With technology having evolved so rapidly, business owners are constantly expecting more automation and better optimization with modern tools. Many hope for dramatic, overnight transformations Ð especially in a fast-paced industry like hospitality.
When hotels today invest in management software like a property management system, they want to see quick returns on their investment. Considering the speed at which technology has been advancing and the demands of running a hotel, this is not entirely unreasonable.
With awareness about the phenomenal benefits of migrating to the cloud growing, hotel owners who haven’t used technology previously are also looking to adopt the versatile platform. However, it’s important that owners manage their expectations based on what the technology is actually capable of. Running and managing a business is still a critical skill that needs to be honed by those in charge of the organization Ð this is where human intuition and instinct come into play, and software will never change that.
If you’re on the fence about investing in a property management system and aren’t sure what your current requirements are, the sheer volume of options and plans available in the market can be overwhelming.
Here are a few points on what you should, and should not expect from a cloud-based property management solution.
Areas where a PMS can make all the difference:
Distribution: If your hotel can deliver a great guest experience but your occupancy levels aren’t meeting your aspirations, better distribution could be the solution. With a cloud-based PMS, you can connect your property in real-time to a number of global OTAs and the GDS network, making your hotel visible to the millions of guests booking rooms everyday. Additionally, thanks to the self-updating interface, every cancellation or new reservation is accounted for and instantly reflected across all booking platforms.
Productivity: Like most small and mid-sized hotels, if you have a modest number of employees on your payroll and can’t afford to hire more manpower during the peak season, a cloud-based PMS could help improve productivity drastically through automation and optimization of your resources Ð especially if you have employees taking care of multiple responsibilities. Repetitive tasks such as night auditing and reservation organization can be taken off the hands of your staff and set to run on auto-pilot, enabling your hotel to witness increased productivity.
Expenditure: Capital expenses can severely drain a hotel’s spending capacity, forcing the property to cut down on other areas like marketing. If you’re planning to invest on an on-premise system, the massive upfront costs could significantly reduce your ability to reinvest your earnings into growing the business. A cloud-based PMS can save you tens of thousands of dollars in capital expenses that include server infrastructure, maintenance, and manpower. With mobile-optimization becoming common among the top providers, you can even reduce investments on traditional expensive workstations.
Profitability: Most reputable cloud PMS companies also provide web booking engines. A web and social media booking engine can help you convert your website’s traffic into commission-free bookings, unlike the bookings you receive from OTAs. If you’re paying a lot of money in OTA commissions and get good traffic on your website, a booking engine can boost your profitability. A PMS also streamlines operations within the property, lowering the risk of encountering costly human errors that can arise due to a lack of integration between different departments Ð like the restaurant and front office during folio generation. Eliminating these errors can make a noticeable difference to your bottom-line.
Scalability: When you decide to add additional properties and scale the business, a cloud-based PMS enables you to simply upgrade your existing plan and make use of more features and the deeper functionality. Managing the growth of your business and adding subsequent properties becomes also easier. The expenditure incurred while scaling is also decreased significantly, as the cost of including new properties does not increase proportionally as the chain becomes larger. All properties are also seamlessly connected so managing and implementing group-wide operations also becomes simple.
Areas that you can’t expect your PMS to control:
Business model: Perhaps the most important aspect of starting a business, planning and constructing a profitable business model is something you should ideally do before you open the property. While it’s always possible to make tweaks and modifications later, the safest route is to ensure that your core revenue generation strategy has been tested and proven in your local market. Once you have a solid business model in place, a PMS can help smoothen its implementation.
Customer appeal: It’s difficult to track guest behavior, especially in today’s transitional age where millennials are gradually replacing gen xers as the spending majority. Guest trends are constantly changing and what’s popular today may be forgotten tomorrow. What people do remember though, is the brand. Creating a strong brand is critical to ensure long-term success in hospitality, and it can take months to years of providing guests with a great stay before your hotel builds a formidable reputation. A PMS can certainly help you with certain aspects of the process, like post-stay emails encouraging guests to visit again or write a review Ð but software alone does not build trust!
Guest satisfaction: Possibly the single-most important aspect of any hospitality business, guest satisfaction comes from an unforgettable guest experience. This is dependent on your hotel’s amenities, staff attitude, available cuisine and other factors beyond the control of your PMS. Management systems can help you streamline processes and hence standardize operations to an extent, but you need to have good guest satisfaction ratings.
While technology can definitely enhance organization and make things easier, it can’t take over the business for you Ð there are major decisions that need to be made in a business, decisions where the logical answer isn’t always the best one to take the property forward, and only humans can do that. And at the end of the day, what makes hospitality special is that human element!
By Kiran Sunny Varghese
Kiran Sunny Varghese is a content writer at Hotelogix Ð a cloud-based PMS provider Ð with an undying enthusiasm to learn about the latest in travel trends and cutting-edge technology that can make a difference to global hospitality. He completed his higher education in Bangalore, India and enjoys fine arts during his free time.