Choosing a new PMS partner is hard work. With so much information and opinions to consider, developing an evaluation system for your next PMS partner can be a daunting task. While it’s easy to eliminate potential systems based on the inability to meet certain pre-requisite feature/functionality, identifying the partner that truly offers the BEST long-term value is difficult without the right process. Here are seven important factors to consider:
Criterion #1 – Service
Service is the most important differentiator when selecting a PMS partner. Truth be told, there are only a few technology solutions robust enough to even manage the needs of most multi-faceted hotel operations. And depending on your personal preferences, you’ll find each PMS has great functionality in some areas while you’re left wanting more sophistication in others. This state of relative technical parity ultimately boils down the choice to a single question – “Who can my team rely on when they need help?”
Criterion #2 – Knowledge
In most PMS customer service departments, product knowledge is spread so thin that most hoteliers are much more knowledgeable about the product than the people they’re calling for help. Even if you can reach a real person, your staff may spend more time “training-the-trainer” than finding quick resolution to a problem.
Criterion #3 – Process
Implementing a new PMS solution is simple. That is NOT to imply that it is easy. The process requires consultation, focus, and a strong commitment from both parties to be successful. Each property is unique, so the provider will need to tailor the implementation process to the specific needs of the client, relying on a solid base of best-practices experience. They should be able to understand the complexities of replacing legacy systems as well as be able to meet the needs of a new property opening its doors for the first time.
Criterion #4 – Integrity
Mistakes happen. Since each client and every property is unique, it’s impossible to foresee all of the needs and quirks of a 24/7 hotel operation in the brief window available to deploy a PMS…not to mention the operational changes that occur over time. And, it’s not enough just to talk about trust. Integrity must be demonstrated, starting with detailed service quotes and complete openness about the system’s features, benefits, and limitations.
Criterion #5 – Integration
The hotel technology and service marketplace is constantly changing. Today, acquisitions and new start-ups dominate the hospitality headlines. So, many of the 3rd-party systems you rely may change in the future. In contrast to being forced to choose from a laundry list of options dictated by the PMS, your technology partner should be able to commit to providing timely customizations for the solutions you deem essential to achieving your goals. Check whether they have interfaces with many 3rd-party vendors for GDS, PBX, Call Accounting, Voicemail, Key Lock, Engineering Systems, Internet, and others to support your current needs. Do their core modules offer robust, integrated functionality within the application such as: Reservations, Front Desk, Guest Profiles, Groups, Conference Services, Sales & Catering, Event Planning, Guest and Client History, Housekeeping, Engineering, Meal Management, Recreation Scheduling, Point of Sale, Inventory and more?
Criterion #6 – Technology
Hoteliers should expect that their PMS partner has a detailed development pipeline focused on delivering focused improvements and new functionality. Moreover, it’s equally important they have capacity to react to the changing market as well as support new integrations with modern interface protocols such as HTNG to satisfy your future requirements. How many times per year do they deploy software enhancements? Do these enhancements incur extra charges? You don’t want to run the risk of operating unsupported, legacy software.
Criterion #7 – Economics
Hotels write a lot of checks for service. So, it’s easy to fall in the trap of comparing solutions based on cost alone. Your PMS investment is one of the most critical decisions you’ll make as a hotelier. It’s a choice that is made with the intention that it will be a relationship that delivers maximum long-term value and ROI. Is the quote transparent and will the supplier negotiate investment structures where mutually agreeable terms can be reached?