Leverage before you Leap! Advice on system changes.
Our Associate Amanda O’Donovan gives her advice on Front Office system changes:
Front Office Systems – Leverage before you Leap!
A PMS (Property Management System) is usually the first consideration and the largest investment in the Front Office department. Ask any Front Office or Reservation Manager and they will tell you it’s THE most important money you will invest.
The functions of the system are wide and varied and can impact all departments in the hotel from Housekeeping & Maintenance to the obvious function of recording bookings and financial transactions. But ask the same Front office or Reservation staff and they will also tell you that effectively managing this system can be the most challenging part of their job! Believe me I’ve been there – This system that may have been installed years, weeks or days ago can make or break your day.
So, before you throw a very expensive computer out of the window or decide to invest in a new system take a breath and ask yourself:
Have the team had adequate training? Sometimes in a new opening in particular, a rush to install a system and ensure all the data is recorded, the training aspect can be overlooked. A system should be fully utilised by all departments so make sure that each department head has had the relevant training.
Does the system do what you need it to do? Apart from the basic functions you would expect from recording reservations and checking in guests, does it work for each department. Can your Maintenance department utilise it for their requirements? Can the system “tell” Food & Beverage how many guests have Breakfast included in their package?
Can you filter the information you require – particularly for your Revenue & Sales team. Can it provide detailed statistical data to enable you to make strategic Revenue decisions?
Is data being entered correctly in to the system? Remember bad data in, bad data out. Ensure that you are entering correct information for every booking. Do regular spot checks on your profiles, reservations and block bookings.
Communicate within your network. Pick up the phone to hotel in your area using the same PMS. If you encounter an issue with your PMS the likelihood is that a peer in your position will have the same problem and can maybe provide a solution.
While these systems store large amounts of data, does your team know how to extract relevant information from it? Extracting the correct information from your PMS will better enable your team to make more strategic revenue decisions and ensure better commercial performance.
In my experience, it can be small changes or techniques that can make the difference. Little shortcuts, tips and tricks can make the lives of your Front Office staff, Reservation and Revenue team easier and more productive. So, do ask the questions and get to know your system fully before leaping into a new one!
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