As our industry continues to adopt next-generation, guest-centric platforms, hoteliers must frequently vet emerging technology to ensure that it meets their property’s evolving needs. While there are many systems that play a critical role in the strategic optimization of a hotel’s operational structure, the PMS represents the technological heartbeat of any property.
By: Nicole Dehler, Vice President of Product Management
StayNTouch, A Shiji Group Brand
Managing a successful hotel is not easy – Hoteliers are tasked with enhancing the guest experience, empowering their staff, and increasing their property’s bottom line. As our industry continues to adopt next-generation, guest-centric platforms, hoteliers must frequently vet emerging technology to ensure that it meets their property’s evolving needs. While there are many systems that play a critical role in the strategic optimization of a hotel’s operational structure, the PMS represents the technological heartbeat of any property.
Beyond the necessary capture of reservations and financials, the PMS acts as a centralized hub of vital information relating to revenue, guest engagement, staff efficiencies, and reporting. Hoteliers today need a mobile-friendly platform that not only manages front-line operations, but also streamlines back-of-the-house operations, and consolidates customer data. Ultimately, a hotel property management solution should do more than just “manage” your property, it should optimize your property to increase revenues and enhance the guest experience.
It Should Be Mobile-First
Modern travelers are going mobile, and mobility is “flattening” the hospitality marketplace. According to Hospitality Vision, over 92% of guests carry a smartphone, and 68% want to avoid the front desk by using a mobile check-in option. Gone are the days where travelers could only choose from a small group of legacy hotels; now guests are empowered to take an active role in curating their own experiences. And with this power comes an even greater desire for more convenience, personalization, and control.
A mobile PMS is essential for hoteliers to thrive in this new, guest-centric environment. Mobility lets travelers choose how they want to check-in: through their mobile device, a smart-kiosk in the lobby, or a friendly attendant equipped with a tablet. No longer are hoteliers confined to the front desk when interacting with guests. Now, staff can move around the property while accessing critical guest info in real-time through their mobile device or tablet. This allows them to process guest requests anywhere in the hotel, or start natural conversations with guests that lead to conversions for upgrades or amenities.
It Should Be Guest-Centric in the Front and Back-of-the-House
A mobile-first PMS can streamline various touchpoints in the guest journey, such as reducing long lines to the front desk. But a mobile PMS can also reduce inefficiencies in the back-of-the-house as well.
Traditionally, housekeeping departments were run with a clipboard and walkie-talkies. While this low-tech method “got the job done,” it also removed some awkward interactions with guests. At some point, everyone has been awakened by a housekeeping associate mistakenly knocking on the door of their occupied room.
Fortunately, a mobile PMS allows for real-time communication with housekeeping and instant room status updates, leading to an 80% reduction of calls made to the front office, and a 20% increase in housekeeping productivity. This added efficiency can also increase your hotel’s ancillary revenue, because more rooms will be available for monetized early check-in or late check-out. And of course, no more unnecessary knocking!
It Should Play Well With Others
No technological platform is an island, and hotels cannot be run on a single siloed technological solution. When designing a new tech-stack, it’s important to identify those platforms which allow for easy integration. Specifically, a PMS designed with a truly open API will not only ensure that all of your platforms can interact in a hyper-connected manner, it will also ensure that your PMS can easily incorporate future technological upgrades.
After all, how can hoteliers expect to benefit from their PMS if it can’t interface with their existing (or future) systems? The strength of any hotel tech stack rests on its ability to seamlessly share data between platforms. Otherwise, a fragmented tech ecosystem will create data silos that degrade the effectiveness of individual platforms, ultimately harming the guest experience.
Alternatively, a cloud-based PMS which offers easy integration through an open API will allow a hotel to grow, stay ahead of market trends, and connect to best-of-breed solutions 一 without the expensive and time-consuming upgrade costs of legacy systems. Ultimately, investing in open-APIs and a tightly integrated technological ecosystem directly impacts a hotel’s ability to meet (and exceed) guest demands, both now and in the future.
It Should Optimize Revenue
Traditionally, the role of the PMS was to help hoteliers manage their hotel’s operational structure. However, today’s PMS can (and should) do so much more than that. Beyond the needs of the front desk and reservation management, a PMS should enhance a hotel’s ability to generate revenue. Does your PMS give you the ability to send personalized offers for amenities room upgrades directly to your guests’ smartphones? Does it allow you to capitalize on ancillary revenue from early check-in and late check-out opportunities? Does it help to drive more direct bookings? It should.
A PMS should be able to optimize profits with built-in capabilities that include detailed reporting and financials for better business decisions, centralized guest stay data to tailor guest experiences, revenue management to maximize ADR and RevPAR, mobile communications to engage with guests at relevant touchpoints, and an advanced online booking engine to encourage direct bookings. Not only should your PMS ensure hotel staff have the tools they need to capture more sales while providing personalized offers, but those guests utilizing self-service channels should also be able to take advantage of personalized promotions, services and upgrades.
Today’s hospitality landscape is increasingly technology driven, with your PMS positioned at the very core of your property’s operations. Ultimately, your PMS should do more than manage your property — it should keep your property ahead of industry trends, boost profits and exceed guest expectations. With the right platform in place, hoteliers can streamline and enhance every aspect of the guest journey.
About the Author
Nicole Dehler, Vice President of Product Management
StayNTouch, A Shiji Group Brand
Nicole spent more than 12 years in the Regional Divisions of MICROS Systems, divided between Product and Project Management of Property, Sales Force and Central Reservations Systems. She led the Enterprise Team in Asia Pacific as Director of Operations, looking after large scale software implementations as well as managing the regional launch of E-Commerce products and Smartphone applications. Nicole joined StayNTouch in early 2013, spearheading the PMS development, strategy, innovation and growth from the very beginning.