8 things to consider when choosing a hotel property management system (PMS)

Written by Stewart Moss

9th June 2023

Choosing the right property management system for your hotel is an important decision that will impact the daily running of your business and can often feel overwhelming. However, with the right knowledge at your fingertips, you can easily make the right decision.

It’s not just about selecting PMS software with the most features that meets your business needs now, it needs to fit with your future plans too. With this in mind, we’ve listed the top features and functionalities to consider when choosing your property management system.

  1. Cloud Technology and Mobility

A cloud-based hotel PMS gives you the flexibility to manage all aspects of your business from one platform, on any device, anywhere in the world! You and your team can access real-time data on reservations, check-in/outs, and housekeeping.

Not only that, but you can connect seamlessly to your OTAs with OTA and direct bookings all deposited in one central booking calendar, enabling you to adjust rates based on capacity, eradicating overbookings. You can also access data analytics and sales reports at the touch of a button from any device in any location – all you need is an internet connection!

What’s more, there’s no need to invest in IT specialists, as your PMS provider is responsible for fixing any issues that may arise and you’re also no longer at risk of losing your data.

For all these reasons, a cloud-based PMS tends to be more powerful and cost-effective than an on-site solution. All you pay for is a monthly subscription. But more importantly, reliability and security are paramount.

  1. Functionality and Usability

An intuitive, user-friendly system that includes all the features and functionalities you need to streamline your business should be a priority.

If the PMS can’t perform the basic functions to operate effectively then the price of the system becomes less important. A good hotel property management system should include key functionalities such as front-desk operations, back-office management, housekeeping, revenue management, channel management, data analytics and reporting, marketing suite, and a centralised booking system.

However, all of this becomes irrelevant if you and your staff can’t use the system! A good PMS should be easy-to-use and navigate around. Not only will it improve operational efficiency, but it will also help with staff morale, retention, and training new employees on how to use the system.

What’s more, most PMS software should include the automation of hotel critical tasks. This will further boost operational efficiency by reducing repetitive tasks that were more traditionally completed by staff, freeing-up their time to focus on providing the ultimate guest experience.

  1. Booking Engine and Revenue Management

Now, more than ever, revenue management is becoming the foundation of running a successful and profitable hotel. And part of a good revenue management strategy is to leverage direct bookings and up-selling opportunities, which without a booking engine, isn’t possible.

Most guests enjoy the convenience of being able to book online quickly and easily, whether direct or through OTAs. Not only does an online booking engine provide guests with an easy-to-use online booking platform for your hotel, but it also transitions traditionally OTA source bookings into direct bookers when looking to stay again.

What’s more, a good revenue management strategy doesn’t just focus on increasing prices, it looks at capturing as much value as possible from every guest through up-sells or extras and developing a strong customer retention base.

Of course, hotel pricing strategies also come into play. For example, dynamic pricing uses real-time data on supply and demand to enable price increases or discounts to ensure occupancy rates remain steady and revenue is maximised.

Other pricing strategies may look at placement. For example, to encourage more direct bookings, and therefore less commission payments often incurred through OTAs, hoteliers may decide to have a lower price for online direct bookings than OTA bookings.

  1. Integrations and apps

Opportunities to maximise revenue occur throughout the entire guest experience, and most PMS providers can’t provide all elements of the entire guest journey without being open to integrations. By ensuring your PMS provider supports important APIs, you are also future-proofing your business by making certain it can scale with you!

If your PMS doesn’t include a channel manager, booking engine or contactless technology for example, then these are critical PMS requirements and should at least be achievable through API integrations.

Other integrations that can help with your hotel revenue management include:

  • Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) systems to help you leverage your food and beverage operations.
  • Guest communications (CRM and email marketing system) for personalisation and directing repeat bookings.
  • Customer loyalty and rewards through discounts, gift cards and other incentives.
  • Business reporting and intelligence to enable you to gain insights, and make business decisions, based on real-time data for your entire estate.
  1. Reliability and Security

A big consideration when looking at choosing your hotel PMS software is its reliability and security. It’s imperative that your hotel can rely on its PMS software to ensure the guest experience isn’t compromised. Therefore, one of the questions you should always ask is the average uptime and this should be as close to 100% as possible.

Also check the management and stability of the brand itself. Ensure they are backed by strong ownership to provide peace of mind that the company isn’t going to dissolve anytime soon.

Coupled with the reliability, is also the security of the software. The last thing you need is a security breach to compromise your credibility and guest satisfaction.

Ensure your PMS provider’s payment gateway is PCI-compliant. PCI DSS is a set of security standards designed to ensure all companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.

  1. Contactless Technology

Contactless technology is relatively new to the hospitality and hotel sector and was catapulted into the industry due to COVID-19 and social distancing laws. However, the functionality has become the norm and guests now expect a contactless guest experience because of it.

The goal is to streamline and automate elements of the guest journey, making it more efficient for the guest and hotel. This includes contactless check-in/out, mobile ordering including room service, table reservations, completing secure payments and using mobile keys to unlock room doors.

Not only does this technology provide guests with what they want, it also enables you to make operational savings from reducing front-desk and restaurant staff to improving housekeeping and room assignments meaning less time-consuming trips to the front-desk.

  1. Data Analytics and Reporting

The key to maintaining a competitive advantage is how you analyse or manage your data. We’ve already spoken about how much data plays an important role in your revenue management strategy, and there is an abundance of data available to hotels, so it’s an important functionality when choosing your PMS provider.

Thorough data analysis can provide vital intelligence to help you make better business decisions. Whether that’s improving the guest experience, formulating an effective revenue management strategy, creating personalised marketing messages to increase direct bookings, or leveraging your food and beverage operations, data analytics should be at the heart of your business strategy.

  1. Onboarding, training, and customer support

Once you’ve chosen your PMS provider, you want to know that the onboarding and switch-over is going to run as smoothly as possible with zero downtime.

On top of this, staff training and access to training resources for new employees, means that you can relax in the knowledge that your staff can pick-up and run with your chosen PMS software provider.

Likewise, if something goes wrong with your PMS, you want the confidence that you can get in touch with customer support, no matter what time of day.

Demo with a complete hospitality software solution, High Level

Now you’re armed with all the information you need to choose the right PMS provider for your business, put High Level to the test and request a demo today!

One of our hospitality technology experts will happily discuss your requirements and tailor your demo to your specific business needs.

By Stewart Moss

Managing Director at High Level Software

With an intensive understanding and passion for the hotel sector and more than 20 years' of hotel knowledge and expertise in hotel management, operations as well as sales and marketing for brands, Stewart leads Zonal's hotel division.

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