2021 Guide to Property Management Systems

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Choose carefully

A guide to Property Management Software By Mandy Clarke, Editor

The seamless day-today operation of an accommodation business without a good Property Management Software system is unthinkable. A quality PMS integrates everything from reservations to rate setting, billing to revenue management and housekeeping to maintenance. It should deliver a smooth guest experience, synchronise systems to speed up tasks and collaborate useful data. In short, a good PMS is indispensable to all property managers, no matter the type, size or standard of your accommodation offering. If your PMS is under-par, you may look to switch, but this is a hard decision because you must also weigh up the fall out! AccomNews is here to guide you through the process to change or not to change your PMS, and


AccomNews - Autumn 2021

Makaila Kenny

Rico Chen

how to develop your own system or recruit the perfect system.

type and setup, so do your research and look at all options.”

Industry experts share their viewpoints, starting with the Resly team…

When it comes to PMS, does size matter?

Makaila Kenny, client relationship manager at Resly, told us that “most properties are using software that is nearly 20 years old and COVID has really highlighted the importance of working remotely, portability, and mobility. There are some great homegrown technology options to suit every property

Rico Chen, head of product at Resly said: “Each property will have its individual requirements and needs so it is super important to find a software partner that is agile and can scale easily with the property. For smaller properties, direct bookings should be a focus so ask questions about fees and commissions, look at the functionality of the booking


Rebecca McCarthy

engine. An all-in-one solution is probably best for smaller operators with fully integrated websites.” What are the pitfalls when upgrading or changing providers? Rebecca McCarthy, operations manager at Resly suggested that “not all providers will migrate historical data to the new system, so do your due diligence and ask what will be carried over and what you will lose. Some providers will charge for setting up a new account or may have www.accomnews.com.au

training and onboarding fees, these can run into the thousands so be sure to ask and negotiate this. Try and find other properties that have made the move and have a chat with them.”

automation, handling cancelled bookings, guest messaging, email automation, etc. Seamless third-party integrations with everything from banks to chat bots is an increasing trend, improving guests’ experiences and reducing properties workload.”

Sam Steel Kylie Keane

What about price and pricing models? Sam Steel, head of sales at Resly explained: “Clear, transparent, and predictable pricing is essential. Try and avoid any commissionbased models as these are hard to control and predict. If there are any add ons, things like text messaging can add a few hundred dollars to your bill. Make sure customer support is included, you do not want to be billed every time you have to engage with support.” How has the rise in cloud technology affected PMS? Sam added: “It means we are finally catching up with other industries. The cloud is not something new, it has been around for ten years, yet the accommodation industry has remained stagnant for some time. A true cloud-based system does not need to be downloaded or installed and can be used on any device. The security of the cloud is also something to embrace, removing the risk of localised computer hacks and data breaches. It is great to see the cloud being adopted by properties and they are actively seeking out cloud-based solutions. I do not see this slowing down and properties that fail to embrace the cloud will ultimately be left behind.” What future tech trends can we expect to see in PMS? Rico Chen said: “Increased automation and integrations. The more functions that PMS can automate, the better for the properties, allowing a streamlined operation. Reducing touch points is another thing that can be achieved with www.accomnews.com.au

Any noticeable COVID developments? Sihot director of operations, Kylie Keane told us that she has “seen a big push in the space of contactless check in and check out, keeping staff and guests safe has been a high priority”. “Future technology is going to play a bigger role than ever with the ability to bulk cancel, SMS, and email for selected dates.” “I do not believe size matters when it comes to PMS software, what matters what are the core functions you need as an operator. There is no point paying for functionality you will never use example if you have a small motel with 10 rooms you do not need event module. My advice for all operators is make a list of must have functions, what are nice to haves and then decide on the software that best meets their needs.” What are the pitfalls when upgrading or changing providers? “The biggest pitfall from my experience is the customer being forced into upgrading or changing providers at the last minute. Leaving the decision to the last-minute results in the customer not being fully prepared for data conversion and miscommunication takes place on the exact requirements/ needs. Upgrade or changing PMS providers is a big deal from training of staff and data conversion you do not want to wait and having your hand forced because your existing software expired. Take time, do

research, get a demonstration of the product and if you have a particular function that is important ensure you understand how it works in the new software before changing.” What about price and pricing models? “I always suggest considering what is included in the price and contract terms. If you are changing to a new software provider, what happens if it does not meet your needs? You don’t want to be stuck for three years if functionality is missing. Most products will have additional module options. I always suggest to customers to start off with the basics and then add the additional features. You do not want to be paying for a module you may not use for first six months while you are still learning the basics.” How has the rise in cloud technology affected PMS? “With the internet more reliable than ever, cloud technology is really the best option to help customers reduce overall IT costs and risk. Cloud will take the hassle of software updates, windows patching, licensing, and backups this allows the customers to focus on running their core business. Having PMS in the cloud will allow for remote access which is a game changer in the current climate if you need to quickly switch to work from home model your staff can still access data and booking details at home, in the car, and so on...” What future tech trends can we expect to see in PMS? “I expect an uplift in interface options with door lock technology allowing guests to check in and open room door with mobile phones will become a major trend.” Matthew Joyce global relationships manager, RMS Cloud advised us that a PMS should be used to improve the guest experience throughout their entire journey, from booking to check out, and everything in between. “Operators should remain connected during the whole user journey. The right PMS should be used to drive improved occupancies and maximise revenue as part of your overall distribution strategy. From a back-end point of view, the


average operator now must worry about connections and integrations with up to 30 various systems and providers across their business. Having optimum integrations through open APIs will ensure a smooth flow and all systems maximised.”

Matthew Joyce

Does size matter? “Size should not matter. Improving business efficiencies, enhancing guest experiences, and driving profitability should be the key determinants when deciding on a PMS vendor. Operators of every business will have different functionality requirements and priorities when deciding on a PMS. Do not focus solely on cost.” What are the pitfalls when upgrading or changing providers? “The decision to change PMS providers is no longer based on a commoditised product. Changes brought on by cloud technology have changed that, and businesses are no longer just buying PCs with a user interface that checks people in or out of their property. Customer support is often overlooked, particularly now with SaaS, or lack-of, which can prove costly. Regardless of how good the product looks or feels, great customer support is just as valuable as the cosmetics.” What about price and pricing models? “Cheapest is not always best. Does the vendor include support? Do they provide upgrades as part of their fees? Does the vendor offer hardship support during periods of global instability? Is the PMS offering sign-on incentives in the current climate? “If the answer is no to any of these, you should keep looking for a vendor that does meet the above criteria.” AccomNews - Autumn 2021


How has the rise in cloud technology affected PMS? “One of the key benefits for PMS vendors that have made the complete switch to the cloud, is the ability for them to enter new products to market at a speed which legacy providers cannot compete with. “In the past, on-premises solutions allowed providers the ability to control how and when they would enhance their product. Cloud technology enables forwardthinking PMS companies to be far more interactive. The advent of open APIs has further driven this at warp speed, which now provides the choice and flexibility for operators that have been wanting this for a long time.” What future tech trends can we expect? “Operators are now seeking the ability to be flexible and curate a tech stack that optimizes their business across all departments and functions. And with this comes automation, customization, personalization and in more recent times contactless, so be prepared to hear these words repeatedly over the coming years in relation to PMS.”

A 21st century PMS is never stagnant and constantly evolving with new features and technology to intuitively drive your future success.” Does size matter? “Size absolutely matters! Every business wants to grow, so it makes sense to have a PMS that will support you through that growth. A smaller accommodation provider should engage with a PMS that offers different tiers of subscription. You can pay for what you need now and simply add features in the future. It is important to be present in the market, compete with the big boys and embrace your growth potential!” What are the pitfalls when upgrading or changing providers? “It can be tricky to distinguish what is best for your business. Ask about support: do they offer on the spot support, or do you have to lodge a ticket and wait days for a call back? Do not settle for less!”

How do properties need to adapt now?

How has the rise in cloud technology affected PMS?

NewBook COO, Erin Stevenson explained: “As technology advances and guest needs change, accommodation providers must adapt quicker than ever before. Your PMS should adapt with you so that you are always ahead of the curve. Image supplied by NewBook

Will they assist you in the setup process?

AccomNews - Autumn 2021

“Downtime and inefficiencies cost up to 30 percent of a business’s annual revenue. A great way to gain insight is to visit the ‘system status’ webpage of the provider. Look at the outages and scheduled maintenance. Long list? Steer clear.”

“The saying ‘you pay for what you get’, rings true with software. Your PMS is an investment in your business that will reward you with significant savings in time and staff labour costs while simultaneously boosting your bookings and revenue.”

“The need to quickly pivot and change is paramount and having a PMS vendor that supports fluid inventory functionality is a deal breaker.”


Finally, is it reliable?

What about price and pricing models for PMS?

‘At the root of all PMS’ is data.

Erin Stevenson

Image supplied by Xn protel Systems Group

“A good PMS will import your data from your current system, manually set up your fully integrated booking engine and train your staff before you go live. It is 2021, so say no to self-set-up and make a run for it if you are given a CD disk to load on your computer.”

“Cloud technology is now a necessity. The flexibility to work from anywhere, at any time takes convenience to new heights. With cloud-based systems, regular updates paired with sophisticated security protocols help to diminish overall security risks. Aside from being safe from any form of data breach, the nature of a cloud-based PMS means data is continuously synced and saved in the cloud.” What future tech trends? “Guests are looking for less human interaction, less touchpoints, and more self-service and mobile technology. This movement is a result of COVID-19 but can also be credited to tech-savvy Millennials. Self-service kiosks with 24/7


check in and out, guest apps, internet of things (IoT) integrations including Wi-Fi mobile keys, smart appliances, facial recognition for security and access, are some new tech trends we can expect soon. Your PMS should be at the forefront of these trends to see you outshine your competitors and meet the ever-evolving needs of the 21st century traveller.” Accommodation providers have more PMS resources than ever before, according to Xn protel Systems Group managing director, Craig Chait. “PMS are becoming far more flexible with features and functionality, enabling last-mile delivery, the ability to customise the system to each end-user needs. But there are significant differences between what different PMS can do. Some vendors are offering more tools, more resources, and more support for the end-user than ever before. P08

Craig Chait


Introducing your complete Property Management Suite Powerhouse PMS, NewBook, was launched in 2010 by tourism technology entrepreneur Brad Illich. After discovering the difficulties accommodation businesses were facing with sub-par systems, Brad quickly recognised the need for a solution founded on ease-of-use and exceptional support. These are the guiding principles that continue to drive the massive success of the award-winning PMS in 2021. The all-in-one platform boasts an impressive line-up of software, hardware, and services, including a cloud-based PMS, a seamless Booking Engine, Channel Manager, Creative Services, and more. In 2020, the

company even released a range of self-service tech, including indoor and outdoor Self-Service Kiosks and Key Dispensers, to help their clients adapt to rapidly changing demands post COVID-19. In addition, NewBook connects to hundreds of distribution channels and integrates with crowd-favourite third parties, truly making it a one-stop-shop for property owners around the world. In just over ten years, NewBook’s revenue-boosting features, automation tools, and worldclass innovation has helped their clients grow direct online bookings by up to 600%, significantly reduce commission fees paid to third-party booking sites, and dedicate more time to other areas of their businesses. However, it’s still the company’s

unmatched customer-centric attitude that sets it apart. NewBook’s unique CrowdSourced Feature program allows them to provide the most personalised solutions available on the market. This collaborative process encourages clients to suggest the features necessary to streamline their daily operations. According to Illich, “This allows us to focus our attention on updates that genuinely add value to our clients’ businesses, meaning our platform is literally tailored to suit them”. The company automatically releases over 150 new features every year at no additional cost to their clients, but the perks certainly don’t end there. NewBook has made it their

Your Complete

mission to build robust support initiatives into every aspect of what they do. Their training and support staff are all onboarded with hospitality and tourism backgrounds to ensure that clients will always speak to somebody who just “gets it”. They also offer 24/7 support, complimentary client productivity meetings, free video training tutorials, online webinars, and an enviable 99% annual reliability rating. Additionally, their superior usability and streamlined migration process make it so easy to get started with the platform. NewBook has been the recipient of countless industry awards, and their 97% customer service score suggests their clients agree with the sentiment.

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Try your free demo at www.newbook.cloud | 1300 744 458 www.accomnews.com.au


AccomNews - Autumn 2021


Let our software work for you

Starfleet have a history of providing easy to use Front Office and Point of Sale software for over 30 years. Then twenty years ago, we converted all our software completely to Windows based computers. Our current client network includes all states of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Indonesia, Fiji, Laos, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. And Starfleet is not just easy to use but under the covers there are also an ever-increasing range of features that can be utilized for making you more productive with less effort. Get more done and spend your time productively with your guests! Starfleet covers properties from under 10 rooms to over 200 rooms as well as backpackers and budget accommodation properties with up to 750 beds. Properties range from 2 star to up to 4 stars with most around 3 stars and small single user systems to many simultaneous users on larger properties. And with our new competitively priced high performance Cloud service that we have just released, you can now connect remotely from anywhere with either single or multiple concurrent logins. Or alternatively utilize our on-site service for larger properties or areas with poor Internet service. The choice is all yours!

Great support With Australian based support from staff with many years of experience you can be sure any PMS based queries or problems can be sorted. And yes, we’ve worked in accommodation properties too so we also have an industry background as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the PMS software we have created. No overseas call centres here, just personal Aussie service! Every user is treated as a valued client.

One point of contact Now Starfleet is able to provide one point of contact for many of our services including ancillary


AccomNews - Autumn 2021

products like Channel Managers and our own software products. One example (of several) of this is that we are now an official Siteminder partner so from now for any queries with either Siteminder or Starfleet you only need to call us. This now makes Starfleet a much more integrated service and helps to reduce your stress and workload if things get busy or out of hand.


different arrival and departure dates for guests as well. •

Auto email guests before arrival and after departure (with html layouts).

Automatically send out marketing emails (with html layouts).

Improved user-friendly screen layouts compared to previous versions.

Allows for up to five predefined folios automatically.

Software to link to PABX’s, Internet Data Charging and Movielink.

Connects to Salto, Saflok and Vingcard keycard units.

Benefits include:

Front Office and our Point-of-Sale software are fully integrated.

Competitively priced and proven software that’s easy to use.

Choice of five Channel Managers plus new Starfleet integrated version.

Choice of Xero, QuickBooks or MYOB Accounting packages to link to.

Runs on most any Windows based computer running versions from Windows 7 up to Windows 10 including server versions.

Separate training system can be added at no charge for ongoing staff training if required.

Housekeeping function and housekeeper reports, room status and out for maintenance room options.

No payments required for the first 90 days with a new installation or major upgrade.

Reporting that’s becoming more and more comprehensive. We recently added a wide range of interactive charts for managers to work with. Now we are adding a report generator to easily produce even more reports. As we have always offered, if we do not have a report you want, we’ll do it for free.

Only pay for the Starfleet components that you want to use.

Retains all guest data for reprinting accounts or returning guests.

Flexible and low ongoing charges either quarterly or annually. Experienced Australian help desk staff.

Let’s give you some bullet points: •

range of predetermined reports automatically.

Software that’s constantly being improved and enhanced. Easy to train new users. Typically, a new receptionist can be up and running in under two hours.

Handles groups, large and small from simple to complex. This includes coach groups and conference groups all now managed from the Room Allocation screen. Capable of handling

Print or email PDF guest accounts, confirmation letters and vouchers.

Standard Accounts Receivable (Debtors) module.

Touch screen Point of Sale software with Stock Control.

Optional Conference Manager module.

Travel agent management module.

Comprehensive room rate and package inventory.

Let some of your money support Australians instead of sending it to overseas PMS providers!

Fast Night Audit procedures which include the ability to produce a large


For more information please visit www.starfleetres.com.au, email info@starfleetres.com. au or call +61 03 9428 4333 www.accomnews.com.au

P04 “You are already seeing more online technical and software help guides, online learning videos, tutorials, knowledgebase articles, collaborative partner interviews, product update emails delivered to your inboxes, and generally more information flowing to the accommodation provider, even online town-hall meetings for accommodation providers to ask PMS vendors how to do X, Y, or Z.” Does size matter? “Yes. The right PMS will be the one that can level the playing field for hotels and motels big and small, that need a great PMS, regardless of being a 20-room motel or a 300+ room international chain hotel. A small motel or boutique accommodation provider should have access to the same technology, regardless of size or affiliation.” What are the pitfalls when upgrading or changing providers? “There are probably three key pitfalls we often see when changing property management system. First, it is important to ensure all stakeholders have


AccomNews - Autumn 2021

buy-in to the change. Second, a lack of data migration, bringing past profiles, historical reservations, and future reservations into the new PMS.” “The third pitfall is a lack of planning and execution. If the ‘Go live’ date of a new property management system is only 75 percent of the way through the change, the remaining 25 percent should be focused on ensuring that all integrations and interfaces are live and working seamlessly, that management and staff have adapted well to the new system, that niggly bugs, and issues are ironed out, and that workflows and procedures are efficient, streamlined and produce improved guest services and lower operational impact.” What about price and pricing models? “Pricing has dropped dramatically over the years. The price should cost no more than the equivalent of a meal-deal at a fast-food chain on a per room per month basis. And that should cover not just the property management system software, but also its infrastructure hosting as well as support and maintenance fees. And often, also

be able to be delivered remotely.” How has the rise in cloud technology affected PMS? “Cloud technology has totally changed the landscape of the PMS environment. Besides delivering a SaaS (software as a service) pricing model and reducedto-zero infrastructure costs for the accommodation provider, we are now able to deliver staff and guest mobility apps – the power of the PMS in the palm of your hand. It can provide AI, learned behaviour, and predictive analytics about the guest. Cloud technology has improved not just the PMS, but related interfaces and integration, such as pointof-sale systems, check-in kiosks, and housekeeping apps.” What future tech trends can we expect? “More online marketplaces and one-click remote installations; more contactless and selfdriven guest control and options and way more choice for the accommodation provider to choose what technology can be integrated to their PMS and disposed of when needed.” Providers offer more and more


features to cover the savvy user, according to Starfleet Business Solutions’ director, Robert Garde. “But this often comes at the cost of added complexity. Not only that, but how comprehensive the PMS is will often determine the price you will pay. For the small motelier, it is easy to be overwhelmed by all the options, so it is important that the common day-to-day functions are easy to use. “For instance, training a new receptionist should be done in under two hours. Advanced features should not impede the day-to-day use of the system. My basic rule is that the PMS should take care of all the details while you take care of the guest.” What are the pitfalls when upgrading or changing providers? “There are many companies offering PMS software and many are developed by large overseas cloud-based entities. Apart from not having any allegiance to Australia or New Zealand, the help desk support is likely to be based overseas and less useful to moteliers. There are also some that only offer support by email. P10 www.accomnews.com.au

Make your dreams a reality Let Resly take you up into the cloud “Embrace change, believe in change, with change comes growth. My only regret is that I didn’t change sooner.”

a chat with one of our properties, Marion from Boulevard North. Marion has been an amazing positive voice and believed we could turn this dream of ours into a cloud based reality.

– Marion Simon, Boulevard North

“This system just works” says Marion, “The team behind Resly makes you feel like part of a family, and they listen and take onboard any suggestions”

Resly is reservations made easy, a fully integrated and automated cloud based system that is built specifically for management rights and trust accounting. “Resly offers so much more than a headache free end of the month” according to Co-Founder Rico Chen. Designed with your property in mind, we evolve with you. No fixed term contracts and customer support 7 days a week. We believe in supplying each property with the best system that will transform the way your property operates. “We treat ourselves as a collective of independent properties,

with a shared vision” Resly Co- Founder Sam Steel. Resly offers an all in one cloud based system, which means there is no need to store anything on a hard drive or computer and updates happen instantaneously. We have an integrated and

easy to use channel manager, commission free direct booking engine, live bank feeds and with our one click reconciliation your end of the month can be settled in a matter of minutes. Resly delivers passion, precision and growth. Our Client Manager Makalia had

When Makalia asked how likely Marion was to recommend us … “Makalia you sell Resly as a job, it is your living and I know you love it. But, I sell Resly as a passion, if I don’t tell people in management rights about Resly I am doing them a disservice. I honestly believe that” Change is intimidating, but with Resly we handle the migration for you. Make the move, see for yourself and book your demo with us today.

" My only regret is that I didn't move sooner." Marion - Resident Manager Boulevard North Broadbeach

True cloud based property management

07 4080 1506

www.resly.com.au www.accomnews.com.au


AccomNews - Autumn 2021


P08 “Overseas PMS websites are mostly comprehensive and all-encompassing to entice moteliers to join and some offer a free period after which moving your data to a more suitable provider could be very difficult. “Should we forget about all our guest data we have accumulated on our existing system? My thought is that moteliers will need all their previous guest information and not just advance bookings. “Before replacing their existing PMS, they should see if they are

using all the features it offers. Remember to always find out what training and support is available after the initial migration?” What should be considered about price and pricing models? “PMS systems seem to be moving to monthly charging and the cost depends on the supplier and the ever-increasing list of features on offer. “One result of this is that it encourages a motelier to switch when a new manager arrives or a relieving manager comes in. However, this may not be a good long-term strategic decision.” Think carefully!

Individual solutions that match your business needs SIHOT Hotel Management Software is a modular based product to allow the users to customise their software to meet their specific business needs. SIHOT can be used to run not only motels, hotels and apartments. SIHOT software can be used in event space as well as sporting facilities. SIHOT can be installed onsite or in our cloud environment. SIHOT has flexible payment options with rent as you go with no lock in terms, use for a month or year or purchase outright. Have more than one property? You can run the multi property instance of SIHOT or create a central reservations


AccomNews - Autumn 2021


We offer individual solutions that match your business needs team. The opportunities are endless. With automatic email, SMS functions as well as interfacing options with POS, Keys, Channel managers SIHOT has a solution for you. SIHOT has offices around the world with our SIHOT Asia Pacific Office located in Surfers Paradise. Call for a demo today 07 56349527.









Get to know us today: management-au@sihot.com




How has the rise in cloud technology affected PMS? “Today, many PMS providers offer a cloud-only option on the basis that you cannot operate without reliable internet, yet many areas of Australia still do not have that! “There is usually some additional cost to cloud infrastructure as you are using another company’s computer infrastructure and system. There is an upside as your data is backed up periodically automatically and PMS software updates are automatic. Onsite installations may be preferable if the internet

terminal tablet KDS kiosk contactless

connection is not as good as it should be, or the PMS system is large and has other features.” What future tech trends can we expect to see? “Take the lead from the airlines where pricing is controlled by computer algorithms based on demand and availability. “Software is starting to become more readily available that reviews your bookings, checks your nearby competitors, and then automatically adjusts your pricing on online booking sites, as well as your own website.”

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AccomNews - Autumn 2021