Cloud vs. On-Premise PMS (with Comparison Chart)

Among independent properties, cloud hospitality software has steadily gained favor over on-premise systems. Our recent blog post, Six Reasons Every Independent Hotel Should Operate in the Cloud, outlines why independent lodging operators are turning to Web-based property management systems (PMS) to improve efficiency and guest service, boost revenue and gain a competitive edge.

Here at WebRezPro, we receive a large number of inquiries from independent operators who are using manual paper- and/or spreadsheet-based methods or on-premise programs and are looking to modernize and improve operations. Many lodging operators who reach out to us are not yet sure which PMS deployment method — cloud or on-premise — is best for their business.

We understand and appreciate that lodging operators are experts in hospitality and not necessarily technology, so we’ve put together this blog post to highlight the main points of difference between cloud PMS and on-premise (or “local server-based” or “legacy”) systems. The right choice is the one that aligns with your business’ operational requirements and future objectives, and your comfort levels with the technology.

Before we look at the differences between on-premise and cloud PMS, let’s reflect on their similarities. Property management systems — both cloud-based and on-premise — are designed to automate a property’s operational processes, from front desk to back office, for greater efficiency. Modern PMS function as a property’s center of command for managing not only reservations, rates, rooms and guest billing, but also distribution, guest communications and service, housekeeping, accounting and reporting. In fact, the core functionality of a modern on-premise system and a cloud-based one is by and large the same.

When it comes to the big differences between the two, it boils down to deployment and technical requirements, cost and accessibility.

Deployment

On-premise: On-premise software is physically installed on every computer from which the PMS will be accessed. Data is stored on a server located at the property. This means that data and hardware maintenance and security are the responsibility of the property.

Cloud-based: Cloud-based software is deployed over the Internet. System data is securely housed off-site in the vendor’s data center and is accessed by the property online via a secure login. A reliable Internet connection is important.

Technical Requirements

On-premise: On-premise systems require significantly more on-property hardware than cloud systems, typically including a (preferably dedicated) data server, additional/back-up servers depending on the size of the property, a terminal server if the system is to be accessed from other locations, workstations (computers) with a compatible operating system, dedicated computers for any interfaces to external systems such as call accounting and POS systems, network cards and hubs, and back-up hard drives.

While vendors of on-premise PMS may offer guidance determining the suitability of existing hardware or purchasing new items, the technical requirements of an on-premise system add considerable cost to implementation and maintenance, and benefit from in-house IT expertise.

Cloud-based: Because cloud PMS are deployed over the Internet, the software and almost all technical resources (servers, back-up systems, etc.) are housed and maintained by the vendor. All the property needs to access the PMS is a computer or mobile device, a stable Internet connection and a Web browser. No in-house IT skills required!

Data Security

On-premise: With an on-premise system, data security is the property’s responsibility. In addition to installing firewalls and anti-virus programs on Internet enabled computers, keeping data safe demands measures such as securing private networks, restricting access to server rooms, manual data back-up processes, and implementing back-up servers, computers, drives and power generators.

Cloud-based: Anti-virus software is generally a good idea for any computer accessing the Internet. Aside from that (and common-sense measures like protecting system passwords and restricting access to authorized users), responsibility for system security lies with the cloud PMS vendor. Cloud software vendors have the expertise and budget to implement robust security measures and procedures (including automatic data backup, redundant Internet connections, 24/7 monitoring and diesel-powered electrical backup) that typically make cloud systems a more secure option than on-premise systems for independent properties.

Cost

On-premise: On-premise hotel management systems are a traditionally expensive investment that can cost a mid-sized hotel $10,000 to $20,000 or more for the software licence (additional licenses normally need to be purchased for each additional workstation), plus annual maintenance fees, as well as significant hardware and IT costs. An on-premise system is a capital expenditure (CapEx) that is beyond the budget of many small and mid-sized independent properties.

Cloud-based: Cloud-based systems are available under a subscription pricing model, typically based on a monthly cost of around $5 to $10 per room, and normally a one-time setup and training fee (approximately $500). The pay-per-use subscription model makes cloud PMS an operating expense (OpEx), and while the monthly cost adds up over time, the shift from CapEx to OpEx makes cloud systems a more affordable option for many independent properties. With a cloud-based PMS, there are next to no hardware expenses and software upgrades are usually free — eliminating maintenance costs and hassles.

Integration

On-premise: Modern on-premise PMS can be integrated with external systems such as call accounting software, point-of-sale (POS) systems and in-room entertainment systems but it is a complex process that requires manual technical work and additional hardware (for example, a dedicated computer between the PMS and interface system).

Cloud-based: Cloud PMS are much more easily integrated with external systems, including OTAs and channel managers, due to common Web standards and open APIs (application program interfaces), greatly reducing IT requirements while improving automation and efficiency.

Anywhere (Mobile) Access

On-premise: While it is possible for on-premise systems to be accessed remotely from an off-site computer, this ability requires additional technical setup, including installation of a Citrix or Terminal server onsite. Remote access performance can be affected by various factors, including server workload.

Cloud-based: Because cloud PMS are deployed online, the system is accessible via a secure login from any computer or mobile device connected to the Internet, anywhere in the world. Modern cloud PMS offer a level of on-the-go accessibility that cannot currently be matched by on-premise systems.

Upgrades

On-premise: On-premise systems typically face lengthy development cycles compared to cloud-based systems and require expensive upgrades to remain current. This is a complaint we hear often from lodging operators coming from obsolete versions of on-premise systems.

Cloud-based: Upgrades are frequent and usually free with cloud-based systems and can be deployed instantly. This means that lodging operators always have access to the latest version of software, including new features and innovations that keep them ahead of the competition.

 

In summary, here is a comparison chart of on-premise versus cloud PMS from a white paper we wrote on the subject:

cloud-onpremise_comparisonchart

Cloud PMS make a lot of sense for independent lodging operators who are passionate about hospitality rather than technology. Affordable, accessible, secure and current, cloud PMS eliminate technical concerns and hassles, allowing hoteliers to focus on their guests.

Winston Lodge

The Winston Lodge is located at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, British Columbia.  The hotel offers 11 luxurious ski-in suites and amenities like free WiFi, continental breakfast, a sauna, a pub and a games room. The Winston Lodge has just started using our cloud-based WebRezPro Property Management System to help with their operations. You can see WebRezPro’s integrated Web reservation software in action by visiting their website!

Ciqala Luxury Suites

Located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Ciqala Luxury Suites offers modern guest rooms and suites including those with one to three bedrooms. All units are equipped with WiFi, microwaves and refrigerators, while some also boast fully-equipped kitchens. The hotel also offers a rooftop terrace and a pool bar! The Ciqala Luxury Suites has just started using our cloud-based WebRezPro Property Management System. Visit their website to see how they’re using WebRezPro’s integrated Web reservation software to take online bookings!

Black Gold Suites Watford City

Located in Watford City, North Dakota, the Black Gold Suites offers 60 modern guest rooms and a host of amenities like free WiFi, complimentary breakfast, a fitness room and laundry facilities. This hotel has just started using our cloud-based WebRezPro Property Management System to help with their day-to-day operations. Visit their website to see how they’re using WebRezPro’s integrated Web reservation software to take online bookings!

Getting to Know WebRezPro: Key Reports

While the thought of reporting may make many of us cringe, we all know that tracking hotel reservations, rooms and revenue is necessary for smooth and successful operation. Identifying and monitoring relevant data and key performance indicators (KPIs) equips lodging operators with the insight required to optimize property performance and revenue.

Many properties spend too much time manually gathering data and creating spreadsheets, but there’s a better way. Automated property management systems like WebRezPro track data in real time, providing access to a variety of operational and performance reports at the click of a button. That sure makes generating reports a lot easier (effortless, in fact), but leaves us with the question: what reports should be generated?

Because every property is different, WebRezPro property management system provides advanced reporting functionality to accommodate a wide range of reporting requirements. To serve as a starting point, we’ve outlined key daily and monthly reports that are used by WebRezPro customers to streamline operations and maximise revenue.

Front Desk

Front desk agents largely rely on reports that help with daily guest and room management.

Check-In and Check-Out Reports >> The Check-ins report shows a list of all arrivals for the day while the Check-outs report shows a list of all departures for the day, along with the reservation number, room assignment and status, dates of stay, guest contact information, rate type, and amount owing for every reservation. (The reports can also be set to include additional information as required.)

The check-in and check-out reports simplify guest and room management by allowing staff to easily identify room assignments and status, any reservations with unassigned rooms, no-shows and scheduled check-outs that did not depart.

Guest Ledger >> The Guest Ledger shows the account balances for all in-house guests (check-ins, check-outs and stay-throughs), allowing front desk staff to easily track payments owed by current guests.

The report lists all guests that are checking in, checking out or staying through on the current day (or other selected date), along with pertinent reservation information that includes amount paid and owing, remaining credit, and credit card authorization amount for each reservation. This report also shows a list of all advance payments from non in-house guests, as well as a list of all outstanding invoices.

New Bookings Report >> The New Bookings report shows all new, unconfirmed bookings, making it easy for front desk staff to identify reservations that are awaiting confirmation. For properties that don’t automatically confirm direct online bookings, this is especially useful. Online reservations that are automatically confirmed will not appear on the New Bookings report.

WebRezPro’s New Bookings report also displays any active reservation alarms and reminders for the day.

Housekeeping Report >> The Housekeeping Report tracks all housekeeping responsibilities and makes it easy to manage housekeeping schedules and sections. It also keeps front desk staff informed about which rooms are clean and ready for guests.

The report shows arrival and departure status, stay-throughs, room housekeeping status (dirty or clean), guest requests and housekeeping notes for each room. The report can be organised and divided by housekeeper (housekeeping sections), and can be set to show all rooms or active rooms only (occupied rooms that require cleaning), only rooms with arrivals or stay-throughs, vacant rooms only, and more.

Management

Reports that provide reservation, revenue, rate and occupancy data indicate the overall health of a property and are important for evaluating hotel operations and strategy.

Hotel Stats >> The Hotel Stats report provides an overview of how your business is doing, displaying statistics for the current (or other selected) date, month to date, and year to date. Occupancy rates, ADR (average daily rate), number of rentable rooms, RevPAR, total room revenue, etc. are tracked over the year and presented alongside the previous year’s numbers for comparison.

Monthly Report >> WebRezPro’s monthly booking report provides insights on reservation trends. The report collates revenue for all stays in a given month, organized by room type, by day, by market and source codes, by corporate account, and more. A pace report is also included, showing the rate at which room nights were sold over the course of the month, and for properties that use WebRezPro’s online booking engine on their website, the Monthly Report will also show booking engine statistics.

WebRezPro also includes a separate Custom Reservation Report that allows properties to sort and filter reservation data by advanced search parameters, allowing for more personalized reports for analysis purposes. Custom report templates can be saved so that parameters don’t have to be set each time.

Sales Report (Products & Services) >> The product and services sales report is useful for properties that charge for additional services and items, such as snacks and beverages, spa services, activities and parking fees. The sales report provides a breakdown and totals of all or specific product/service sales for a given time period, allowing management to analyse incidentals revenue separate from room revenue.

Accounting

It’s important to track numbers for balancing daily transactions and staying on top of commissions and taxes.

Reconciliation Report >> The Daily Reconciliation Report is run at the end of the day to reconcile cash and credit accounts as part of the night audit. The report displays all transactions and check-outs for the day. When performing the night audit, the cash and credit account information on the reconciliation report is checked against the information in the credit card processor system, and all check-outs should be confirmed as paid in full or attached to a direct bill account.

Payments Owing >> The Payments Owing report is useful for keeping track of any unpaid or out-of-balance reservations. This report conveniently lists all reservations with an outstanding balance, whether it be a deposit or final payment due, or a customer credit.

Travel Agency Billing Reports >> Properties that pay commissions to travel agencies run a travel agency billing report (usually on a monthly basis) that automatically calculates how much is owed to each agency. In WebRezPro, this report is generated using the Custom Reservation Report.

Tax Reports >> WebRezPro automatically tracks tax collected and features a flexible tax reporting function that makes it easy to keep track of tax breakdowns and what is owed to the city, state and/or country.

Trial Balance >> For properties that use an external accounting system, the Trial Balance report is used to produce totals for asset, liability, income and expense accounts for any time period, and can be exported to an excel spreadsheet.

 

WebRezPro automatically tracks and synchronizes data across operations in real time, greatly simplifying and speeding up the reporting process as well as improving accuracy, especially when compared to manual or separate data tracking methods. Reports can be exported to Microsoft Excel and printed or emailed directly from the system.

A property management system that generates the reports you need — quickly and easily — is key to optimizing performance and revenue at your property.

3 Ways Cloud Hotel Management Software Attracts New Guests

Designed to automate processes, cloud property management systems (PMS) are key to streamlining daily operations and customer service that results in satisfied guests and repeat business. Most lodging operators understand how the level of efficiency and personalized service facilitated by a cloud PMS helps turn first-time guests into loyal customers — but it’s also important to understand how a cloud PMS helps bring those first-timers through your door.

Expanded Reach

Approximately 80% of travelers turn to the Internet when planning their trips, visiting 38 sites on average before booking, so it’s crucial for hotels to be visible online where potential guests are looking.

When it comes to expanding and managing online distribution, cloud PMS give lodging operators an advantage through direct integration with channel managers or OTA partners. Direct connectivity between the PMS and OTA channels or a channel manager not only puts a property in front of travelers all over the world, but also ensures that rates and availability are up to date across all channels to maximize occupancy and reduce overbookings.

Integrated distribution is key to expanding the visibility and accessibility of your property — and saves lodging operators a lot of time and hassle managing inventory and reservations.

Direct Accessibility

In today’s online-oriented world, hotels need to be accessible for booking wherever their customers are. In addition to putting a property’s live rates and availability in front of travel consumers around the world through integrated distribution channels, cloud PMS also provide direct online booking functionality through a property’s own website.

According to Google survey, 52% of travelers will visit a hotel’s website after seeing them on an OTA, so offering direct online bookings is key to increasing conversions. The easier your direct online booking engine is to use, the higher your conversion rate will be. Features like photo slideshows and upselling/cross-selling options will help your property stand out to prospective guests.

Lodging operators should look for a cloud PMS that offers a mobile-friendly direct online booking engine since more than half of travelers who book travel online now do so via a mobile device.

Generates Demand

Cloud PMS play a fundamental role in generating demand through rate and revenue management and by helping to identify target audiences for marketing purposes.

Rate and Revenue Management:

Price is a major influence on many travelers, so attracting new customers depends a lot on setting rates competitively. Cloud property management systems include flexible rate management features (like quick overrides, rate reports, day-of-week pricing and packages) that allow properties to create and sell the right rates and packages at the right time to the right customers. When integrated with an automated revenue management system, cloud PMS help power dynamic pricing strategies based not only on a property’s historical pricing and occupancy data, but also on market and competitor analysis.

Targeted Marketing:

Successful marketing efforts rely on PMS data — particularly guest profile data. Guest data helps properties identify their most profitable customer segments and design more effective marketing strategies targeted at lookalike audiences.  Cloud PMS make it easy for lodging operators to access and make sense of the data that informs pricing and package setup, advertising campaigns and content marketing efforts that successfully attract new customers.

 

Cloud PMS are well known for the part they play in building customer loyalty by taking operational efficiency and guest service to the next level. But, according to many of our customers, even more beneficial is the integral role cloud PMS play in acquiring new customers through automated distribution, direct online bookings and data transparency. To learn more about how a cloud PMS can help your property win customers, drop us a line.

Getting to Know WebRezPro: Interactive Tape Chart

Reservation management has gotten a whole lot more complicated over the years due to the rise of online bookings. In addition to telephone and walk-in reservations and traditional travel agent bookings, hotels today must also manage reservations coming through OTA and GDS channels as well as direct online channels.

In today’s competitive market, it’s more important than ever for lodging operators to centralize and simplify reservation management with an automated hotel management system — especially for those who want to maximize revenue and avoid overbooking.

A core feature of any hotel management system or reservation software, the tape chart provides a graphical overview of real-time availability, bookings, room status and more. In modern systems like WebRezPro, the tape chart also allows users to manage reservations directly from the calendar.

WebRezPro’s interactive tape chart (availability calendar) simplifies reservation management through quick drag-and-drop functionality and a range of other features designed for ease of use. Let’s take a closer look:

An Up-to-the-Minute View

The WebRezPro tape chart provides a clear view of live availability and room and booking status and features a clean, modern design that is easy on the eyes.

WRP Tape Chart

For each room and date, the Best Available Rate is displayed directly on the calendar. Automatic color coding of reservations provides quick reference to booking status, such as checked-in reservations, reservations with payments owing, complimentary reservations, VIP guests etc.

Other quick-reference features make it easy to identify room close-outs, allocations (room blocks), rooms under maintenance, room housekeeping status, the total number of rooms booked per day, and the number of guests per day.

The calendar can be ordered by unit number, unit type, or by housekeeping status, and for properties with multiple locations (such as a campground as well as motel rooms), the tape chart can be split by location (as in the image above).

Users can also choose the number of days (columns) to display at a time, with the ability to move forward and back through calendar dates.

From the color scheme to display options, the WebRezPro tape chart has been designed to provide lodging operators with availability and status information at a glance, for more efficient room and booking management.

Easy Reservation Management

The WebRezPro tape chart allows reservations to be managed directly from the calendar itself for a truly intuitive user experience and optimal efficiency. The interactive calendar can be used to:

Enter a new reservation >> Clicking on an available room for the desired check-in date will open the booking form with the desired room and check-in date pre-selected.

Open a reservation folio >> Clicking on an existing reservation will open a pop-up containing a summary of reservation information (guest name, confirmation number, check-in and check-out dates, number of guests, and room number). The pop-up also provides the option of viewing the complete reservation folio, from which reservation information can be updated if desired.

Move a reservation to a different room >> A reservation can simply be drag-and-dropped to a different room on the calendar, with the option of recalculating the room rate when a reservation is moved to a different room type. The system offers the choice to recalculate the room rate when changing the room type to accommodate free upgrades.

Recalculate Room Rate

Extend a reservation >> Stays can be extended by dragging the tail-end of a reservation out to cover additional nights on the calendar. When reservations are extended, price recalculates automatically.

Direct online bookings coming through the property’s website via WebRezPro’s online booking engine are automatically delivered to the PMS and will appear on the tape chart as they occur. The same goes for OTA and GDS bookings when WebRezPro is directly integrated with those channels.

A good tape chart is key to the success of reservation management. Lodging operators seeking an easier way to manage and maximize bookings should look for software that features an interactive calendar that is intuitive to use (and doesn’t hurt to look at!).

All features of the tape chart described here are available in WebRezPro version 10.5.26. If you are using a previous version of WebRezPro, contact us for your free upgrade.

Crater Lake Resort

Crater Lake Resort in Fort Klamath, Oregon, is conveniently located near Crater Lake National Park and offers year-round affordable accommodation in private cabins with kitchens. The resort also boasts tent sites and RV sites with full hookups. Crater Lake Resort started using our cloud-based WebRezPro Property Management System this past winter and now has implemented WebRezPro’s integrated Web reservation software into their website so that they can accept online bookings!

Algonquin Dream Catcher Motel

The Algonquin Dream Catcher Motel is located in Whitney, Ontario, just two minutes from AlgonquinPark’s east gate. Open year-round, this property offers guest rooms equipped with kitchenettes, air conditioning and free WiFi. A cabin is also available from May through October. The Algonquin Dream Catcher Motel has just started using our cloud-based WebRezPro.com Property Management System to help with their day-to-day operations. Visit their website to see how they’re using WebRezPro to take online bookings!

The Wagner at Duck Creek

The Wagner at Duck Creek is a 27-room boutique hotel in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, in the heart of Cape Cod. Situated right on Duck Creek with incredible views of the bay marsh, this hotel offers a variety of individually decorated rooms and suites in several buildings. Amenities including complimentary breakfast, a tavern and wedding facilities. The Wagner at Duck Creek has chosen to use our cloud-based WebRezPro Property Management System to help with their day-to-day operations. Visit their website to see how they’re using WebRezPro to take online bookings!