30 May When the time comes to change your hotel PMS. Part 2
In my previous blog post When the time comes to change your hotel PMS. Part 1 I analysed what are the signs, telling that it’s time to look for a new hotel PMS. Once you found out that you really need to move on, you should take in consideration some factors before the big change.
There are some standards that you should pay attention when switching to a new hotel PMS:
- Online booking integration. This can include booking engine, OTAs, GDSs and etc. Your new system MUST have this possibility. Even more perfect if those components are already included in one provider’s package. This will provide you automatic synchronisation with sales channels. Meaning you won’t need to spend hours by updating extranets.
- Your new system has to fulfil requirements for all parts of the business. You shouldn’t look for one system to manage reception work and other systems for the management purposes. You can definitely find all in one solution.
- If you communicate with guests, then you should make sure that your new hotel PMS has a possibility to automatise such process as well. Scheduled e-mails is a very useful tool so you should look for the software that supports this feature.
- You definitely want to find the system that would allow you to be away from the desk. You should focus on cloud-based solutions which give you the possibility to work wherever you are. Make sure that your new system is mobile-friendly. Thus it has not only comfortable interface for the admin part (you), but also has a mobile-customised booking engine.
- Do you need to generate reports? Most probably yes. In this case, your new system must have already integrated reporting feature. When talking about reports, make sure that system will fulfil your country’s local tax laws and regulations.
- If you are running not just an accommodation business but also there is a small restaurant downstairs, you might want to check for a solution that has integrated POS.
- If you will choose the cloud-based solution, then you need to double check that all updates and backups are included in the price. Definitely, seek to use a PMS that is frequently releasing updates and keeping up with the market needs.
- You should check for a solution that has a support in your time zone or can provide 24 hours support from any part of the world. But be careful, some system providers are charging extra for different support types.
Where to start?
You should pick few PMS providers that seem to fit your needs best. Contact them, ask for a demo or introduction. Check before switching and try to predict how much more different it will be from your current system. Maybe you don’t want your new system to be radically different, you just need few minor changes, then you shouldn’t target into the software which is absolutely not what you are used to. Switching to a new system might cause more stress and frustration and you will be deeply disappointed with your choice.
In any case, you have to invest time into this search and you have to focus on what exactly you are looking for. Don’t expect to change systems from one day to another, plan it carefully and smart.
When the time comes for actual switch, you need to decide if this will be immediate change or you want to do it slowly, while still running your current system in parallel.
What is the preparation process?
- Communicate with your new system’s support team and find out all necessary steps for the switch.
- Another very important step – get trained before the switch! It is very important that you already know your new system at least a bit before you jump straight into working with it. Get familiar with the main procedures and later on, you can discover other additional features. If you have more people working on your property, arrange training for them as well. Some system providers offer separate trainings depending on the departments. Make sure that everybody, who will be using the system, will get a proper training before the actual switch.
- Decide if you want your new system to be “blank” from the start or you want to have all your past reservations and guest lists imported in your new PMS. Try to find out if your old system provides export service and the new one can do the data import.
- If you are moving all your reservations to a new system, make sure that all necessary customer data will be saved and you won’t lose it in the process (e.g. credit card and payment details).
- In case if you are managing communication with your guests, make sure that you have e-mail templates already created in your new system. This will ensure that during the switching process, you will keep e-mailing running.
- If you are using other systems, make sure that they can be integrated with your new one. How long will it take? Find out how fast your new system’s support team can link you to OTAs. You can’t afford to be disconnected for few days (or even hours). Best is to agree exact date and time for the switch so you can smoothly make the change of systems.
To sum up
Analyse few options, write down your priorities for the system that you are looking for and when you can feel that this new system tick all your requirement boxes, it’s time for the switch.
Most important for you and for your team is to be prepared. Feel secure and ready for the big day. You should keep close communication with your new hotel PMS support team, they will be more than happy to guarantee the smooth transition, so don’t be afraid to ask if necessary.
It can be hard emotionally to let go of your management system. I’m sure you are used to the way of how it works and what each button does… You need to let it go. When you switch to a new PMS, you can’t expect it to act in the same way as your old system did. During my work years in a customer service field, I heard so many times customers say “Our old system could do this… In our previous system, this was in blue colour… Oh but I want this feature to do like the other system did….”… Endless story – you have to let go the old way of working. That’s why you decided to change your previous PMS in the first place. New system – new way of working 🙂