A Cloud-based PMS or a server-based one - which of these is the better option for chain hotels to manage their operations efficiently. If there was one major disagreement amongst hoteliers across the globe, it has to be on this. While some of them are convinced about the capability of cloud-based hotel management system, many of them still believe that hotel management software on cloud is not powerful enough to do so.
Before we get into this debate, let’s look at the origin of both the types of hotel management software. While the global hospitality industry was introduced to server-based Hotel PMS in the 1980s, the cloud PMS came into the market almost two decades later and its adoption has picked up quite rapidly.
Getting back to the issue of which Hotel PMS is suitable for big and chain hotel operations. This becomes little complex when both variants of hotel management system claim to manage operational functions including, guest bookings, keeping guest details, housekeeping, online reservations, posting of charges, point of sale and materials/inventory management, etc efficiently.
We’ve been in the industry for over a decade now and we think it is high time that we busted this myth that a cloud-based hotel management system can’t help hoteliers in effectively managing their big or chain hotel operations. We will have a step-by-step approach to debunk this widely held but false belief.
Cloud is ‘current’
Hotel PMS, (the most prominent piece of hospitality technology), needs to constantly evolve, keeping in mind the ever-changing technology needs of hotels. But this is not true in case of the on-premise or server-based PMS. It’s mainly because server-based PMS providers don’t have enough scope to bring in further improvements in their applications. The codes are written in programming languages that were relevant in the 80s, but in 2018, it is unequivocally outdated. So, to sum it up, we can say that the on-premise PMS has not evolved enough to cater to the present-day technological requirements of hotels.
It’s not like the server-based PMS vendors don’t understand the power of new-age cloud platform. In fact, some of them have tried to launch their cloud version by hosting their PMS on cloud. But, that’s the thing. Merely by hosting an on-premise PMS on cloud, doesn’t make it a cloud-native application. It still remains an on-premise software, hosted on a cloud server and managed by the PMS provider.
However, a cloud-based PMS vendor can take advantage of the cloud environment and infrastructure to easily leverage new technology and improve upon the product and its features. Be it a small B&B with just a couple of rooms, or a large, independent hotel with 100 odd rooms or even a chain hotel, a cloud-based PMS can deliver real value to all types of properties.
Cloud takes the complexity out of your already complicated hotel operations
Merely adopting a PMS will help you automate your hotel operations. But, is that enough? Won’t you need to work with OTAs to generate more indirect bookings? Don’t you need to have a web booking engine to get more direct booking? What about optimizing your revenue, increasing your online ratings and score and critical business insights to make informed decisions? Phew, sounds complicated, right?
If you thought the complexities end there, you’re in for some not-so-pleasant surprise. Things get more complicated when you are running a group hospitality entity – let’s say a chain with 10 hotels. And if you think you can do all of this with a server-based PMS, here are some crucial things to watch out for...
You will have to spend a fortune
That’s right. With a server-based PMS, you are looking at setting up expensive servers at all your 10 properties with dedicated IT staff to maintain them. You also need to constantly invest in hardware upgrades to ensure the PMS is up and running across all your properties. Plus, you do have to pay for software upgrades costs too.
But with a cloud PMS, none of these worries will haunt you. You neither have to invest in servers nor in dedicated IT staff. Moreover, software upgrades are released free of cost. So, you can imagine the cost-saving is in here for you.
You will struggle to work with third-party solution providers
In case of on-premise PMS, integration with operationally imperative third-party solutions like revenue management solutions, online reputation management solution and business intelligence becomes a complex task. It’s because, many third-party solutions are now on the cloud, and their integration with an on-premise application becomes a forced one. Thus, it doesn’t help you leverage the power of those solutions to the full extent. Not only does it hinder your flexibility but also restricts your freedom to work with third-party vendors.
Au contraire, this is how a cloud PMS can prove its efficacy in this case. You can efficiently deal with this situation when you adopt a cloud PMS. A cloud PMS is built on common Web Standards and Open APIs to enable smooth and seamless integration with a host of third-party solutions. Take this scenario, for example- you work with over 15 OTAs. A cloud hotel management software, that comes integrated with a Channel Management Software, will make your life simple. You just need to make changes related to your rates and inventory in your PMS and the same gets updated across OTAs via the channel manager. Now, do you still believe that a cloud-based PMS is not built to ensure efficient multi-property operations?
It will not help you go mobile
Being installed at your property, on-premise PMS can only be accessed via desktops at your property. You can’t access the PMS and hotel data from outside of your property on your mobile. This means you can’t view your hotel KPIs while travelling. Now imagine the pain here when you have 10 properties in your group and you are out of your property. You are technically blind, right?
But, if you are using a cloud PMS, you automatically gain mobility which is the most essential aspect of smart hotelier like you. You can remotely access the PMS on your mobile phone from anywhere you want to. You can view your property-level or group-level performance via mobile phone. This also helps you with a better staff to staff and staff to guest communications to ensure their (staff) improved performance and guest satisfaction.
Moreover, your hotel’s millennial staff wouldn’t like to work on a server-based hotel PMS that is outdated. Around 90 percent of millennials see contemporary tech platforms as one of the most important aspects of a workplace. Because they belong to a new-age and they would like something that is new and cutting-edge. Given its user-friendliness and look & feel, your millennial staff would love to work on cloud PMS. This can lead to higher employee retention rate which would also help you save cost on new hiring and training.
These are but few of the advantages of cloud-based PMS over on-premise. From today’s smart and progressive hoteliers’ point of view, a cloud-based hotel management system offers agility, flexibility and scalability. These are the main reasons why hoteliers are taking their properties to the cloud. So, what is your take on this?
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Debi Prasad handles Corporate Communications at Hotelogix. He is a writer by passion and profession. As a journalist, he has also worked with some of the leading Indian mainstream newspapers. Reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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