Applications of PMS and Interfaces in School Setting Instructions:

In document Manual on Module V – Trends and Issues in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry (Page 138-155)

Impacts on Food and Beverage

ACTIVIT 7.6-Feasible Applications of PMS and Interfaces in School Setting Instructions:

1. Work as a group of 4.

2. By referring to Figure 5.3 and what you have learnt in this section, try to think about and discuss the following questions with your classmates:

­ Can PMS and interfaces be applied in school setting?

­ What kinds of functions can they provide to users, e.g. students, teachers or parents if any?

3. Share your group ideas in the class.


Figure 7.5-Hotel property management system

- Evolution of PMS

As more and more hotels are now operating under chains or forming strategic partnership with other companies, the functions of PMS have been extended from in-house level to external networks, which lead to the development of the Computerized Reservation System (CRS) and Global Distribution System (GDS). Table 7.1 summarizes the roles performed by these three different systems in the hotel businesses.


Do you think PMS can totally replace staff in hotel operations?

Examples of Applications Functions

An Individual Hotel

Perform inventory control and reservation functions of an individual hotel.

A Hotel Chain

Centralize reservation functions of all hotels under the same enterprise.

Car Rentals Cruises Hotels Airlines Strategic Partnership or Distribution through Travel Agent

Allow strategic partners to put their inventories together which enables the distributions of multi-types of travel products through one central system.





1. Property Management System (PMS)

Some functions included in hotel PMSs are listed as follow:

a) Reservations

Individual reservations;

Group reservations;

Room blocking;

Mails and messages;

VIP guests;

Deposits and refunds;


Travel agents;

Groups and plans;

Reservation module reports;

Arrivals and departures;

Group reports;

Departure list;

Master list.

b) Front Desk and Cashier Systems

Registrations and changes;

Selecting a room;

Transferring a guest;

Messages and mails;

6pm hold reservations;

Billing of groups;

Locating a guest;

Posting charges;

Printing in the cashier area;

Night audit;

Room rate variance;

Credit limit report;

Daily report;

Room revenue report;

City ledger activities;



Housekeeping functions;

Room status changes;


Telephone department.

c) Housekeeping Systems

Assigns room for cleaning at the beginning of the day;

Daily housekeeping report;

Daily reports on check-ins, check-outs, occupancies, vacancies and maintenance;

Change status from "dirty" to "clean";

Change to "block" if room is undergoing maintenance;


General cleaning management.


2. Computerized Reservation System (CRS)

Inspired by the broad applications of CRS in the airline industry, many hotels have tried to bring this system into use, especially for those which operate more than one hotel under the same brand. The term “computerized reservation system” is also expressed as “central reservation system” which enables reservation staff to check the room availability of all hotel properties and perform reservations by any terminals under the same network in real time. Nowadays, many PMS systems applied by hotels also include CRS functions which enable hotel staff to switch between the dual systems whenever necessary.

Obviously, the development of CRS brings more benefits to hotel chains. For example, the

“Peninsula Hotels” group operates a total of 9 hotels worldwide. It only has one Central Reservation Office (CRO) in Hong Kong, which operates 24-hours and serves all the 9 worldwide properties in room reservations through the use of CRS. Such a practice can reduce the operational cost of setting up individual reservation offices in different locations, standardize

Reservation Module Availability/ Forecasting

Reservation records Reservation Confirmations

Room Pricing Revenue Management

Guest Accounting Module Folio Management

Credit Monitoring Transaction Tracking

Rooms Management Module Room Status

Registration Room Assignments Room Rate Information

General Management Module Revenue Analysis

Operating Statistics Financial Analysis Guest History Record Figure 7.6-Rooms Division computer applications

the quality of reservation services and eliminate the needs of communication among different reservation offices if room bookings are across different properties. Moreover, for hotel chains with more than one hotel in a city or region, the CRS enables reservation staff to recommend and direct customers to less occupied properties when their preferred ones are already full.

3. Global Distribution System (GDS)

Global distribution system (GDS) has features similar to CRS which can access inventories of multi-parties in one single system. It is an extended version of CRS which enables not just only the hotels of different brands but other enterprises selling travel products, such as cruises, airlines and car rental companies to share their inventories in one single distribution channel.

Advantages of applying GDS are numerous. For example, travel agents can easily and efficiently access the availability of travel products, conduct reservation or even selling through the use of GDS. The increase in informational transparency also enables customers and travel agents to compare travel products previous to their booking decisions. Overall speaking, both the CRS and GDS have contributed to the international circulations of travel products, which helped smooth seasonality and increase occupancy.

7.2.5 Internet and Customers

The rapid growth of internet in the late 1990s has gradually changed the way of hotels and other tourism enterprises in distributing their products. Besides depending on own hotel staff or travel agents to perform booking activities, some hotels or travel intermediaries begin to utilize the advantages of

internet as an alternative for product distribution. Hotel websites with reservation functions and online travel agents have contributed to positive effects on the sales of hotel rooms.

Customers’ habits of surfing the web have facilitated their active roles in searching for travel information before their trips. Although figures show that the penetration rate of hotel online booking is still very low in the mainland (8%) in the year of 2010, the growth potential is considerably high as more and more people become knowledgeable and receptive to the trend of online purchases, such as online auctions or group buying websites in Hong Kong. The question of whether such a consumption pattern can be extended to the hotel industry will




with those traditional and online travel agents.

ACTIVITY 7.8-Online Reservation


1. Work as a group of 4 to 5.

2. Use the internet search engine and find one online hotel reservation agent (e.g. or

3. Choose any one local hotel provided in the website and check the following:

­ Room types available;

­ Room rates on a specific date (check the rates of all room types available);

­ Products and services included in the room rates

4. At the same time, try to search the enterprise. website of the hotel selected and check the same thing as stated in step (3). Compare their differences.

5. Besides, try to compare the two websites based on the following dimensions:

­ Are the layout and design attractive?

­ Is it user-friendly?

­ Is it informative?

6. Conclude which one is your preferred source of online reservation. Why?

7.2.6 The Trends of Technology Applications in the Accommodation Sector—

Development of Self-Serviced Technologies (SST)

Self-serviced technologies (SST) refer to technological interfaces or applications which enable customers to take a productive role when using services without the presence or support of the service staff. Such technologies have become increasingly important and as well, have altered the forms of services provided to customers in many different sectors, such as automatic teller machines (ATM) being used by the general public.

The accommodation sector is not the pioneer to apply SST in their operations but has been inspired by many I.T. applications used in other sectors. Common examples of SST applied in the accommodation sector are usually in forms of kiosks, internet-based interfaces and mobile-based devices.

1. Kiosks

Kiosks are now available in many hotels which enable customers to perform various self-service functions.

Besides self-check-in machines, some hotels also provide travel information kiosks for their guests and visitors in their lobbies. They provide a variety of concierge functions which allows multi-users to look for maps and directions to different attractions without the support of concierge staff.

2. Internet-based interfaces

As many people are familiar with the use of the Internet, the applications of internet-based SST in the accommodation sector should be explored.

Besides encouraging customers to reserve rooms through hotel online reservation systems, many other kinds of SST functions are also available in using the Internet and websites of hospitality businesses. For example, customers can get


the Internet without physically visiting the hotel property. Room prices, special events and promotional messages are updated automatically in real time by interfacing hotel websites with the reservation systems. Customers can easily make purchasing decisions with these updated information. Guest comments and inquiries can also be easily transmitted to the corresponding units and departments in the hotel websites.

3. Mobile-based devices

The increase use of smart phones and other mobile devices by the general public has particularly driven to the designs of various self-service applications to be used in the hospitality industry. For example, Hilton Worldwide has introduced a mobile application which enables guests to use their mobile devices, such as their smart phones or portable notebooks to perform various functions, including pre-check-in their rooms before physically arrives to the hotel, reserve a table in a hotel’s restaurant or even order food by using the electronic menu provided in the application software.

4. Customers’ Views of SST Applications

Without sacrificing the personal services provided by front line staff, customers prefer hotels and other hospitality sectors to provide SST as extra service options and add value to their service experiences. Through the use of SST, customers do not need to wait in line for services and they are provided with more control about when, where and what they want to do without the help of other service staff.

Customers generally prefer being served and having face-to-face communications with the service providers. Such kind of personal attention is considered as the core element in the accommodation sector, which can be supported but never be replaced by new technologies.

It is suggested that management should never overlook the effects of applying SST in their operations, especially for those customers who are not keen on using new technologies (e.g.

seniors). It is reasonable that some customers may not want to have any changes in their purchasing process, therefore, they may not feel happy or satisfied if they are forced to do so.

7.2.7 Suggestions on Facilitating I.T. Applications in the Accommodation Sector

Although I.T. applications can enhance the productivity and in some circumstances, can increase the customer satisfaction, management of the accommodation sector should put more effort on eliminating the obstacles of such applications to be used by either the customers or the staff. Below are some suggestions on facilitating I.T. applications in the accommodation sector.

1. User Friendly

The design of I.T. applications should be user friendly to both customers and staff. E.g. the information shown in the self-check-in kiosks should be clear and easy to read. The operational procedures should be simple and supported by clear instructions. Kiosks, for customers’

convenience, should be located in prominent locations and supplemented by prompt technical support if necessary.

2. Direct Benefits to Users

I.T. applications should give direct benefits to users. E.g. the concierge functions available in some PMSs can install all important and useful information for travelers, such as information of hotels, restaurants, attractions, hospitals and shopping malls. Concierge staff can simply input the keywords into the system and print the information out, e.g. the address and location map of a cinema nearby instead of searching from the internet. Hotels can also encourage customers to use the self-serviced kiosks with incentives, such as allowing the printing out of


3. Give Choices to Customers

Management should never expect an immediate willingness for customers or staff to use new I.T. applications. Instead, they should consider the provision of multi channels for end-users according to their preferences. E.g. customers in many hotels can choose to order their room services by using the in-room TV-based services systems or they can still use the old way by calling the telephone operators for room services.

4. Training and Technical Support

In order to ensure smooth transitions of using new I.T. applications, enough training should be provided to staff to get them well-prepared for the changes. E.g. restaurant staff should be well-trained for using the electronic menus before they can be introduced to the customers.

Testing of using the new devices should be conducted and technical support should be available in case of a system failure.

7.3 Food and Beverage Sector

7.3.1 Restaurant and Banquet Management System

Although the food and beverage sector still relies heavily on human for their technical skills in production and services, more and more I.T. applications have been introduced in this sector to enhance their efficiency and accuracy in both operation and management levels. Some of their examples are as follow:

1. Electronic Point-of-sale (POS) System

Electronic Point-of-Sale Systems (POS) take the place of traditional cash registers. They take the form of a single cash register with a processor, memory and printer, all incorporated into one unit. They have a greater capacity than traditional cash registers, which include cashiering, generations of sales and management reports, etc.

Typical functions include the ability to store multiple totals which enables overall sales for a shift to be analysed as required. A touch screen with programmed prices of menu items makes the process faster and more efficient. Once the information has been input, a copy will be sent

to the

responsible outlet, e.g. kitchen, bar, room service.

Therefore, service staff can place orders easily through systems at the side stations and orders will be directly sent to the kitchen or different production units through interfaces. All orders will show the time it is processed which in turn eliminates the errors of hand-written chits.

Management reports are very comprehensive, giving details such as the sales of each item on the menu.

Information of this type can further assist the management to ensure that the business is operating at its maximum efficiency and profitability.

The recent development of hand-held devices and


transmissions from table sides to the kitchen through wireless communications.

2. Recipe-costing System

It is always the duties of restaurant managers to keep track on the changes of food and beverage costs and ensure certain profit margins of menu items. Recipe-costing system performs such a function which automatically updates the costs of menu items when prices of ingredients change continuously due to factors, such as inflation.

Costs are calculated according to the standard recipes and portion sizes of menu items pre-programmed in the system. It gives useful information to restaurant managers so more accurate control in production costs and profit margins can be achieved.

3. Banqueting Management

I.T. applications have also benefited the banqueting management of hotels, e.g. convention hotels, which are specifically targeted for frequent

events or meetings. Examples of banqueting management systems include banqueting reservation system and bookings diary which perform similar functions as the hotel reservation system. Information about the bookings of banqueting rooms and facilities, food and beverage packages, event set-ups and payment methods are consolidated and managed by

using computers which enhance the ease of planning, coordination and fully utilizations of the hotel’s banqueting resources.

4. Beverage Control System

Some hotels may impose strict controls on the wastages of beverage consumptions in their outlets. Portions, such as drought beer are pre-set and measured by electronic flow meters while being served by restaurant staff. The total beverage consumption would then be matched with the sales records of the POS which can help in detecting any discrepancies due to

excessive beverage wastages and any possible cheats or misconducts of the service staff.

7.3.2 The changes in technology that affect consumption patterns in the food and beverage sector

The introduction of advanced food technology has led to changes in food consumption pattern.

On one hand, people are now able to enjoy foods from anywhere in the world, but they also bring about various issues of concern.

1. Food production and delivery

The advances in food technology have brought about much progress in food development, storage, handling, preservation and preparation. In addition, development in transport has made possible for food to be delivered

from the place of origin to the place of consumption within a short time. All these have great impact on people’s food consumption patterns. To some extent, food consumption has become globalized. For those who can afford it, almost any foodstuff (e.g., oysters, lobsters) can be sent “fresh” from one part of the world to another within 24 hours. At another level, preserved food, soft drinks, candies, snacks, ice cream, nuts, tea etc. can be delivered to everywhere in the world.

It is undeniably true that many people are eating more processed foods rather than fresh home-made foods. Some experts have commented on the detrimental effects of the additives and coloring matters on the health of the consumers, especially school children. Preservatives (such as nitrates, BHT and BHA) are also suspected to be associated with brain or lung cancers. There is also a concern that the nutritional values of the processed foods are low.

Environmentalists also criticized that people are eating more imported and less local foods.

Because imported foods have to be transported from other countries to the place where they are consumed, this involves use of energy and emission of carbon dioxide. In other words, this


2. Information technology and food ordering

The advancement of information technology has enabled customers to order food by telephone, fax or over the Internet, to be collected or delivered. Food that is delivered by a restaurant to a customer is also sometimes called take-out. The restaurant can be related to a globalized chain or franchise, but often they are small businesses serving traditional food. Examples include lunch boxes by tea houses in Hong Kong; neighbourhood fish and chip shops in England and Australia; sandwiches sold by delis in the U.S.; kebabs sold in many countries; and the wide range of sausage-based snacks sold from stalls in German cities. For many people, eating take-out at home is a convenient and money-saving dining option.

There may be concerns about eating take-outs.

Some people are worried that store-prepared foods are usually high in sodium, fat, sugar and calories and low in healthy nutrients compared to home-made foods. Another concern is about eating take-outs at home, which often means that the person is also watching TV or working with the computer, and this is by no means a healthy eating style. Finally, people may worry that this eating pattern reinforces the social behavior of the Otaku (nerdy man), who just stays at home and does not go out.

3. Media and web technology and promotion

The media has substantial influence in determining food product selection. The influence of celebrity chefs is often referred to as “the Delia effect” due to the TV programme How to Cook by media chef Delia Smith, which resulted in high increased of eggs being sold in Britain each day of the series. Recently, the programme by Jamie Oliver triggered increased sale of 21-day mature beef endorsed by the chef in Britain’s supermarket. In Hong Kong, different TV programmes have aroused audience’s interest in unique Chinese cuisines (e.g., lard rice) and ingredients (e.g., premium soya sauce).

In addition, with the advance of Internet technology, information search process is facilitated by search engines. The development of Web 2.0 technology (such as blogs, wikis and Facebook) makes a further step by allowing consumers to publish their opinions (reviews, ratings, photos

In document Manual on Module V – Trends and Issues in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry (Page 138-155)