In Part 1 of this two-part post, we covered essential features to look for in a property management system (PMS) today, from guest profiles and reporting to integrated channel management and mobile accessibility. But in addition to software functionality, it’s also important to evaluate your prospective PMS provider in terms of whether they will be the right kind of partner for your business. In this next installment, we look at important considerations every lodging operator should keep in mind when looking for a new PMS provider.
Flexibility to Fit Your Operations
Our previous post looked at essential functionality any lodging operator should look for in a modern PMS, but it’s also necessary to confirm that the system can accommodate your property’s specific, unique and changing needs.
Whether you’re dealing with multiple owners as a vacation rental operator, are looking to centralize management of multiple locations, offer tours or activities, or just do things a little differently at your small resort, make sure your new PMS can or is willing to meet your functional requirements (and not the other way around), be it through specialized modules, software customizations, or simply a greater level of flexibility within core features.
It’s important to think ahead and check that your prospective PMS is easily scalable to grow with your business too, whether you’re looking to expand your services, add rooms or locations, or run with an innovative idea.
Intuitive User Experience
The whole point of a PMS is to streamline and improve operations, so, naturally, it should also be easy to use. An intuitive, user-friendly interface will help new and seasonal staff learn even the most feature-rich system quickly.
Look for a system that offers a clean, modern user interface design that you will enjoy looking at and using every day. It should offer intuitive features like an interactive availability calendar (tape chart), shortcut buttons and consistent menus, and should be mobile-friendly for an optimal user experience on tablets and smartphones too.
Lodging operators must take strict measures to ensure their guest data is protected from security breaches, so make sure your PMS has solid security measures in place. Look for a vendor that stores your data in a secure data centre with protocols such as 24-hour system monitoring, redundant Internet connections, diesel-powered electrical backup and continuous data backup in place. Ask about their PCI compliance for credit card processing, and security measures for the user login process, such as two-factor authentication.
When evaluating potential hotel management software, the topic of system training should come up early. Different vendors may offer different training methods, including live online training sessions (via screen-sharing software), recorded training or on-site (in-person) training; make sure that the format and level of training offered meets your requirements.
Ongoing support should also be given serious consideration. Is support included in the cost of the product? How can you contact your support team when you need them? What are the hours of operation? What are response times like? In addition to live support, are video tutorials and a user manual also available for reference?
Ask current customers and read product reviews to get an idea of the level and quality of support the vendor offers. Consistent praise for the product support team is always a good sign.
Upgrades and Innovation
Technology is evolving at an increasingly breakneck pace, so when it comes to modern software it pays to look for a provider that can keep up. Always innovating and evolving, cloud technology is making obsolete programs a thing of the past. Compared to traditional legacy systems, software updates and integrations in the cloud are much easier, quicker and more frequent.
Ask your prospective provider about standard software upgrades — they should be regular and free. Visiting the vendor’s website, blog, or signing up for their newsletter should provide a good indication of ongoing product improvement and innovation through announcements about new features or feature updates, new integration partnerships, participation in industry events, etc.
Company Expertise and Reputation
When evaluating a new PMS, take a look at the company behind it; as well as choosing a reputable product, you want to find a company you can trust to work with you going forward. Find out how long the vendor has been in business and how long their software has been used by lodging operators. Do they have a substantial and growing customer base? Look for a vendor with a proven track record in the hospitality industry.
Take the time to read product reviews, customer testimonials and case studies. Consider contacting current customers directly to ask about their experience with the software.
Compatibility with Local Regulations
Before choosing a PMS it is important to confirm that it is compatible with local requirements such as tax laws and billing regulations. Are other properties in your country or area using the software? If not, make sure that the PMS can accommodate any regional requirements before you buy.
Cloud PMS software is normally available via a monthly fee based on the number of rooms (typically $3 to $10 per room). System upgrades and feature updates should be free. Optional modules, software customizations and integrations with other hotel systems can incur additional costs.
After discussing all your needs with the vendor, find out exactly how much your system will cost to forecast your ROI. Consider the amount of time a modern cloud PMS will save you and your staff and the increase in occupancy and revenue you can expect. The benefits should far outweigh the cost.
As the center of command for all daily operations, finding the right PMS for your property is key to success. Defining your property’s needs and keeping the above considerations in mind should help point you toward the right fit. For guidance on what kind of functionality to expect from a modern PMS, read our earlier post, What to Look For in a PMS Today: Part 1 – Essential Features.
Contact us for a free, no-obligation demo of WebRezPro PMS.