2010 Property Management Innovations

By Lisa Terry, Contributing Editor | June 10, 2010

Each year, Hospitality Technology checks in with property management system (PMS) vendors to find out about new technology releases and development plans. In 2010, property management vendors are focusing their newest enhancements on Web, mobile and CRM functionality. Here's the round-up of new modules and releases.

Northwind: Enhancing Web Capabilities

Northwind's (www.maestropms.com) updates to its Maestro PMS deliver PCI compliance and enhance Web functionality for both hotel operators and guests.
 
Maestro PMS Version 5 enables hotel clients to more easily earn full property compliance before the July 1, 2010 deadline; the company is also offering PCI compliance consulting.

New capabilities to Northwind's ResWave online booking engine are designed to increase revenue and convenience and reduce costs. These include booking capabilities that let guests create their own packages, as well as online booking of group rooms and guests' on-property appointments and reservations.

In January 2010 Northwind-Maestro also launched its Internet Marketing Professional services program to help users create more effective e-mail marketing strategies, stronger social media marketing, and search engine optimization. A new online guest experience measurement (GEM) solution enables operators to capture guests' preferences and comments after their stay with branded, web-based survey technology. This establishes a stronger guest relationship and enables the property to provide personalized promotional offerings.

Micros Opera: Key Charging and Smart Phone App
Micros (www.micros.com) co-developed Opera Resort Wide Charging with Loews Hotels (www.loewshotels.com), and it is now available for all Opera users. The solution allows guests to use their room key for room charges at retails shops, kiosks and entertainment venues across the property through a mag stripe reader. Functionality includes the ability to create keys for guest use prior to check-in, the ability to create individual keys and credit limits for all family members, detailed folio posting, and reporting on usage.

MyStayManager is a smart phone application that allows guests to create reservations and self-manage the details of their stay. MyStayManager is provided as a hosted service (SaaS) from any Micros Data Center; Opera Web Suite (OWS) java components run on a server at each participating property. The application is customized for each hotel or brand.

Peninsula Hotels (www.peninsula.com) has been underway with a slow rollout of MyStayManager, renamed MyPeninsula, for about a year. "We want to give guests what they want how they want it," says Shane Izaks, general manager, information technology, for The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited. Currently, guests use MyPeninsula for preferences and requests; eventually, Peninsula wants to add food and beverage, reservations, spa booking, and even activities such as theater tickets. "We want to make MyPeninsula something they think of when they want to do things, a hub for what they do on the trip."

PAR Springer-Miller: Centralized Guest Profiles
GlobalGuest from PAR Springer-Miller (www.springermiller.com) is a new module for the SMS Host Hospitality Management System that enables every hotel in a group to access and update guest information, including profiles, preferences, and stay statistics, in order to personalize the experience and recognize and reward high-value guests. SMS GlobalGuest qualifies and quantifies the value of the guest to the company as a whole, assigning a ranking that automatically identifies and tags guests based on their overall stays, nights, and spend with the brand. The application is designed to enable hotels to enhance guests' relationships with their brand by offering consistent high-level service delivery across the enterprise.

"It's automatic," says Nick Price, CIO/CTO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (www.mandarinoriental.com), which is a third of the way through a chain-wide implementation. "It inserts itself into business processes that already exist" such as reservations, concierge, front desk and housekeeping, helping staff reinforce the hotel's value proposition of luxury and personalized, exemplary service without having to ask guests their preferences. "This is probably the system in the company that is core to what we do."  

Already, "we're finding a larger percentage of shared customers than we thought we would, and the percentage is going up every day" as Mandarin adds hotels to the system, Price says. GlobalGuest allows the hotel to recognize VIPs even if a guest is a frequent diner but not a frequent overnight guest. "Broadly speaking, ten percent of customers deliver a substantially greater percentage of profit. We want to be able to identify all guests and say which one is most valuable, so we can serve customers better."

MSI: Mobile PMS Access
MSI (Multi Systems, Inc.) (msisolutions.com) has added two smart phone apps., the nTouch PMS Management Dashboard for iPhone and the nTouch POS for iPhone. The nTouch PMS Management dashboard allows hospitality executives to check key metrics such as average daily rate, occupancy, and revenue-per-available-room, all on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. They can also compare these across multiple properties, or at property level, compare against a period in time or against budget. Other functions include checking month-over-month availability and viewing VIP and other guest arrivals by type. A housekeeping function facilitates room inspections.

With nTouch for POS, hotel staff can closely interact with guests and provide higher service levels by using a smart phone to place food orders and record special requests such as, "beef, cook medium, no tomato." Eventually, the application may be available for guest use.  

Agilysys: New Web Capabilities
In addition to a new PMS release, Agilysys (www.agilysys.com) enhanced its other PMS platforms. Lodging Management System (LMS) v7.1 now offers rating, housekeeping and guest history enhancements. A new LMS Express Web Check-In module works with LMS ResNet, allowing guests to check in from the hotel's website. Agilysys also announced the availability of LMS+ v7.0, which includes Guest Hub (centralized repository for guest profiles) as well as a guest viewer that provides 'at-a-glance' insight into guests' activities and reservations.

 The Visual One property management system now has online booking capabilities for spa, golf and activities on a single itinerary, which can be linked to hotel reservations. Visual One also has a comp accounting solution that integrates with casino systems supporting the S2S message set, enabling guests to redeem points toward charges on their hotel folio. For non-casino properties, the solution tracks manager comps, with amounts automatically flowing to a general ledger account.
 
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