Hospitality technology has evolved by leaps and bounds in recent years. In fact, until recently, there was no single software application for managing, let alone automating, all of the different functions that take place at a hotel or resort in a unified and integrated fashion.
Instead, hoteliers typically used function-specific software programs â€" often in conjunction with Excel spreadsheets and age-old manual processes â€" to run their day-to-day business operations.
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Fast forward to today and next-generation property management systems are empowering hoteliers with the ability to drive ever-increasing levels of efficiency and effectiveness in ways that may have been difficult to imagine only a decade ago. The scope of the platform capabilities has expanded beyond core functions like guest registration, room inventory maintenance, financial accounting and housekeeping assignment to encompassing virtually all aspects of hotel operations.
With many systems, the capabilities have also become increasingly sophisticated and flexible, and even more easy to seamlessly integrate with third-party technologies.
To that point, next-generation systems now generally offer integrated channel management capabilities, including connectivity with web booking engines and global distribution systems to automate transactions with booking agents. Many systems now integrate with third-party point-of-sale (POS) software for retail and restaurant operations.
Many systems also integrate with accounting software, keycard and access control systems, self-service kiosks, internet and telephone systems, including voicemail, and in-room refreshment (minibar) and entertainment applications. And the list goes on.
Some of the advances in features and functionality of next-generation systems now often include specialized marketing and sales capabilities for running targeted promotions and campaigns. Some systems tout robust data analysis tools and performance dashboards for generating business intelligence, including insights into emerging trends and guest behaviors by segment.
Some systems have guest relationship management and personalization features that engender higher levels of guest satisfaction, leading to more repeat stays and higher volumes of positive brand advocacy â€" e.g., favorable feedback on TripAdvisor and other popular review sites.Â
Given these capabilities, itâ€™s no wonder so many hoteliers today are embracing next-generation hospitality technology as a strategic imperative. Regardless of the size and category of the property, whether it is an independent property or part of an international chain, and whether it is a no-perks budget operation or a high-end luxury resort boasting first-class accommodations and premier services, implementing a next-generation PMS is a prerequisite to competing in todayâ€™s hypercompetitive market environment.
Simply put, a next-generation PMS streamlines operations across the organization and provides better management controls. It reduces overhead and minimizes costs through increased efficiency while increasing occupancy rates, RevPAR and overall profitability through better data accessibility and process efficiency.
Next-generation solutions also provide hoteliers with better analytical reporting, allowing them to gain deeper insights into guest behaviors. These insights make it possible to enhance the overall guest experience and drive continuous performance improvement.
Different hoteliers are bound to have different expectations of a next-generation PMS, given the differing requirements of their properties. A full-service hotel or resort, for example, would likely require a far more robust and comprehensive system than, say, a small, limited-service hotel or motel, which may need only a system that can automate basic functions like guest bookings, housekeeping, guest charges and maintenance management.
A full-service hotel or resort would likely need a PMS that can support complex reservation, scheduling and inventory needs, with a host of features designed to support an exceptionally high level of guest service.Â The system would also need to integrate with hotel restaurants and cocktail lounges along with spas, banquet rooms, dry cleaning and other facilities, and perhaps even such guest services as bed turndown service, newspaper delivery, room service and transportation shuttles.
Access The 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems from Starfleet Research, the leading provider of best practices IT research for hoteliers, to learn about the key concepts that prospective PMS buyers should keep in mind when researching next-generation capabilities and to gain a roadmap for success. It can be downloaded here.