Is your hotel working with the right LEGO’S?

Chris Bates Hotel Distribution, Revenue Management

We had the opportunity a few weeks ago to meet with a global PMS (Property Management System) provider, along with an Enrich Revenue hotel client, who is need of a new PMS and POS (Point of Sale). While we were discussing the system, hardware, reporting and the available connectivity with other systems; we touched upon the subject of the hotels PMS proposal.  We wanted to know “How many modules were included in our hotel client’s proposal?” We thought this was a simple straight forward question.  Come to find out the terminology was not correct for this particular PMS provider. They explained they offered different “modules” that work with their PMS and the PMS offers different “functionality”.  I realized very quickly that I really should have asked “How many functionalities are included in our hotel client’s PMS proposal?” Just to be clear, the provider explained that their PMS “functionality” was like a set of LEGO’s.  They are interchangeable and work perfectly with each other.  I knew this already, as I had already installed their PMS system with a previous client. I really valued the analogy, as this analogy is also very true for hotels with various “modules”, such as a PMS, CRS (Central Reservations Systems), CM (Channel Manager), CRM (Guest Relationship Management) program, RMS (Revenue Management System), etc.  So working with the analogy that our distribution systems are “Lego’s”, the important question for hoteliers and especially hotel revenue managers, “Is your hotel working with the right Lego’s?”

Over the years Enrich Revenue has worked with a number hotels to update, implement and integrate their hotel distribution systems.  Most hotels have at least all the basic distribution systems needed to operate their hotel and distribute their rooms on a number of channels. But many hotels fail to complete the process by integrating their distribution systems so they work together and work for the hotel.  Many times this may be due to the cost of integration, but most often this is due to the systems not being able to work together. One or more may be a legacy systems, which are older systems that do not work with newer, modern systems using API’s to interface between systems.  They usually require a physical serial port and a physical cable between the systems to interface.

As we were discussing possible new PMS providers with our client hotel, we agreed to only consider PMS providers that integrated with our existing CRS provider, which was only recently implemented.  Once the new PMS is implemented, we would be able to integrate the PMS with our CRS, which is also connected to our GDS channels, IBE (Internet Booking Engine), MBE (Mobile Booking Engine) and Direct Connects. This will allow the hotel to manage all their inventory on various channels from one provider in a seamless environment and all their reservation delivery would be centralized. This will help the hotel avoid possible human error in entering their reservation from other systems into their PMS, but more importantly the time related to processing these reservations.

When determining which providers to work, Enrich Revenue has created a series of system RFP’s (Requests for Proposal) so that when we are evaluating and researching new systems, we can send the provider our RFP for that type of system.  We have one for PMS, one for CRS, one for Booking Engines, and one for Channel Managers; so we can send the same RFP to multiple providers and easily compare results based on their answers.  We evaluate five areas: (1) Functionality, (2) Usability (3) Reporting, (4) Connectivity and (5) Investment. With this information and the information about the hotels operation, we are able to review and select provider(s) for our client hotel distribution needs.