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How to choose your next PMS

It isn’t straightforward today for hoteliers to choose a PMS. There are so many technical words that you can get lost. If you should give a piece of advice to hoteliers when picking a system, what would it be?

It would be to try to make qualified decisions, not solely based on brand or marketing, but based on identifying your software needs and finding a PMS that matches them. Moreover, you may have specific software needs at the moment, but, as a hotelier, you should try to identify your future needs in the next three to five years.

So you think the main complexity when choosing a PMS is that you have to think long-term, while with other software, it’s not necessarily the case?

It’s a combination of trying to identify future needs and identifying the current, exact needs of every department. And flexibility, of course. Pick a platform that’s open and gives you many options. Medium and large-sized hotels may prefer a stable tech stack, while smaller properties may want to change their providers more frequently. It’s way easier to implement something new for the latter, but in larger, more complex environments, you can’t replace software every month. Changing that environment is difficult and costly and, if you do it, you’re not concentrating on your guests. Lastly, you should be picking a partner that evolves with you as well, and that rules out most legacy systems, because you do only get what you see now.

It isn’t easy to compare apples to apples when it comes to PMSs. What do you think is the main problem?

There’s no universal answer. With PMS systems features, even though we’re talking about the exact same functionality (let’s say, group bookings), each system can have a very different approach to how to solve that problem. It’s crucial to sit down and have a meticulous demo or more demos, because you want to understand how that PMS is solving that group booking problem. You want to make sure that it’s the most effective method for your operations. As a manager, I would like to make sure that my staff isn’t spending hours with something that another PMS can solve in minutes but, to be able to do it, the PMS has to understand the hotel needs. Then there’s the guest side: you probably nowadays want a PMS that’s guest-oriented, so it can give you tools that you can use to make your clients happier. It may be a built-it online check-in solution, or you may want to improve your reputation, so you should know that you’ll need a review management system at some point. So you should pick a PMS that can integrate a that tool

Do you think one of the problems is that PMS choices are usually taken at executive level without considering the operational needs of the staff?

Absolutely. Sometimes the systems get chosen by a particular role in the hotel, without really going into detail or consulting the end-users. We prefer to talk to various positions within the hotel first, understand their needs before we talk to the management, and say „hey, we really think we’re a good match.“ You need to try to understand how the operation works.

In the book, I talk a lot about the need for a more open API industry…

Yes, but I think that the quality of an API is more important than the quantity. At the end of the day, as a hotelier, you want the system to function properly: if you uh integrate a revenue management system, you definitely need a two-way integration; if you integrate a channel manager,
you probably want as quick updates as possible, so you don’t have your inventory updates to happen every two hours, but immediately or every two minutes. You may want to be offering room upgrades to specific room types only: the available ones. Why would you be offering a room type upgrade when it’s not possible? Most of the upside platforms offer room type upgrades not knowing if those rooms are available or not, because those upselling platforms didn’t spend enough time developing the integration. They did the easiest thing they could have done, and they say „that’s fine, it’s done! We’re integrated with the system!“ Clearly, there are various ways to integrate. From a marketing perspective, it’s probably appealing just to say „Okay we’ve done the integrations,“ but nobody talks about the nature of these integrations. The quality of integration affects what you can do with the system. I honestly believe that third-parties connecting to the PMS should get certified first… We want to make sure that our customers will get a robust integration.

What do you think are the features that should be built-in a PMS?

Again, there’s no universal answer. It depends on what type of a hotel that PMS is built for. You cannot just create one PMS and think it’s suitable for all kinds of properties. Newly built PMSs tend to be ideal for smaller properties with less complexity, and they usually offer less built-in features. If you have 50 rooms or 100 rooms, on the other hand, the list of features that should be built-in starts to be very extensive. For instance: I think that the housekeeping module, reporting, and benchmarking of your housekeeping staff should be integrated. Not everybody can clean the room at the same pace: some people will take 20 minutes, some 40, etc. If you’re running a large property, it’s a difference if you employe 30 housekeepers or 27. That’s three full salaries. A PMS that can give you that benchmarking can make you save these three salaries by laying off the three least competent housekeepers. If you are running a 20 room hotel, one member of the staff can go to the room with the housekeeper and see for himself without the need for an in-built feature. But it’s impossible with larger properties. You always go back to the needs of the hotel. There’s no black or white answer here. Sometimes we do even recommend our competitors to some of our leads! Most smaller properties only need a nice-looking, easy-to-use system, not too many features, an easy learning process, two or three integrations, and they’re ready to go. But this approach is not suitable for larger properties with F&B, SPAs, MICE, etc.

Funnel TV – SpaceX, The future and The Cloud!

At HotelTime we pride ourselves on having a team that are experts in their field and respected throughout the Industry. Therefore it is no surprise when they are asked to speak on various platforms.
Most recently George Titlow, our Director of Sales in the UK appeared on the an episode of ‘Digital; The Top 10 travel news stories of the week’ on Funneltv.tech. You can see George and the other guests discussing a range of Topics from the SpaceX launch to Michael O’Learys anger to the origins of the word Hospitality! Click here!

Chatting with Partners.. Cloud systems and Lockdown Haircuts!

At HotelTime we pride our selves on working closely with our Clients – we live and breathe hotels and always like to get to know our clients! However as an open platform with many integrations we also maintain strong relationships with our integration partners and other Industry experts.
Our team are known in the industry for being knowledgeable trusted voice of the industry. Therefore it was no surprise that our partners at Net Affinity asked our Director of Sales for the UK George Titlow to join them on one of the very first episodes of their new podcast!
Check out the informal chat here.

Valachy Resort: Development and implementation of four systems on a multi-property resort. Goals, challenges and solutions

Automation in Hospitality

atomize

HotelTime integrates with Atomize

(Gothenburg, August 22, 2019)

Recently Atomize opened up the door for a faster expansion by making their own world-class open two-way API accessible on the market. Today Atomize announce that the Property Management System (PMS) HotelTime have chosen to integrate with Atomize open two-way API. This is well-aligned with the objective of making Atomize more accessible to a broader market.

The hotel industry is going through a transformation where intelligent data-driven, cloud-based solutions emerge and become easily accessible. Atomize is part of driving that development and today Atomize announce that the well-established cloud-based PMS provider HotelTime have decided to integrate with Atomize open two-way API. This integration will open up the possibility for more hotels to get access to Atomize Top Rated Revenue Management System.

“Atomize has gained a lot of traction in the market lately and we are experiencing an increasing demand to get access to Atomize. HotelTime is a very suitable partner for us, a well-established PMS that has a very similar philosophy both from a customer and a technology perspective.” says Alexander Edström, the CEO of Atomize.
“Generally, we want to bring proven RMS solutions with seamless and quality two-way integration to our customers and believe Atomize is the best solution and partner to work with us to help hoteliers increase their revenue and RevPar. We like Atomize’s team and focus on delivering results as well as the aim of making automated price decisions feeding new rates back to the PMS”, says Jan Hejny, the founder and CEO of HotelTime Solutions.

The integration is planned to be officially launched at the Independent Hotel Show in London on the 15th-16th of October were Atomize and HotelTime will be exhibiting together.

Atomize API is accessible through Swaggerhub.com, a platform for Open API design and implementation. Atomize now opens up for all PMS’s that do not already have a connection to Atomize to apply for an integration.

About HotelTime

HotelTime is a well-established cloud PMS provider that’s been on the market for over 15 years. HotelTime have offices in Prague, London and Bangkok and provide their systems to over 500 customers primarily in Europe and the UK. They are also growing in East Africa, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the UAE. HotelTime is operated as an open platform, offering their customers the best partners available to help them automate and streamline their operations. https://www.hoteltime.com/

About Atomize

Atomize is the new rising star within the field of Revenue Management. Headquartered in Sweden, Atomize help hotels around the globe to maximize their revenue, by automatically set the optimal price, down to per room type. Atomize is used in more than 40 countries, across five continents, by hotel properties in the wide range from 20 to 1250 rooms. Atomize is set to be the world leader in Automatic Revenue Management.

https://www.atomize.com/

Contact details

Alexander Edström, CEO Atomize

alexander@atomize.com

+46 705 337 100

Jan Hejny, Founder and CEO HotelTime

jan.hejny@hoteltime.com

PMS in today’s industry

WHAT IS A PMS?
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?

THE API PROBLEM
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?

OPEN PLATFORMS
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.

BE OPEN, STAY OPEN
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.

CONCLUSIONS
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.

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:

1. THIRD-PARTY INTEGRATIONS
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.

2. CLOUD TECHNOLOGY
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.

3. EASE OF USE
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.

4. PRICE TRANSPARENCY
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.

5. REPORTING
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.

CONCLUSIONS
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.