A roadmap for upgrading your hotel property management system

PMS 650Property management solutions (PMS) account for the largest portion of the budget for hotel technology investments, according to The 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems (click here to access). It’s no surprise, then, that PMS solution providers are continuously enhancing their platform capabilities.

There is a migration path that hoteliers should keep top-of-mind as they embark on the journey toward selecting and implementing a next-generation PMS. In many cases, of course, buyers will already have a system in place and the goal will be to upgrade, expand and improve their current capabilities.

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Keep in mind that putting the right technologies and data foundation in place is only half the battle won. Having the right business processes and organizational resources also rank as critical success factors.

Following are just a few recommendations to help steer PMS buyers in the right direction during the evaluation phase.

Upgrade to cloud capabilities. 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.

Focus on 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.

Focus on 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.

The 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property ManagementÊSystemsÊis currently available for complimentary download. It can be accessedÊhere.

About the author

Jeff ZabinJeff Zabin is Research Director at Starfleet Research, which benchmarks best practices in hospitality technology. Recent titles include The 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems, The 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Hospitality Revenue Management and The 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Restaurant Management and POS Systems. A globally-recognized market research executive, Mr Zabin’s bestselling business books on data-driven marketing improvement have been translated into more than a dozen languages. His has also written hundreds of popular benchmark reports and articles in leading trade publications across multiple industry sectors, including hospitality.

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