Front desk tasks can be simplified with the help of hotel front office systems. Hoteliers are now rushing to implement hotel front office systems in their hotels. From five-star hotels to boutique hotels, a hotel front office system will be a staple in helping hotelier business run smoother.
We're in the modern era so utilizing modern technology is the best step to make sure our business is not lacking behind others. A hotel front desk handles so many different tasks and most of it is critical to ensure guests have a satisfying experience. That's where a hotel front office system comes in to help. Here are all the things you need to know about them.
What Is Hotel Front Office System?
Hoteliers may automate most of their regular operations using a front office system. This system handles bookings, payments, check-in, check-out, pricing, availability, guest communications, and housekeeping. It automates tedious daily duties and other manual processes to improve efficiency and free-up time for other important tasks.
Another name for the hotel front office system is Property Management System (PMS). According to a new prediction analysis from Grand View Research, the size of the worldwide market for hotel property management software (Hotel PMS) would increase at 7.4% CAGR by 2028. So, small hotels should be taking notes on PMS too.
7 Key Functions of Hotel Front Office Systems
Hotel front office systems serve many purposes and all of them are to make front desk operations easier for you. Go through this list of hotel front office system key functions and understand why they are beneficial for you.
1. Guest Check-In/Check-Out
For guests to have a seamless and effective arrival and departure experience, this feature is essential. It involves managing the registration procedure, creating key cards, and instantly updating the room availability.
2. Booking Management
Effective guest reservation management is crucial for increasing accommodation occupancy and income. Front desk personnel may make, alter, and cancel reservations using the system while still preserving correct data on room availability, pricing, and visitor preferences.
3. Maintaining Guest Profiles
Hotel personnel can keep and access guest data, including personal information, contact information, special requests, and prior stay history, thanks to a tool for full guest profile management. By doing so, you can give services that are specifically suited to your guests' needs.
4. Room Status Updates
Real-time room status updates are essential for efficient coordination between the front desk and housekeeping departments. The system provides accurate information on room occupancy, cleanliness, and availability, ensuring effective room management.
5. Billing and Invoicing
Efficient billing and invoicing functionality streamlines the financial processes of the hotel. The system accurately calculates room charges, additional services, taxes, and discounts, and generates itemized bills for guests. It also facilitates smooth payment processing.
6. Reporting and Analytics
Can provide valuable insights into hotel operations, performance, and guest satisfaction. The system generates reports on occupancy rates, revenue, arrival, and departure patterns, allowing managers to make data-driven decisions and optimize operations.
7. Guest Communications
The front desk system may include features like messaging, alerts, and notifications to facilitate communication for guest requests, inquiries, or service needs.
Types of Hotel Front Office Systems
There are three types of hotel front office systems / PMS you can choose from:
An on-premise hotel system refers to systems that hoteliers can only access within the hotel's premises. They are typically required to be installed on hotel computers and managed by the hotel's IT staff. The majority of on-site hotel front office systems are licensed and frequently need updating, which can only be done on the hotel's property.
A hybrid hotel front office system incorporates some of the features of a cloud-based system while maintaining the ability to operate on-premises for the remainder of the operations. Basically a combination of cloud and on-premise hotel front office systems. Using a hybrid system will simplify your staff's job while still having a human touch. It’s also 100% independent and has flexibility in usage.
Example: Booking Centre
A cloud-based hotel front office system refers to a system that relies on the internet and doesn’t need any downloading. This is the most popular option among hoteliers for their hotel front office system because it can be accessed when there's an internet connection, anywhere, and anytime. It enables guests to pay more conveniently online and complete the check-in and check-out processes faster.
If you would like to understand further the pros and cons of each of the mentioned front office systems, heads up to this blog Types of Hotel Front Office Systems.
Benefits of Hotel Front Office Systems
Here are some of the main benefits that hotels can experience by adopting a hotel front office system/PMS:
1. Greater efficiency
Manual tasks can be difficult and tedious, making guests wish they had stayed at a more technologically advanced establishment. With the aid of a front office system, personnel can swiftly verify the status of rooms and complete check-in and check-out procedures, giving guests more time to enjoy their vacation.
2. Fewer errors
Not only is it time-consuming to manually calculate room costs and enter the credit card information, but it also puts the hotel at risk of errors. The computations are already completed for you when using an integrated payment processing system. Credit card information is automatically loaded into the visitor's profile.
3. Better service
Front desk software frees up staff's time to concentrate on giving more customized and memorable visitor experiences while also increasing income for the hotel by automating time-consuming and repetitive chores.
4. Lower cost
Hotels may avoid spending a lot of money on expensive gear and software that is rapidly out of date by switching to a cloud-based PMS. Instead, they split the costs with other companies by paying a monthly membership fee.
Tips To Consider While Choosing Hotel Front Office System
1. Ability To Integrate With Other Systems
An important thing about hotel front office systems or PMS is they can integrate with other systems or channels. When you integrate your PMS with additional channels like an online booking engine or a channel manager, it allows for easy communication and operation. You can handle multiple channels from one place.
When you can combine it with other programs to build a totally cloud-based hub for managing your company, its potential is greatly increased. For hotels to maintain their position as market leaders, two-way integration is a crucial instrument. For example, other than integrating with its own Channel Manager, Softinn PMS can integrate with third-party channel managers like STAAH and Siteminder. Different types of PMS can offer different integrations, not all front-office system providers are the same.
Watch also: Overview About Softinn Channel Manager
2. Security Considerations
Every day you will use a front office system or PMS, but very few people remember to think about its security. Consider all the sensitive guest information you save and the effects of a breach! Even the operations of your hotel may be in danger. The following are some things to remember:
a. Password Management
Use unique, hard-to-break passwords but if that's not easy for your staff to remember and protect, you can install a password management tool.
b. Use A Secure Network
Don't share the same WiFi network that you use to run these systems with your hotel guest. Alter it so that your consumers may use a different, publicly accessible WiFi network and your private network for business. Set reminders to change the network's factory-set passwords every few months and be sure to replace them with strong, secure passwords.
c. Multi-Factor Authentication
Ensure that multi-factor authentication (MFA) is enabled. MFA requires a user to confirm the second piece of information, as opposed to just requiring one form of identity to obtain access to anything. As a result, it is more secure and has a lower risk of hacking.
d. Limit Access
Only those who require access to data can view it by limiting user rights. This helps prevent a hacker from having general access to your PMS or hotel's digital infrastructure in the event that a user's credentials are stolen. Keeping track of who has access to the system is also helpful in case something goes wrong.
e. Provider's Security Prioritization
Asking your provider what they are doing to maintain their product safe is something you should not be scared to do while evaluating property management software. It's your right to make sure you are getting a high-quality system that is secured and safe. Ask them about their coding, updates, and design.
3. Training and Customer Service
Proper training is needed to make sure your staff is ready to service hotel guests. New staff who are not familiar with front office systems should undergo training - watch videos, practise using a demo account, and join group training or webinars, before getting access to handle the system. Some PMS providers offer detailed tutorials on navigating such systems.
Make sure your staff is also well-versed in customer service. When handling hotel guests at the front desk, their satisfaction is crucial. Customer service is front in line to ensure they leave with a smile and will be visiting again. Staff can join customer service training programs and this will help when they are required to communicate with guests. Combining high customer service skills and sufficient training in PMS, your staff will smoothly handle the hotel front office system.
If you want more detailed help with customer service when doing front desk, this Ultimate Guide to Hotel Front Desk e-book can help you. It's free plus the contents are useful.
If you're more of a visual learner, take a few seconds and watch this video to see how useful a hotel front office system or PMS is.
The hotel sector is experiencing constant technological innovation, which has led to the introduction of new functionalities and modules to automate regular hotel operations. Start learning about hotel front office systems now and gain their benefits.
Make sure your hotel will profit from the system you choose. Select an easy-to-use hotel front-desk system over a complex one. It's also essential to have hotel front desk systems that enable the integration of third-party apps.