Hotel business is of a kind that needs to provide a myriad range of services to its guests such as food, accommodation, transport, recreational services, and so on. Since the front office contributes major portion in coordinating the services requested by the guests, it needs a system that can help the front office staff to sell services and track them seamlessly and simultaneously.
The front office information system includes mainly the property management system. Let us see, what PMS is and how useful it is for handling hotel management functions smoothly.
What is a Property Management System?
A Property Management System (PMS) is a software system employed to handle basic objectives of all the departments in the hotel business and coordinate functions between them for optimum business outcomes.
Why is PMS Required?
A PMS is required for the hotel staff for the following reasons −
It integrates all critical operations of the hotel on one platform.
It provides real-time information on accommodations, reservations, restaurants, spas, bars, and about every working arm of the hotel.
It provides highly accurate information which is helpful for the management to plan new goals and handle the investments in a better way.
It boosts the efficiency of the front office staff and in turn maximizes the performance of the hotel business.
It simplifies the time-taking or complex operations otherwise done manually.
It works for the convenience of the hotel staff, managing body, as well as the guests.
Types of PMS
There are two basic types of PMS −
Local PMS − They have large technical requirements such as workstation, Computer/workstation, Data server, Terminal servers, Operating system, Network cards, and Removable back-up systems.
Cloud-based PMS − They mainly need computers/workstation and Internet connection.
Difference between Local and Cloud-based PMS
Availing the PMS
Owner needs to purchase the PMS hardware and software.
Owner needs to take subscription from a PMS vendor.
Requirement of Internet Connection
Yes, a reliable high speed connection is mandatory.
System and Access
PMS software and data reside on a server to which multiple terminals are connected.
The PMS is accessed from a program installed on each terminal.
PMS software and data reside on a shared server at the PMS vendor’s data center.
Users access the system through a Web browser from anywhere, anytime.
Requirement of On-site IT expertise
Does not rely on an Internet connection.
Reduces concerns about online data security.
Robust functionality for vast amount of data.
Less costs of hardware or IT.
No technical and data security responsibility on owner.
Affordable subscription pricing.
Simple, quick set-up.
Easy access from anywhere, anytime.
Automatic data back-up.
Integrated Web bookings.
Free system upgrades.
Scalable and adaptable.
Requires complex and expensive hardware.
Unreachable from remote areas.
Expensive and complicated to maintain and upgrade.
Time-consuming, software installation and training.
Additional costs and hardware needed for enabling web-based features
Responsibility of system and data security is owner’s headache.
On-site IT expertise is required.
Not suitable for properties without a reliable Internet connection.
High concerns over online security.
Mark on Timeline
It is a traditional solution.
It is a contemporary solution.
Capital expenditure and operational expenditure both; for hardware, software and its updates, and IT expert’s charges.
Operational expenses for renewing subscription.
Popular Property Management Systems
Some popular PMS: Autoclerk, Skyware MSICloud, CloudPM, eZee Frontdesk, Hotelogix, Hetello, Hoteliga, OpenHotel, OPERA PMS, are to name a few.
Common Software Options in a PMS
A PMS takes care of each department in the hotel. These are the commonly available features among PMS −
PMS Features for Front desk
Guest and non-guest accounts
PMS for Sales and Marketing
Guest database for market segmentation
Travel agents information as clients
Reports for goals
Performance evaluation by comparative analysis
PMS for Housekeeping
Lost and found
PMS for Food and Beverage
Periodic sales reports
PMS for HRM Department
Individual staff member’s records regarding shifts, attendance, and appraisals.
PMS for Accounts
Account payables and receivables
PMS for Communication
Outgoing and incoming call records with date, time, place, duration, and charges.
Concerns in Selection of Appropriate PMS
The following concerns are considered while selecting an appropriate PMS −
Property and Business Domain Concerns
Size of the property: The number of accommodations
Number of locations
Number of employees
Property service policies
Budget for technical resources and training
Nearest future growth
PMS Domain Concerns
User-friendly design that fosters intuitive navigation through logical order of tasks.
Training expertise and time period required to train the staff.
Cleaning agents are the most critical aids of housekeeping department in their day to day operations to keep the room and public area neat and clean. When it comes to Cleaning chemicals / agents Taski or Diversey products are considered as the bench mark in hospitality industry. There are specific products which need to be used for each cleaning requirement and these cleaning agents are given specific codes eg: R1, R2, R3 (The letter 'R' Stands for 'Room Care'.) Etc. for ease of identification, recognition and use. TASKI / Diversey R1: Cleaning and Sanitising of Bathroom / Toilet surfaces Area to be cleaned: All batroom surfaces, sink, tub, tiles, floors and fittings How to Dilute: For cleaning : 20 ml in 1 ltr. water For sanitizing : 50 ml in 1 ltr. water Usage of this Cleaning Agent: Spray directly on the surface to be cleaned Leave for 2 seconds Scrub if necessary and wipe surface with clean and dry cloth Replace cloth regularly
The organisation chart of F&B Production department should provide a clear picture of the lines of authority and the channels of communication within the department. In a large hotel the department is headed by the Executive Chef who is assisted by the Executive Sous Chef. Kitchen / F&B production department chart not only provides for a systematic direction of orders, but also protects employees form being over directed. The chart shows that each employee should take orders only from the person directly above him / her. A copy of the chart should be posted in an area so that all kitchen staff can see where they fit into the overall organisation of the department. Ideally the organization chart need to be placed on the kitchen notice board. Hotel F&B Production Organisation chart Kitchen Organization Chart for Small Hotel / Restaurant
SCANTY BAGGAGE GUEST The term Scanty Baggage refers to a guest with hand baggage. Such guests are a threat as they may check-out of the hotel without paying their bill. Most hotels have a policy of taking an advance as a safeguard against skipping out of the hotel. The bell desk maintains a strict control of such guests with definite policies to guide them. The procedure is: The bell boy informs the Bell Captain and front desk agent of a guest with scanty baggage. The Bell Captain stamps ‘Scanty Baggage’ on the Guest Arrival Errand Card and informs the lobby manager. The front desk agent is alerted with the stamp when he/she receives it. The front desk agent stamps ‘Scanty Baggage’ on the Registration Card. The front desk agent informs the lobby manager who has the following options for the guest: To ask for the entire room charges in advance To ask for a deposit that covers at least one night charge To lower the house credit limit for bills in which the guest has to cl