The days of Leonardo Da Vinci are over: The current state of hotel technology and infrastructure


“The days of Leonardo da Vinci are over”, wrote social scientist Etienne Wenger, adding that “today’s complex problem-solving requires multiple perspectives”. Even though the original quote refers to human interaction and team working, it can be easily applied to every ecosystem where communication and synergy are not only possible, but preferable. This is obviously the case with hotel tech, especially in today’s particular landscape, where problems are, in fact, “increasingly complex” and “multiple perspectives” are needed in order to solve them. And one of the problems hanging over hoteliers’ heads like the proverbial sword of Damocles is, unsuprisingly, the tech infrastructure one.


If you have been in the industry long enough, you may remember when the infrastructure specifications required to keep all the hotel’s technology interconnected were minimal. Software used to be way more insular than today and third-party connectivity was not at the top of vendors’ priorities, who were more focused on developing new features from scratch to have a competitive advantage. Software (and, to some extent, hardware) worked individually and they rarely contributed to the success of the hotel as a whole.  Over the years, anyhow, it became clearer that the strength of any hotel software is directly proportional to the number of third-parties it can flawlessly connect to. The current average tech vendor approach, therefore, became increasingly decentralized, with more and more features outsourced to third-party systems, rather than developed internally.


The PMS industry is a perfect example of this new trend: instead of developing advanced features (such as, let’s say, reputation management systems, RMS or CRM) internally,  more and more vendors started focusing on what they do best, leaving the rest to external third-party software, to whom they connect via direct integration or API-connector companies. But here’s the catch: because, even though this is currently a pretty standard practice, over the last decade new systems started to be created at an alarming speed, generating a wide gap between the real needs of hoteliers, established technologies and overhyped Next Big-Things. Our industry is experiencing, a real “silicon obsession”, and it is important to stay grounded and remember that all that glitters is not gold, especially in tech, where adjective such as disruptive are overused and the risk of a bubble is always lurking on the corner. In travel, you certainly don’t want to be a laggard, but it turns out that you don’t want to be an early adopter either. This does not mean that you should not innovate or be over-conservative, but choosing the wrong tech provider or blindly running towards anything glimmering could be risky, as you could be left with a piece of unusable technology just one year from now.  According to several studies, the average lifespan of a software is around 6 to 8 years, with increased longevity for larger programs, so picking your infrastructure should be a decision not to take too lightly.


Key criteria, when leaving an old provider, integrating a new one or upgrading to newer systems are:


Will this new technology flawlessly integrate with your existing infrastructure? Remember that the strength of any software is proportional to the number of third-parties it can connect to;


Will this technology still make your day-to-day work easier one year from now? Next-Big-Things come and go, often without leaving any trace behind but you will still need to extract booking window data next year;


Is this technology compliant with new laws? The hospitality industry has always been data-centric, so you want to avoid bad surprises when it comes to new data regulations;


Is this technology easy-to-use? Switching to a new software is easily one of the most stressful, yet important, decision you have to make: possible data loss, staff (re)training, etc. Make sure not to go through this struggle in vain;

  1. ROI:

We all want to increase our ROI with every business decision we take, and the choice of technology is no exception. Even though it is harder to measure the return of a software than the one of, let’s say an Google Ads campaign, this factor should not be overlooked;


According to Statistic Brain, 1 out of 2 startups go out of business within five years from its creation, and travel startups are no exception. Do some research on your providers before choosing them.


At HotelTime, we know very well that “more connections” usually equals “better system”,  but we want to make sure to integrate highly reliable, selected trusted partners only.  We strongly believe that hoteliers should have full control over their hotel tech stack, but we are also concerned about the security of your data. Our open platform (and our business model) makes it very easy and quick for us to connect with the right partner for you, so you can get the integration you need, with partners that match our security and quality standards.

Have more questions? Get in touch with a HotelTime Solution specialist today here.

Is your PMS designed for the clouds?

After reading our articles, you should have a good understanding of why cloud-based systems are superior to on-premise ones. In today’s scenario, where good internet connectivity is available pretty much everywhere, there is really no reason to run on-premise PMS systems.

Cloud-based systems outsource the IT part tout court, meaning increased data security, no hardware hidden costs, easier third-party integrations, real-time data access anywhere, anytime, on any device, and so on. That being said, the term “cloud” is still open to interpretation. There is a subtle, yet decisive, difference -in fact- between “designed for the cloud” software and “converted to the cloud” ones.

PMSs that have only been converted to the cloud often have too many limitations, ranging from speed of the system to the need of having a piece of software still installed on the users’ computers, making the PMS -de facto- just a hack. These hybrid systems, in fact, are nothing but on-premises software connecting to a cloud database, which is (eventually) accessible through an API. Here at HotelTime, on the other hand, we are “born and raised” in the cloud. Since our foundation, in fact, our technology was created without even thinking about on-premises.

Technically, the cloud environment poses different challenges to the PMS developer and cloud-based systems usually must have a different structure from the very first line of code written. That is why so many well-established on-premise PMS struggle to move entirely to the cloud. That being said, hoteliers should not pay for their mistakes, do they?

So, if you’re in doubt, make sure that your PMS has been designed for the cloud and not simply converted. Here at HotelTime, we are more than happy to answer all your questions about the subject. Get in touch here.

Big data or smart data? Reporting in PMS

Property Management Systems process and store large amount of data every day, but having “a lot” of data do not always mean having “the right” data. As we already stated in our previous articles, hotel data come from several separate sources, such as channel managers or reputation systems, meaning that a good PMS should be able to integrate and standardize all these info, in order to make it understandable for the final user.

Data allow hoteliers to take strategic decisions, both in terms of pricing strategy and advertising investments, so you have to make sure to get proper reports at your fingertips whenever needed. On-premise PMS systems usually offer predefined reports, regularly updated during the night audit. These reports are usually very specific, yet hard to read. With hundreds of different reports, in fact, it becomes nearly impossible to recognize which one is the “right” one. On the other hand, most of newly introduced cloud-based systems provide a very limited number of reports, showing an insufficient breakdown of the data. Some of these systems don’t even run a night audit, don’t calculate ADR based on each night’s rate, don’t split packages (or even VAT, or meal plans included in the rate) and they generally lack of all those reports which are needed in medium/big-size hotels or in a multi-property environment.

Here at HotelTime, we understand this dichotomy and created reports featuring several filtering criteria, allowing users to search for specific information, combining dates, segments, sources of business, etc. exactly as found in on-premise systems. We believer that hoteliers should be able to access their data in real-time anywhere, anytime and on any device. On top of that, we provide automatically delivered daily reports in printable pdf format to start up your working day with all the key data at glance, providing you an instant snapshot, without having to log in the system at all.

“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion”, said W. Edwards Deming. At HotelTime we agree, that is why we offer a state-of-the-art reporting system for any kind of property. If you want to know more about our reports, get in touch here.

How to choose your next PMS

Of all the choices hoteliers have to make, choosing the right Property Management System is one of the most stressful, yet crucial, one. If you already replaced your PMS at least once, you know the amount of strain the process brings. Hotels regretting their PMS decision is a cliché in our industry, but the truth is that, with all the companies out there claiming to be the best solution, it’s easy to get confused, so what should you look for in a PMS? Here are five essential features:

That’s the number one variable when choosing a PMS. Write down a list of all the third-party software you work with and check how many of them can and cannot be integrated into the system chosen. Having this information in advance will save you a lot of headaches later on.

Back in the 90’s, PMS were physically installed on computers, with their central data stored on a server in the hotel’s basement. The costs of buying the hardware, plus the maintenance charges, and the lack of easy integrations put to rest this technology almost entirely, yet some PMS still offer on-premise solutions. Always choose a cloud-based software, deployed over the Internet and accessible from any computer without the need of installations nor hardware backups.

Even to advanced users, it can take some time to get accustomed to new technologies, especially if your hotel offers multiple services such as meeting rooms, restaurants, SPA, etc. Ease of use should always be a priority when picking up a PMS. Make sure the system chosen offers a lean, clean and concise user interface.

With several modules and integrations available it is easy to take the bumpy road of hidden costs. Make sure you understand all the included and not-included PMS features before signing the contract.

PMS process large amounts of data, but you may need to extract just some information without getting lost in the background data-noise. Take a look at the PMS’ reports before choosing your next system.

Getting the right PMS from day one is the best investment you can make in the long term. Take your time and compare all the features, so you will have no surprises. Here at HotelTime Solutions, we are happy to answer all your questions, get in touch with a specialist here.

PMS in today’s industry

We all know that PMS stands for Property Management System, but what do PMS mean in our industry today? Property Management Systems are often referred to as the “heart” of any hotel, a system to which all the other ones are connected to. In today’s oversaturated travel tech landscape, in fact, PMS started focusing on what they do best (being at the center of the hotel tech ecosystem) rather than developing new technologies from scratch. There are countless intelligent software out there, and they are superior to PMS in their specific domains but, still, they need to be connected to a PMS in order to give their 100%. With more and more features outsourced to third-party systems, integrating information from and to the PMS is getting crucial. Hoteliers should be able to operate on a unique, centralized system, without the need to log in each extranet. But is it always the case?

Because of the need for external connections, PMS strength is proportional to the number of tools it can integrate to. In a perfect world, in fact, PMS should be able to communicate with every single software/hardware in the hotel, but connections between PMS and third-party systems can be (and often are) challenging. Some companies are trying to fill the gap by creating “connectors” between PMS and other software, but direct 2-way real-time integrations will always be needed. So, what’s the answer?

At HotelTime, we opted for a completely open approach: our customers can choose third-party systems based on their liking, so they are not limited to modules developed and/or sold by a specific vendor. These systems include a whole range of different tools such as channel managers, revenue management systems, reputations management systems, rate shoppers, accounting systems, etc.

We understand that the right choice of tech stack is different for each hotel, based on their size, location, management, personal taste, previous positive experiences with different systems etc. So, being an open platform is not only about connecting as many third-party software as possible, but it is also a commitment to stay open and integrate more systems as they come. We know that PMS choice is a long-term decision, but the hotel tech space is changing rapidly, PMS need to keep up.

Historically, PMS had the bad tendency of being inflexible, closed eco-systems. And, even though some limits are required to guarantee high-quality standards integrations, the travel tech space moves too fast to keep this rigidity. If you want to know more about our open systems, get in touch here.