When selecting a hotel property management system (PMS), one of the most important decisions hoteliers must make is who will be the technology vendor that provides their new PMS technology. Many factors will contribute to their final selection, but operators should seek a vendor that understands the daily challenges faced by hotel operators and is willing to work alongside them to ensure their long-term goals are achieved.
An excellent method for unveiling a vendor’s short-term and long-range intentions is to investigate their technical support, system installation and ongoing training program. The program structure and associated costs will provide excellent insight on partners who are interested in developing lasting relationships.
Developing a technical support plan
When evaluating hotel PMS vendors and their technical support offerings, hoteliers must also determine how their team will handle receiving tech support, including system implementation and continuing training. To do this, operators should ask themselves the following:
- Overall, how tech-savvy is my entire team? Will they have significant issues with learning a new system?
- Which tech-savvy team member(s) will lead the implementation of our new hotel PMS?
- Which tech-savvy team member(s) will be responsible for managing tech support moving forward?
- How often will team members need to be trained or re-trained on using our new hotel PMS?
Answering these questions will help operators, as well as technology vendors, to better understand the type of support that will be required throughout the relationship.
Cost of tech support
An area that is often over-looked and under-estimated is the cost of technical support. Hoteliers will most likely require some level of tech support for their new hotel PMS, so they should thoroughly research the costs of this service and view it not as optional, but as an investment in the longevity of their new system.
Vendors structure their tech support costs in various ways, such as free with purchase, a flat annual fee, recurring monthly fee, per service call, etc. Hoteliers must fully understand their team’s technical capacity and capabilities, so they select the best coverage program, in terms of cost and support, for their property.
Implementation and training
Implementing a new hotel PMS is not an overnight task. Though the system is designed to improve and enhance a hotel’s operations for the long-term, an adjustment period is required to get all team members comfortable with the new technology. To help manage the process, operators should consider the following:
- Implementing a new hotel PMS during the off-season when they can plan for an offline period of at least 48 hours.
- Developing a plan for manually handling tasks, such as check in/out, inventory management and billing during the implementation period.
- Maintaining a backup of all important data that needs to be uploaded to the new PMS.
- Scheduling additional labor hours for team members to learn how to operate the system.
- Asking their vendor about planned software updates and creating a calendar to schedule future team member trainings.
Great partnerships grow businesses
As noted, it is vital for operators to select a technology partner that understands their business and long-term goals. Hoteliers should seek a vendor who has experience with other properties that are similar in size, operational structure, performance results and revenue. This will help the vendor provide best practices and structure a plan for utilizing their hotel PMS to maximize every opportunity for growth and success.
Selecting a new hotel PMS requires a lot of research and planning. Hoteliers should utilize every available resource, including speaking with other operators and industry experts to collect opinions about the various systems and vendors on the market. As a partner to the hotel industry, we are providing a complimentary download of our Property Management System Buyer’s Guide. Within, operators will find an in-depth, 3 phase process, Education, Evaluation and Selection, for selecting the best hotel management system for their hotel.
Additionally, for a hands-on experience with our cloud-based, fully integrated hotel management system, we are offering a 14-day FREE TRIAL. innRoad provides operators with a hotel PMS, website booking engine, global distribution services and hotel revenue manager all within one, all-inclusive system. Register today for a two-week free trail or contact us at 1.855.INN.ROAD or firstname.lastname@example.org.