May 14 2018

In The Market For A New Hotel PMS? Here's Your Evaluation Checklist

The hotel industry is vibrant and always changing as are the roles of hoteliers and the frontline employees that service today’s demanding guests. The property management system (PMS) is the hive of numerous hotel operations but it now handles much more than what is was traditionally designed to do. It has transformed into a dynamic platform that drives day-to-day hotel activities and shapes strategic decisions.

Investing in the right hotel PMS solution will help increase revenue, drive guest engagement, and boost staff efficiencies, but with many options available, how can you make the right decision for you and your property? If you are in the market for a new PMS here’s an evaluation checklist to help you with the process.

Is it cloud-based? Whether you are in the market to purchase a PMS or are migrating your current PMS, the cloud should be top of mind for every hotelier. Traditional on-premise solutions can often be left behind as technology advances. While some updates are available many hotels choose not to upgrade because of lack of compatibility with their other systems, as well as fear of loss of data or disruption to routine.

Cloud-based software, however, doesn’t rely on costly hardware upgrades, and automatically installs new updates to maintain security and limit on-going maintenance. While cost shouldn’t be a primary decision criterion it is an important component of the decision-making process. A cloud-based PMS uses a simple subscription-based SaaS pricing, meaning there are no unwelcome surprises – and budgets are predictable year after year.

Does it have mobile functionality? The modern hotel guest expects to remain connected 24/7, whilst also addressing most of their travel needs right from their smartphone. With mobile you can cater to your guests’ preferred interaction model, free up your staff, reduce front desk lines and more. The ability to gain access to key features enabled by a PMS from tablets and other mobile devices should also be an important buying consideration. A mobile-enabled PMS increases operational efficiency; freeing your staff from the constraint of front desk allows them to work remotely, on the go, anytime, anywhere. It also empowers them to provide guests with more efficient, personalized service.

Mobile is now essential to the continued success of any hotel and a mobile-enabled PMS will help you stay ahead of the competition. When considering a new PMS look for features that prioritize communication and mobility.

Is it scalable? Scalability is critical to consider before purchasing a new PMS. Scalable solutions provide hoteliers with the opportunity to not only purchase only what they need, when they need it, but also grow and evolve when they are ready—all in a seamless fashion, and without breaking the bank. Regardless of however you’re planning to expand, or not, planning for the future is important so whatever system you decide to go with, ensure it is scalable to offer more extensive capabilities as your hotel’s demand grows. Similarly, a vendor that’s ahead of the curve will likely provide more overall value by keeping pace with the rapidly changing technology landscape.

Does it offer simple and intuitive integration? Because a PMS sits at the heart of day-to-day operations it is essential that such a system easily and seamlessly integrates with other programs, technologies and data sources that are the lifeblood of the hotel. To remain competitive in today’s hotel environment choose a well-connected hotel PMS system that is designed with open APIs and channel management software that offers the ability to integrate with your other systems. Seamless and intuitive integration across different systems not only greatly reduces manual administrative workload and improves data accuracy, maximizing operational efficiency but hoteliers can benefit from notable cost savings.

Is it secure? Managing customer information and payment details are among the most important issues facing hotels right now. Your hotel PMS data should be stored in a secure data center, such as 24-hour monitoring system, with a redundant internet connection, and continuous data backup.  Ensure that all credit card processing is completed outside of the hotel PMS with secure API connectivity to major online payment and tokenization gateways around the globe with centralized PCI compliance. When it comes to security, look for a technology provider that has not only has solid security measures in place but a technology partner that will help you plan for the future, protect your data and make sure your business can recover from a disruptive event.

What training is offered and is the system easy to use?

A PMS that is highly intuitive and easy for staff to use requiring minimal training is ideal – A truly intuitive PMS can reduce staff training up to 80% from traditional models! It’s important to set your staff up for success with an intuitive, easy-to-learn platform so they can spend time cultivating relationships with their guests and delivering the best guest service experience possible. So when considering a new vendor ensure that your employees will get the training they need to master the new system quickly and effectively and can easily seek and get help when they need it.

What type of support do they offer? High-quality support is critical, so you want to ask questions about what the ongoing relationship with the vendor will look like after it goes live. It is imperative that any new system you are considering be bundled with 24/7/365 support along with reputable customer service. Similarly, in today’s environment, your provider should embrace all methods of communication and offer proactive and responsive customer service. You should find out details about average response times to support requests and the actual process for entering in support tickets. Also, make sure to do reference checks on the service element of the software provider you are contemplating on purchasing. This will substantially reduce any future (costly) headaches.

Many other elements play a role in the decision to commit to a new property management system, but the items listed above are critical for hoteliers to ask of every software provider.  Investing in a new PMS is time-consuming, but implementing the right system for your hotel will take your operations, revenue, and service to the next level.