The core of all hotels is their Property Management System (PMS). To change that PMS can be a lengthy and if not done properly, a costly experience. This change has even been equated to a root canal. Just as no one wakes up one day and says “it’s time for a root canal” when they have no symptoms of pain, no hotelier decides to change their PMS without any existing pain. There are roughly 5 pain points that trigger a change in the PMS including:
- 1. End of life for your current system
- 2. Debranding your hotel and need to replace your PMS
- 3. Constructing a new hotel
- 4. Current system is lacking features you need
- 5. Current system does not integrate with the products that you use to operate your property
When starting your PMS search, prepare yourself because it can be a long process. There are as many as 50 PMS providers that result from a “Property Management System” search in Google. It’s recommended from Hotelier oriented websites to limit your search to 5-10 options although the options are endless. The range of PMS solutions is as extensive as the number of companies. There are solutions that are expensive and have an extensive list of features while others are inexpensive however lack functionality. Finding the right level of functionality for your property should be the focus of the search as this could save you time and money once implemented.
So how can you prepare yourself? To start, perform a needs analysis for your property. Determine what you need to interface to, what reporting you are looking for, your budget and functionality each department requires.
The 3 focal points of your search are Features, Pricing & Support.
Ensure that you obtain a key list of features and a demonstration of the including:
- Booking Engine
- Groups Module and it’s functionality
- Guest history
- Housekeeping/Maintenance Module
- Reports, custom and built in
- Products you interface with
Ask tough questions about the features, don’t be scared to ask how they compare to the competition and what features and enhancements are in their roadmap.
Although budget is important to all hoteliers, it is important not to solely focus on the cost. Value and the right fit will pay off in the end even if the PMS is slightly higher than your budget expectations. Quality always wins. Enquire about monthly pricing, yearly and make sure to understand the contractual obligations and length. Beware of additional transactional fees for reservations, booking engine transactions or upgrades that a PMS provider could charge that can increase your monthly or yearly cost.
Upgrades and Support/Service
Ensure that you understand the support department structure and what service levels can be expected since every PMS company has their own support structure. Just as support, make sure that you understand how each company handles software updates and upgrades. For most cloud-based solutions, updates are included, but always ask the questions and are comfortable with what they offer.
The more questions you ask decrease the chance of picking the wrong solution. Making the wrong PMS decision can be painful and costly in the long run.
Good luck with your search.