Hotel Online  Special Report


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Searching for Hotel Software? A Guide to Finding and
Purchasing the Right Property Management System
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Chicago - (September 2005) - Whether you are an independent hotel, a franchise property, or a multiple hotel corporation, choosing technology can be challenging and risky.  You must identify a software solution that meets your business goals, operational needs, system infrastructure, and human resource capabilities.  The combination of these components makes your hotel unique, and requires software that is equally so.

There are many solutions available from high-quality software vendors.  In fact, there are over 400 Property Management System vendors targeting the hospitality marketplace.  This makes finding the right system for your hotel a challenge.  For any hotel, the investment is significant, for an upscale hotel or resort, the search for the right software can be as difficult as finding the right General Manager.  A PMS decision can affect every aspect of your hotel's business; Guest Service, Guest Satisfaction, Operations, Accounting, Distribution, Marketing, and Sales.  Be sure to take the right steps to find the best solution for your hotel, while avoiding the many risks associated with searching for new technology.

What are the common risks?

  • Inexperience – many hoteliers only go through the evaluation process once every five years, making them less than familiar with the software selection process.
  • Confusion – it is difficult to ascertain which of the 400 PMS solutions meet the needs of your hotel given its amenities, target service levels, and existing systems, while trying to stay within a budget.
  • Incompleteness – the needs of all groups within the organization are not taken into account, causing incomplete requirements.
  • Misaligned expectations – most software evaluations typically focus on no more than 20% of the software’s capabilities.  Other capabilities are simply ignored, missed, or misunderstood, creating false expectations.
  • Missed Opportunity - you work long and hard to define your business processes and strategies, but then software is selected based on a subset of these processes and strategies.  This causes missed opportunities and process gaps -- and will ultimately impact your guest experience.
To manage these risks, a thorough evaluation process is required.  However, taking the time to do this on your own is difficult, since it requires a level of expertise not readily available to most hotels.

What does a thorough Evaluation Process look like?

Using a haphazard evaluation process is a recipe for disaster when it comes to software.  You could make a mistake that both you and your guests have to live with for many years to come.  To avoid these risks, use the following best practice for software evaluations:

  • Identify the core reasons you intend to install a new PMS or upgrade your existing PMS.
  • List the areas of your business and the amenities that the software must support.
  • Search for at least ten available software products that can meet these high level needs.
  • Gather an exhaustive set of business requirements from all areas of the hotel.
  • Research each software product to determine how well it meets each business requirement.
  • Reduce your short list of software products to no more than five solutions.
  • Select a preferred vendor and negotiate your agreement.
What does this mean?

Put as much time into evaluating which software system will support your business goals as you do into hiring key employees.  Whether you are spending $4,000 or $400,000 on your Property Management System, the impact of that system is broader than nearly any employee you will hire, so hire the right system!

How can Software Strategy help?

Software Strategy can help your hotel or organization select the best software by offering you tools and support to avoid the common pitfalls that arise during the selection process.  The table below outlines the tools we use in our own Software Evaluation service, the challenges they address, and the benefits they produce.

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Challenge

Software Strategy Products

Benefit
To identify the best list of vendors based on the high level needs of your hotel.
Free Vendor List
Save time researching software and quickly find relevant software options.
To quickly and completely identify business needs across your hotel.
RFP Template
Save weeks of time gathering requirements and avoid mistakes.
To accurately understand how well each software product can support your needs.
RFP Comparison
Save weeks of time tracking down vendor responses and thoroughly evaluating each software product.
To identify appropriate software solutions and their detailed capabilities, gather complete business requirements, and thoroughly evaluate how well these two items match.
Software Evaluation
Move through the entire evaluation process with speed, accuracy, and confidence -- supported with a documented recommendation from experts.
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When using Software Strategy's full Software Evaluation, we can move you through the evaluation process in two to four weeks.  Hotels attempting to navigate this process on their own typically take four months before reaching a decision.  Despite the longer timeframe, they still have difficulty mitigating each of the previously mentioned risks due to both resource constraints as well as lack of expertise in understanding the details of Property Management Systems.

Two Special Offers:

  • If you would like to receive a free list of hotel software vendors able to meet your hotel’s high-level business needs, complete our Free Vendor List form.  We will provide you up to 10 vendors for you to research against your complete business requirements.
  • Through September 23, we are offering our RFP Templates for only $199. Click Here to customize and order your template online.
Whether you intend to evaluate your software options on your own or want some help to ensure you make the best software investment possible, be sure to review our entire portfolio of Hotel Products and services.  Our products help you save months of work, avoid common pitfalls, and increase the accuracy of your evaluation.  Most important, you will find the software that best supports your business.

In addition to Property Management Systems, Software Strategy provides hoteliers with an objective source for researching technology solutions, including:
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Internet Booking Engines
Sales and Catering
Revenue Management
Point of Sale
Spa Management
Customer Relationship Management
Club Management
Golf Management
E-Mail Marketing
Business Intelligence Systems
Web Site Design & Hosting
Other Technologies…
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About Software Strategy

Software Strategy (www.SoftwareStrategy.net) is an independent resource dedicated to researching hospitality technology products in order to help hotels make fast and accurate decisions on their technology investments.  By working directly with software vendors and using its own Technology Research Lab to understand the details of each offering, Software Strategy compiles knowledge about each product to support hotels in their software decisions.  The output of this research is a set of products and services designed to help hoteliers navigate the entire software comparison and procurement process with greater efficiency.

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Contact:

Tim Henthorn
Managing Director
Phone: 773-551-2088
thenthorn@SoftwareStrategy.net

Software Strategy, LLC
info@SoftwareStrategy.net

www.SoftwareStrategy.net
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