Understanding Your Interfacing Options for Your Front Office Systems
A software interface means that two software platforms you have in place at your hotel can work together to pass specific information between one another. Interfacing examples you may already have in your property may include some of the below examples:
- Between your PMS and your key card machine – when you check someone in on your PMS the key card machine automatically cuts the correct number of keys for that specific room number.
- Between your PMS and you POS system in the Bar/Restaurant – meaning food and drinks charges in the Bar/Restaurant will show on the guest bill at check out.
- Between your PMS and your telephone/TV systems in the bedrooms – it may not be something that many hotels still have in operation now, but this integration allows phones calls to be charged to a guest’s bill and charges for movies or streaming services to be applied directly to the room bill.
There are numerous benefits to interfacing your PMS to various software systems, especially a channel manager. When it comes to updating your rates and loading them online, integrating to your PMS can help you to streamline your rate setting and inventory management. There are many different choices out there; some properties have a one-way interface, some have a two-way interface while others haven’t interfaced any of their software. We’ve put together a brief explanation of what each type of interface means and how it can potentially benefit your property.
This connection is usually between your PMS and Channel Manager, where the information is sent in one direction. It’s generally an interface where any bookings received through any channel (OTA or Brand Website) will be mapped from your Channel Manager and flow directly into your PMS, cutting down on the workload for your reservations teams. As the connection is only one way, inventory will need to be updated on the channel manager manually and this is done by logging into your Channel Manager and “topping up” the number of available rooms under each room type to ensure availability is always open for dates where you still have rooms to sell.
There are pros and cons to this type of interface. Only interfacing one-way means that the team at your property still has control over what availability you are showing online, however you do need to set aside time each day (sometimes a couple of times a day) to log into the channel manager and update what availability you have for each room type.
What can sometimes happen is that the inventory review is only done for the immediate booking window and you could miss a date further out that is selling fast and you haven’t replenished stock. This can be avoided however by using an RMS such as Rate Wise as our software reviews 365 days on each update and can help you pinpoint the days where pick up is strong, so you can review these dates much quicker and top up availability where needed.
This quick insight from our software can quickly pinpoint if MLOS restrictions are needed to be put in place or low-cost rates need to be closed off.
A two-way connection between your PMS and Channel Manager means that information is passing between both systems with a live feed. Live inventory is sent from your PMS to your Channel Manager which pushes this out to all of your channels. In turn any bookings which are made on these channels will feed directly back into your PMS. This cuts down even further on the human input needed to keep your hotel open and visible online. As rooms are booked and cancelled, this information is fed directly into your Channel Manager. There are lots of positives to this type of set up, however some draw backs too which need to be managed. The best example we can give is this:
- When a hotel operates at high levels of occupancy and this hotel has multiple room types (double, twin, triple , family, suite, etc). Achieving 100% occupancy can be complex
- If you have double rooms remaining tonight, a suite and a triple for tomorrow night and double rooms for the 3rd night
- Guests searching for a double room for 2 or 3 nights cannot make a reservation as they cannot book the same room type consistently
These complexities can be managed in the PMS by a strong Front Office/Reservation manager tweaking the PMS to overbook by room type. Alternatively by upgrading some guests to alternative room types so ‘stay through room types are available to book’
A two-way interface is definitely a time saver for the reservations team. But don’t underestimate the extra work in the background to set up and manage this. Room types and rate plans have to be mapped to make sure bookings are processed correctly. The more complex your room types and rate plans the more complex and time-consuming the process can be.
Having no interface means you are using your PMS and Channel Manager independently of one another and are updating each manually. Remember, you don’t have to interface the software systems that you use! Properties – especially smaller ones – often don’t have the budget or see the need for setting up interfaced software and are able to manage the systems on their own. This means inputting all reservations one by one and managing inventory and availability on your channel manager separately.
Whether you have no interface, a one-way interface or a two-way interface at your hotel an RMS like Rate Wise can help you keep your rates up to date for 365 days. Please contact Liz to arrange a demo or if you have any questions on how we can help your property.