Cloud computing is taking industries by storm, introducing them to a host of features and benefits that smaller companies never knew existed. By migrating to this virtual platform, hospitality companies are beginning to experience the cutting edge advancements enabled by cloud technology.
Ever since the early days of hospitality, hotels have been plagued by the quest for improved efficiency, with property management systems (PMS) emerging as the ideal solution towards the end of the 20th century. However, the older systems had heavy infrastructural requirements, needed a dedicated IT team to handle hardware operations and maintenance, and took up a lot of space. Moreover, they had none of the real-time abilities that today’s modern systems offer and they cost hotels time and money because of the many underlying expenses.
A Cloud based PMS offers hotels all the benefits of a comprehensive management system without any of the huge infrastructural investments. These modern systems are revolutionizing the entire hospitality industry – not solely because of their powerful management capabilities, but also because of the vast networks created through real-time integration with other systems. This real-time integration with Online Travel Agents (OTAs), the Global Distribution System (GDS), Revenue Management Systems (RMS) and other online platforms contributes to a framework in which guests and hotels are better connected than ever.
For now, let’s focus on the ROI for hotels. The biggest factor behind the success of cloud based systems boils down to how it impacts the property’s revenue.
Here are some of the key areas where a cloud based PMS can significantly improve things:
1. Capital –
The main reason early property management systems were so difficult to employ for independent hotels was the high capital required. The administration would need to accommodate an additional IT department as well. Cloud based systems are hosted by companies that invest in the infrastructure and provide the software on a subscription based model. They have their own IT and support teams maintaining the system. This massively decreases the upfront costs for independent hoteliers, allowing them to access the system at an early stage of their growth. Another benefit here is that Cloud based systems are built to grow with the hotel – managers can choose what level of services they require and subscribe to the plan that best serves their immediate needs, upgrading the package as per the property’s growth.
2. Automation –
Assigning too much manpower for repetitive tasks is wasteful and costs hotels money. Many daily activities within a hotel’s busy routine can be automated, freeing up the staff to provide guests with a more intimate experience. Reservation management, assigning housekeeping responsibilities, updating room statuses after guests check-out, and night auditing – these are just a few of the many areas where a PMS can replace a staff member. The automation does more than help employees, it also promotes a high-quality, standardized environment and lowers the rate of human error. The next few years will witness incredible advancements in hotel automation as the Internet of Things (IoT) enters a more executional phase – from optimizing the property’s energy usage to enhancing guest experience, the hotel PMS’s scope for automation using IoT enabled devices is simply staggering.
3. Staff Mistakes –
It’s only human to make mistakes, but guests may not be very understanding. Anything that goes wrong will be a blemish in their stay and correcting the mistake can turn into a very costly affair – the guest will need to be reassured and compensated for with an upgraded room or bottle of wine at the very least. The discrepancy itself may go unnoticed in all the commotion and the experience is unpleasant for the hotel as well as the guest. But errors can happen even without anyone doing anything wrong – double-bookings are a great example of how things can go haywire even when nobody’s at fault. A reliable PMS with real-time integration with online platforms puts a stop to these mix-ups, saving the hotel a lot of money in the long run.
4. Brand Recognition –
Having a good brand name is critical for growing hotels, and in today’s social media era, feedback left by guests is visible to anybody. Unfortunately, negative feedback attracts a lot more attention than positive feedback and can severely tarnish a hotel’s name, erasing years of good service and hard work. A good PMS enables the hotel to track a guest’s preferences at each phase of their stay, so they can expect the same personalized service every time they visit. If part of a chain, the PMS can also share the guest’s information with all other properties to ensure that the guest feels at home no matter where they are. Everybody enjoys streamlined, efficient service, and with a PMS running the major operations, managers can dedicate more time towards entertaining guests.
Cloud based services are beginning to attract a lot of attention, even beyond hospitality, as their functionality continues to outgrow consumer expectation, and it’s only a matter of time before they completely dominate computing services globally. And it’s not without reason either, the emergence of SaaS companies is empowering SMEs – a segment that makes up a massive chunk of all businesses in existence today.
By offering powerful services at an affordable, pay-as-you-go plan, the Cloud based PMS is gaining a strong reputation is a fundamental hotel management tool. And few things attract positive cash flow like good management and high efficiency.