Infographic: Property Management Systems (PMS)

Are you a newbie to the hotel industry? Or do you think the hotel landscape (including all the abbreviations) is not often enough explained properly? That’s exactly what we thought – but no worries. What is a PMS? What’s the difference between a server and cloud-based PMS? What should a hotelier take into account when selecting a new PMS? Ilse Kous (MEWS) tells you everything you need to know.

What is a PMS?

So, a PMS is a Property Management System and to put it very, very simply: this is the system where you check guests in and out, where you view your bills and invoices. The advanced explanation: it’s essentially the heart of a hotel. For any hotelier this is the place where they store all your guest information, room details, your F&B outlets, your accounting system, and more. The PMS is really where a hotelier keeps all their data – truly the heart of a hotel.

There are thousands of PMS systems, would it be possible to group them into categories?

It’s really quite difficult to group them. However, first and foremost there is a difference between server- and cloud-based. I think it’s also good to differentiate between basic functionalities (just check in/check out), having more sophisticated functionalities (like a Channel Manager integration) and the powerhouses of today. These have incredibly advanced functionalities and integrations with revenue management systems, for event management software,  for POS’ software for F&B outlets and more.

So then what’s the difference between a cloud-based and server-based PMS system?

Server-based is – as the word says, on location. It’s based on a server which is called server based. Whereas cloud-based is based in the cloud. We find that the legacy systems which started back in the day, were all server based, just plain and simple because we didn’t have cloud at the time. A server-based PMS requires hardware, workstations and a lot of people maintaining servers. It’s not fantastic in terms of upgrades because you don’t have access to realtime information and you’ll probably have a lot of downtime upgrading your servers.  I think for server-based, the main disadvantage today is that they don’t have an open API. Now, just to explain a little what this is, it means that it’s very very hard to integrate any third-parties with a server-based system. With a cloud-based PMS you really don’t require a lot, only: a stable internet connection and a workstation. Basically, a computer is really all you need as any infrastructure upgrades, security and software upgrades are done by the person hosting the cloud, making it very risk-free and easy to learn, with significantly lower long-run costs.  In my opinion, the only reason why you would choose a server-based PMS today, is that you’re in a remote location with an unstable internet connection.

What are the challenges that PMS’s face today?

One challenge that we face today is online legislation like GDPR, local policies, and online security. Equally challenging is the hotelier and the ever-changing hospitality landscape. For example: today everyone is comfortable with checking-in online and going to the airport with their QR code in-hand, scanning it, and off they go. How many hotels do you see today who also offer this? So I think its 2 things: 1. It’s the expectation of the guest, they’re wanting to check in online, they’re wanting to move ahead into the 21st century and then 2, it’s the hotelier that is not as aware and comfortable with how their software can adapt and change to really focus on that guest experience.

What should a hotelier take into account when selecting a new PMS?

First and foremost; do you want to go cloud or server based? In my opinion – cloud-based is definitely the way to go. Secondly, I would urge you to look at the main processes in your hotel and then analyze how you can automate these processes with tech integrations. Thirdly,  costs – what matches your budget? Four, training – is it easy to learn and do they offer training? And last but not least – a good service!

Where do you think PMS’s will be in 5 years?

This is a tricky one. I think that everybody will have moved to cloud-based, and will finally understand the importance of integrations, functionality and the essence of guest experience.

Where do you think MEWS will be in 5 years?

I hope that in 5 years time MEWS will be the single source of truth. Meaning that we’ll have direct integration with all OTAs, and that there’ll be no more need for a Channel Manager. Thereby, hoteliers can really focus on what they do best – being a hotelier, we’ll worry about the tons of integrations and functionalities.

Where will you be in 5 years?

I think I’ll still be working in hotel tech. I love hospitality. I’m a hotelier at heart and love hospitality and tech. Where I’ll be located? Probably in Amsterdam still, unless the rainy weather really catches up to me., Then I’ll move to  Barcelona. One way or another I’ll still stay in the hotel-tech industry!

Where will Oaky be in 5 years?

The start-ups of today are the stars of tomorrow!

What’s next?

31/5 Blog post: Infographic CMs, CRS’
21/6 Blog post: Infographic OTAs
12/7 Blog post: Infographic Tools