How to choose a Property Management System for your hotel?

Are you a hotel owner and get most of your reservation through Booking.com? Does this Online Travel Agency (OTA) represent 80% or more of your revenue? This is a risky strategy, but it can be improved by diversification.

Being present on several OTAs (Booking, Expedia, hotels.com)

  • Will drive more traffic and bookings to your hotel.
  • Will reduce the risk of dependency towards one OTA. What if suddenly your listing is removed (even temporary)?
  • Will allow you to reach new markets. Each OTA is more know on its specific markets (Expedia: US, Ctrip, Agoda: Asia).

The are a lot of OTAs (this guy registered 450 of them…) But you should stick to the most know ones. Here are a few stats from 2014 to make up your mind. I don’t think it changed that much since then.

And the nightmare starts

Once you are present on a couple of platforms, it become a nightmare to keep them all up to date. The risk of double booking is high. And the time to keep the data up to date is just a waste of resource. That’s why (one of the reasons) you need a Property Management System.

What is a Property Management System?

I made you this illustration to show you how the whole system works.

Property Management System and Channel Manager Schema

 

The checklist: choose a PMS and a channel manager.

With this in mind, it is now time make a choice from hundreds of options. Note that usually the channel manager comes together in bundle with the PMS. I’ve setup a list of questions you should ask yourself before making a final decision.

User experience

  • Is the interface available in your language?
  • Is there are iPhone/iPad App to do the checkins?
  • Is it easy to use?
  • Is it in the Cloud? Can I access it from everywhere without installing a software on my device?

Pricing

  • How much is the “setup fee”?
  • How much does it cost per year/month?
  • Are there additional costs for example when you add a new OTA, a new room, etc?

Front desk

  • Is the calendar view easy to use?
  • Can it produce invoices?
  • Can I move/split/update bookings?
  • Can you add items to your bookings (breakfast, minibar)?
  • Can you check in/out guests?

Booking Engine

  • Is it possible to track conversions via Google Analytics easily (e-commerce tracking) ?
  • Is the booking engine available in all the language of your website?
  • Are there any commissions for each booking made via the engine?
  • How many sites/OTAs is the channel manager able to be connected to?
  • Which currency does the service offer?
  • Can you customize the booking engine to your brand’s design?
  • How does the communication sent out by the Booking Engine look like?
  • Is the booking Engine responsive (mobile-friendly)?

Stats and reporting

  • Do you get all the numbers you need?
  • Can you see which OTA is performing the best?

Training

  • Is training included in the setup fee? Or will you how to pay additionally?

Other

Lots of questions and I’m sure there are many more.

Where to start?

You could have a look that those services: Littlehotelier, SiteMinder or even a Swiss solution Base7Booking. Do you have other advices to make an even more “enlightened” choice? Would you recommend a certain PMS?

I can help you implement such a system for your own property. Recently I’ve worked for a Swiss hotel, helping them to improve their online presence and reputation.

Yann Graf

I am an experienced Digital Strategy Consultant based in Switzerland. After over seven year respectfully crafting and improving the digital presence of Terre des hommes, Nautilus and G-Star Raw, I am now a freelancer. Please have a look at my Portfolio