Looking to purchase or replace an existing hotel property management system can be a daunting and overwhelming task. The PMS has come a long way since its inception and has evolved to handle so much more than traditional hotel processes such as check-in and check-out. It has transformed into dynamic platform central for hotel operations and is increasingly expected to do more and more on both enterprise and customer-facing levels. Selecting the right system has never been more important.
Having the right property management in place can mean more streamlined hotel operations and reduced costs, improved performance reporting and business intelligence, increased hotel occupancy, improved guest experience, and guest satisfaction all resulting in increased revenue and profitability.
According to many industry experts, there are over 100 solution providers that develop, sell and support hotel PMS systems considered to be at the epicenter of helping hoteliers run their hotels. So how can hoteliers determine which property management system is best suited to their unique operational and budgetary needs? While there are many factors to consider during the decision-making process, some of which carry more weight than others, here are five things to consider when purchasing a new PMS:
1. Cloud-Based vs. Legacy System:
Cloud-based solutions provide significant benefits to hotels. Long gone are the days where we required a massive cold room on-property to house the primary software and hardware systems of a hotel. Cloud eliminates the need for on-site server hardware and associated expenses, hotels are less dependent on internal IT specialists and everything is done automatically in the cloud by the PMS provider. In addition, security liability is transferred to the supplier, allowing the hotel to shift costs from capital expenditures to operating expenses.
Cloud solutions provide far more powerful software that is more flexible, adaptable, more reliable, more affordable and has the capability to scale. The advent of cloud computing has freed hoteliers to implement solutions that are to some extent future-proofed.
2. Simple and Intuitive Integration:
It’s well known that legacy systems do not communicate well with one another and one of the largest challenges hoteliers have faced when it comes to their PMS is a lack of technology integration and/or the complexity of integration with other systems.
But as new products are developed, and guests demand more technological flexibility, a hotels PMS should be able to not only connect to their current systems but connect to fresh and innovative platforms easily and with a minimal amount of friction.
When looking to purchase a new PMS, the key is to look for a solution that can integrate easily and work with a wide range of providers and emerging solutions. With the introduction of cloud seamless integration and communication between multiple sources is a reality. It is transforming how hotels run providing ease of operations at every level and helping management focus on what’s important: servicing the customer.
3. Ease of Use:
The goal of any PMS technology should be to provide the executive management team and front-line employees with tools to run the hotel profitably, not to spend their time learning and managing the technology. When considering a new PMS, you should look for a solution that has a high touch/graphic user experience, functional for novices and expert users and requiring minimal training.
An intuitive and easy-to-use system that does not require excessive training and is void of the frustrations, errors, and costs associated with more cumbersome solutions, allow employees to get on with, and focus on what matters most i.e. the guest.
4. Mobile Capability:
Managing a hotel is more hands-on than ever and having the ability to manage your property on the go is no longer a want, but a need. “Hotel staff and executive teams cannot be limited to receiving information only when they are their desks”, Jos Schaap, CEO and founder of StayNTouch. The capabilities of modern technologies and delivery methods now ensure that all the information hoteliers need to run the hotel at its optimal effectiveness.
So, when seeking out a new PMS you should look for features that prioritize communication and mobility. There are not only operational efficiencies to be gained by being able to access the hotel PMS remotely and on the go but hoteliers also have the ability to now deliver amazing guest service using mobile and tablet devices.
It is imperative that any new system you are considering be bundled with 24/7/365 support along with reputable customer service. Similarly, it’s equally important that you do reference checks on the actual service element of the software provider you are contemplating on purchasing. This will substantially reduce any future (costly) headaches.
Many elements play a role in the decision to commit to a new property management system and the points listed should be included and considered before purchasing a new solution.
There is no doubt that investing in a new PMS is a time-consuming exercise but implementing the right system for your hotel will take your operations, revenue, and service to the next level.