The signs that you need to change your hotel’s property management system (PMS) aren’t always that obvious.
This is because the PMS is a tool which is deeply embedded within your operation, and even if it’s gradually falling apart by the seams, staff will probably accept its increasing number of foibles and assume that’s just how it’s going to be for the foreseeable future.
That’s just not good enough. And not on your team’s part, either; if your PMS is slowly dying or increasingly out of step with modern guest expectations, it’s no longer doing the job for which it was purchased.
Here’s five common but often hard to identify reasons that you need to change your PMS.
1. Your staff keep shouting at your current PMS
Why does it crash every time you click on the arrivals list? Why on earth do you have to keep doing that really complicated workaround just to place a deposit on a future booking?
If members of the team are continually shouting at the PMS or banging their fists on the table in frustration when it doesn’t act as it should, don’t assume it’s because they’re using it incorrectly or need training. While that might be the case, there could be something much worse at play.
Speak to the team and find out what it is that frustrates them the most about the PMS.
2. You’re still updating OTA sites manually (and you hate life because of it)
It’s the task on your daily to-do list that you’re always pushing to the bottom. It’s tiresome, laborious and nearly always results in you making mistakes because you just can’t be bothered.
In 2019 there’s absolutely no reason at all to update OTAs with rates and availability manually. Your PMS should connect directly to the likes of Booking.com and Expedia and do all of the hard work when it comes to ensuring every website knows how many rooms you have free and what your latest rates are. It should sort out the incoming bookings for you, too, thus removing any chance of the dreaded double booking.
If it doesn’t do any of this, you need to find a PMS with a brilliant channel manager.
3. Another guest has complained about the bottle of wine they didn’t drink
How many times this week have guests complained about their room bill or queried certain items on it? And how often are those transactions related to the bar or restaurant?
Chances are, this is because you’re still manually transferring charges from the F&B side of the business to room accounts. Did you know there’s a much better way of doing this that pretty much eradicates human error?
A modern PMS should be able to connect to a host of POS systems. In doing so, it’ll enable bar staff to automatically post food and drink bills to room accounts. Some will even transfer across the POS sales data into your main PMS accounts reports!
4. Very few guests bother to return
Tempting guests to return to your hotel isn’t easy, even if they had a brilliant stay with you the first time around.
In order to build great relationships with your customers that result in plenty of return bookings, you need to nurture them with email marketing and personalised guest correspondence.
Can your PMS send pre- and post-stay emails and SMS messages automatically? Are you able to export a list of customers that can then be imported into a modern email marketing tool?
If the answer is “no” to any of those questions, it’s time to get a new PMS - it’s that important.
5. Your competitors are wiping the floor with you
What gives? Your competitors’ room prices seem to flex more than yours and, as a result, they appear to know the secret sauce that draws in more guests.
Why can’t you do the same? And why do you never really know what level to set your room prices at?
Guess what - your competitors are probably using modern PMSs that enable them to flex rates strategically based on market conditions and work from actionable, insightful data about past performance.
Do you really want to be lagging behind because your system is no longer up to scratch?
The best news? Property management systems no longer cost an arm and a leg. Well, some do, but choose the right one and you’ll pay a manageable monthly fee that enables every staff member to use the system no matter where they are or what device they have to hand.
Is it time you replaced your PMS?