2020: The Evolution of Property Management Systems

Jan 03, 2020

It’s not just a new year – a new decade has begun, making 2020 the start of the third decade in the 21st century. Where has the time gone? The year 2020 seems like a milestone. A year that seemed so far off in the distance has finally come to fruition. And what we once considered futuristic, sci-fi tech is, in some cases, available today.

Hospitality technology has kept pace at a rate that would make most sci-fi enthusiasts proud. Over the past few years specifically, there have been significant changes that affect how Property Management Systems (PMS) work with the advent of facial recognition tech and AI-enabled guest rooms. However, some more practical technology changes impact how operators manage their properties, streamlining business processes while meeting guest expectations. When it comes to the evolution of modern functionality that makes life for operators easier, here's what to consider for 2020:

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Integrations that augment the guest experience, giving the guest the power to choose how and when they want to interact with properties. As a starting point, a PMS that can support things like mobile keys, guest communications, and mobile payments is essential. Mobile keys allow guests to check-in on a smartphone and head straight to their room if they choose, bypassing the front desk. Guest communications, using two-way SMS, enables instant guest interaction at any point before, during, and after their stay. Mobile payments, especially digital wallets (think Samsung Pay), allow flexible payments that accommodate all demographics. Operators should plan to integrate with solutions that will be here for the long term and look for ones that will appeal to younger generations.

Security in a PMS is paramount. How are credit cards processed? Does the PMS support point-to-point encrypted (P2PE) payments? Equally crucial to security is understanding how well personal data is managed and secured. One that supports the latest security protocols and one that helps maintain compliance with data privacy regulations (such as GDPR and CCPA) should be prioritized.

Cloud-based solutions are often more cost-effective than on-site systems. Cloud software eliminates the need for significant upfront hardware expenses and reduces maintenance costs when equipment becomes outdated. Another convenience of a cloud-based PMS is the ability to “manage” the property from almost anywhere, enabling owners and managers to run reports, adjust rates, and arrange housekeeping schedules remotely.

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Mobile is an excellent way to complement streamlined workflows. Re-engineered check-in processes, when equipped with a tablet, remove the tether that once held staff captive at the front desk. They can move about freely, engaging guests more authentically. With mobile PMS in the palm of their hands, staff can display images at check-in to encourage room upgrades – a quickly executed act that may result in additional revenue. It’s also modern – a more welcoming interaction as compared to long check-in queues.

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