Four Considerations for Evaluating Resort Property Management Systems


Choosing a new property management system for your full-service resort represents an important business decision, one that impacts almost every aspect of your operation. With so many intricate and integrated operations at a resort, the process of evaluating new resort PMS is an extensive undertaking. There are several top resort management systems to evaluate, each has particular strengths and weaknesses in relation to your resort. In order to ensure that you choose the best system for your property, here are the overarching four things that you should consider carefully:

1. Does this resort PMS do what I need it to do in order to run my property?

Although this may seem like a basic question, it is in fact fairly complicated. Before you can truthfully evaluate a new resort PMS you must fully and completely understand how you currently run your business. We recommend performing a thorough needs assessment in advance of issuing an RFP and beginning to participate in system demonstrations. With a documented needs assessment you can more accurately check-off that the new system meets your functional requirements and integration needs. In addition, documenting your current network environment, hardware inventory and connectivity speeds will better prepare you to choose a system that will perform best at your resort.

Expect pitfalls in the selection process if you take short cuts during this process. Missing functionality and integration can lead to major operational difficulties and a lot of stress for your staff. In some cases you may select a resort PMS with known gaps in functionality. Ensure any gaps and functional workarounds are identified in advance to gain buy-in from all levels of your organization.

2. Does this resort PMS do cool things that my current system doesn’t do?

In many cases, you may be upgrading your resort PMS to one that is more full-featured or deeply integrated. This can open up opportunities to automate tasks that you currently perform manually and additionally can allow you to integrate disparate operations and third-party systems. When participating in a resort PMS demonstration or exploration, make sure you specifically request a review of the functionality that makes the particular system unique and review all the available system modules and interfaces to ensure that you integrate as much as your operation as possible into the new PMS. In addition, watch for opportunities to exploit new and more efficient ways of operating than you may be accustomed to with your current system. Your investment in new technology should pay off with improvements in operations efficiency, data security and revenue generation.

3. Why should I trust this company?

Before choosing a new resort PMS, evaluate the company behind the product. How long have they been in the hospitality industry? Providing hotel property management systems, particularly for complex resorts, is a unique and very specialized endeavor. Look for a company that has a solid track record in hospitality technology to best understand what resorts need from their integrated technology systems.

What is their history in your region of the world? Different countries and areas have very different functional requirements in some instances, choose a provider with experience in your area and knowledge of any specific regional requirements to facilitate your transition.

Also, does the company have experience supporting similar resorts? Ski resorts, golf resorts, beach resorts, mountain resorts all have unique functional requirements and interface needs. Working with an experienced provider can save time and money by ensuring the PMS comes prepared to meet your operational needs.

4. If I decide to go with this resort PMS, how do I learn to use it and what happens if something goes wrong?

All the bells and whistles of resort PMS functionality won’t be enough if you can’t figure out how to make them work. The first consideration is system training. The complexity of your resort operation will help dictate the extent of training needed. Simple and straightforward hotel property management systems require less training for administrators and staff because there is less functionality to learn. As you increase the complexity of your resort operations, the number of departments and staff, and resort PMS requirements you can expect the amount of training needed will increase. Resort PMS companies may deliver training in multiple formats such as live online, recorded online or in-person training.

Ongoing product support is another strong consideration for a resort PMS. There are variable methods for delivering product support including email, online chat, and phone support. Resorts are 24/7 operations and we all know that problems can happen any time during the day or night. Explore the different support options and what is the best fit for your hotel operation. You may be just fine with email support available during daytime hours, or your operation may require full-time phone support.

These are the top four things to consider when evaluating resort property management systems. Each hotel operation is unique and what works for your property may not be viable in a different hotel. Having a clear list of criteria to use to evaluate each resort property management system will assist you in clearly identifying the best system for your property.