Hospitality Finally Coming of Age?
|July 14, 2004 - The Hitec show is always a great venue for showcasing
new technologies and this year's in Dallas was no exception. There
was undoubtedly a buzz at the show to accompany the general vendor comments
referring to attendees of, "quantity down, quality up."
Some PMS vendors announced, or renewed their commitment to, web based solutions. Although this technology is often cited as "new", it is clearly not so: it is really just harnessing the Internet to process data the old fashioned way - on big computers at remote (computer bureau) locations.
So what should a potential new user of this technology expect?
First, experience counts. Many web-deployed solutions are often first generation systems that still need to be cleared of bugs and have operational functionality streamlined. This can take years and requires many 'alpha' and 'beta' sites to provide good feedback to the software developers.
Running a system with data held at a remote location begs the question of what happens in the event of a communications failure. Hoteliers should expect a clear, working and workable strategy as far as "Disaster Recovery" (DR) is concerned. There are many DR strategies available and a hotel operator needs to be upfront with their vendor about their price/risk balance.
Hotels should ask of their vendor what added value their web-based system can give them. Everyone wants Internet bookings; a few vendors provide integrated web bookings free of transaction costs. Chain, or enterprise solutions, should give any hotel under a management company umbrella the capability to share guest history and thus build a single, enterprise-wide customer database that helps build recurring revenue by allowing pro-active, corporately managed and executed marketing campaigns. How about centralized Accounts Receivable to reduce labor overhead and manage corporate receivables?
Some vendors, such as New Jersey based Ramesys, have recently announced integration with Expedia.com(r) and Hotels.com(tm). This brings the capability to enjoy real-time, online reservations from the largest sellers of hotel rooms online. Customers using their Entirety web based PMS will be able to receive reservations from sources such as these without human intervention: another plus by being able to further reduce costs.
Ramesys has been actively involved in deploying web based PMS for over five years, and has an installation base that reflects this experience. Andrew Sanders, director of sales and marketing for the company, comments, "Our first installations were pretty basic but it established us as an early pioneer of this type of technology. Over the years our install base now exceeds 450 hotels worldwide, making us, we believe, the most experienced vendor anywhere."
Ultimately there can be huge cost savings for independent hotels and chains opting for a web solution. With no need for servers at each hotel, nor associated power/surge protection, nightly backup routines to follow or potentially complex local area network set-up and maintenance, hotels can typically save upwards of $5,000 and gain from a more resilient solution that is managed professionally.
Ramesys is experiencing a huge level of interest in its web solutions from chains and independent properties alike - all wanting improvements in functionality and reductions in cost of ownership. They demonstrate that web solutions certainly have (finally) come of age.
Tel: 908 941 1300
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