, the market growth rate will accelerate by a CAGR of almost 6.6%, and shares of the global HMS market are expected to grow by $1176.2 million by 2027.

 

What is HMS

 

A hotel management system, also known as an HMS, is an example of software designed to optimize hotels' common activities. An HMS should have a wide range of features to enable hoteliers to manage all parts of their business, from guest service to internal management and bookkeeping. However, if you want to have an all-in-one application that includes all the necessary features for running your business, you need custom solutions.

 

Any HMS system is produced to help owners organize and carry out quotidian tasks and operations. These tasks primarily include everything in your property (hotel, guest house, or rental accommodation). Satisfactory software will offer a variety of functions and help hospitality professionals save time, refine each client's experience, and raise revenue.

 

However, it is worth noting that each business needs its features. A wide set of functions can overload software, which is different than how that will bring the desired result for the business. Given this, it is necessary to determine what features an HMS should perform.

 

So, the main functions of a hotel system are usually the next:

 

  • Handling of reservations;
  • Check-ins and check-outs;
  • Management of front and back-office processes;
  • Customer data management;
  • Customer communication;
  • Channel management;
  • Management of housekeeping and maintenance departments;
  • Security management;
  • Order and service management;
  • Finances;
  • Reports and analytics, etc.

 

Analyzing this list, it becomes clear that features are vital for any HMS. So let's explore them in detail.

 

Analyzing this list, it becomes clear that features are vital for any HMS. So let's explore them in detail.

 

This type of application for hotel management could have many different and useful features, but, as we said earlier, there is no need to put them all together. Thus, we identified 10 crucial and necessary features for a modern HMS. Let's get to know each function closer.

 

Intuitive and User-Friendly Interface

 

This feature is one of the most important for an HMS because interface matters not only for your employees but also for your customers. For example, guests need an intuitive interface with many options for self-booking. If the interface is complicated for a client, he or she can refuse your hotel's services at the initial stage.

 

In addition, the effective work of your staff also depends on the intuitiveness and convenience of the interface. Software for a hotel should be easy to percept and not cause problems for the user. If your system is complex and confusing, it can be a reason for many mistakes, which will cost you a lot of money. Different common activities should take little time, slow down the staff's work, and interfere with the business's growth. This is where the necessity for an HMS with a proper interface appears.

 

The intuitive interface of an HMS makes it easier to train employees and helps to minimize the probability of errors. Also, it optimizes operations and provides faster check-ins. Your team should have quick access to information about free and occupied hotel rooms, future guest arrivals, and departures. In addition, it provides customers with the convenience of self-service or even remote check-in through their mobile devices or dedicated websites.

 

Housekeeping and Maintenance Management

 

The next important feature of an HMS solution is a housekeeping module. A powerful and complete HMS should make the working process of personnel easier and faster. With a well-designed module, the housekeeping staff will not waste precious time on administrative trifles.

 

So, a present-day HMS with a housekeeping module allows your workers to mark hotel rooms as clean, untidy, or out of order. It helps to allocate different assignments among housekeepers, manage the status of rooms, and properly organize staff work. For instance, a front-office manager can make a list of necessary tasks, and housekeepers will accomplish them and update the information about each room in real time. Likewise, custom hotel management software development can include producing a mobile application for staff that will allow housekeepers to communicate with front-office workers in real time. For example, workers can report to front-desk staff that a room is ready to meet guests.

 

All this information united in one place thanks to an HMS gives employees the ability to manage processes and conduct early check-in effectively without contacting other departments by phone or email. In addition, recently released software can generate a work schedule for the housekeepers to keep the department's efficiency high.

 

Another function of an HMS, which is closely related to housekeeping, is maintenance management. A trustworthy hotel management system has the capability to automate and optimize this process. You can manage maintenance through an HMS, namely, record all repairs and disruptions. Applying a system with tickets is an effective way to use an HMS for maintenance management. In addition, every hotel team member should have access to a list of assignments, work instructions, and other information from a smartphone, laptop, or another device. Thanks to the work process built in this way, each team member will know exactly what to do, when, where, and how. Thereby, a hotel management system for maintenance will save money and time.

 

Channel Management

 

The incomes of hotels often depend on an ability to attract people using different channels. For example, a hotel can magnetize guests through tourism agencies, websites, booking apps, and direct bookings.

 

A reliable HMS can offer a solution, such as a channel manager function, to manage the availability and rates of hotels through these different channels. This feature is a must for an efficient HMS as it ensures maximum visibility and bookings and can prevent some errors. If you use a channel manager, you will save time managing all of your hotel's channels.

 

Furthermore, in regard to mistakes prevention, the system helps ensure you don't accidentally rebook a hotel, as the channel manager will update information about availability in all channels automatically.

 

In addition, a channel manager could serve as an assistant in the process of updating prices and adding new photos. For instance, you have just finished a hotel renovation, and you need to update prices and photos of rooms on your website and different booking platforms. Thanks to a channel manager, this process can be completed simultaneously on all platforms. Voilà! You did a great job without wasting too much time.

 

Client Communication and Data Management

 

In order to develop a business successfully, property owners need to collect and organize data about guests. Thanks to these, businessmen can stay in touch with all their current and past clients. For example, data collection is needed to organize promotions and make marketing efforts.

 

The majority of hotel management software systems have CRM functionality. This part of the system helps property owners to accumulate data continuously and smoothly into a big database.

 

Using a CRM module integrated with the front office is a must-have for large hotels handling a lot of information about guests.

 

A great CRM system is a helping hand for business owners. Thanks to this, hoteliers can individualize the guest experience, for example, with a loyalty program or membership. So, let's take a look at the advantages of a CRM system:

 

  1. An opportunity to create and send customized letters, proposals, registration forms, or papers to clients via email.
  2. An opportunity to personalize the guest experience by automating the sending of emails and invoices during the different stages of stay at the hotel.
  3. Front desk workers or managers can communicate with customers pre-booking and during their stay.
  4. An opportunity to leave special information for coworkers or other departments.

 

Also, an HMS with a CRM system can assist in measuring the guest experience and set on-foot promotions and special marketing campaigns based on guest info. For example, guests can leave feedback about a hotel and rate the service. In turn, a hotel can use the profiles of guests in order to deliver a more personalized experience in the future.

 

Billing & Invoicing

 

Financial administration is a substantial part of the activities of every company. Present-time HMS software makes handling finances easier. However, the financial functionality of an HMS will depend on the size of the hotel and the laws of the country where this hotel operates. Most small hotels will require basic invoicing functions, while big hotel chains will need advanced functionality to cover additional needs.

 

Complicated billing and invoicing, cashiering processes, or currency exchange can consume a lot of time. Considering this, a system should be produced to simplify these processes and simplify staff activities. For example, you can manage guests' payments, make edits, and print and send invoices. Also, you can manage invoicing for services and add-ons.

 

Guest App for Self-Service

 

Nowadays, hotels are not only rooms or just lodging for the night. Instead, hoteliers aim to provide guests with a special and unique experience. They try to reach this goal by offering handy features such as mobile check-in and out, room entry without keys, ordering food or service using smartphones, and paying via mobile devices.

 

If you want to have all these peculiarities in your hotel, you can implement a specific app for guest self-service. In this case, hotel management software should be compatible with a module for online orders. This feature will improve your customers' shopping experience and help you keep in touch with clients. For example, hoteliers can warn guests about reservation changes and offer seasonal and holiday promotions via personalized notifications or emails.

 

Smooth Third-Party Integration

 

Each hotel will benefit from this popular feature. The choice of additional modules or services for integration depends on the specifics and size of each hotel.

 

For example, you need to increase bookings. Considering this, you can integrate a third-party system, such as an existing channel manager, to interact with popular portals for booking. Also, you want to promote direct bookings and steer clear of commissions from the channel manager. In that case, you can implement a booking engine into your website or use the possibility to connect to an external system.

 

Hotel websites often propose online payment for their customers. And this is another example of the smooth implementation of third-party systems. Incorporating a payment gateway will make it easier for customers to pay for their stay at a hotel.

 

Some sites also require registration. For example, a customer can use their Facebook or Google account for registration, an example of integrating third-party systems.

 

Back-Office Management

 

Successful hotel administration includes back-office management. Effective hotel management software aids hotel keepers in this matter. In this case, hotel owners and staff may want to use multiple functions, such as:

 

  • Management of conferencing and events. This feature is also known as MICE. It assumes that you can manage all the important data to hold events. Often this function is necessary for large chains.
  • Management of inventory. It involves ordering, storing, and distributing processes related to a hotel's assets or finished products. The staff of a hotel needs to understand when and how much to order, so customers will only need something.
  • HR management. In this case, a human resource manager is responsible for signing on and training new employees, retaining workers, and managing employees' data. A management system can optimize and centralize these processes and help the HR department accomplish tasks in one system.
  • Marketing. An HMS can help back-office management plan and organize various marketing campaigns through social networks, email, and other channels.
  • Taxes, fees, and policies.

 

It is worth noting that these are not all available features. In addition, the set of functions might differ based on each hotel's unique requirements and size.

 

Booking engine

 

We already mentioned this feature when we described the implementation of third-party systems. A booking engine acts as a guide for guests who wish to book directly with you. 
Also, it helps to avoid extra commissions, which may cost a lot

 

An engine for online booking collects information from your clients and creates reservations in your hotel management system. Moreover, this mechanism publishes your rates and shows the availability of rooms on your website.

 

A booking system can replace several employees at once. You won't have to answer emails or deal with lengthy phone bookings because a booking engine will do everything for you.

 

This function will help both hotel owners and guests. This means that hotel owners will get an increase in bookings, and guests can book rooms with one click.

 

Reporting and Analytics

 

Tracking key indicators is essential for the growth of the hotel business. An HMS, which can collect various data, will help you create complete and accurate reports that meet your requests and needs. In turn, these reports and analytics will help you to make informed and correct business management decisions.

 

A hotel management system can provide various reports about reservations, occupancy, rates, revenue, taxes, workers, etc. In addition, an HMS can make reports for any period you specify. Also, you can choose categories for tracking, depending on your goals and the size of your property. That means that you can customize your reports for effective management.

 

Let's see what types of reports you can have with an HMS:

 

  • number of guests per day/season/year;
  • amount of bookings per day/season/year;
  • amount of canceled bookings;
  • booking channels;
  • arrivals/departures of guests;
  • guest requests: which rooms are popular, which services are in demand;
  • housekeeping reports;
  • tax reports;
  • revenues, etc.

 

A solution for hotel management should be able to convert reports to different formats, for example, PDF or XSLX. Also, an HMS system can automatically export data in files (for example, XLS) to your email.

 

In general, with the help of reports, you can control your business and find ways to increase its profitability and revenues. Analytics helps companies achieve greater visibility and a deeper understanding of their processes and services and gives them a view of customer service. Both reports and analytics will help you receive valuable insights and run your business.

 

Summary

 

We discovered that hotel management software is an instrument for managing and developing a hotel business. You can choose any existing solution with basic features that you like.

 

However, we recommend modifying the software to the specific needs of each hospitality business. This is important because every business is unique, and specially-made software solutions will optimize all processes in the best possible way.

 

An HMS with exclusive features will help your business flourish and develop. With this tool, you can control all processes, communicate with customers, send them customized and personalized notifications, integrate useful services, and collect reports and data for successful development.

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