Next-gen PMS will manage the guest experience

This article is part one of a three-part series on PMS. Look to next week's technology newsletters for the second and third parts.

With the expanded technology capabilities of property-management systems, it is no wonder hoteliers are embracing this next-generation PMS as a strategic imperative to conduct business more efficiently and more thoroughly. When choosing a new PMS, a hotel should consider its long-term roadmap to find a perfect PMS provider, the experts say.
 
“First and foremost, hotels should undergo a major assessment to separate the must-haves and the nice-to-haves,” said Amy Maloney, Rainmaker’s VP of product management. “And then reach out to providers of systems that the hotel currently uses—they could offer integral feedback regarding integration. That could be the deciding factor for choosing a PMS vendor.”
 
In the past, PMS was just about managing transactions, but now hotels need to think about the entire guest experience, said Robert Shecterle, director of marketing for Agilysys. “PMS now are about building and maintaining a guest database of every interaction on the property and then making that information available to everyone within the system.”

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Generally speaking, hotels should look for partners that can deliver long-term plans that define their vision and not just specific feature functionality, said Chris Donahue, director of product management for PAR Springer-Miller. “For instance, do they have a plan for integration and mobility (what we call sticky factors) that will drive their customer’s overall satisfaction and loyalty,” he said.
 
One of the most critical challenges facing the industry is data security, so finding a partner that has a proven track record of meeting and exceeding data security standards should be a pre-eminent focus.

“Is the PMS provider focused on removing scope and liability from the hotel’s and ultimately lowering [Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard] costs?” Donahue asked. “This can be accomplished through current day technologies such as [point-to-point encryption], tokenization and such.”

The cloud and mobility are other key factors to keep in mind when choosing a new PMS, said Boro Petrovic, architect with Oracle. “Mobility will improve the connectivity of hotel guests and hotel services,” he said. “Wireless connectivity will allow hotels to offer better services to their guests.”
 
The cloud is a key enabler to integrating systems quicker and more efficiently and since technology is changing so rapidly, the cloud only makes sense, said Michelle Marquis, vice president of sales of strategic initiatives for Navis. “The cloud allows for easy integration of software. Software that is nimble allows hotels to stay on the cutting edge,” she said.

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