A good property management system streamlines hotel operations, facilitates hotel bookings, stores guest information and performs multiple hotel-specific functions. The top hotel management software also regulates front- and back-end operations, accounts, restaurant operations and housekeeping staff, working in an interconnected and smooth manner. Choosing the right hotel software can be a tough call, and many hoteliers spend weeks (or months!) analyzing the features of potential systems to see if they’re the best fit for their property.
To choose the best property management system for your business, be sure to ask your PMS provider the following five questions before making the investment.
This is the most important question to ask your PMS vendor, as many service providers only offer a front desk module, which means you would have to pay extra to invest in back-end, POS, OTAs and housekeeping solutions. In an ideal scenario, the PMS provider should offer you fully integrated front-desk and back-end office modules.
Many PMS providers acquire smaller companies to merge best-of-breed, third-party products into one comprehensive PMS system; however, this process can be time consuming and expensive. Furthermore, the third-party products may have integration issues and can create hurdles for your staff. You may also end up spending long hours networking and interacting with numerous vendors, depending on whether there are multiple integrations. Check with your PMS provider up front to see if the software is developed and tested in house, before purchasing the solution for your property.
These days, a good PMS will contain an integrated channel manager, revenue manager and online reputation manager to help increase revenue. Gone are the days where hotel software was only restricted to data storage and report generation. To ensure that your property management system will benefit company revenue, choose a vendor (and product) that is experienced, has a strong presence in the market, demonstrates domain expertise and offers high-quality post-sales system support.
For small and mid-sized hotels, budget is a big constraint when it comes to choosing the right PMS. Ask potential PMS providers how much future upgrades cost. You may also find it beneficial to ask vendors about their clients’ average return on investment (ROI) to get a better understanding of the cost benefits your company will receive after implementing the solution. On-premise and cloud-based PMS solutions will have different pricing models, so try to calculate costs in both the long term and short term to get the best understanding of your costs over time. Note: Many basic features of a PMS don’t connect with OTAs, leaving the hotelier to manually manage room inventory and rates, which can be tedious and costly.
Investing in a legacy system means a more complex setup, along with higher up-front costs and maintenance fees. Yet these solutions can be beneficial for businesses with a dedicated IT staff who seek greater customization capabilities. On the other hand, cloud-based property management systems require no software investment or IT hardware. Hotels can set up a SaaS solution in as little as a few days, at which point users can access the software from any place that has a basic internet connection. However, cloud-based systems do offer fewer customization capabilities.
All in all, business software purchasing decisions should not be based on capital investment alone, as the right PMS solution will eventually generate significant ROI. To find the best property management for your hotel, first analyze your requirements, and then look for a solution that can meet those requirements without breaking the bank. Hoteliers often have a good sense of what they need in a PMS, so think carefully before investing and don’t feel rushed to pick a solution. Furthermore, don’t let the cost factor be a constraint (within reason), as cheaper software may cost you in the long run.
[Image courtesy of Marc]