Research Spotlight: Hotel Property Management Systems

The hotel industry has finally found reason to celebrate as guest room occupancy rates and revenue are on the rise. While the COVID-19 pandemic continued to have an impact globally throughout the first half of 2022, the industry saw a strong recovery in the latter half of the year. This was driven by pent-up demand for leisure travel during the summer and a shift in the nature and length of corporate travel. Unlike past downturns, the key factor in the industry’s recovery was an increase in average daily room rates (ADR) across all global regions (with the exception of Asia). Although occupancy levels remained below pre-pandemic levels during the early months of 2023, there are signs of stabilization as of the release date of this Smart Decision Guide, in the early part of the second quarter, and a growing sense of optimism prevails.

Despite facing challenges such as rising interest rates, slowing economic growth, and widespread labor shortages, the hotel industry is clearly experiencing a major resurgence. To improve operations and enhance guest experiences, hoteliers are investing in new technologies, beyond those implemented during the pandemic to support safe and contactless operations. These technologies include virtual and augmented reality, personalized marketing and communication tools, smart room technology and even delivery robots. These technologies not only provide guests with a more immersive and enjoyable experience, but also help hotels to gather valuable data and insights about guest preferences and behavior, enabling them to tailor their services and offerings to better meet guest needs.

Of course, no hotel technology is more important than the property management system (PMS). A fully-integrated PMS streamlines operations across all departments and function areas, as well as across multiple properties for multi-property brands. The best of these systems automate nearly all day-to-day operations, ensuring smooth and efficient operations. In today’s highly competitive market, hotels cannot afford to operate with legacy systems that are cumbersome, siloed, and lack essential features and functionality. A next-generation PMS enables hotels to operate like well-oiled machines, delivering exceptional guest experiences and enabling hoteliers to compete effectively.

Essential features to look for in a next-generation PMS include real-time availability, reservation management, automated room assignment, payment processing, housekeeping management, groups sales and events management, and advanced analytics as well as robust upselling functionality, with the ability to seamlessly present guest offers at check-in, on-site, and check-out. The PMS should also integrate with other hotel technology solutions, such as revenue management systems, customer relationship management systems, and point-of-sale systems, to enable seamless data flow and optimize hotel operations. Integrations with new technologies should be fast, easy, and low cost so that hotels can innovate quickly to meet emerging guest wants and needs.

Other benefits include better decision making. By having all of their guests’ data stored in one place, hoteliers can make informed decisions about things like room rates and staff deployment. With a better understanding of their guests, hotels can tailor their services to meet the needs of each individual guest, resulting in increased satisfaction and loyalty. A next-generation PMS also has a significant impact on customer service. With all necessary information readily available, hotel staff can quickly resolve any issues that may arise during a guest’s stay without wasting time looking for specific files or waiting on hold for a supervisor. Additionally, staff can provide a more personalized level of service by understanding each guest’s preferences and situation.

Importantly, a modern PMS can help address the pressing challenges that many hoteliers currently face with respect to labor shortages by automating many of the tasks that would typically require staff, reducing the workload and allowing existing staff to focus on critical tasks. This can increase efficiency and reduce the need for additional staff. It can also streamline operations and improve workflow, reducing the number of staff required to run the business effectively. Lastly, the system can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it easier to manage operations remotely, reducing the need for staff to be physically present.

In short, a next-generation PMS is essential for hoteliers to optimize hotel operations and deliver superior guest experiences. A fully-integrated system streamlines operations, automates day-to-day operations, digitally engages guests with touchless services, drives increased guest personalization, and offers a vast array of other features and functionalities. With a comprehensive PMS, hotels can manage their properties more effectively and efficiently, leading to cost savings and increased profitability.