November 24 2015

Hotel PMS Software – Where’s the owner’s manual?

front-desk

“Rookie mistake.” We’ve all heard or thought this before about ourselves or someone else at work. So what could beginner’s mistakes cost a hotel from a guest experience perspective?

To be fair, starting a new job can be a daunting and overwhelming task. You’re up early in anticipation. You’ve been reviewing all of your job functions mentally and hoping the first day goes well. You’ve gone through your checklist of ways to not come across as the newbie. “Should I ask all of my questions to the industry veterans at the hotel or hope I can figure out the answer?” After all, it’s human nature to want to succeed!

Fortunately, hotels all have an onboarding process for each staff members’ role…or do they?

Here are some stats from the US & UK regarding onboarding courtesy of UrbanBound.

  • $37 billion dollars wasted on unproductive employees annually
  • 18% greater achievements with employee automated training
  • 25% of companies say onboarding process has ZERO training

For hotels, the big onboarding challenge has historically always been the Property Management System (PMS). Whether you’re a Front Desk Manager, Housekeeper, Director of Operations or a Revenue Manager, you have to interact with your hotel PMS software.

And what does your traditional PMS look like? Well, in some cases MS Dos or Excel ‘95. And your onsite veteran/ trainer says, “Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out in about 6 months. Read this manual in your spare-time or take these online courses.” No need to panic – the guest will be patient as long as you explain your new or that you’re learning the system. Or not.

We’ve all been there before, waiting at the front desk of a hotel, with a polite smile (or not-so-polite frown) on our face, while a staff member tries to navigate the PMS. 5 minutes, 8 minutes, 10 minutes, then finally… “Let me find ‘so and so,’ the onsite expert.”

What’s the answer? More training? Nope. The answer is a better PMS interface design. We all use software in some capacity on a frequent basis, may it be for work or fun. For example, why didn’t you have to read an owner’s manual to figure out how to hail an UBER? Because Uber knows that software usability drives adoption and success.

Why have the big PMS software companies figured out the same thing? Probably because the focus has always been on adding features rather than usability. And training has been the industry Band-Aid for years.

But that is now changing. We are seeing a shift in the industry paradigm. Hotels now see the connection between an easy-to-use PMS and guest satisfaction. And Rookie mistakes will be a thing of the past.

by Michael Dunn, StayNTouch Sales Director