Comfort is a tricky thing. It allows you to feel safe and it gives you the assurance that everything is as it should be. Whether the assurance is real or fake, it is assuring alright! But every visionary who has dared to dream big, has insisted on giving up the need to always feel safe and vouched for the power of stepping away from and being cautious of the “comfort zone’.
“If you opt for a safe life, you will never know what it’s like to win.”
Why am I telling you all this? Because in today’s digital age, it is fairly common for tech-solution providers to come across prospective clients who are sold on everything they provide, except for the fact that they are headquartered in a place that is not their own.
We are talking about those hotel owners who’d rather invest in an average local tech solution provider than in a world-class one that operates from another corner of the world. This preference is rooted in fears which are valid (to an extent) and multiple, like:
What if there are issues with the system?
What if their support isn’t good enough?
What if they hold hands till the implementation and then go missing in action?
What if they don’t cater to the geo-specific needs of my business?
The Decision to invest in the right PMS is not an easy one… and rightly so, considering how many options there are in the market today, and how not all of them will cater to your specific business requirements. So, to make the right decision you need to ask the right questions and consider all the factors that will impact your business.
Therefore, it is crucial for you to get a deeper understanding of all the available options, whether local or global, before you settle for the easiest one. After all, successful businesses aren’t always run on convenience. So, find out everything you need to know about a PMS and understand the key factors that you need to consider before investing in one, regardless of whether it is locally based or not.
Note: If you are in the process of selecting a PMS, make sure you understand how to go about making the decision of choosing the right PMS for your hotel business.
But here’s a quick look at the most important factors you need to consider before investing in a Cloud PMS:
- Implementation – A good cloud-based PMS provider should help you with an easy and quick implementation process, not taking more than a month. Smooth and thorough implementation takes time, so watch out for any system that claims otherwise!
- Data-security – Cloud-based PMSs are hosted on the cloud, as the name suggests. That means that you no longer have to worry about downtimes, loss of data, etc. Consider which cloud-based server the PMS provider works with and take a call accordingly. Some of the best cloud servers are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
- Integrations – Your PMS provider needs to empower you to integrate with the powerful third-party solutions to manage other areas of your hotel business like channel management, revenue management, accounting, business intelligence, reputation management, etc.
- Distribution – It doesn’t matter how many channels a PMS claims to connect with, hotels only connect with the ones that make most sense to them. So, go for a PMS provider who connects with Channel Managers/OTAs who cater to your target audience. Don’t get carried away by the sheer number of channels the system connects with.
- Support – This is an underrated feature that not many PMS providers like to focus on. What you need is a PMS provider who is willing you to go all the way to provide you with round-the-clock support to address any issue in real-time.
- Data and Insights: You need a PMS that will arm you with all the data you need to run a successful and sustainable business. Hotelogix PMS gives you access to over 100 reports that brings you up to speed on all the insights you need, across all functions, so you can be informed about every aspect of your business, no matter where you are.
Note: A PMS’s job isn’t just to help with reservations and online distribution. In fact, those are the fundamentals. A good PMS should enable you to manage all aspects of your business under one roof – end-to-end, that is.
NOTE: There are PMSs that come with in-built modules, but again, this is up to you. If you prefer working with best-in-class systems, then you might want to go for a PMS that supports third-party integrations. They may be slightly more expensive, but they offer you the choice of integrating with whatever solutions you opt for, depending on your business requirements.
For eg: You are the owner of a 30-room hotel in Tanzania, and you know that 65% of your guests are from Western Europe or North America. You are in the process of evaluation an Africa-based PMS provider which connects to several OTAs that are relevant to the continent and another PMS that is based outside of Africa but connects to the best OTAs across Europe and North America. In this context, the latter PMS would be the better choice for you since it connects with OTAs that will connect you to your prospective guests!
Note: Yes, it is psychologically a feel-good factor to have a person come in personally, talk to you and address your issues. But, in the hotel business, time is money and so responses like, “We’ll send in our customer success representative by Monday” will not do. Dedicated Account Managers and round-the-clock support is what will work.
The Do’s and Don’ts of the decision:
1. List out your criteria before setting out to explore the options. Set your expectations right, lay out your goals in as much detail as possible and establish a clear output that you wish to achieve from the investment. What works for one hotel need not always work for the other.
2. Invest time in thoroughly evaluating at least a couple of PMS providers before taking the plunge. You don’t want to regret making the wrong choice within a month or two of investing in a system.
3. Look for automation of daily tasks which will help you increase staff productivity, staff efficiency, save numerous man-hours, improve guest experience and thereby your online reputation and your revenue.
4. Keep yourself updated when it comes to hospitality technology. No matter what challenge you are presented with, there is a tool out there to help you overcome it! A good PMS provider will accommodate integration requests as far as possible and make sure your business doesn’t suffer.
1. Do not get carried away by familiarity. In this day and age, it shouldn’t matter to you where the provider sits out of, as long as the product is powerful, dynamic and efficient. Get out of your comfort zone and see what the world has to offer you in terms of tech solutions- you’ll be amazed!
2. Do not confuse a basic system for an easy-to-use system. Go for a system that will make your staff’s lives easier, while at the same time deliver on its promise of improving your hotel business. A basic system can be easy to use but can never give you elaborate results. Whereas, a robust system can be both easy-to use and efficient.
3. Do not settle. Ever. You have every chance in the world to build a thriving hotel business with technology on your side. If you don’t strike gold with whatever system you opted for, remember that there are other world-class players out there who could give you that extra push and put you back on track. But don’t ever settle for a sub-standard PMS or choose to run operations manually because that is a much worse problem to have!
4. Do not invest in a system before doing a thorough research of customer reviews. Read customer success stories or case studies and user-generated content/reviews on as many platforms as you can, as these are things that will give you the real feel of what you are signing up for.
“Coming out of your comfort zone is tough in the beginning, chaotic in the middle, and awesome in the end…because in the end, it shows you a whole new world !
Make an attempt.”
― Manoj Arora, From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom
We get it. We’ve been around for well over a decade and we cater to big and small hotels across a hundred countries. In fact, we are familiar with most of these fears since we have ourselves helped several hoteliers overcome these fears and seek value in our product successfully. And, we are here to address this pressing issue for you and all other hoteliers like you, who are skeptical to be associated with a global PMS provider.
This article was originally published on insights.ehotelier.com
"Look beyond the locally available PMS to run a successful hotel business",