It’s an exhilarating time to be in the VR industry – huge technologically shifts are underway, including the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and dynamic pricing, as well as consolidation among vendors and tools. While the potential of streamlined toolsets and even cutting edge tech like AI seem positive actually putting them into production can be tricky and cause unexpected hiccups along the way.
One recent example is HomeAway Software announcing its plan sunset two property management systems (PMS) – V12.NET and Australia-based YesBookit, while continuing to develop their Escapia PMS. The stated goal is to focus on a single product to better fit their customer needs.
While building a single application provides many efficiencies – including faster delivery times, a single app to develop upon, and more focused business teams – it creates an enormous challenge for their existing customers that must eventually migrate to Escapia or select an entirely new PMS vendor.
There are a lot of considerations when selecting the right PMS for your organization including whether to go with best-in-class solutions or buy into a single vendor (all-in-one) solution. We’ve put together a 8-point checklist of things to think about.
1. Focus. There are pros and cons with both best-in-class PMS and all-in-one solutions that happen to include a PMS. Best-in-class solutions provide the best tool for core PMS functions with deep functionality and a proven track record. On the other hand, you’ll potentially have to work with multiple vendors to build your guest management tech stack. With all-in-one solutions, you’ll have a more simple tool from a single vendor but these may fall short with functionality and innovation.
2. Reputation. Find a company that is well regarded in the industry and their customers. Don’t just take their word for it, though. Ask for references, particularly from former customers.
3. Service. It’s going to take a while to transition to a new PMS and you’re going to have questions. Lots of them. There are no “off” hours in the hospitality industry, so look for a company that will support you 24/7/365. Additionally, consider the level of support you will receive. Ask if the company is adding new divisions and if they’ve scaled to support any new offerings.
4. Security. The hospitality sector is facing more cybersecurity risks than ever before. As the operations hub, if your PMS is compromised it can have devastating and extensive consequences. Make sure your new PMS follows cybersecurity best practices and standards in all areas, including network segmentation and control and multi-factor authentication.
5. Training. It’s important that new employees and seasonal staff can quickly understand and utilize a new PMS, particularly since training is already such a hefty undertaking.
6. Price. Do some research to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money. Inquire about additional charges and ask current customers about any hidden fees they may have encountered. As a rule of thumb, if the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Also, keep in mind that companies are increasingly adopting revenue-share pricing (i.e. charging users a percentage of their sales). Adopting a PMS is a long-term decision, so take a long-term view when considering your options. Don’t just think about where your company is today, but consider where it will be 2-5 years down the road and how the pricing model could affect your business.
7. Business Requirements. Before vetting PMS solutions, make a clear list of your top five needs. Every system will have its strengths and weaknesses and it’s important not to get distracted by the bells and whistles. Frankly, some PMS solutions will be a better fit for your company than others so stay focused by making sure the top five needs you identified at the beginning of the process are met.
8. User Adoption. It goes without saying that demonstrations are an essential part of the selection process; make sure the top five needs you’ve identified are addressed in your demo. In addition to demoing the solution with one of the company’s reps, also ask for a demo account where you and your team that will be interacting with those tools daily can test if it actually meets their needs.
Evaluating the criteria listed above will help you identify the PMS that’s best for your company. For additional details, download Top Questions to Ask a Tech Vendor.