Running a hotel is a complicated job—from booking guests to managing employees, setting rates, and keeping track of all the systems that integrate with a hotel. That’s why a hotel Property Management System (PMS) is so important. It’s the brains of any hotel. Therefore, it’s critical to have answers to common hotel PMS questions.
Below are five questions hoteliers are asking about their PMS.
How do I get a hold of tech support?
Before we can get to more specific PMS questions, let’s talk about accessibility to support. Hotels are round-the-clock operations, and questions arise at all times of the day and night. That’s why it’s important for a hotel property management system to offer 24/7 tech support. This should include phone support, chat support, and email support. It should also feature online modules for continued learning and troubleshooting. Most importantly, all this support should be included in the cost of your PMS service. Additionally, a cloud-based PMS removes the server from the hotel, eliminating the need for on-premise tech support.
How do I balance my folio?
By far, the number one tech support question asked by hotel operators is, “How do I balance my folio?” Since there is so much turnover among guest service agents, it is imperative for a hotelier to easily access all folio-related actions.
Modern PMS systems are designed to allow guest service agents to make any necessary corrections in balancing the folio directly from the folio. This should be an intuitive system that non-accountants can navigate with ease. That is accomplished with drag and drop capability, easy configuration of multiple folios, and charge routing that allows easy configuration and corrections. The right PMS should give a user the ability to view the estimated cost directly from the folio at any time during the guest stay. At the end of the stay, the guest service agent should be able to print the folio in the guest’s native language. And they should be able to email it directly to the guest, eliminating the need for paper receipts.
How do I find a credit card on a reservation?
With Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) quickly becoming the global standard for chip-based transactions, credit card data is no longer stored at the PMS level, but rather tokenized. Still, for many properties not yet on EMV, this is a common question for a variety of reasons, including confirming or changing payment methods for a guest. For the security of the guest, credit card information on most PMS systems is masked on the reservation. In fact, the ability to view credit cards is often restricted by a security role—only the general manager can grant access to view credit card information. So not only are you able to view credit card information from here, you can also set restrictions on who can view that information.
Because security is so important when dealing with guest credit cards, your PMS provider should also make it easy to see who has unmasked or decrypted credit cards. You should be able to find a “Credit Card Decryption Report” as part of your standard reports section. That report should show you the user ID and IP addresses of those who have unmasked credit card information.
What report do I use for reporting taxes?
Another common question regards how to report the tax liability that hoteliers have to pay either every quarter or on a six-month basis. While there are lots of reports you could use, the most efficient would be one that allows the user to choose a date range, whether for a quarter or year-end tax payment, such as a “Hotel Journal Summary Report.” That report will show you all the postings, followed by corrections, adjustments, and net totals. The net totals column will show you state tax and occupancy tax for any date range.
How do I optimize rates for special events?
You may have set base rates at your hotel, but special events often involve different restrictions and different rates. In these situations, simply create an event with a start and end date and add a guarantee cancel policy. You should be able to restrict discounts during this event–for example if you don’t want to take AAA discounts during the event time. Additionally, you can set up stay controls as well as selling limits. Lastly, you can set up rates by rate buckets for an event, including adding an extra person, crib, or rollaway.
Overall, modern PMS systems are built to make it easier for hoteliers to run their properties. Hotels on legacy property management systems should take heed if their property management system isn’t offering the ease of use and support needed to run those properties seamlessly and successfully.
About the Author
Todd Davis is CEO of SkyTouch Technology, the most widely-used cloud-based hotel property management system in the world.