Many experts and operators agree that a good distribution system and proper channel-management integration are some of the most important integrations into a PMS. Hotels need to ensure multiple channels are bringing in reservations and automatic pricing uploads to those channels is key. “This is crucial since this is where the money comes in from,” said Peter Agel, global segment lead of hotels at Oracle Hospitality.
Although there is a lot of buzz about cloud technology, open systems, and the integration of big data and social media, the fact remains that there is data fragmentation and guest-centric views are not yet answered for, said Patrick van der Wardt, SVP international sales, PMS for Amadeus Hospitality.
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“If you think of these currently fragmented systems—like a PMS or central-reservation system—there’s a fairly large percentage of the functionality that’s the same: the guest profile, rates, inventory and availability.”
Revenue management is an important integration because good pricing algorithms will help a hotel be more profitable, said Jos Schaap, CEO and founder of StayNTouch.
Maestro PMS President Warren Dehan said presenting the most competitive rates and optimizing hotel revenue equals increased revenue/occupancy, which is why RM integrations are key.
Operators should be planning PMS integrations that support the expectations of their existing guests while meeting the needs of next-generation consumers and mobility is key, said Trisha Littlejohn, director of PMS at Agilysy.
Interactions that enrich the guest stay are also important, so things like traditional beacon technology also is important, Agel said.
Guest engagement can occur with the guests’ choice of service, such as the traditional front desk, kiosks and now mobile. “You need to offer a variety of services that fulfill the guests’ needs,” Schaap said. “Sometimes having a digital contact that is personable can be just as good, if not better, than a human interaction.”
Wearable technology and robots are already a reality today in the hospitality sector and will only become more popular not only for guests, but also for venue staff and hospitality organizations, van der Wardt said.
Point-of-sale integrations, especially those with partner systems such as your lobby Starbucks, are also important, according to Littlejohn.
“A POS typically includes real-time revenue processing and reporting that captures revenue from hotel booking, in-room purchases, retail sales, online purchases, and more,” she said. “In terms of providing more holistic, personalized guest experience, servers are learning how often the guest has been at the property, what they purchased in the past and even the guest’s past reviews by combining loyalty and POS transaction history.”
Another key integration that is relevant right now is Europay, MasterCard and Visa chip cards, said Charlie Green, director of product management for SkyTouch Technology.
“We have worked with Shift4 to integrate cloud-based EMV in hotels,” he said. “The solution helps hotels stay in the cloud and maintain security while still giving instantaneous approvals for guest purchases. This keeps sensitive cardholder data out of the hotelier’s payment processing environment, greatly reducing their breach profile and [payment card industry security standards] scope—and protecting their guests’ payment data from hackers.”