PMS Innovations

By Lisa Terry, Contributing Editor | October 09, 2009

Keeping up with rapidly changing customer trends means property management systems have to evolve quickly. Even between major releases, PMS vendors are constantly adding new capabilities based on evolving customer needs and innovations within the technology itself. Hospitality Technology checks in with leading PMS vendors on their recent developments.

Agilysys (www.agilysys.com): Visual One's integration with the DataMagine document management solution captures signature and/or driver's license/passport scanning, helping to increase guest security and save paper. It also ensures that guest information is correct and up-to-date.

Sky Ute Casino Resort (www.skyutecasino.com) replaced manual photocopying of IDs with optical character reading via DataMagine document management to collect and parse the data into the correct fields. "It's very helpful if there are credit card disputes or if unfortunately law enforcement gets involved," says Travis Garlick, executive director of operations; users can even view the driver's license photo to verify guest ID, such as before issuing a new key. It also speeds check-in, reduces typos and ensures accuracy in guest contacts including marketing.

Galaxy Hotel Systems (www.galaxyhotelsystems.com): Front Desk associates are often relied upon to deliver all manner of brand and guest-specific messages, often cued up through hand-scribbled sticky notes and memos. Galaxy's LightSpeed 'Hotel Alerts' provide alert messages when the associate would typically be in direct contact with a customer, definable against conditional statements (if/then, and/or) based on reservation or guest data.

The St. Regis Atlanta
(www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis) uses the tool to automatically cue staff to collect credentials such as military or airline IDs and to promote and enact rate- or VIP program-based rewards. "It increases guest satisfaction and prevents [staff from] spending time putting all comments in individually," says Tom Hazay, director of rooms at St. Regis. "With a click of a button you impact every reservation. It's an absolutely great feature."
Micros (www.micros.com): Micros is supplementing instructor-led training with web-based eLearning, accessible from anywhere, including mobile devices. eLearning includes instruction, practice and quizzes, tracking individual progress and ensuring retention.

Disk-based training was cumbersome and didn't always load right for Hotel Le Petit (www.lepetitwesthollywood.com) in West Hollywood, Calif. So self-paced, available-anywhere training was a welcome change, says Frank Roman, front office manager. "As a training manager it's easier for me to get them up and running," says Roman, and serves as a useful record of what they've learned. Because trainees can access training from anywhere and as often as they need, "they can serve the customer better because they're better trained and better able to serve."

MSI Solutions (www.msisolutions.com): MSI's nTouch enables busy hotel management to check availability, look up a VIP guest, manage room status or monitor RevPar, ADR and occupancy goals to budget right from their iPhone or iPod touch mobile devices.   

Rita Santillanes, co-owner of five-property Best Western Peppertree Inns (www.peppertreeinns.com) in Washington state, is replacing manager-generated reports with MSI's nTouch applications to stay on top of operations. "Occupancy and no-shows become a big deal during summer and all the new credit card rules," she says. "This will help me help my managers decide which to hold and not hold," as well as modify rates as rooms get booked up. "I really think we'll end up with higher ADR."

Newmarket Intl. (www.newmarketinc.com): Sales and catering vendor Newmarket International has implemented extensive platform upgrades, including migrating to Windows Server 2008, using the Microsoft .NET Framework, and developing a comprehensive reporting warehouse. MeetingBroker is a new lead distribution and management platform that enables passing and managing leads from multiple online sources, to enable faster response to customers and a consistent way to respond to leads. Delphi.Net is a "cloud based" sales and catering application built to optimize the management of corporate transient, groups and meetings.

InterContinental Hotels Group (www.ihg.com) is implementing MeetingBroker as its lead distribution and management platform and Delphi.Net as its online sales and catering solution for IHG's midscale properties.

Northwind (www.maestropms.com): Maestro's ResWave Internet Booking Suite maximizes profitability with integration of proactive real-time Yield Management and delivers a comprehensive suite of PMS-integrated online guest and group self-service options with proactive real-time yield management and marketing tools. ResWave provides guests and groups with online amenity booking for spa appointments, golf tee times, dining reservations, and other revenue-generating services as they book rooms.

Taboo Resort (www.tabooresort.com) has so far implemented ResWave rooms and spa appointment booking, with groups, meals and third-party services to come. Online booking has doubled for the resort, says Robert Pauselli, director of IT, making a consistent look and feel important. "It's a competitive advantage to provide guests with real-time info." ResWave will improve group functionality and improve feedback and yield management. "We'd like to see a 30 percent revenue increase by increasing more than just rooms," says Pauselli.

PAR Springer-Miller (www.springermiller.com): PAR's SMS World XA next generation online booking engine is a dynamic web booking engine designed to convert website visitors to guests. Reservations flow seamlessly to the host system without incurring transaction-based fees. The product supports real-time online reservations for classes and tours, enabling the property to capture incremental revenue while the guest benefits from planning an entire itinerary-based experience which dynamically updates as guests select booking parameters.

"From our experience, SMS World XA is self-sustaining and requires minimal support from our IT team," remarks Chuck Marratt, vice president of information technology for MTM Luxury Lodging. "Our reservations site looks clean and reflects today's web aesthetics. The web is our most important marketing channel; as such, images and video are our most significant online asset. Having complete control of the content enables us to make instant updates and changes, on our schedule."
 

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