Key PMS Features Independents Must Consider Budgeting for in 2024

12.12.2023
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The end of the year is fast approaching. Hoteliers are setting their goals for 2024, with increased communication and transparency between departments high on their list of goals for new technology. The current state of hospitality is leading operators to embrace a fast, reactive approach to hotel management, which thrives on nimble decision-making supported by technology and light automation. Technology now exists to help hoteliers run their properties in a lean, more efficient manner than ever before—if their Property Management System can handle it.

Many operators across hospitality continue to use legacy technology to try and stay profitable despite their competitors leveraging data analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation to cut down on time spent on unnecessary tasks or reduce miscommunication. While hotels don’t need to leverage all of the latest technology to remain competitive, modern PMS capabilities can increase profitability and lower costs among independents starting day one.

Here is a look at six capabilities hoteliers should be looking for when setting aside budgets for a new PMS in 2024:

Mobile Check-In

According to Hospitality Technology’s 2023 Customer Engagement Study, the most significant impact of the prolonged labor shortage on the guest experience has been through longer lines wherever personal interactions occur. According to the study, 45 percent of respondents said they are waiting longer at check-in as an often understaffed front desk attempts to manage the daily rush of new arrivals. Mobile check-in remains an essential technology to guests, and simply having it in place helps operators adjust their approach to labor. This technology is accessible to guests in several ways, but all of them require direct intervention from the hotel’s PMS to use them.

Kiosk Applications

Mobile check-in is just one way hoteliers are streamlining the guest experience, and many independents are finding success in implementing self-service kiosks in the lobby to assist with some guest needs. In addition to self-serve check in and check out, kiosks can connect to the hotel PMS and manage simple guest needs, such as providing hotel information or insight into the local area. Kiosks are effective because they redirect guest attention away from the front desk for low-level requests and help reduce a property’s reliance on labor.

Enhanced Stay Personalization

Travelers are always looking to exert greater control over their experience, and that is extending to selection of individual attributes in the guestroom. This concept, referred to as Attribute-Based Selling, is still in its infancy in hospitality, but there are many ways for hotels to deliver on guests’ desire to control their stay. Modern hotel PMS technology can accommodate highly specialized guest packages without complicating the process for operators. Hoteliers who embrace the possibilities of ABS by offering more unique booking opportunities will open their property to a world of new revenue-generating possibilities—if their PMS can oversee the process.

Smarter Loyalty Programs

Loyalty has emerged as a significant driver of guest bookings today, and independent hoteliers can no longer afford to miss out on the benefits of offering rewards to their guests. According to a recent report, guests are more interested than ever in earning points or rewards during their stay. Independent operators must rely on a loyalty partner committed to a rewarding, simple program that effectively entices repeat bookings from travelers. Modern PMS capabilities and robust integrations are the gateway to offering these programs.

Interdepartmental Communications & Guest Two-Way Messaging

In the realm of hotel software technology, breaking down departmental barriers and adopting a centralized database approach is a game-changer. When coupled with guest two-way text messaging, it becomes even more transformative. This innovative approach revolutionizes how hotels manage guest information and communication, leading to a remarkable enhancement in guest satisfaction. By consolidating guest data into a unified platform and enabling direct communication with guests via text messages, hotels gain a 360-degree view of each guest, including their history, preferences, and sentiments. This holistic perspective transcends departmental boundaries and enhances real-time guest engagement.

Easy Integrations

Independents, above all other operators, need the nimble ability to adjust their strategy and offerings quickly. These hoteliers are reliant on third-party integrations to provide the experiences and technology they need to operate at a high level while providing the best possible guest experience. Simplifying and streamlining integrations through open APIs will be a crucial goal for all hoteliers going into 2024, particularly as the barriers between departments continue to dissipate and collaboration improves. Many operators will be forced to confront the limitations of their current PMS when approaching new integrations next year, but this is not a problem that will go away on its own.

These are just some of the technologies that have emerged in response to new trends among independent hotel operations, and they comprise a core feature set that continues to support hoteliers’ success. The hotel PMS remains the backbone supporting hoteliers during this current age of technology and automation. With the correct PMS in place, these operators will never lose balance.

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