PMS will simplify your rental management to save you time. By optimizing processes, you'll make better decisions, see higher occupancy rates and a consolidated bottom line.
What is a PMS ?
First of all, it is important to know the difference between a Property Management System (PMS) and a Channel Manager.
PMS is software that was originally designed to help hotel managers and owners manage all aspects of the hotel business. Over the years, PMS has developed and while some software is still designed for hotels, others have specialized in the vacation rental market to meet the needs of property managers.
A channel manager is a service that allows managers to manage the distribution of their reservations on different platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Abritel, etc (the famous OTAs). They allow, for example, to receive bookings from the different OTAs and automatically update the availability on the other platforms where the property is listed. This service is systematically included in the PMS, whether it is offered natively or by a partner.
The amount of additional functionality offered depends on the PMS. For example, you can find tools for price and revenue management, accounting, website creation, etc. In addition to the channel manager, many other options can be offered to optimize the management of your vacation rental business.
What are the benefits of a PMS?
Using one system to manage all your bookings across platforms and other aspects of your business can save you a lot of time and help you achieve better results. Here's a brief overview of the benefits of using a PMS:
The first benefit of a PMS is that you are able to automate some of the time-consuming and repetitive tasks, saving hours on your workday.
For example, autoresponders that send responses to inquiry emails or other communications are generally part of traveler management and do not necessarily require a personalized response.
A PMS can allow you to create automated scenarios so that you no longer have to manage these communications. Not only do you not waste time copying and pasting old messages, but you reduce the risk of careless mistakes.
Scheduled payments are another feature offered by some PMSs that make collecting payments easier by automatically debiting your travelers' remaining balance.
Simplify the management of your booking channels
Most property managers list their rentals on various booking sites or online travel agencies (OTAs) to gain maximum exposure.
In addition to these channels, most owners create their own website to generate direct bookings and reduce the impact of OTA commissions on their business.
The more channels you have, the harder it is to stay on top of your ads, bookings and schedules across all channels. It can quickly become chaotic and you could end up with double bookings and unanswered customer inquiries.
A PMS will put an end to these hassles with full and seamless integration of booking channels to ensure that all your bookings are in one place and can be managed from a single dashboard or interface.
This way, you always have an overview of bookings and inquiries across all your channels, and if the software includes a synchronized calendar, you won't have to worry about double bookings because your bookings will always be up-to-date across all your channels.
Improve the quality of your customer service
You can only deliver an optimal experience if you are able to control the communications between your department and your travelers.
When choosing your PMS, make sure it includes a unified inbox feature. This feature seamlessly integrates emails and messages from OTAs' customers into a single inbox.
Not only can you see all messages submitted through these platforms, as well as emails from your own direct booking site, but you can also reply to each of them from the same place, via email, SMS or other communication services.
Enhance your live booking site
Some PMS offer a suite of tools that allow you to create your direct booking site. From site creation to marketing tools to the booking engine, these features are a must if you don't have a website yet and want to reduce the impact of OTA commissions.
Look for a PMS that will allow you to create a site quickly and easily without needing technical assistance. They may be ready-made and optimized templates, but you should always have the ability to customize colors, fonts, logos, photos and content whenever you want and without paying extra!
Customizing a website is great, but the most important feature is the booking engine. Your website should have a fully integrated booking system so that you can take instant reservations with online payments. Make sure your site is SSL certified, so you and your customers can be sure that credit card details are submitted securely.
Among other features to look for, consider looking for a PMS that incorporates a responsive CMS that will accommodate cell phones and tablets. Also opt for a tool that allows you to own your domain name to ensure a professional image.
Boost the growth of your rental business
If you want to expand your business and acquire or manage more properties, investing in a good PMS should be a no-brainer. Expansion means more day-to-day tasks and hiring dedicated staff to handle the management process.
However, with the right PMS, you'll reduce payroll costs as you grow without compromising your traveler support and experience. With dynamic pricing capabilities and integrations with revenue management software, you'll optimize your occupancy and reduce your off-season losses. Some PMSs also offer data analysis capabilities to identify your growth drivers and enable you to invest in the right place at the right time.
A PMS allows you to generate more bookings while optimizing the occupancy rate thanks to a more efficient management of your activity. All of these optimizations will inevitably lead to scalable and sustainable growth.
In a nutshell
Property management is an extremely complex activity, and developing it multiplies its complexity, which increases costs exponentially as the workload increases. PMS are tools that have been developed to address these issues by centralizing all of a property manager's activities into a single unified service.
While these tools have a core set of essential features, the additional features depend on the PMS and its target. Some are more suited to small property managers while others specialize in industrializing property management.
It is imperative that you find out about the features offered by the PMS you plan to use, as well as the integrations and native features offered. Indeed, if integrations provide many interesting services, they also generate a significant additional cost.
To help you navigate the ocean of tools dedicated to your business, we are currently writing an update to our guide to vacation rental PMS.