By Nicole Dehler, Vice President of Product Management
StayNTouch, A Shiji Group Brand
The landscape of hospitality tech might be changing, but one thing is certain: mobility is far more than a passing fad. Rather, it’s the new industry standard that will shape every touchpoint of hotel operations and the guest experience.
However, what does mobility mean? Is it the development of a hotel app? Is it a mobile concierge? Is it mobile check-in and mobile keyless entry? Is it a mobile property management system? What creates the perfect stack of modern, mobile technology?
In fact, it’s all of those things.
For those hoteliers who have yet to upgrade from a legacy property management system, we’ve broken down the biggest benefits of a mobile PMS that you can’t afford to ignore.
Often, hoteliers are reluctant to invest in new technology because they are apprehensive about potential upfront costs. Investing in a new and improved system seems expensive — is it worth it? What hoteliers don’t realize, however, is that the cost of delaying an upgrade is often much higher than adopting early.
Fortunately, upgrading to a modern PMS creates far less operational upheaval than you might expect. Unlike the server-based platforms of the past, newer cloud-based PMS platforms offer a more intuitive user interface, ensuring a simplified training process and lower startup costs.
Legacy systems, on the other hand, run on bulky in-house servers and are often costly to implement, maintain, upgrade, and integrate. Because mobile PMS systems operate in the cloud, they reduce the need for on-going IT resources, high electrical and cooling bills, and expensive third-party updates and reconfigurations. All of this helps to reduce technology-related costs to the hotel.
Finally, hoteliers should consider the hands-free security benefits. Unlike legacy systems of the past, cloud-based PMS offers state-of-the-art data and access security, and consistent processing speed at various scales. Uninterrupted service is paramount, so the inclusion of uninterrupted failover, automated disaster recovery, and redundant data stores is also crucial.
Enhanced Revenue & Guest Service
Of course, a mobile PMS doesn’t just reduce costs, it can also be a valuable tool to enhance revenue. A mobile PMS lets you create customized, in-the-moment messaging for room upgrades, monetized early check-in/late check-out and additional amenities 一 sent directly to your guests’ smartphones. And because a mobile PMS serves as a central repository for guest stay data and preferences, it allows you to send the right message, at the right touchpoint to make an impact.
Mobility can also revolutionize the role of the front desk agent, turning it from a purely administrative position to one focused on increasing revenue and guest satisfaction. Put simply, the old way of “supersizing” a room at the front-desk is not a very good way to upsell: The guest will have no way to gauge the value of the upgraded room, and will likely not be in a “buying mood” after waiting in a long line to check in. But a mobile PMS is different. With mobile, staff can interact with your guests wherever they are in the hotel, strike up a natural conversation about the guest’s trip, and show them relevant offers that are highlighted by images on the staff member’s tablet.
Taking a cue from the airline industry, smart kiosks can help you reimagine your lobby. Not only do they help to minimize lines at check-in, but by eliminating the need for a front desk, they allow you to redesign your lobby into a more guest-centric space. Instead of dedicating one of the largest rooms in your property to the administrative process of checking-in, now you can build your lobby around coffee shops, wine bars, co-working spaces, or lounges. This allows hotels to better distinguish their brand and generate incremental revenue, while also creating a more welcoming and personalized space for guests.
Increased Staff Efficiency
Technology empowers productivity, and staff can perform more efficiently with the help of a mobile platform that provides access to guest information, real-time performance, and cross-department communications. Rather than relying on walkie-talkies and clipboards to communicate, a mobile PMS gives staff access to room status, as well as guest requests and complaints, all in real-time. Mobility has the potential to create a 20% increase in housekeeping efficiency, eliminating 80% of calls to the front desk. This allows departments to become more flexible, mobile, and responsive, which not only improves their guest service but also lets them earn more ancillary revenue from late check-outs and early check-ins.
Open Architecture: The Key to Long-term Scalability
The hospitality industry is continuously evolving, and those hotels which will experience the most long-term success are those that adapt to new trends and industry expectations. So, the question becomes: Is your hotel equipped with technology that is scalable and can be easily integrated with third-party solutions?
When asked to describe the common pain points of their existing PMS, most hoteliers cite integration with third parties and lackluster support offered by vendors. Often, the support provided by traditional vendors can’t keep up with the expanding needs of a growing hospitality business. Of course, a traditional system’s reliance on costly manual updates and integrations only increases its vulnerability to future technological advancements.
A mobile PMS, on the other hand, can update automatically, and integrate with numerous systems with ease. Ultimately, the key to long-term scalability is an automated operational model that exists on an open API, allowing for a truly customizable stack that can grow with your property. Further, an open API will enable hoteliers to finally harness the power of data collected from each application and touchpoint. With platforms in place that can communicate seamlessly, data is shared and applied more efficiently — making room for a more efficient, guest-centric experience.
With the right mobile PMS technology, hoteliers can offer a seamless and personalized mobile guest journey, while also empowering their staff to approach their roles in a more efficient, guest-centric manner. Although each hotel is likely to create its own, unique stack of technologies, the mobile PMS remains the heart of the hotel’s technological ecosystem.