Every property needs to be managed efficiently to maximize revenue from its operation. The manual handling of a property has the risk of running into loss due to result of omission and commission. To reduce/eliminate the risk of loss a well designed property management system needs to be placed to deal with the unforeseen and risk elements.
Property management system is the heart of every hostel management. The very least you can expect from PMS is to manage your property and guests. The more advance the PMS system, the more you can expect it to deliver. It is undisputable that PMS has been doing everything hostels needed, but now things have changed as user demands have been increasing in wake of diversified market situation and most PMS companies are focusing on the core, which is managing of the property in a more efficient way.
The scenario has changed. Independent channel managers have gained control. At one point of time, nearly all PMSs would come with in-build functionality similar to today’s channel managers where your rates and inventories were distributed to most popular booking sites through direct integration. However adding, removing, and updating a new channel was time consuming and expensive for the hostel owners, generally they had to pay ad-hoc for every channel to add. Nowadays, you pay once to a third party channel manager and let them integrate to more channels on a cheaper cost. One big example in hostels is Micro Partnering with Hotelline.
Now it is same thing happening with online booking functionalities, revenue management and customer relation capabilities. There are a lot of PMS offering an all in-one package, and execute everything which is required. They have their own central reservation system, channel manager, Food and Beverage (F&B), Point of Sale (POS), tours, housekeeping, online booking, account folio, revenue management and client relationship tool. The basic PMS comes with in-built POS. It posts the charges to each guest’s account where money is exchanged or services are rendered. The POS also works with ancillary revenue streams like sales of merchandizes, activities and F&B charges. Here it is to be noticed that it takes account of stock and inventories, generating reports for new orders of stock. You have to make an informed decision while choosing a third party POS system for your ancillary revenue as they might not integrate with your PMS.
Choosing a PMS requires you to know your hostel needs for a good management. PMS functionalities come with managing check-ins, Check-outs, information of rooms (which one is to clean), reservations made via phone or in person, stay extensions and pre-exits. This is where PMS systems differentiate. Some are glorified spreadsheets, making things easier yet leave out bulk of work for the hostel management. A well designed PMS should integrate well with your operation needs and have room for additional things like credit card processing system, keycard (magnetic or RFID), and perhaps scanning of IDs (Passport) to name a few. There are major differences in bed allocation with PMS systems. Not all PMS systems come with break a room down by sex. A lot of PMS just place a reservation assigned to room/bed types, whereas others would only update the inventory of room/bed only after the check-ins which creates trouble of double booking for the same space. Very few integrate availability across dorms and rooms. For example, a double room can be sold as a twin room and discounts shall be formulated to attract the customers and likewise four beds in four bed dorms can be easily let as a four bed private room. Such small tweaks can help bigger revenues and create a diverse inventory to attract customers.
Another important function which you must look at into your PMS is auto-email facility. This will help you to send at least two emails to your customers for confirmation of the booking and a thank you e mail. You should also make it important to send direction email 2-3 days in advance to develop a better relationship, and a follow up is required after they have left.