2011 Property Management System Innovations

By Vicki Powers, Contributing Editor | May 06, 2011

As a hotel operator, you’ve got to make your brand available to consumers where they’re going to looking for you. In 2012 and beyond, that means go mobile and be social. “A lot of property management system vendors are recognizing you must exist where other people are,” says Michael Hraba, of Hraba Hospitality Consulting (www.hrabaconsulting.com). “I don’t think Facebook is littered with consumers yet, or that they’re searching for travel, but I do think that space will grow. You must start cultivating the attention of your audience.”
 
To cultivate attention, many PMS vendors are adding functionality that incorporates mobility, social media, Web- and cloud-based apps. Hospitality Technology talked to the PMS vendor community about new releases and modules that have entered the market over the past 12 months, and what’s planned for release in the coming year.
 
Amadeus: Software-as-a-Service. With input from hotel companies worldwide, Amadeus (www.amadeus.com) launched its latest solution in November 2010. Amadeus Hotel Platform is a fully integrated yet modular solution available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering. Its Property Desktop tool supports the daily operations of the hotel and gives managers access to a single image of inventory, rates, reservations, and guest profiles. Property Desktop comprises centralized rate and inventory management; reservations management; guest profiles; check-in/check-out; billing; accounts receivables; and interfaces to local systems such as kiosk solutions, keycard, and minibar systems. The SaaS offering provides an affordable and flexible PMS that can be deployed quickly.
 
Northwind-Maestro: Mobile and Social Media. Northwind-Maestro (www.maestropms.com) launched its mobile-capable ResWave Booking Engine in June 2010 to enables guests to book reservations from any mobile device and the Apple iPad. A key aspect of this solution is its social media functionality, which enables shoppers to join conversations on social media sites and book rooms directly from a hotel’s Facebook fan page or Twitter page with ResWave. Hotels can use the tool to create real-time special promotions on those sites. (See inset for more in Facebook-based reservations.)
 
Micros: Mobile application. Micros (www.micros.com) moved into the mobile application world with MyStayManager in early 2010. It operates as an iPhone app that guests can download directly onto their iPhone to create reservations and self-manage the details of their stays. Hotels have the ability to brand and custom design the MyStayManager app.
 
MyStay Manager’s real-time access to the Opera database enables guests to take action making their own golf, spa or dinner reservations; check in and out; order room service; or schedule a wakeup call. Each property runs the Opera Web Services-Java components on its own server. This app earned the Editors’ Choice Award for Technology last fall at the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS).
 
Agilysys: Service-Oriented Architecture. In 2010, Agilysys (www.agilysys.com) released its Guest 360 property management system, an open database and cross-platform PMS that utilizes Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) to provide a scalable solution for hotels of all sizes. SOA enables the Guest 360 solution to be tailored to a hotel’s business processes and allows for flexible integration with other software systems. Hoteliers can use the Guest 360 system’s native graphical user interface; or, they can design their own user interface utilizing Web services for content/business logic delivery.

Features of the Guest 360 solution include: a flexible attributes-based inventory engine; an innovative offer and rating system; and Guest Hub, a centralized repository for guest profiles. In early 2012, Agilysys plans to release a new version of the Guest 360 property management system that will provide full international support, including multiple language capability, localized fiscal reporting and multi-currency options.
 
Infor/SoftBrands: Component Architecture. SoftBrands, an affiliate of Infor (www.infor.com), launched its hospitality management system, SoftBrands HMS, to provide a complete view of guest interaction. Using Infor ION, the hospitality management software combines functionality to manage guests, rooms, rates, distribution, reservations, and more. The solution uses a component architecture to integrate components for profile, inventory, rate management, guest recognition and preferences.
 
MSI: Cloud Technology. The future is in the cloud for MSI (www.msisolutions.com) as it introduces a 100 percent cloud-based PMS late in 2011 or early 2012. This version, EnterprisePM 4.0, is built in a native, cloud technology based on Enterprise PM 2.x PMS. The solution is designed to support different scenarios including on-premise, traditional hosting, or true cloud deployments, giving customers ultimate flexibility in support of their existing or future network.
 
MSI also is developing a next-gen Web-booking product in the next 12 months that will add more functionality to its existing products as well as be PCI compliant. This will not only enhance the security and functionality for centralized reservations for NiteVision, Nova Plus, and WinPM but also take advantage of the latest in Microsoft technologies.
 
PAR Springer-Miller: Online Booking. PAR Springer-Miller (www.partech.com) kicked off 2011 with an upgrade of the company’s SMS|World XA Online Booking Engine. This new version focuses on the guest with a guest-centric online booking experience. With an integrated online booking engine, reservations flow in real-time from the Web to the SMS|Host system without incurring transaction-based fees while rates and availability are automatically updated as changes are made in the SMS|Host system.
 
SMS|World XA lowers bounce rates and drives more reservations to completion with its focus on usability. PAR Springer-Miller aims to empower its customers to drive revenue through the low-cost, direct online channel.

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