Tales of PMS Success

By Christina Volpe, Associate Editor | February 14, 2011

If you were to sit down in a room full of hoteliers and ask them to discuss their experiences with various property management systems (PMS), chances are that there would not be one person who is without his own war story. From the headaches that occur as a result of system ‘dis’-integration to poor reporting capabilities, and everything in between , it is undeniable that the laundry list of PMS challenges can be great. But when a hotelier finds a system that works for his property, it can not only vastly improve hotel efficiency and guest satisfaction, but it can also result in a boost to the revenue stream. In an effort to share some of the industry’s PMS success stories with its readers, HT sat down with executives from the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and the Margaritaville Beach Hotel to learn about the challenges faced by their properties, and how their selection in PMS has helped to improve their operations.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
Core Needs: standardization on a single platform, condo hotel, advanced reporting, integration with sales and catering, revenue management and e-commerce
Vendor: Agilysys Inc. (www.agilysys.com)
Product: Visual One Property Management System
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (www.mammothmountain.com), a five-property resort with more the 700 rooms in Mammoth Lakes, California, presents a number of challenges for any property management system. Chief among them is the ability to manage multiple databases via one central solution. When Mammoth’s management team began the search to replace their previous PMS five years ago, standardization and integration were at the top of their must-have list.

“From an I.T. standpoint, we needed to standardize on a single database platform so that we had the breadth and depth of resources to be able to do custom sales reporting and forecasting, e-commerce, and integrate to third-party revenue management systems and GDS systems,” says Greg Dallas, senior vice president, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, who notes that almost 70 percent of the resort’s reservations are made through the Internet. “A single database gives our call center and the website the ability to sell across the properties and look at real-time inventory and availability across the resort.”

Mammoth, which offers a variety of different lodging accommodations, from condominiums to hotel rooms and suites, is currently using Agilysys’ VisualOne property management system. “We really wanted a much higher level of integration between group sales and catering and the property management system for blocking rooms and function space,” says Dallas. Prior to making the switch to VisualOne, Mammoth faced a number of challenges including occurrences of overbooking and the inability to integrate sales and catering, and group sales to the front desk.

“You can imagine the revenue increases that we experienced because now we are able to clearly see availability,” says Dallas. “Mammoth is a big complex resort. We are the third-most visited ski resort in the U.S. at approximately 1.4 million skier visits. Effectively integrating our selling channels into operations was our first priority and Visaual One’s integrated property management system gave us real-time availability and reporting – we saw immediate results – and a positive impact on our operations and on our revenue.”

Margaritaville Beach Hotel
Core Needs: system integration, real-time reservations, smartcards
Vendor: Northwind (www.maestropms.com)
Product: Maestro PMS
When you think of Jimmy Buffett’s style of music, or at least the image that it projects, what comes to mind? How about a swimsuit-clad, beach-loving fun-seeker, relaxing in a hammock, drink-in-hand. It’s only logical that a Jimmy Buffett-themed hotel would require a property management system that would turn that expectation into a reality.

That was one of the challenges faced by the 162-room Margaritaville Beach Hotel (www.margaritavillehotel.com) in Pensacola Beach, Fla. The property, which opened in the summer of 2010, found their solution in Nothwind’s Maestro Property Management System. “Being a beach property, of course everyone wants to go to the pool or wants to go out to the beach and carry their key with them,” says Joe McCay, general manager for the Margaritaville Beach Hotel. But as any beach-goer can tell you, the need to carry a wallet or purse that houses your room key and credit cards can often be a hindrance.

“One of the big features for us was being able to use our guest keycards to also charge at our outlets,” says McCay. “Once guests check-in, they get their room key and a lanyard to carry their key in.” The property enables this by encoding guests’ keycards via their PMS with their reservation or folio number so that it may be swiped at any food or drink outlet without the need for identification.

This isn’t the only PMS feature that mattered most to the Margaritaville Beach Hotel when they were selecting a property management system. “Being an independent property, we needed a PMS that would allow us to interface with other PPIs and handle any kind of load like that,” says McCay. This includes being able to connect to the hotel’s restaurants, as well as its website and other global distribution systems for room reservations. Maestro enables this functionality through the property’s ResWave online booking engine; it is also fully integrated with the property’s front office so that availability on the website is accurate.

Lastly, the PMS has enabled Margaritaville to add a number of functionalities that were not originally anticipated, such as the acceptance of gift cards. “It’s been a good system for us. It’s user-friendly and training on it was easy,” adds McCay.
 
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