Upgrading your hotel's property management system (PMS) may be on the agenda for this year, given the myriad of benefits of next-generation technology capabilities. Following are a few tips, adopted from The 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems (currently available for complimentary download), to keep in mind as you embark on the journey.
Move to the cloud
As with most enterprise technology solutions, most property management systems are moving to the cloud. Even larger brands are benefiting from the global scale, distributed access to interfaces and information, easy deployment and cost benefits.
Additional benefits include reduced stress on hotel technology infrastructures, and, in some cases, better security and more seamless integration with third-party applications and modules.
Focus on building the guest database
Being able to capture, analyze and access guest data is imperative. Each guest profile record should contain all available data, including data from add-on modules and third-party solutions. An example is a pro golf shop management module, which would include such features as tee time scheduling, profile/billing and tournament management.
Utilizing an integrated PMS solution, a hotel or resort can maintain complete profiles and histories, including financials, handicaps and records of purchases, all of which help make up their guest profile record in the PMS. Another example is a spa management module, which tracks guest histories, medical conditions, transaction logs and preferences. These modules are important pieces of the puzzle for building a centralized guest database and ensuring positive guest experiences.
Think technology integration
Greater architecture and interface flexibility, the widespread adoption of industry standards for software development, and the proliferation of middleware solutions capable of bringing together otherwise incompatible technologies have made it easier than ever to integrate third-party software and add-on modules into a PMS.
Whether the system is running in the cloud or installed on-premise, it’s important to ensure that all the data architecture can be tightly integrated with POS systems, revenue management systems, etc., with minimum hassle and expense. Seamless platform interoperability and compatibility is the North Star toward which all hotels should be navigating today.
Embrace revenue management
The sheer volume of data that revenue managers are capturing in their PMS databases is massive. For a large hotel, the data set may include dozens of customer segments, a dozen or more room types, several years of historical booking and reservations data, and upwards of a dozen length-of-stay types.
Add to the mix competitive rate data, demand data, multi-market economic data, reputation scores and even social reviews, air traffic and weather predictions. Combining all these data sets for just one hotel could easily amount to 200 million-plus observations.
All of the relevant PMS data needs to feed into the pricing optimization models, including those enabled by third-party solution providers, that are used for revenue management activities.
Check client references
No input may be more important to the buying decision than the perspectives that can be gleaned from existing clients, preferably from hoteliers at hotels or resorts that share commonalities in terms of size, typography and existing technology infrastructure. A PMS solution provider may be willing to provide one or more client references. And some hoteliers may be willing to share their experiences, both the pros and cons.
Written client testimonials and success stories can also be valuable resources. Oftentimes, these success stories are documented and made available by solution providers as well, in many cases, by outside market research firms such as Starfleet Research.
For more tips, check out The 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems. It is currently available for complimentary download and can be accessed here.
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