The following is adapted from The 2019 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems, which is now available for complimentary access.
When it comes to the potentially arduous task of researching and evaluating a next-generation property management system (PMS), it can be hard for hoteliers to know where to even start. After all, there are dozens of solid options on the market today. Many of these solutions boast of leading the charge on technology innovation and many appear to offer a vast array of cutting-edge features and functionality.
Nearly all the solutions offer platform delivery in the cloud, providing for greater flexibility and information access than ever before as well as the ability to scale as needed, not to mention all the cost savings and other benefits outlined in previous chapters.
Today most PMS interfaces are easy to use and easy to learn. In many instances, employees can be trained on a new system in as little as a few shifts. This is a big benefit, especially at properties with high employee turnover rates. User interfaces tend to be highly intuitive across the board, with screens laid out in logical and easy-to-understand formats. Quick-feature icons are commonly used to help reduce the learning curve and speed workflow. Also, nearly all solutions today are mobile-enabled, allowing for anywhere, anytime access via any device. What’s more, many systems are backed by reputable technology solution providers with impressive customer rosters and a long track record of success.
This isn’t to say that systems are becoming identical and there is no right or wrong choice for a given hotel. On the contrary, different solutions have different capabilities and competitive strengths, provide different user experiences, and may deliver different benefits with different financial outcomes.
For starters, hoteliers should consider the extent to which the PMS would likely streamline and automate overall hotel operations, from facilitating housekeeping assignment and statusing to handling group room block allocations. Beyond that, the key considerations will largely depend on factors that include the hotel’s competitive environment and strategic priorities.
Hoteliers with independent properties may be concerned with direct website booking features, given their need to actively market their properties and control booking costs. They may want to delve into the integrated booking engine and online marketing capabilities. Some hoteliers may have certain revenue management practices they want the PMS to support natively. They may want to ensure the system can automatically apply rate and inventory controls based on manually-entered “day type” indicators of anticipated demand, for example.
There are many factors to consider during the research and evaluation process, some of which invariably carry more weight than others, depending on the buyer. Regardless of the size, location or category of their property or properties, hoteliers need the right technology foundation, starting with the PMS, to streamline operations, optimize revenue performance and offer flawless guest services — or at least achieve some semblance of those lofty goals against an ever-changing landscape.