Over the past five decades, property management systems (PMS) have been the cornerstone of efficient hotel operations, offering a reprieve from laborious, manual processes. While PMSs have been notoriously slow to evolve, over the past few years we’ve seen the rapid adoption of modern, cloud-based systems to tackle new challenges facing lodging businesses today.
This article explores four pressing challenges and how a modern PMS can help.
The history of PMS
The concept of property management systems was born in the 1970s and, over the years, has gained remarkable traction within the hotel industry.
Fast forward to today, and the core objective of PMS remains virtually unchanged. It’s a testament to the need for a technology-driven solution that eases the burdens of hotel operations. However, the evolution of PMS has not been without its fair share of challenges. Hoteliers have grappled with the drawbacks of legacy PMS systems, including outdated and inflexible technology, slow-paced innovation, and the costly and time-consuming nature of system integrations.
Thankfully, unified, cloud-based property management systems have emerged in the past decade to help lodging operators face increasingly complex challenges such as distribution, labor shortages, guest expectations, and tech silos. In the following section, we’ll look at these challenges in detail and how a PMS can help.
4 challenges facing the hospitality industry
1) Complex distribution environment
Today’s environment presents a vast distribution ecosystem, with channels ranging from hotel websites, Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), metasearch sites, Global Distribution Systems (GDS), wholesalers, and more. This expansion of distribution channels has made it increasingly difficult for hoteliers to manage and distribute inventory.
Additionally, traditional boundaries that once clearly defined lodging businesses have blurred. Hotels, hostels, and vacation rentals are now converging. Innovative hoteliers are experimenting with hybrid concepts, offering a diverse range of accommodations within the same inventory, such as dorm-style beds alongside private suites or catering to long and short-term stays. This fusion of lodging styles adds yet another layer of complexity to the distribution landscape.
How a modern PMS system can help
Modern, integrated Property Management Systems have emerged as a powerful tool for managing complex distribution environments. These integrated systems consolidate core functions such as the booking engine, payment processing, channel management, and more within a unified platform. One of the most important functions for lodging businesses to leverage today is integrated revenue management software (RMS). RMS’s consolidates vast amounts of data to help lodging operators price effectively and compete in today’s intricate market. By centralizing critical operations, hoteliers can efficiently navigate the distribution landscape.
Features like split inventory and virtual accommodations give lodging businesses greater flexibility in selling their physical spaces while seamlessly distributing inventory across channels. By preventing overbookings and optimizing inventory allocation, hoteliers have more versatility to expand their offerings and elevate the guest experience.
2) Labor shortages
Post-covid labor shortages have remained, with lodging operators struggling to attract and retain talent. The scarcity of hospitality workers requires lodging operators to think about how to do more with less. Retention is key, and technology will play a crucial role in making jobs more engaging and less tedious for staff.
How a modern PMS system can help
Labor shortages place a significant strain on existing staff, resulting in stretched resources and a higher risk of errors. A PMS can help alleviate this burden by handling numerous manual and administrative tasks, including managing reservations, check-ins, check-outs, and automating billing and invoicing processes. By reducing the reliance on manual labor for these routine tasks, the existing team can spend their time and energy enhancing the overall guest experience.
Using features like mobile keys, guest messaging, and digital check-in enables hotels to redesign roles within their staff, allowing for more flexibility without sacrificing the crucial human connection that defines hospitality.
3) Guest expectations
Guest expectations have undergone a profound transformation over the past few years. Travelers expect a level of personalization and operational efficiency akin to the experiences offered by industry giants like Amazon and Uber. The hospitality industry must adapt to these evolving preferences to maintain relevance and foster guest loyalty.
How a modern PMS can help
A robust PMS acts as the central hub of a smart guest experience, facilitating everything from anticipating guest needs to personalizing service and delivering seamless experiences. By collecting the right data and transforming that data into action, hotels can better predict guests’ needs to deliver personalized experiences. Whether it’s arranging for a particular room with a view, stocking the minibar with preferred snacks, or providing extra pillows, the PMS serves as a repository of guest insights to help your staff deliver exceptional service.
By facilitating personalization, minimizing errors, and leveraging technology to streamline operations and guest communication, hotels can not just meet but exceed guest expectations.
4) Siloed tech stack
Over the years, it’s common for lodging businesses to accumulate different systems to support various functions, resulting in a fragmented and siloed tech stack. This fragmentation consumes valuable time and poses the risk of costly errors and operational inefficiencies.
How a modern PMS can help
Integrated hospitality platforms have emerged to address this growing issue. These systems offer a single solution that extends beyond managing reservations and room inventory. They have evolved to encompass various functionalities, like channel management, payment processing, guest engagement, digital marketing, and revenue management. This consolidation of core functions within a single platform streamlines operations eliminates the need for multiple disparate systems, and enhances the overall efficiency of hotel management.
While finding a solution that has it all is impossible, modern systems offer access to additional tools via an integration marketplace. This enables the PMS to connect seamlessly with other specialized vendors or systems, ensuring compatibility. This flexibility empowers hoteliers to customize their tech stack to suit their unique requirements without the limitations of rigid, non-integrated solutions.
The future of hospitality: A unified platform
A unified PMS brings forth a new era where core applications seamlessly integrate with the PMS, offering hoteliers a single toolkit to maximize profits, operational efficiency, and guest satisfaction.
With one system to master, the platform-driven approach simplifies hotel management and elevates the guest experience. A single source of truth virtually eliminates manual errors, ensuring a seamless guest and employee experience.
Ready to learn more? Learn more about Cloudbeds’ platform, featuring a powerful, easy-to-use, and completely integrated property management system.
This is a guest-post from our partner Cloudbeds