This article is part two of a three-part series on PMSes. Part one can be found here.
With the rise of mobile usage, hotel guests and staff both now expect more of their hotel. The guest controls the communication in real-time while the staff expects access to information instantly.
Mobile has opened up tremendous opportunities on the hotel operations side, with features such as mobile housekeeping, portable management dashboards, mobile alerts when VIPs check in and many similar innovations, said Warren Dehan, president of Maestro PMS.
Trisha Littlejohn, director of property management solutions for Agilysys, agreed that mobility has provided hoteliers another communication tool to get to know customers and offer upsells and return bookings. Mobility also allows hotel management to know what their average daily rate is as they walk through the lobby, as well as “how many more check-ins they may have for the day, and of those check-ins how many are VIP customers,” she said. “Management is no longer trapped at a desk printing reports and creating dashboards. They are now able to understand the data driving day-to-day activity while greeting their guests and becoming part of the guest experience.”
The ability to communicate with the guest before, during and after a stay via email or text message opens up opportunities to keep guests engaged and informed, especially in-house, Dehan said. “Features such as alerts when a guestroom is ready for early arrivals, notifications of events in the hotel or reminders for spa appointments all have changed the way [property-management system] interacts with the guest,” he said.
There are mobile apps that allow guests to interact with in-room technology—a big trend in the past few years, said Patrick van der Wardt, SVP international sales for PMS, Amadeus Hospitality. Guests can now unlock doors, control the lighting and even order room service from their own mobile devices. “Hoteliers should look to partner with hospitality companies who are going to be able to provide guest insights based on the behavioral data so that hotels are in a position to create smarter and more intuitive interactions with guests,” he said.
But the next-gen PMS is mobile itself, said Daniel Krisch, senior director of hotel strategy and solutions management for Oracle Hospitality. “The mobility experience is throughout the hotel—the front desk staff can walk away and still service the guest from wherever they are,” he said. “Staff no longer needs to be tied to a fixed point—creating a new concept in hotels.”