The Hotel PMS System and Why It Is So Important!
Hotel Property Management System (Hotel PMS)
When I started working at a hotel everyone kept talking about PMS this and PMS that.
I was lost and had no idea what they meant! I then went to train with a different hotel and they said Fosse this and Fosse that. Then another and it was OnQ here and OnQ there. I felt like I was trying to staple water to a tree with all of these systems! But it turned out, all of them are one in the same.
You see, Hotel PMS stands for Property Management System and it’s the hotel's front of the house reservation system. And it is vital to your hotel's ability to survive!
Here I’m going to break down a few very important reports and features your system must have so that you can actively manage your hotel!
YOU CAN ONLY HAVE A P&L THAT IS AS DETAILED AS THE ACTIVITY ON YOUR PMS REPORTS, SO IF YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW YOUR MARKET BEER IS DOING ON YOUR P&L, YOUR PMS & POS REPORTS MUST PROVIDE THAT LEVEL OF DETAIL.
IF YOUR REPORTS DON’T PROVIDE THAT INFORMATION, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO HAVE IT ON YOUR FINANCIALS. KEEP THIS IN MIND WHEN PICKING PMS & POS SYSTEMS AND WHAT ACTIVITY YOU WANT TO SEE ON YOUR FINANCIALS.
Let’s look at other PMS names: Marriott uses Fosse, Hilton - OnQ, IHG - Opera, and then there are boutique hotels that can use RoomMaster, StayNTouch, BayLakes - Lodgical, and the list goes on and on. So as I use the term PMS here, you can fill it in with any system you are looking into or currently using!
The next thing that your system must do is follow the daily activity balancing equation:
Revenue + Non-Revenue = Receipts + Change in Hotel Ledgers.
This is how your debits and credits balance out each night within the system. Your PMS System must have a ledger system in place of a guest (net) ledger, advance deposit, and accounts receivable ledger. If your system does not have these three ledgers, then I would highly doubt the validity and setup of that system.
You need the ability to export and import if you have a POS system into and out of your system. This means that the activity from the PMS should be able to feed everything (100%) to your accounting system. That means all market segments, statistics, ledger activity, room stats, revenues, settlements, and non-revenue. And it needs to be simple for you to export that activity into the accounting system should an automatic feed be unavailable.
Hotel PMS Systems and Hotel Accounting: How they Fit into the Monthly Financial Statements
Another key consideration is on your reports. How easy is it to automatically send reports and view activity into your system? Example: not only do you need daily night audit reports but you also need to provide reports for any time period that you wish. That means the ability to provide activity and all of the details for any account for any period of time. This is super important! You need to be able to pull reports that show the details for each account within your system and the activity and by who used that particular code.
Example: a hotel has a Miscellaneous Income and Adj. Accounts and they had multiple accounts from the front desk feeding into those two accounts. This meant that when the hotel was trying to figure out why MI had $5k at the end of the month, they had to go folio by folio to untangle that information. That is very time consuming for the hotel team.
So those are a few key elements to review and understand with a PMS!
Here are a few questions to ask your team to make sure your system is setup correctly and everyone is on the same page:
What to Ask When Setting Up a new Hotel PMS/Point of Sale System:
1. Who is responsible for closing out the day in the Property Management System (PMS)?
2. What is the process/specific steps for closing out folios in the PMS?
3. Who should the hotel contact if an issue comes?
4. How are taxes and tax exempts handled at the property?
There you have it: the very basics of the hotel's PMS System and key areas to look out for, along with a few questions to ask your team to make sure your reservation system is on point and you have everything you need.
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