This article is part one of a three-part series on property-management systems.
Millennials are the focused-on travel generation, and the hospitality industry is adapting to this social and mobile group with next-gen systems. Next-gen property-management systems are centered on the guest and the guest experience, allowing for hoteliers to easily increase their online guest engagement.
“Social media is being used more than ever before in travel decisions,” said Larry Gorman, chief technology evangelist for SkyTouch Technology. “Both positive and negative feedback is being shared to broader audiences than ever before — next-gen PMS gives hoteliers a way to deal with this change.”
Guest engagement is key, including support for text messaging and email communications before, during and after a stay, and the ability to engage with the guest on social media platforms, said Warren Dehan, president of Maestro PMS. “It is also advised to look for an integrated system that can provide a centralized view of the guest journey, including things such as room, spa and dining preferences/bookings,” he said.
Hoteliers should be looking for a PMS that allows them to be flexible with their customers and work with a provider that has its eye on the future.
“As a guest, I come to the hotel I booked, check-in online, use my phone as my key, my payment as well as my signature being on my corporate profile so no registration card, which also means no front desk,” said Trisha Littlejohn, director of property management solutions for Agilysys. “I continue to my room. Passing the hotel restaurant, I receive a text with a promotional happy hour offer, which I accept and book my reservation for dinner. The next-gen PMS tracked that I, as a guest, accepted the promotional offer and began to build my itinerary on my corporate guest profile. This also creates measurement tracking for offer successes and failures for the business analysis and marketing departments.”
Next-gen PMSes need to be in the cloud now, easily accessible from any device anywhere on or off the property. Whether the system is running in the cloud or installed on-premises, it’s important to ensure that all the data architecture can be tightly integrated with point-of-sale systems, revenue-management systems and more with minimal hassle and expense.
“Hoteliers should be looking for technology and service delivery that allows them to move away from expensive on-premise hardware,” said Amanda Wisell, marketing manager for Spring-Miller Systems. “However, hoteliers need to be hyper-aware of the features and functionality that they require to operate and be prepared to go in-depth to verify that those features are available in any next-gen system.”
Cloud native and cloud based are not the same thing, warned Patrick van der Wardt, SVP international sales for PMS, Amadeus Hospitality. “Cloud-native solutions are built to scale as you grow, so your costs are always in coordination with the size of your enterprise,” he said. “Cloud native also means that reliability is inherent. Ultimately, these benefits have the potential to lower the customer’s total cost of ownership significantly.”
Central-level reporting is also important with next-gen systems, said Daniel Krisch, senior director of hotel strategy and solutions management for Oracle Hospitality.
“Hoteliers need a single view of the hotel operations in one system—everything that is going on in the hotel, reservations, housekeeping, maintenance—it all needs to be managed in one system,” he said. Everything also needs to be reflected in real-time to be competitive, as well.