11 questions you need to ask before purchasing a Hotel PMS
December 10, 2017 Manasi Shah
Technology is making deep inroads into the hospitality industry and hotels across the world are looking to use technology, mainly hotel PMS to make operations smooth and efficient. The quest for the performance and efficiency has given rise to the development of countless hotel management systems.
Running a hotel takes much more than delivering impeccable services. This is where a hotel PMS steps in. PMS – abbreviated as Property Management System is nothing but a hive of numerous hotel operations. They’re computerized systems that facilitate the management of properties including maintenance, all through a single piece of software. Inevitably, they’ve replaced traditional pen-paper methods that tended to be both cumbersome and inefficient.
Today, a hotel software handles much more than these traditional processes. They’ve transformed into dynamic platforms to drive day-to-day hotel activities and shape strategic decisions too.
Before going through the questions, let’s understand the basics of hotel PMS
With the evolution of technology, hoteliers like you are surrounded by options when choosing a hotel management system to streamline your endless tasks. The most fundamental aspect of a hotel PMS starts from on-premise or legacy based systems and online or cloud-based systems.
Cloud-based hotel PMS are generally offered on a SaaS (Software as a service) platform – which allows the operators to access the software from any internet-enabled device or location. You have access to your data in real time, typically from any type of device, whenever you need it. Cloud (online) solutions now provide more stable production with much less downtime. They are used on a subscription basis, with auto-renewal after a particular period of time.
On the other hand, on-premise hotel PMS application is installed on the desktop and requires a software license for each server and/or end user. They are generally easier to customize according to one’s specific needs. Desktop solutions are something like – A right to use license to access the software application, which is then supplemented by paying charges for AMC (Annual maintenance charges) to ensure that the program runs smoothly.
All in all, both; online as well as traditional desktop-based hotel PMS systems have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Take a minute to think and go for the one which perfectly suits your needs and makes your operations easy.
Which questions you need to ask while looking for a hotel management system?
Property management system is a technology platform that has gained immense importance, as hotel operations have become quite complex these days. The PMS you choose should be adaptable, expandable and scalable to accommodate emerging technologies.
Ask away these questions to your hotel software provider before you invest your hard-earned money:
- Is it flexible to run as per my operations?
It is important to check whether the hotel software is easily scalable to grow with your business. Regardless of however you’re planning to expand; add rooms or locations or run with an innovative idea, the hotel PMS should meet all your functional requirements.
- How’s the user experience?
The whole point of a hotel software is to streamline and improve your operations, so naturally, it should also be easy to use. An intuitive, user-friendly interface will help your staff to learn even the most feature-rich system quickly. It should offer valuable features and should be mobile-friendly for an optimal user experience on tablets and smartphones too.
- Can it manage other operations too like housekeeping, laundry, etc?
Having to log in and out of multiple systems, handle stacks of registers and utilize other manual management techniques takes lots of time and efforts, let alone be error-prone. With an all-inclusive hotel PMS, you should be able to easily manage your most critical tasks in one place, stay organized and focus on guests rather than stay behind the desk.
- Does it run on latest technology?
Technology is evolving at a faster pace than ever before so when it comes to hotel software, it should always be up-to-date with the latest technology. Staying current in an increasingly technological and competitive industry is crucial to a hotel business’ success. At the core of your hotel’s operations, your PMS needs to provide the tools that will not only make your work day easier but will keep you ahead of the game.
- Is it open to third-party integrations?
Integrating your hotel PMS with your existing hardware/software tools (PABX, Door locking system, Cash drawers, Payment Gateways, ID scanners etc.) is the key to maximizing operational efficiency. For example, integrating your payment gateway with your PMS allows credit card payments to be processed directly through the system. By automating cross-system processes, you can greatly reduce your manual administrative workload and improve data accuracy. Choose a well-connected hotel PMS that offers the ability to integrate with your other systems.
- Is it secure?
Look for a hotel management system that has solid security measures in place. A hotel PMS that stores your data in a secure data center such as 24-hour system monitoring, redundant internet connection, and continuous data backup. A system with PCI DSS certification suits best for protected data environment.
- Is the PMS vendor company reliable?
Before evaluating any hotel software, take a look at the vendor behind it. Check the vendor’s experience in the hospitality industry, check the clientele and their credibility in the industry. Do they have substantial and a growing customer base? Take time to read product reviews, customer testimonials and case studies.
- Are you able to get comprehensive reports of your transactions?
Reports are an integral part of a hotel business. Check whether the PMS system providers you a comprehensive set of reports and key performance data? It should give reports of guests to the back-office reports, which let you make informed decisions efficiently.
- Is the system accessible anywhere you want?
Look for a hotel PMS system that is easy to use on your mobile device too, to maximize productivity. A mobile-friendly PMS always help you stay ahead of the competition. It frees your staff from the constraint of front desk task and also empowers them to provide guests with more efficient, personalized service.
- What if you get stuck anywhere in the operations? Is there any post-sale support?
While evaluating the hotel software, you should see whether the vendor is providing you a full-fledged product training to make it easier for you to use the system? And is there any support team which will help you in case you’re stuck or facing any issue? Choose a vendor who has a dedicated technical support team and looks after customer experience.
- What about the pricing? Is it reasonable? Fits within your budget?
After checking whether the system fits your requirements, find out how much the system will cost to forecast your ROI. Consider the time it will save for you and your staff. The benefits should far outweigh the cost.
Summarily, a hotel management system automates operational processes from check-in to check-out, reports, housekeeping, laundry, user privileges and more. Adopting a hotel PMS has become a strategic necessity in order to offer quality guest services. Defining the needs of your property and keeping the above questions in mind will help point you towards the right fit for your hotel.
We have on-premise as well as online hotel software apt for all property types. Try them out today to simplify your hotel operations.
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