Many of the misunderstandings surrounding new technology tend to stem from a lack of a clear understanding of how the previous generation of technology actually works. Such is the case of the issue with cloud-based property management systems and their predecessors, the on-site PMS.
Let us examine some of the issues that hoteliers have when faced with making the switch:
What If the Internet Connection Drops?
This tends to be the first concern associated with Internet-based services. But here’s the thing, the internet is one of the most reliable amenities you have at your disposal, even if you lose access to your connection you can still use a mobile device with 3G (a type of wi-fi that provides internet access via radio towers). In a sense comparing cloud and on-site solutions is much like comparing landline and mobile phones. Both objectively get the job done, but one offers infinitely more flexibility, along with a host of useful solutions and services.
In order to understand better why cloud PMS was needed in the first place, we should examine the issues that plague on-site PMS:
On-site PMS is an information hazard. Hackers take advantage of the fact that hotels often provide little to no security of their guests’ data, making them desirable targets. This issue has made many guests wary of disclosing their credit card information, making on-site purchases more tricky, which cost the establishment additional revenue.
- Reliability & Price
Your on-site server requires regular maintenance and support, if not provided you could lose every piece of data ever collected. This means that you need a staff member who exclusively handles all IT matters and since having only one person be responsible for managing a server would be too risqué if they suddenly left your employment, you would probably need a junior staff member who would be at least partially versed in the tasks of maintaining the server. Hiring additional people to manage your servers adds to the cost of maintaining a more traditional database.
Or its lack thereof. Cloud-based property management systems focus on creating a network of integrated solutions that share the data you’ve gathered amongst each other. Consider this, you create an account for a guest and collect info on their payments and the specifications of their stay which is then immediately shredded with your other location. If the guest decides that they are happy with the service they’ve received they may choose to stay with you again but this time at a different location. Upon their arrival there, even though they’ve never been there before your staff will already know what to expect, how to please them and of course how to upsell them.
Is a Cloud Truly Safer Than Using an On-Site Server?
Yes. Cloud-based property management systems are hosted at some of the world’s best data centres , meaning that your information is safer than ever. Furthermore, cloud-based systems comply with credit card security requirements while at the same time banks have been rapidly pulling away from dealing with businesses which do not meet PCI standards.
In layman’s terms, with technology becoming a more prevalent part of everyday lives, information security has become an increasing concern on everyone’s minds, which is why even large financial institutions would rather pull their support from a business than risk a data breach. And with more banks insisting on businesses meeting PCI standards you could be looking at the possibility that someday soon your guests would not be able to pay with their credit card at your hotel. An updated cloud-based property management system simply does not have this issue.
What Happens to the Data if you Discontinue the Service?
You can choose to allow exports of your most valuable data such as lists of companies, booking statistics and so on. You could also negotiate a deal allowing you to maintain a read-only copy of all of your account information, even after you’ve discontinued the service.
To sum up the comparisons:
|On-site PMS||Cloud PMS|
Is Cloud PMS up to the task?
Cloud-based property management systems offer solutions that are exclusively built to accommodate the needs of the modern hotelier. They are intuitive and easy to use, making staff training a breeze. They offer solutions such as an integrated channel manager which allows your staff to manage your hotel’s listings across all distribution channels from the same platform.
The same PMS can also include a direct booking engine solution which would allow you to both increase your revenue per room by skipping OTA fees and at the same time lets you upsell your guests on additional services. This is achieved by encouraging guests to download your hotel self-service app, a solution which they can use to select what additional services they would like to add to their charge. The app also contains a folio, allowing the guest to track the purchases they’ve made. There are solutions that cater to every aspect of your service and you get to choose which ones would serve you best.
Is Cloud PMS Cost Effective?
There are cloud-based platforms such as Clock PMS Suite where upfront fees are waved by the company. But what you should be focusing on is the costs saved:
- No specialised IT personnel needed;
- No servers or expensive system administration;
- Using a single platform saves you expenses both on the service and on the time your staff spends on their daily tasks, as integrated systems increase task efficiency as a whole.
Making the switch from something familiar to something new and unknown can be challenging, so consider asking a more tech-savvy senior staff member to study the trial period of a cloud pms (trials are free of charge) and report back their findings. They will concur what this article has been trying to say all along, there is much you can benefit from such a system, if only you were to give it a chance.
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About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.