Top five questions about switching to a new PMS

SkyTouch TechnologyA property management system (PMS) is the heart and brains of a hotel. As technology improves, hotels often must re-assess their current technology to see if it stacks up to their needs and to the competition.

A common example is switching from a premise-based PMS to a cloud-based system. But when looking for a new PMS, there are several key questions most hoteliers ask before making the switch. Here are the top five questions answered.

How much does it cost?

For many hotels, cost is the Òbiggest barrierÓ to replacing or adding technology. What will the solution cost monthly and does it include all the modules the hotel needs? When will you make a return on investment?

ROI can be measured in many ways.ÊA system that allows for easy rate updates or even automatic updates will provide a return very quickly. A small increase in ADR could easily pay for a new PMS.

But don’t just measure the ROI in dollars. Consider how your guest service will improve and how much happier your employees. Improvement in employee productivity and satisfaction can come from a reduction in repetitive tasks caused by a lack of the right technology, or an old system that does not contain today’s modern features.

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Is it accessible from a mobile device?

Selecting a solution that is cloud-based and is mobile-ready will pay many dividends. Your guest service will improve, staff will be more efficient and you will save on not having to purchase expensive hardware.

Today’s top solutions can be operated using a tablet or even a smart phone. This will present the hotel with needed flexibility. For example, you could leave the front desk to greet guests and check them in anywhere in the lobby. Or a housekeeper can view the list of rooms assigned to him or her by logging in to their smartphone, updating the room status or add work orders without having to call the front desk.

For many hotel owners and managers having the ability to log in from anywhere and see how the hotel is doing at any given moment is a powerful feature. Add to that the ability to make rate changes on the go, and you are now adding dollars to the bottom line.

How easy it is to use?

Modern PMS software should have a user interface (UI) that is designed to provide a simple, consistent and clear view of the information required for an action without overwhelming the screen or user. Choose a system that is designed with ease of use and accelerated training in mind. Top PMS systems in the marketplace today should be able to be learned in as little as two or three shifts.

How does it integrate with OTAs, channel management, direct connects, interfaces, etc?

Integration to other systems like a central reservation system (CRS) or channel manager is key today. This will allow a hotel to distribute inventory to a much larger audience and globally. This type of connectivity will also provide a booking engine that can be added to the property’s website to generate low cost direct bookings. Connectivity to other onsite systems like a point-of-sale (POS) system and credit card processing are important to help with a seamless guest experience. Other systems to keep in mind when integrating are CRM (customer relationship management), kiosks, electronic locks, and energy management systems.

What kind of reporting do I get?

Any system you choose should have a robust set of reports and should be able to generate custom reports and queries. This will enable you to track how the hotel is doing at any given time by generating revenue reports. Data in the reports should show you if your marketing efforts are providing an ROI, predict new opportunities and determine the partners (i.e. OTAs) that provide the best return. Your PMS should be able to export data to back office accounting systems like QuickBooks or GreatPlains or export the data in Excel or .csv formats.

A few examples of most commonly used reports include account information export, hotel statistics, night audit and housekeeping.

If it’s time to upgrade your PMS, make sure to get answers to these questions from any vendor you consider. And most of all, don’t let indecision keep you from taking advantage of the increased revenue opportunities and savings that come from modernizing your hotel management software.

By Joshua Molina

Joshua MolinaJoshua Molina is Marketing Communications Manager at SkyTouch Technology. SkyTouch is the most-widely used cloud-based property management system (PMS). SkyTouch Hotel OS¨ allows hotel managers to run their properties from virtually anywhere, with 24/7 support included. This mobile-optimized PMS includes advanced functionality for reservations, direct billing, group management, housekeeping, reporting, online support, automated night audits and more. SkyTouch’s rate management system utilizes a Òbest available rateÓ (BAR) pricing strategy to help hotels optimize revenue, and SkyTouch provides an integrated approach to online hotel reservations that fits any size property.

 

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