By Thomas Lyle on September 25, 2015 at 3:00 PM
Managing an independent or boutique hotel can be challenging at the best of times and even more so in a tough economy. There’s never been a better or easier time to invest in technology that will allow you to streamline operations and improve your guest service. I know some people reading this may still be managing bookings with Excel spreadsheets or reservation books and selecting a PMS system may seem daunting. We’ve published an ebook which you can download here but to get you thinking here are a few things to keep in mind before you commit:
Determine your needs
Today’s advanced PMS systems mean everyone from housekeeping to accounting can benefit from it, not just the front desk. First off you should speak to the people who will be using this day in and day out. Ask them what could make their life easier. This will help you narrow down the list of potential software partners. Make sure everyone is on board. Migrating to new software can be daunting for some, particularly for the more mature user. When people are involved in the decision they are more likely to co-operate.
Determine your budget
There’s no point wasting your time on Micros if you don’t want to break the bank. Decide how much you want to spend and narrow down your list according to this figure.
Ask for recommendations
There’s a reason Yelp and TripAdvisors are so valuable to a brand or service. People don’t believe the sales hype. Ask your colleagues and do some online research to check out potential PMS performance rankings. Other useful resources include industry publications and trade shows.
Arrange a demo
A demo will allow you to test whether the system is user-friendly or not. Make sure you’re not the only one present for this and if possible gather the team members who will be using the tool. Your new system should have logical and intuitive navigation. This will mean a shorter training period for your staff and an easier experience for your guests.
Don’t overlook these important features:
Not the most glamorous part of the job but this is one of the hardest working areas of the tool. This will help you increase your occupancy rates and review what’s working and more importantly the areas where you can improve. Your system should be able to generate custom reports and ad-hoc queries. This will give your property an advantage over the competition, enabling you to react quickly i.e. reducing your rates based on the competition.
The customer is always right. Your system should incorporate features that allow you to set up guest profiles and extract personalized information so you can make recommendations based on previous behavior.
As your familiarize yourself with the system you may realize there are additional functions you may need. Select a property management system that is scalable enough to accommodate future growth. Look for a system with a modular structure that enables you to add components as and when you need them.
Integration with other systems.
Your PMS should interface with other solutions, such as activities, loyalty, and point-of-sale, so that you can gather data from the various systems and use it to improve guest service. There’s no point choosing a PMS system that is incompatible with the likes of Expedia and bookings.com
Obviously we'd recomment Front Desk Anywhere but have a read through our eBook to help you decide which provider suits you best. If you think there’s anything we’ve left out feel free to post comments below to help the readers in our community.