The difference between a POS and a PMS: What can hoteliers gain from innovative software solutions 

by | May 25, 2023

Technology is not new to the world of business, with many businesses using multiple tools and solutions to improve and scale. For hoteliers, technology and software solutions have become a necessary infrastructure to create smoother operations at the front and back end.

This is why countless modern hospitality businesses are equipped with Point-of-Sale systems (POS), PMS (Property Management System) and front-office management software, ordering solutions and even mobile apps. Be it at a restaurant, spa, club, or even a gift shop, these solutions can remove the complexity of managing billing and expenses between multiple touchpoints, take excess responsibilities away from the staff, and make transactions much quicker for the guests.

The benefits of having systems like PMS or POS for hotels doesn’t end there. The result of having integrated systems working together at a hospitality venue is that it allows an undisrupted flow of data between them, giving streamlined workflows and a single source of operational truth that can counter bottlenecks, deficiencies and enable better transparency.

So how do these systems operate together to create sophisticated hospitality services? Let us understand by discovering the benefits of each system.

What is a POS?

A POS or Point-of-Sale software is a system that allows businesses to manage sales, invoicing and ordering at restaurants, rooms, spas and wellness centres and even hotel boutiques. Today’s POS systems are far more advanced than their predecessors that only managed the cash register; instead, they are replaced by electronic POS terminals that process multiple types of payments and can be operated on cloud or on-premise. In fact, thanks to their many benefits, Fortune Business Insights even predicts that the global POS market is projected to grow from $25.24 billion in 2022 to $70.75 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 15.9%.

Following are some of the critical business benefits of POS for hotels.

Inventory tracking across multiple outlets

Hoteliers can track their inventory across multiple venues in different locations and check for the stock availability in each of those outlets. This enables the hotel staff to find out the availability of items that their customers look for in every venue, avoid deadstock and be ready with an undisrupted service.

Business mobility

A cloud-based POS system can even be accessed via a mobile phone or a tablet. As a result, it allows businesses to access their sales and transaction data from anywhere, even on the go. Without the need to be present at a location physically, hoteliers can monitor ongoing transactions or other related operations effortlessly.

Higher data security

At the age where most prefer card payments, customer PII needs to be handled with the utmost care. Luckily, cloud POS systems ensure all customer data is stored with data safety regulation compliance. The high level of security eliminates the risk of data loss due to malware, damaged systems or security breaches.

Get real-time analytics and reports

Using a Point-of-Sales system, hoteliers can generate sales reports with accurate information about the number of products sold, bestselling products and even profit margins. With a system that provides reports and analytics free of human errors, hoteliers can quickly make strategic decisions regarding their business.

What is a PMS?

A hotel PMS or a Property Management System can manage all aspects of hotel business operations enabling a seamless guest experience from the moment the guests check-in till they check-out. This includes the management of functions such as reservations, room assignment, defining the room rates, and billing processes. Modern PMS solutions also deliver more services than just front desk capabilities taking hold of some of the most time-consuming responsibilities of a hotel.

Simplified hotel check-in and check-out

Thanks to cloud-based and mobile-optimised PMS, hotels can offer their guests a 24/7 service. As guests check in or find their rooms, the hotel staff doesn’t have to constantly sit in front of the front desk but instead provide stellar guest service from anywhere.

Manage housekeeping and staff

A PMS that has integrated housekeeping tools can streamline the housekeeping tasks and staff management for a hotel. For example, with requirements updated instantly on mobile devices, the staff members can easily track what rooms are free, staff can be assigned tasks according to their availability and check what rooms are in need of housekeeping.

Guest data management

Having a central and secure customer database can improve a hotel’s ability to understand its guests. By maintaining guest profiles that track the needs and preferences of guests based on their previous and current transactions, hotels can have accurate guest details and analytics to optimise their future services and provide an outstanding guest experience.

Effective multi-property management

A cloud PMS system provides a complete real-time view of room availability and venue inventory that can be accessed from anywhere. Hotels can view these details to respond to guest queries, increase room occupancy and their average daily rates. They can also use such information for revenue management and work towards boosting sales and profits.

Why hotels need both POS and PMS systems?

An integration between PMS and POS is a combination of two powerhouses that can provide greater value to a business. As both enables better completion of transactions and host all relevant sales data, hoteliers can uncover insights that lead to better strategic decisions.

1. Updating and maintaining guest profiles

Integrating a PMS and a POS enables better tracking and collection of guest data. The billing information collected from the hotel Point-of-Sales system at each touchpoint—front desk, gift shop, spa, for example—can be swiftly sent to the PMS. The PMS also collects real time details of the discounts, refunds and cancellations related to all orders created using the POS.

Not only does this enable the hotel add new data to their guest profiles constantly, but keeps track of the changes in guest needs. With the PMS storing all guest data in a central database, hotels will never loose track of what their guests love the most and make sure their guest profiles are always stay up-to-date.

2. Make future-proof decisions

The sales data collected on a hotel POS system has insights into several customer and market behaviour, which can provide hoteliers with the exact data they need to refine their sales and marketing plans. Some of them include the following:

  • The customer segment that purchases the most from a brand and at which outlet they do it.
  • The existing patterns between hotel occupancy rate and the profits earned at each venue owned by a hotel.
  • The changes in customer demand during different seasons, such as the festive season vs off-season.
  • The products or services that are in demand the most.

Using such valuable data, hotels can learn more about customer behaviour and how it changes with different economic or social changes, what services or products need to be available during different times/ seasons of the year and how to improve hotel services to provide exactly what the guests are expecting. Hoteliers can also use this information to tailor the guest experience or improve revenue performance by offering targeted amenities or services.

3. Streamlined billing process

Integrating POS and PMS also enables hotels to provide convenient payment methods to guests and easier transaction closure to staff members. We live in a time where most people prefer faster and more convenient payment methods that are not limited to cash. The connectivity between Point-of-Sale and Property Management System enables hotels to accept multiple types of payments, including credit cards, debit cards, cheques, coupons or even online wallets.

This enhanced payment system connected with finance and account management modules can make the experience even better for the accounts department of a hospitality business. Combined with the added safety and security standards, hotels can ensure not only a sophisticated experience for guests but also data security and integrity that further foster brand loyalty.

4. Better connectivity between departments

When multiple software and systems are working disconnected, each area of a hotel business must manually communicate billing, guest and other data to the front desk or wait for the IT teams to retrieve the necessary information for them. This manual process is prone to mistakes or delays that can dampen a hotel’s effort to provide a good guest experience.

Instead, a POS ensures a continuous connection between a hotel’s various departments and an uninterrupted flow of data to the PMS. The front office staff and those managing touchpoints have equal accessibility to business-critical data across both POS and PMS modules without waiting around or depending on other departments to get it.

POS and PMS software together can take a hotel to the next level

The bottom line is, integration between PMS and POS systems can do wonders to hotel service delivery.

The increased connectivity between multiple systems and departments, the automated workflows and the enhanced ability to monetise data can empower hospitality businesses to provide the ultimate guest experience with services and products that can leave a lasting impression.