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Published: 2024-04-05

The Top 5 Hotel Software Your Property Needs

The Top 5 Hotel Software Your Property Needs

In today's competitive hospitality landscape, technology isn't a luxury; it's a necessity. The right hotel software suite can streamline operations, improve the guest experience, and give your property an edge over competitors. But with so many systems to choose from, where should you start? Let's break down the essential tools you need to run your hotel efficiently and profitably.

1. Property Management System (PMS)

What is a Property Management System (PMS)?

A Property Management System (PMS) is a software application that serves as the central nervous system of a hotel. It handles a wide range of essential operations from the front desk to back-office tasks.

Think of it as the digital control center that helps hotels manage their day-to-day activities.


Key Functions of a PMS

Reservations and Bookings Management

  • Processes bookings from multiple sources (direct website, online travel agencies, phone, walk-ins).
  • Manages real-time room availability and rates across all connected channels.

Guest Check-in/Check-Out

  • Streamlines guest registration.
  • Assigns rooms and manages key generation.
  • Processes payments and generates invoices.

Guest Profile Management

  • Stores guest data, including contact details, preferences, and booking history.
  • Enables personalized service and targeted marketing.

Front Desk Operations

  • Room status tracking (occupied, vacant, cleaning needed, etc.).
  • Manages guest requests and communication.

Housekeeping Management

  • Helps schedule and track cleaning tasks.
  • Coordinates room status updates with the front desk.

Reporting & Analytics

  • Generates crucial reports on occupancy, revenue, guest demographics, and more.
  • Provides insights for making data-driven decisions.

hotel gsa

Why is a PMS Indispensable for Hotels?


A PMS automates many manual, time-consuming processes, freeing up staff to focus on guests.

Centralized Control

One system manages all aspects of hotel operations, eliminating the need for multiple, disparate programs.

Improved Guest Experience

A PMS enables personalized service, faster check-in/check-out, and streamlined communication.

Increased Revenue

A PMS can help optimize pricing and prevent overbookings, thus maximizing profitability.

Data-Driven Insights

Detailed reporting helps hotels make informed business decisions and identify trends.

Modern PMS systems often have advanced features, including integrations with:

Channel Managers

To update inventory and pricing on online travel agencies (OTAs) seamlessly.

Revenue Management Systems

For strategic pricing recommendations.

Guest Communication Platforms

To enhance guest interactions.

Point of Sale (POS) Systems

To manage on-site outlets like restaurants and spas.

2. Channel Manager

What is a Channel Manager?

A channel manager is a software tool that connects your hotel's Property Management System (PMS) to various online travel agencies (OTAs) and other online booking platforms like:

  • Booking.com
  • Expedia
  • Airbnb
  • Agoda
  • Your own hotel website's booking engine

hotel booking ota

How Does a Channel Manager Work?

Two-Way Connection

The channel manager establishes a real-time, two-way connection between your PMS and all connected booking channels.

Centralized Inventory

Your room availability and rates are pooled from your PMS and made instantly visible on all connected booking sites.

Automatic Updates

Whenever a booking is made on any platform, the channel manager does the following:

  • Updates availability on ALL other connected channels to prevent overbookings.
  • Sends the reservation details back to your PMS for streamlined management.

Why is a Channel Manager Important for Hotels?

Saves Time and Effort

Without a channel manager, you would have to log in to each OTA's extranet individually to update your availability and rates every time you get a booking – a tedious and time-consuming task.

Prevents Overbookings

The real-time synchronization ensures that your available rooms are always accurately reflected across all channels, eliminating the risk of accidentally overbooking your hotel.

Increases Visibility

A channel manager expands your reach by distributing your rooms on multiple popular platforms, making your hotel visible to a wider audience.

Boosts Revenue

By making it easier for potential guests to find and book your rooms, a channel manager can increase your occupancy and revenue.

Key Considerations When Choosing a Channel Manager

Number of Supported Channels

Ensure the channel manager connects to the OTAs and booking platforms relevant to your target clientele.

Ease of Use

Look for a user-friendly interface that your staff can learn easily.


Choose a channel manager with an excellent track record of avoiding overbookings and syncing inventory flawlessly.


Ensure the provider offers timely and helpful customer support in case of any issues.

3. Point of Sale (POS)

What is a Point of Sale (POS)?

A Point of Sale (POS) system is the location where a customer completes a transaction with a business. This could be a physical location like a checkout counter, or a virtual location like an online store.

pos ui

Key Functions of a POS System

Sales Transactions

Ring up sales, calculate totals, process various payment types (credit cards, debit cards, mobile payments, cash, etc.), and generate receipts.

Inventory Management

Track product stock levels, automatically order low inventory items, and generate sales reports.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Store customer information, track purchase history, and create customer loyalty programs.

Employee Management

Clock in/clock out employees, track sales performance, and manage labor scheduling.

Reporting and Analytics

Generate reports on sales, profits, inventory movement, and other key business metrics.

POS Systems in Hotels

Hotels use POS systems extensively in various revenue-generating outlets:

Restaurants and Bars

Taking orders, managing tabs, splitting checks, processing payments, and communicating with the kitchen.

Spas and Wellness Centers

Booking appointments, managing retail product sales, and processing payments.

Gift Shops

Handling retail transactions and managing inventory.

Event and Conferences

Billing for catering services, equipment rentals, and other event-related charges.

Room Service

Allowing guests to order food and drinks directly from their rooms and adding the charges to their room bill.

hotel restaurant

Types of POS Systems

Traditional POS

Countertop systems with cash drawers, receipt printers, card readers, and often touch-screen displays.

Mobile POS

Tablet-based systems that offer portability and flexibility, perfect for tableside service or taking payments anywhere in the hotel.

Cloud-Based POS

Systems that store data in the cloud, allowing for remote access, data analytics, and easier scalability.

Benefits of POS Systems for Hotels

Streamlined Operations

Faster, more accurate transactions, and efficient inventory management.

Improved Guest Experience

Quicker service and convenient payment options.

Enhanced Data Insights

Detailed sales data for decision-making.

Integration with PMS

A seamless connection with your Property Management System to consolidate guest charges and provide a unified view of spending.

4. Booking Engine

What is a Booking Engine?

A booking engine is a software application that's integrated directly into your hotel's website. It allows guests to check room availability, view different room types, see prices, and complete their reservations securely in real-time.

Think of it as your hotel's own online reservation portal, empowering guests to book directly with your property.

How Does a Booking Engine Work?


The booking engine connects directly to your hotel's Property Management System (PMS) or a channel manager if you use one.

Displays Real-Time Availability

The booking engine pulls live availability and rate information from your PMS.

Guest Interface

The booking engine provides a user-friendly interface for guests to:

  • Choose dates
  • Select their preferred room type
  • View pricing and promotional offers
  • Enter their personal information
  • Securely process their payment

Reservation Confirmation

The booking engine sends an automated confirmation email to the guest and updates your PMS with the new reservation details.

Why is a Booking Engine Important for Hotels?

Drives Direct Bookings

A booking engine allows you to shift bookings away from online travel agencies (OTAs) and their hefty commissions, leading to increased revenue.

Improves Guest Experience

A booking engine offers a seamless, convenient way for guests to book, improving their satisfaction with your hotel.

Ownership of Guest Data

When guests book directly, you collect their contact information and preferences, allowing for targeted marketing and building stronger relationships.

Gain Pricing Control A booking engine gives you full control over the rates you display and any promotions you wish to offer.

Key Features of a Good Booking Engine

User-Friendly Interface

Intuitive design for easy navigation and booking.

Mobile Optimization

Essential for guests booking from smartphones and tablets.

Secure Payment Processing

Built-in payment gateway for safe transactions.

Promotional Capabilities

Ability to showcase special offers and packages.


Option to match your hotel's branding.

Multilingual Support

Deliver better guest experience through personalization.

5. Guest Service Application

What is a Guest Service App?

A guest service app is a mobile application designed to enhance the guest experience at hotels. It typically works by allowing guests to download the app on their own smartphones or tablets, giving them access to a range of hotel services and information.


Common Features of Guest Service Apps

Mobile Check-in/Check-out

Guests can skip the front desk lines and check in or out directly from their phones.

Digital Room Keys

Allows guests to unlock their room doors using their smartphones.

Requests and Concierge Services

Guests can make requests for housekeeping, room service, maintenance, etc., directly through the app.


Real-time communication between guests and hotel staff for questions, requests, or feedback.

Hotel Information

Provides hotel directories, information on amenities, local attractions, and events.

In-Room Control

Some apps may integrate with smart room technology, allowing guests to control lighting, temperature, and entertainment systems.

Loyalty Programs

Integration with the hotel's loyalty program, allowing guests to track points and redeem rewards.

Benefits of Guest Service Apps for Hotels

Improved Guest Experience

Provides greater convenience, faster service, and a more personalized stay for guests.

Increased Operational Efficiency

Reduces workload for front desk staff and streamlines request management.

Contactless Service

Appeals to guests who prefer minimizing in-person interactions, especially in the post-pandemic era.

Enhanced Communication

Creates a direct communication channel with guests, improving responsiveness and issue resolution.

Data and Insights

Collects valuable data on guest preferences and behavior, which helps tailor services and marketing efforts.

Upselling Opportunities

Promotes additional hotel services and amenities through the app, generating potential for increased revenue.

guest service app

Considerations When Choosing a Guest Service App


Identify the features most important to your property and guest demographics.


The app should be intuitive and easy for guests of all ages and technical backgrounds to navigate.


Ensure it integrates seamlessly with your existing PMS, POS, and other hotel systems.


Always choose a provider with robust security measures to protect guest data.

Choosing the Right Hotel Software

Select software providers that offer robust features, excellent customer support, and integrate seamlessly with your existing systems. Cloud-based solutions are generally favored for scalability and remote access.

Investing in the right hotel software is about more than just efficiency. It's about giving your staff the tools they need to excel and providing guests with the seamless experience they demand in a tech-driven world.

Paper Plane

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