Houses are not warehouses. Skyscrapers are not bungalows. Serviced apartments are not hotels. Not all properties are the same, so it should be no surprise that property management software is not the same either.
Serviced apartment businesses might share some basic ingredients with other hospitality segments - there are guests, there are rooms, there are bookings - but that’s where the recipe diverges. As serviced apartments predominantly cater for business travellers, operators need to deliver a seamless and sophisticated guest experience. From frictionless booking and check-in to automated maintenance and housekeeping, serviced apartment operators need specific management software that addresses their unique business and management challenges. They need a serviced apartment property management system (PMS).
- What is a serviced apartment PMS?
- Who is a serviced apartment PMS for?
- Why does serviced apartment management software exist?
- What are the key features of a serviced apartment PMS?
- Best practices for serviced apartment management
What is a serviced apartment PMS?
A serviced apartment PMS is a one-stop-shop for serviced apartment management. From advertising rooms and taking bookings to overseeing operations and extending contracts, a PMS enables you to manage all aspects of your serviced apartment business from one centralised system, no matter the location or size of your portfolio.
A serviced apartment PMS automates manual processes, such as housekeeping and maintenance scheduling, saving property managers’ resources and minimising human error. As a unified software platform, it also generates and synchronises data insights from across the business, such as occupancy levels and customer booking preferences, into one easy-to use dashboard. This data not only helps you increase revenue generation, but maximises operational efficiency and frees up their time to focus on guest experience.
What is a serviced apartment PMS? It’s a Swiss Army knife for serviced apartment operators.
Who is a serviced apartment PMS for?
A serviced apartment PMS is a property manager’s secret weapon, giving you superpowers at every stage of the customer journey.
Pre-stay, managers can use a PMS to advertise units across various serviced apartment channels, booking sites and online travel agents (OTAs) with any booking instantly synced to the management system. The PMS will also automate and personalise quotes, pre-arrival emails and inventories, so you can make a great first impression. On arrival, use a PMS to set-up keyless check-in without the need for a concierge, maintain direct two-way communication with the guest through a dedicated app and respond quickly to any potential requests. During the stay, the PMS is like a conductor, enabling you to schedule housekeeping and maintenance requests across multiple locations, and keep in constant digital contact with guests - i.e. sending important announcements or tips - all the way until a keyless check-out. Post-stay, property managers can leverage the PMS’s data insights to send automated loyalty offers based on guests’ in-stay preferences and encourage repeat bookings.
Who is a serviced apartment PMS for? Forward-thinking managers that want to grow a successful serviced apartment business.
Why does serviced apartment management software exist?
Step aside hotels, serviced apartments are on the march. During 2022, UK serviced apartments trumped UK hotels in terms of occupancies (78% vs 73.5%) and profit margins (43% GOP v 30%). In fact, it’s a trend that’s happening across Europe. Savills Director of Commercial Research, Marie Hickey,states that “European serviced apartment supply is forecast to expand by 21.2% over the next three years”.
Be it serviced apartments’ greater space-to-cost ratio, better locations (i.e. in cities not towns or rural places) or innovative business models, demand for serviced apartments is flourishing. To take advantage of the opportunities, operators need a PMS that is specifically created to handle the sector’s unique management challenges.
Serviced apartments need to be frictionless. Be it a doorman or concierge, hotels traditionally employ a range of onsite staff to deliver in-person services. But serviced apartment clientele prefer slick and seamless stays from booking to check-out, often without a staff member in sight. That means automated quotes and a simple booking portal. That means online check-in and keyless access to rooms and amenities. That means a responsive guest app for in-stay needs and automatically-generated invoices when they check-out. What that really means is operators need a serviced apartment PMS.
Serviced apartments need specific data. Whereas hotels might be able to rely on location, heritage or global brand recognition to secure custom (i.e. Hilton, Marriott or Ritz-Carlton), serviced apartment operators need to make smart data-based decisions to secure bookings. That means capturing information on average length of stay, seasonal occupancy, revenue by channel and average lead time. That means using a CRM to gather customer information, such as preferences and demographics, to boost post-stay marketing efforts. That means comparing the data against serviced apartment benchmarks and metrics. What that really means is operators need a serviced apartment PMS.
Why does serviced apartment management software exist? To facilitate this unique segment’s continuous growth.
What are the key features of a serviced apartment PMS?
From automated quotes, emails and invoices to remote management of sales channels, maintenance tasks and access control, a serviced apartment PMS consolidates all the features necessary to run a serviced apartment business into one, easy-to-use platform.
Housekeeping & operations management. Gone are the days of manually calling a plumber or writing housekeeping rotas. With a serviced apartment PMS, operators can conduct in-apartment maintenance and housekeeping remotely and in real-time. Whether it’s proactively assigning tasks to check building fire alarms every month or reactively sending an urgent request to the nearest electrician for a faulty fridge, a PMS takes away the stress of apartment upkeep. For housekeeping, use digital checklists to support the cleaning team, who can update the checklists with photos and timelogs. In only a few clicks, managers can oversee cleans across multiple locations.
Availability calendar. There’s availability calendars, then there’s serviced apartment PMS calendars. Synced across your portfolio, operations dashboard and advertising channels, the calendar will update all systems simultaneously. Raising the price of a unit or adding new photos to the listing? It goes to all sites. Received a booking through Airbnb? An availability calendar updates the system, triggers subsequent actions (i.e. a housekeeping task) and amends availability in real-time to avoid double bookings. What’s more, add-ons like PriceLabs Orphan Gap Filler reduce rates for ‘in between’ bookings to minimise voids between occupancies.
Best practice serviced apartment management
Serviced apartments are going from strength to strength. Even with 2023’s poor economic outlook, there are many upsides for the UK sector, including a greater trend towards extended stays.
Combining first-hand serviced apartment management experience with pioneering tech know-how, res:harmonics brings 15+ years of best practice to the serviced apartment industry - not just by simplifying management and boosting profit, but by guiding the way too.
Download the Ultimate Guide to Serviced Apartment Property Management Software 2023 to learn how property management software supports serviced apartment operators.
Request a demo to find out more.