By Peter Fitzgerald and Linda Gijsbertsen, Guestline
A property management system (PMS) can revolutionise the way your hotel runs – if you choose the right platform, that is. You need a PMS that will fit with your unique needs, integrate easily into your business, and ensure minimal disruption while you and your team learn the new system.
To ensure a speedy implementation, here’s what you need to think about when selecting a PMS partner.
What is a Property Management System?
A PMS is software that helps you stay on top of the business admin side of running your hotel. Property Management Systems were originally created to deal with various front office tasks, such as reservations, assigning rooms to customers, and managing rates. However, newer versions are much more sophisticated and can be used to manage all aspects of running your hotel business. These features could include applying accounting rules to suit your hotels’ different regions, and giving users personalised accounts so that they can quickly get to the features they need.
There are many different PMS options on the market to suit all sorts of hoteliers, so it’s important to research carefully when choosing a PMS partner. You need one that will work well with your hotel’s systems and processes that can be implemented as easily as possible into your business.
How well will it integrate with your current systems?
Before you start shopping around, make a list of the things you want to solve with a PMS provider. For example, does your hotel use particular systems that you need your PMS to be able to integrate with? Are you looking for a more efficient way to manage accounts across different locations?
There are all sorts of apps, solutions, and services that will be able to meet each of your needs. Show potential partners your list of essentials and ask whether they’re able to provide the integration solutions that achieve your goals.
If a potential provider cannot deliver all the functionality that you need, find out if they have a trusted partner that can assist in filling these gaps. Of course, remember that you must have adequate testing and agreements in place to ensure that these other partners can be trusted to safeguard your data properly.
How to avoid disruption when implementing your PMS
Although a bit of disruption to your hotel business is to be expected while you get your new PMS implemented and you teach your employees to use it, you want to keep this to a minimum. Can you be confident that your PMS partner can ensure a streamlined implementation?
You should be in close contact with your PMS partner throughout the implementation process and have a clear plan set out for the initial training period, leading up to when your new PMS goes live. Timescales should be clear, as well as what each party involved needs to do.
Your staff must be confident with using your PMS as they’ll be working with it every day, which is why it’s important to consider the training package that your potential partner will provide. This will speed up the process of implementing your new PMS and help you avoid any teething problems moving forward.
When possible, choose a provider that delivers onsite training as this is almost always more effective than simply learning online. With onsite training, you’ll have an experienced trainer who can help you with each step of the process, and you’ll get the opportunity to ask any questions.
It’s natural for any hotel manager to feel reluctant about implementing a new PMS system because of how daunting the process can be. However, if you choose the right provider, you’ll get a system that ties in seamlessly with your existing processes that’s up and running as quickly as possible. A PMS is there to make your hotel business more efficient, so implementing one should be efficient too.
Peter Fitzgerald is the director of strategic partnerships, and Linda Gijsbertsen is a project manager for professional services at Guestline, a provider of cloud services for hoteliers.
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