5 roadmap predictions for the evolution of hotel management systems |
Today, hoteliers are doing much more with much less. Staff and budgets continue to shrink while customer demands increase. The only salvation is technological innovation. The undisputed heart of the hotel, the property management system must continue to evolve to keep the asset strong and resilient to future economic attacks.
To survive, the PMS must be flexible and feature-rich to adapt to market changes and meet ever-changing customer expectations, and it must be secure to protect customer and staff data, as well as the company’s reputation. the property. Hoteliers cannot become complacent and assume that their property management systems – even with some COVID-era enhancements – are equipped to help operators thrive in today’s new normal.
According to the recently released 2022 Hosting Technology Study, 81% of respondents say they believe their customer-facing technologies are on par or better than their competitors. Although respondents plan to adopt new technologies demanded by customers, such as contactless payment systems (74%), mobile reservations (68%), mobile check-in (55%), two-way messaging (54%) and the mobile room key (42%). These solutions are just the tip of the innovation investment iceberg.
People have short memories and guests crave travel. When travel returns to pre-COVID levels, it’s critical that operators don’t assume they’re off the hook and put budgeted technology investments on hold. Collectively, hoteliers must evolve with guest and market demands if they are to weather this storm and be fortified for what is yet to come. It will never be ‘business as usual’ again. Hoteliers should use this time to invest in their own roadmaps for success, which means adopting best practices from other industries to ensure preservation.
Here are 5 predictions for the evolution of the hotel PMS in 2022 and beyond:
- Contactless technology is not going away; it will become more prevalent within the PMS “Nobody wants to get sick again. The more sensitive hoteliers are to what guests want in terms of protecting health and safety without giving up on their service needs, the faster the industry will recover. Touchless and contactless tools will remain important for attracting and retaining customers. The hotel PMS should be complemented with mobility products for guests, such as omnichannel reservations (mobile web, desktop, app, etc.), two-way text messaging, contactless payment portal, check-in mobile in/out, mobile key, and digital registration cards. Many travelers will want to self-manage and control their stay experiences, which means avoiding reception and checking in curbside via their phone or hotel-provided tablets/kiosks. As labor shortages persist, equipping staff with tablet technology will proliferate as fewer workers cannot be tethered to a fixed location in the hotel. With fewer people taking on more tasks, ensuring they have portable tablet access to the PMS will be critical.
- Data security will include two-factor authentication when logging in — As employees continue to work remotely (such as administrative staff, central reservations teams and concierge), they will need additional protection when logging into the system at the start of their shifts. In the same way that online banking requires additional security measures, so will hotels. For example, when a front desk employee logs in, the person will receive an authentication code via smartphone or email to verify login credentials. This will discourage workers from sharing passwords and prevent employees from logging in as someone else and committing unscrupulous acts or, at the very least, help the operator respect this aspect of his PCI obligations. According to the 2022 Accommodation Technology Study, 68% of hoteliers plan to improve data security and 58% plan to improve the privacy of guest and staff data this year.
- Support for additional payment products will be needed, along with the ability for the PMS to support digital tipping and engage customers with installment payment options to make investing in travel more enjoyable. — Hoteliers demand simplicity when processing credit card transactions. Maestro has always been interested in providing choice to its customers, and the more gateway payment products the PMS can support, the easier it will be to meet the diverse payment needs of independent hotels. Additionally, in today’s cashless economy, digital tips are proliferating to reward employees for exceptional service when cash is not available. According to the 2022 Hospitality Technology Study, 65% of hoteliers consider contactless tipping an emerging technology worthy of investment. Ensuring that the hotel PMS can support digital tipping when payments are not directly linked to the payroll system or employee payment cards will begin to mature. Finally, the PMS should be able to support installment payments for future stays.
- PMS will need to support more OTA channel integrations — Guests have more choice than ever in how they book their hotel room, whether directly through the hotel’s website or through one of the many centralized reservation system providers such as Pegasus/ TravelTripper, SynXis/Sabre, iHotelier/Travelclick, Inntopia, etc., through direct owner channels like VRBO, or through one of many OTA channel partners, like Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, etc. . Channel providers do a lot of direct-to-consumer marketing today, and we’re seeing a shift in booking habits. To support these bookings, hoteliers should ensure that their PMSs have robust channel integrations to support relevant packages, activities, and payment methods.
- PMS will require robust integration with leading CRM platforms — As the travel industry heads towards recovery, hoteliers are increasingly relying on CRM platforms to help their teams with more aggressive marketing efforts. In addition to sales tracking, programs like Salesforce, when integrated with the hotel’s PMS, can eliminate redundant data entry once prospects become guests. For example, Maestro PMS can pull data into Salesforce to create a guest record and the data then flows through the guest journey. Going forward, the two-way integration will allow Maestro to send customer data back to Salesforce and update the customer file with customer feedback, so the sales team can only look to Salesforce to see what point their customers are satisfied rather than having to enter the SPM. With many customers now turning to Salesforce to manage their sales efforts, we see CRM integrations as a positive move to help streamline the process.
As optimism continues to grow about hospitality performance in 2022 and beyond, hoteliers need to arm themselves with tools that will help them optimize efficiency and do more with less.
Warren Dehan is President of Maestro, the preferred cloud and on-premises PMS solution for independent hotels, luxury resorts, conference centers, vacation rentals and multi-ownership groups. Maestro was the first to market with a fully integrated Windows PMS and Sales & Catering solution and continues this trend with cutting-edge web and mobile solutions. Platform and deployment independence presents Maestro as an investment that will continue to grow and adapt as new technologies emerge.
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