The oldest hotel currently in operation first opened its doors to guests in 707 AD. Since then, hotels have transformed their technologies in immeasurable ways. What started with advanced plumbing and electricity has since evolved to lodgings made entirely of ice or even properties completely submerged underwater. The industry has consistently kept up with the demands of a new age of traveler. Now, the most recent transformation in hotel technology is that of a cloud-based property management system (PMS). As reported by the 2018 Lodging Technology Study, 100% of hotels that identify as technology innovators will wholly be in the cloud by 2019. However, only 33% of the remaining hotels plan on upgrading to the cloud this coming year. In this article, we will discuss the top 3 reasons innovators are reaching for the cloud and demystify the main obstacle discouraging the remaining hoteliers from leaving their legacy systems in the dust.
#1. Cloud PMS is Cost Effective
The most attractive reason to leave your legacy hotel PMS in the dust is that cloud-based systems save you big money. Legacy systems are costly infrastructures that involve the purchase and storage of hardware and equipment which require ongoing maintenance and on-premise IT support. These infrastructures are non-existent in cloud-based systems as data is stored on remote servers. Expensive visits from specialized technicians are also replaced with automatic and property specific upgrades completed offsite by the cloud vendor’s IT specialists. In addition to this, cloud-based systems use subscription payment models, thus eliminating the hefty upfront investment costs required by legacy systems. This shift from CapEx to OpEx makes cloud-based systems an attractive alternative to hoteliers who are looking to stretch their budgets.
#2. Secure, Reliable and Up-to-Date Data
Cloud technology raises many concerns about the reliability and security of data. However, the reality is that a cloud-based solution is actually more secure than an on-premise one. With a cloud PMS, all data is mirrored and backed-up continuously and stored on secure remote servers that are protected against hardware breakdowns, viruses, and malware threats. Multiple failovers provide uninterrupted service and all data transfers use the same encryption protocol used by banks. David Linthicum, Senior Vice President, Cloud Technology says: “Legacy systems are more difficult to keep updated because enterprises may have to go around to several hundred thousand platforms to check and update security systems. It’s easier for legacy systems to fall behind.” Hoteliers can rest assured that the off-site, multilevel security of a cloud PMS is more reliable and secure than the manual infrastructure of legacy systems.
#3. Flexible, Efficient and Accessible
Legacy systems are by nature “fixed” – not only are these systems stored in a fixed location, they immobilize the hotel staff who use them. Any information related to the guest is strictly available in the hotel PMS running on a desktop. Cloud-based systems offer hotels the flexibility to access all hotel PMS data on any device at any time. Staff can move freely around the hotel servicing guests in real-time using mobile devices. This flexibility results in more face-time and guest engagement, ultimately enhancing the overall guest experience.
Increased efficiencies are another benefit of cloud-based systems. For example, with a cloud PMS, managers have the benefit of monitoring the operation remotely. They can access reports and measure staff performance on the go, anytime, anywhere. Legacy systems rely on archaic time-consuming methods of inter-communication to relay the most up-to-date information.
Accessibility in an industry with notoriously high turnover rates is also an attractive upgrade with a cloud PMS. Cloud systems are increasingly easy to use and intuitive at any user level. Employees can be trained quickly with the click of a button and select service providers offer short and informative training videos that staff can access anytime. Although with any form of technology, bugs are bound to pop up. However, with a cloud PMS, technical support is even more accessible. Many cloud service providers offer online chat support right in the dashboard. Questions and concerns are answered in real-time, as opposed to lengthy help desk wait times so staff can get back to what matters most – assisting your valued guests.
Even though many hoteliers would agree with the benefits of a cloud PMS, some still remain hesitant, and who can blame them? Traditionally, switching from one legacy hotel PMS to another is a complex task that results in lengthy service interruptions, lost productivity and many other headaches. So, the main question that all hoteliers want to be answered is how difficult is it to migrate to the cloud?
Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you might think.
Migrating to the cloud is a refreshingly new and smooth experience. When it comes to your data, cloud service providers take care of the transition. They give their clients a format to follow and fill in with all pertinent information about their existing and future bookings. This data is then migrated to the new system by the cloud vendor, so no data is lost during the migration.
With all the positives of this new system and the relative ease required to transition between the old and the new, every hotel should carefully study their existing IT infrastructure needs and usage to determine what cloud solution is best for their operation. In the end, the best cloud solution is one that not only demonstrates the factors mentioned in this article but one that also understands, supports and is flexible to each unique operation. With the right property management system, you can enhance service, improve efficiency, and increase profitability.
Will you capitalize on the present and leave your legacy hotel PMS in the dust by reaching for the cloud?