Hotel Management Systems Buyer Report 2017 – What Buyers are Looking for in HMS and What Trends are Emerging
May 18, 2017 10:06am
By Taylor Short
From Software Advice’s conversations with hospitality professionals, we gain deep insight into what buyers are looking for in hotel management systems (HMS), which we can use to identify existing and emerging trends in the industry.
In this report, we look at current hotel management software buyer behavior. We also identify the most popular software functionality most hotels use to attract guests, facilitate easy direct bookings and improve the guest experience.
U.S. Hospitality Industry Growth Boosts HMS Adoption
Hospitality companies use a wide array of methods to handle daily tasks, such as taking reservations, checking guests in and out and tracking housekeeping.
As the industry continues to see modest growth in supply and demand in 2017, we see that the adoption of a hotel-specific management system has increased by 2 percent from two years ago. At the same time, there’s a 2 percent decrease of manual methods, which include pen and paper or spreadsheets.
This suggests that more hospitality companies recognize the benefits of a hotel-specific property management system (PMS).
These systems offer features crucial to hospitality. As a hotel manager, your standard PMS addresses the needs of apartment or condo managers; an HMS includes functionality that you need to stand out from the competition, including:
An HMS serves as an all-in-one system. HMS users don’t have to click around different windows or log-in and out of different programs because these systems integrate all systems into one, seamless experience.
Managers Need to Automate Daily Tasks and Enable Online Bookings
For HMS seekers, a combined 62 percent cite specific problems with the software—it’s old, it lacks features or it’s hard to use—as their reason for shopping around. Another 27 percent are just starting out and want a new system to help them stay organized from the beginning.
We also looked at the applications buyers request most to find out their must-have functionality. Front desk applications, unsurprisingly, ranked first; every hotel needs proper front desk capabilities to check guests in and out and generating key cards.
Beyond the basics, buyers need to make sure their hotel has an online presence that can attract guests who can book directly from the hotel’s website. It’s no surprise, then, that an online booking engine (OBE) was a close second at 23 percent.
The facts are undeniable: about 148 million travel bookings are made online each year. That’s 57 percent of all travel reservations made in a year. Even more importantly, 65 percent of same-day reservations are made on a smartphone.
As travelers consistently and increasingly perform research and book online, your goal should be to use an online booking engine to get your property in front of them as soon and often as possible during their selection journey.
An OBE also offers other useful capabilities:
Cloud-Based Hotel Management Software Is Now Standard
We’re approaching a time when more and more software is cloud-based, while the older on-premise model of deployment is typically relegated to industries and organizations with extreme security concerns or other special requirements.
It seems hotel software buyers are following this trend: Of those who have a preference, 96 percent would prefer web-based hotel management software.
Nearly half of our respondents represent independent hotels (we’ll share more demographics below), and their budgets can be prohibitive to software investments. For these smaller hotels, cloud-based software offers significant benefits:
Demographics of Hotel Management Software Buyers
As mentioned, 48 percent of respondents are from independent hotels, as compared to the remaining franchised properties.
Smart hoteliers know that the younger, most lucrative traveler segments today are looking for a real experience—not just a nice guest room. This trend has spurred the increase of boutique, independent hotels across the country, designed to provide more authentic experiences. This sense of authenticity gives smaller hotels a powerful feature to stand out from large hotel chains.
You can find the detailed methodology for this report here. If you have comments or would like access to any of the charts above, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Taylor Short is a Senior Market Research Associate at Software Advice, covering technology and changing trends in the hotel industry, property, and maintenance management. He conducts primary research with both consumers and business owners to publish market reports and video content. His work has been cited in dozens of notable publications, including The Washington Post, Lodging Magazine, Facility Management Magazine and Facility Executive Magazine.
After earning a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of North Texas, he worked as a reporter covering city governments, businesses, schools, and police for newspapers in Dallas, Austin, and other regional markets. Taylor has also freelanced for Reuters News Agency, and tutored students in English and writing at Austin Community College. Taylor joined Software Advice in Fall 2013.
Contact: Taylor Short
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