The Ultimate Hotel PMS Buyer’s Guide | 2021

As the core of your technology stack, a PMS should help your hotel achieve the unique goals of your business.

– Justin DeRise

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Challenges for Hoteliers in 2021

2021 will be a year of both promise and challenge for the hotel and travel industries. After months of lockdowns and with multiple COVID vaccines now approved for distribution many customers are becoming more optimistic about travel, with 43% of Americans saying leisure travel will be a high priority in 2021. But although the post-pandemic recovery will continue to gather steam well into 2021, COVID-19’s cost to the hospitality and travel industries has been lasting and significant. When StayNTouch surveyed almost 

500 hoteliers in the spring,  we found that almost 60% believed it would take over a year to reach their pre-COVID levels of occupancy and RevPar, causing over 60% of hotels to reopen with fever than three-quarters of their staff. Fast forward to late fall, and hotel occupancy still continues to hover around 40-50% of its pre-COVID levels, further depressing hotel revenue and resources. In fact, the AHLA estimates that if American hotels do not receive additional debt relief, 77% will be forced to lay off additional workers within the next six months.

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A hotel’s success in 2021 will be determined by their ability to streamline operations,

align their core technologies, personalize and enhance the guest journey, and most importantly, respond to new guest demands and market changes accelerated by COVID-19. In order to do this, hoteliers will have to invest in multiple technology platforms to form a flexible and seamlessly integrated technological ecosystem. 

At its heart lies the property management system, which manages a hotel’s operations and strategic activities, and provides the foundation of guest and stay data that informs third party platforms. In this PMS buyer’s guide, we cover several essential components hoteliers should prioritize when evaluating a new PMS platform:

  • Laying the Foundation: Open-APIs, High-Performance Cloud Technology, Data Security
  • Driving Efficiency with Easy to Use PMS Technology
  • Supporting a Lean Staff with Powerful Automation
  • Unlocking Your Hotel’s Revenue Potential
  • Mobile and Contactless: Providing a Safe and Seamless Guest Experience
  • Harnessing Data and Analytics to Gain a 360° View of Your Hotel
  • Reducing Your PMS Total Cost of Ownership
  • Service, Support and Strategic Partnerships
Ultimately, it’s essential for hotels to invest in a PMS technology partner who places innovation at the forefront of their guiding principles. The hospitality industry is rapidly changing, and hoteliers need technology partners who are agile in their development mentality to meet the demands of the future.

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StayNTouch Cloud PMS Key Inclusions:

  • Reservations Management
  • Front Desk Management
  • Revenue Management
  • Group Management
  • Profile Management
  • Contactless Check-in-/ Check-out
  • Housekeeping
  • Single & Multi-Property
  • Reporting & Analytics
  • Financials / Accounts Receivables
  • Open APIs & Unlimited Integrations

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Lay the Foundation With Open-APIs, High-Performance Cloud Technology, Data Security

A PMS is only as good as it’s architecture一and all clouds aren’t created equal. If your servers are slow or unreliable, the advantages of cloud technology will never materialize. For hotels looking to scale their business, a cloud native PMS that bolsters speedy performance, unparalleled reliability, and no downtime for server maintenance, is the most optimal solution. A native cloud PMS built on an open-API architecture gives hoteliers the flexibility to transform their operational processes and refine their guest experience to meet the  

needs of post-COVID travel demand. Open-APIs allow for easy and seamless data exchange across multiple platforms, removing data silos that can hinder your hotel’s efficiency, or disrupt the continuity of the guest journey. Many legacy PMS systems still don’t make their APIs available to the market or easily accessible through their website. Instead, they’ve taken a closed garden approach, with excessive verification processes and hefty costs to facilitate integrations with outside systems, which only burdens their hotel customers.

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But it’s not enough to just provide ‘open APIs’.

The data being exchanged between your PMS and other core systems needs to be triggered through automation and easily digestible in real-time. StayNTouch’s Open APIs are enhanced by a powerful and simplified set of web-hooks that facilitate targeted real-time data exchange triggers. Rather than receiving massive messages in bulk, the StayNTouch webhooks allow vendor partners to automatically receive the exact messages they need, and without extraneous clutter, so the data can be actioned in real-time. For example: with a simple targeted and automated webhook message from StayNTouch, a hotel’s guest communication system can receive the information it needs at the right time, to send a guest an email to complete a post-stay survey as soon as the guest checks-out, rather than hours or days later.

Every problem (or opportunity) facing hotels in 2021 and in the foreseeable future, will have to be solved by the integration of multiple tech platforms. Take guest-facing contactless check-in: When working properly, mobile contactless check-in will appear to your guests as one unitary touchpoint. But it’s actually created through the integration of several different platforms: a guest-facing mobile check-in solution, a contactless payment solution, a keyless entry solution, and often a mobile guest messaging solution. To create this completely unified guest experience, you need to have systems that connect so effectively that there’s no disruption to the guest journey.
Data security is also paramount in an age where fraud and data leaks are becoming increasingly common. Hotels need to be able to rely on secure systems that protect pertinent guest data. StayNTouch Cloud PMS is entirely PCI compliant. With the use of tokenization, hotels are assured that guest’s payment information is protected and not stored inside the PMS. In addition to owning all of the data in the PMS, hotels can use permission based access to dictate which roles have access to data stored in the PMS.

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Drive Efficiency With Flexible & Easy to Use PMS Technology

The new age of hotel operations requires a heightened level of efficiency. Hotels need PMS software that bolsters staff productivity, rather than complicating administrative tasks. How quickly can your staff perform day-to-day tasks within the PMS 一especially now that they are burdened with more responsibilities and fewer financial resources? Is your PMS designed with an intuitive user interface to increase staff efficiency and decrease the time needed to train new staff members? Is the system color-coded and designed in a way that allows your staff to easily identify action items? The ability of your team to understand and utilize the PMS efficiently is 

fundamental to your hotel’s operational continuity, and dictates the level of service you’re able to provide your guests. You should be able to hire new staff based on their ability to provide great service to your guests, not whether they can “get up to speed” on a clunky, cumbersome PMS. Moreover, your PMS needs to be flexible and mobile so that it can untether your staff from the front desk, and allow them to freely move around the hotel to service guests wherever they are, with complete access to guest and hotel data.

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StayNTouch Cloud PMS was built from the ground up as an easy-to-use mobile platform

with intuitive navigation across the system, simple slide and click features, and a color-coded user interface. The result is that it takes fewer clicks and less time to perform common tasks, and staff can perform all of their day-to-day administrative tasks quickly and easily. Front desk agents can access and adjust reservations on the fly, housekeeping managers can auto-assign tasks with a click of a button, 

revenue managers can adjust rates and manage inventory from anywhere, and hoteliers can adjust tax codes with a few simple clicks, rather than devoting excessive manhours to manually update taxes on each charge-code. Now more than ever, hoteliers need to be able to rely on feature rich PMS technology that’s supported by intuitive functionality, so that staff can be more productive with fewer resources.

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Key Features and Benefits: Flexibility & Ease of Use

Fully mobile-enabled system

  • Fully mobile-enabled system
  • Untethered front desk staff and mobile housekeeping
  • Access the full PMS from anywhere, with any device
  • Easy to navigate, requires minimal staff training
  • Color-coded UI and clean design
  • Faster and fewer clicks to perform common tasks
  • Dynamic search for reservations and guest profiles

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Support a Lean Staff With Powerful Automation

2021 will see the hospitality industry caught in the horns of a dilemma: Hotels will be expected to deliver enhanced service and heightened cleanliness on tightened budgets and reduced staff counts. Fortunately, investing in a cloud-native PMS with robust built-in automation can offer a solution: By automating many common administrative tasks, streamlining communications between staff members, and utilizing a colorful and intuitive UI, the right cloud PMS can help you get the most out of a lean staff, while also enhancing the guest experience. A mobile cloud-based PMS already automates many front-desk functions by offering mobile or kiosk-based self check-in, and it can aid front

 desk agents even further by automating tasks such as bulk check-in and check-out. Front desk agents can then focus more completely on engaging with guests and handling requests, instead of burying themselves in repetitive administrative tasks. And because a mobile PMS can run entirely from a tablet, it allows any staff member to easily assist guests anywhere on property. The result is a more streamlined and convenient guest journey. At StayNTouch, we found that an average of 53% of our clients’ guests opt for self-check in and hotels benefit from up to a 75% reduction in check-in time when guests opt to check-in with a front desk agent.

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A mobile PMS with robust built-in Automation Can Also Transform how Hotels Manage Their Housekeeping Teams

In the post-COVID era, a hotel’s guest rooms, public areas, and common touch points will all have to be cleaned according to exacting standards set by government agencies and industry associations. To put it simply, the old method of managing housekeeping with walkie talkies and clipboards just won’t be able to deliver the level of service required. StayNTouch Cloud PMS allows hotels to automatically assign housekeeping tasks by hotel section and employee work time, so housekeeping staff can efficiently clean rooms in geographic proximity, and make room status updates on the go from their mobile device. Housekeeping managers can manage workflow

with customized task lists, to ensure that their teams are maintaining enhanced, post-COVID cleaning standards. Instant room status updates also allows for quicker room turnover一and therefore increased revenue from monetized early check-in/ late check-out. With streamlined housekeeping, guests who arrive early can receive a room as soon as one is ready, and guests who opt for late check-out will avoid awkward early morning knocks on their door. Mobile automation will allow hotels with limited staff to lessen operational hiccups, and keep up with the heightened cleanliness and social distancing standards that will be commonplace in 2021.

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Key Features and Benefits: Powerful Automation

Enhanced back-of-the house operations

  •  Enhanced back-of-the house operations
  • Automated room/task assignment for housekeeping
  • Streamlined communication with instant room status updates
  • Automatic room assignment & check-in
  • Bulk Check-in and Check-out
  • Automated up-sell and add-on offers
  • Automated report scheduler
  • Automated payment collection

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Scale Your Recovery With a Flexible & Agile Cloud PMS

Your PMS should give you the flexibility to adapt to shifting trends, challenges and opportunities, and should naturally scale with your business. Unlike legacy providers who often charge for system upgrades, StayNTouch offers a “future proof” Cloud PMS that gives customers the benefit of automatic upgrades and feature releases every 3-5 weeks, at no added cost. With multi-property functionality, hotelier’s can expand the PMS across their portfolio and manage all of the properties in their brand. This multi-property management includes guest profile management, central configuration, CRO, rate management, and multi-property reporting. And because StayNTouch Cloud PMS is a True Cloud system that runs on Amazon AWS 

servers, its performance automatically scales-up with increased usage, ensuring that hotels can always rely on optimal service and system performance across their portfolio. Additionally, StayNTouch’s Open-APIs allows hotels to capitalize on emerging technologies and access over 1100 existing integrations.

Key Features and Benefits: Scalability

  • “Future proof” product roadmap
  • Single and Multi-property
  • True Cloud performance that scales with your business
  • Open-API architecture with 1100+ integrations

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Unlock & Optimize Your Hotel’s Total Revenue Potential

A True Cloud PMS also stores the foundational data for a comprehensive guest profile, including reservations, stay and purchase history, room inventory and rates, and housekeeping/ maintenance information. Using an open-API, this information can be sent to a CRM to build an even more nuanced profile that includes guest loyalty status, travel intent, preferences and survey results. This can be used to develop targeted marketing campaigns and more meaningful interactions with staff and guest touchpoints. Guest data can also be sent to an RMS to optimize the hotels pricing, overbooking and inventory decisions.

 StayNTouch Cloud PMS integrates with many of the leading RMS and CRM systems on the market allowing hotels around the world to capitalize on highly nuanced guest analytics, to accurately forecast future revenue and business demand, and develop enhanced marketing and rate strategies. With an intuitive user interface, StayNTouch Cloud PMS enables revenue managers to adjust rates and restrictions and respond to sudden market changes on the fly一 on any device, from any location on the planet.

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Harness your Guests’ Total Revenue Potential with StayNTouch’s Guest Mobility Solution

Optimizing your revenue strategy should also include ways to harness your guests’ total revenue potential. With StayNTouch’s Guest Mobility solution, hotels are able to increase ancillary revenues with automated, targeted offers for room upgrades, amenities, loyalty benefits and monetized early check-in/late check-out, sent directly to their guest’s mobile device. In this way, you can empower your customers to personalize their entire guest journey, while also generating healthy streams of ancillary revenue for your hotel. This revenue can be substantial: According to Mashable.com, an average hotel with 150 rooms and 60% occupancy can reach a 20% conversion rate through targeted upsell ads, generating up to $65,000 of additional revenue each year.

Moreover, COVID-19 has been the catalyst for a new emerging target market for hotels: the ‘remote worker’. With more and more professionals working from home, hotels have the opportunity to capitalize on a new customer segment by providing a quiet, remote working environment for use during the work day. StayNtouch Cloud PMS is unique in that it offers guests the option of booking rooms in hourly blocks, at hourly rates. This gives hotels the ability to capitalize on this new market while gaining an additional revenue stream and diversifying their revenue management strategy.

Key Features and Benefits: Revenue Optimization

  • Mobile accessible and-easy to use rate management tool
  • Comprehensive guest profile
  • Hierarchy restrictions
  • Hourly rates, day use
  • Automated mobile upsell offers to guests
  • Revenue driven reservation and check-in flow for staff
  • Seamless, direct 2-way integrations with leading RMS/CRM solutions

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Go Contactless For a Safe and Streamlined Guest Experience

Once seen as a luxury for forward-thinking and tech-savvy hotels, mobile and contactless check-in options have become a technological staple of the post-pandemic world. Mobile and contactless technologies eliminate the seeming dichotomy between high-touch and high-tech service: They allow you to personalize the guest journey and generate ancillary revenue, while also maintaining a safe and healthy guest experience. Although consumers are eager to resume traveling in 2021, they are still very concerned about their safety. A study by Hilton, for example, found that “71% of consumers globally are actively cleaning more themselves, 

whether in their home or as part of their daily routine.” Similarly, surveys by Destination Analysts found that that 88.1% of travelers “always” or “usually” wear a mask, and 87.9% are either “careful” or “very careful” with social distancing. Of course, consumers aren’t the only ones extolling the virtues of contactless technology: Numerous government agencies and industry associations, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), and the U.S. Travel Association, recommend utilizing contactless solutions for a variety of guest touchpoints, including check-in and check-out.

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Conquer Outdated In-Person Check-in

Of course, the traditional method of in-person check-in at a  centralized front desk is neither personalized, convenient or hygienic. Forcing your guests to wait in long, crowded check-in lines is not only tedious, it is the literal anthesis of social distancing. StayNTouch Cloud PMS combined with fully integrated Guest Mobility and Guest Kiosk technology, allows hotels to give their guests a choice in how they check-in: Either through their mobile device to facilitate a completely contactless experience, a smart-kiosk strategically positioned to promote social distancing, or through a welcoming hotelier aided by a tablet that allows them to assist guests from anywhere on the hotel property.

Unsurprisingly, guests tend to enjoy the empowerment that comes from a mobile check-in option: A survey by Citron found that almost two-thirds of their respondents prefer checking-in through a mobile app rather than traditional methods, and when Hyatt O’Hare implemented a mobile check-in option, they saw their guest satisfaction ratings rise by 20%. In this sense, contactless technology can provide connected, personalized, “high-touch” service, while also maintaining hygiene and social distancing standards.

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Harness Data & Analytics: Gain a 360° View of Your Hotel Performance

At a time when many hotels are struggling with decreased occupancy and ADR, it’s essential that hoteliers can harness the right data to make more profitable decisions across their portfolio. StayNTouch Cloud PMS features intuitive analytics dashboards, customized reporting filters, historical performance data, automated scheduled reports, as well as exportable reports to give hoteliers a complete view of their hotel performance and operations. Hotels can access and harness any and all information on their hotel in an easily digestible format with the ability to quickly create customized reports that can process their hotel’s data in real-time.

The StayNTouch Reporting Module lets hotels automatically schedule reports based on frequency and time of day, and export reports in a variety of outputs and file formats, including tables, graphs and pivot tables. This level of flexibility and ease of use makes it seamless for hotels to make more informed decisions about their operations, revenue strategies, and business priorities as they navigate the challenges and opportunities in a post-COVID travel environment.

Key Features and Benefits: Reporting and Analytics

  • Intuitive analytics dashboard
  • Automatic report scheduling
  • Customizable reports with data filters
  • Simple exporting in multiple file formats
  • Leverage historical data to make more profitable decisions

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Minimize Costs: Reduce Your PMS Total Cost of Ownership

Given the immense challenges of 2020, and the continued uncertainty going into 2021, it’s understandable that many hoteliers are hesitant to invest in new technology. Why invest in a cloud-native PMS when you have limited resources? The answer is found in the concept of total cost of ownership: A platform’s costs include a lot more than its monthly fee or upfront installation costs. You also have to consider costs associated with maintenance and upgrades, as well as its ability to generate revenue, and it’s capacity to help your business scale and adapt to new challenges and opportunities. Compared with legacy,

on-premise platforms, cloud-based PMS systems enjoy far lower maintenance costs, while also benefiting from higher performance and reliability. These maintenance costs can be substantial: many companies wind up spending three-quarters of their IT budgets just to maintain existing infrastructure. Maintaining on-premise legacy systems can be even more costly since the provider has to install costly proprietary software directly onto your hotel’s servers. And even that doesn’t take into account the cost of lost business if your on-premise servers ever malfunction or go down.

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Automatic Software Upgrades for Free

Investing in a cloud-native PMS, on the other hand, means you receive automatic software upgrades for free  with no need to manually install programs on an on-premise server. The same is true for integrations: a cloud-native system that runs on an open-API architecture means there are no additional costs to integrating third-party platforms. Maximizing total cost of ownership includes not only minimizing costs, but enhancing potential revenue as well. As we discussed above, a mobile PMS can generate automated ancillary revenue by sending targeted offers for room upgrades and amenities directly to your guest’ smartphones. It’s important to emphasize that these additional revenues can quickly eclipse the monthly cost of your PMS 一 Yes, it’s entirely possible to turn a reliable profit from your PMS! One StayNTouch client, a large independent brand in New York City, gained up to 240% ROI in quarterly revenue, based on automated sales of room upgrades, amenities, and monetized early check-in/late check-out.

Key Features and Benefits: Total Cost of Ownership

  • Fully cloud PMS, No costly on-site servers
  • Simple SaaS pricing with no hidden costs
  • Automatic software upgrades at no additional cost
  • Unlimited integrations at no additional cost
  • Generate revenue with targeted amenity/upsell offers
Key Features and Benefits: Total Cost of Ownership
  • Fully cloud PMS, No costly on-site servers
  • Simple SaaS pricing with no hidden costs
  • Automatic software upgrades at no additional cost
  • Unlimited integrations at no additional cost
  • Generate revenue with targeted amenity/upsell offers

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Service & Support: Forge a Strategic Partnership With Your PMS Provider

2021 will see increasing demand for a unified, seamless and hygienic guest journey, and this can only be achieved by investing in a network of technological platforms, where the PMS sits at the heart of the ecosystem. But this level of technological sophistication requires significant human behind-the-scenes work to be maintained. That’s why it’s important to view technological partnerships, not as a myopic one-off transaction, but as a long-term strategic relationship where your technology vendor takes your unique business goals to heart. What does it mean to invest in a “strategic partnership” with a PMS provider? On the most basic level, it means partnering with a PMS platform that supports an open-API architecture, so there are no additional fees for “premium” integrations. 

A PMS provider should also prioritize quality and consistent customer service. Many legacy PMS providers have historically suffered from inadequate customer service. As these on-premise PMS platforms begin to move into the cloud, their customer service actually declines and becomes more inadequate. This puts hotels at serious risk: Since they no-longer have access to their servers on-premise, they have to rely on their provider to fix any malfunctions. If the PMS provider does not provide adequate service and resolve issues in a timely manner, the hotel could face serious disruptions to their operations.

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In contrast, StayNTouch offers 24/7/365 global customer support

bolstered by experienced cloud technology experts and industry professionals. When service is needed, clients can count on assistance from a product and industry expert at any time, day or night. StayNTouch clients also benefit from a dedicated client success manager (CSM) who is committed to fulfilling their goals and communicating their voice within our organization. We also offer extensive product training, a comprehensive knowledge base and best practice program, as well as a dedicated on-site implementation.  Additionally, implementation and training of the

StayNTouch solutions are largely remote and hotels can opt for a full remote deployment to avoid contact on property.

Key Features and Benefits: Total Cost of Ownership

  • 24/7/365 global customer support
  • Cloud technology , product and industry experts
  • Remote deployment, installation and training
  • Dedicated CSM
  • Extensive product learning and training resources

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Conclusion: Choosing the Right PMS for 2021

2021 will be a year filled with many opportunities, but also many challenges and uncertainties. When considering a new property management system, you should choose a platform that enables increased operational efficiency, enhances revenue potential, and elevates the guest experience. Your PMS needs to be fully cloud, mobile, and reliable: Its servers need to be fast and should never go down, and it should be backed up by a global 24/7/365 customer support and service infrastructure. Your PMS should also be flexible enough to seamlessly integrate with a myriad of third-party platforms to capitalize on emerging solutions.

As the core of your technology stack, a PMS should help your hotel achieve the unique goals of your business. It should also harness powerful data and analytics to provide you with a real-time 360° view of your hotel performance and guest profiles. Your PMS should provide your business with a positive return on investment, and act more as a revenue generator vs. a cost center. Ultimately, however, your PMS should work to enhance your guests’ experience, facilitating a more personalized guest journey, from booking, to stay, to post-stay.

See how StayNtouch’s Cloud PMS, Guest Mobility, and Guest Kiosk solutions deliver better results for hotels through better front & back of house communication, increased mobile touch-points, more revenue and operational efficiency, and unlimited interfaces.

Your demo will include how to:

Manage and Set Tasks Across Your Departments

Ensure Guest Satisfaction & Safety With Contactless Check-in Options

Automate Easy Upsells & Monetized Early/Late Checkouts

Set & Manage Rates/Availability

Integrate With Tools and Platforms Essential to Your Hotel

And More!

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