What are 5 must-have features to look for in a hotel PMS? — Photo by Infor

At the heart of every great hospitality organization is a great property management system (PMS). In fact, the hotel PMS market size was estimated at USD 7.15 billion in 2023, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.77% to reach USD 14.71 billion by 2030.

However, the role of property management systems is evolving. Legacy systems—even tried-and-true ones—aren’t equipped to stay agile and drive growth in today’s market. On the other hand, hotels investing in digital transformation may be held back by fragmented tech stacks that disrupt organizational cohesion and efficiency.

The key is to approach property management solutions somewhere in the middle. Embrace innovation, but do so mindfully, ensuring that your software is flexible enough to tackle tomorrow’s challenges. For forward-thinking hoteliers, this means adopting a scalable, integrated PMS platform that can pay huge dividends in profit and competitiveness down the line.

Legacy property management systems don’t hold up against emerging industry demands

When it comes to PMS, many hoteliers live by the adage, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. After all, upending your technology infrastructure may seem like an unnecessary disruption when you have guests to serve, economic uncertainty to navigate, and an understaffed workforce that is probably reluctant (or too short on time) to learn new software.

But if your existing PMS is only sufficient for basic functions like guest profiles and check-ins, it’s likely to become obsolete in the coming years—if it hasn’t already.

As travel volumes return to pre-pandemic levels, guests expect access to contactless and mobile services and personalized experiences more than ever. Meanwhile, factors like talent shortages and inflation are forcing hotels to be more strategic about business growth, planning, and efficiency. In most cases, the traditional PMS is simply not up to the task.

Some hoteliers have adopted a tech stack of specialized point software to fill in the gaps to meet their evolving requirements. While such tools may be effective in a vacuum, this approach often results in managing dozens of disparate solutions that can fragment an organization’s operations and data. Maintaining multiple IT contracts also creates a logistical nightmare, and the staff juggling these solutions are prone to app fatigue, errors, and lost productivity.

Looking to the future, it’s clear that neither point solutions nor tried and true PMS of years past is the answer. The travel market is forecast to grow over 14% annually between 2022 and 2027, with over two-thirds of travelers now most concerned with value when booking.

The good news is that giving guests more value for their money can be as simple as streamlining your operations for greater flexibility and convenience—on both sides of the check-in counter. Enter: The modern PMS.

5 must-have features of the modern PMS

Right now, many hotel operators are at a juncture in their digital transformation efforts: Build out your tech stack to make your existing PMS work or upgrade to a new, integrated PMS that can easily scale and optimize operations, guest service, and maximize profits.

Well, if you look at the numbers, a new PMS is likely the solution. Recent r esearch reveals that upgrading their PMS within the past three years enabled 82 percent of hoteliers at small - and medium-sized properties and 92 percent at large, full-service properties to improve revenue performance significantly.

So, what makes a next-generation PMS stand out? It's all about the features, capabilities, and expert support the technology provider offers. While every hotel has unique requirements, organizations can be future-ready by investing in PMS with the following must-have features.

1. AI-powered features

Hotels can take an integrated PMS a step further with artificial intelligence (AI). Routine processes like inventory management, accounting, and guest support can all be partially automated through an AI-powered PMS, freeing up staff to focus on face-to-face guest interactions and more complex decision-making. AI can also help hotels realize greater value from their data. For example, sophisticated property management systems can forecast demand and suggest optimal room rates and staffing levels. Alternatively, these systems can analyze customer data and automatically suggest personalized experiences based on a guest’s history and preferences.

2. Mobile-centric

While many travelers prefer in-person interactions, others have shifted to contactless options due to convenience or health concerns. Recognizing that this service is now common practice, modern software providers are building mobile functionality like virtual check-in and keyless room entry into property management systems. Mobile connectivity can also appeal to tech-savvy guests through features like mobile tipping, connectivity to IoT devices (think connected room lighting and thermostats), and mobile chatbots offering 24/7 customer service.

3. User-friendly

Even the most sophisticated property management software can’t serve your business if it’s too complex for users to navigate. The best PMS is designed with an intuitive user experience and options to customize the display based on your hotel’s preferred workflows. The goal is to get users up and running quickly, especially if you’re understaffed or there's any lack of buy-in when it comes to software upgrades. The easier it is for employees to do their jobs, the better equipped they are to deliver exceptional service and foster customer loyalty.

4. Cloud-based infrastructure

Cloud services are dominating digital transformation efforts in hospitality, and property management software is no exception. In 2023, Deloitte found that hoteliers view cloud computing as having the greatest potential of any emerging technology to improve performance over the next five years. Rather than storing and maintaining your PMS in-house, the cloud allows users to access the software from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. Licensing models from third-party PMS providers enable hotels to scale and adapt their software more affordably and easily than on-premise systems. Reputable cloud service providers, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), also ensure that the PMS stays secure and compliant with evolving data regulations and standards.

5. An Integrated platform

The best way to avoid silos when adopting new tech is to invest in an integrated end-to-end platform. Modern PMS are built with open connectivity, allowing users to seamlessly blend a variety of hospitality functions and data, from guest check-ins to point of sale, gaming systems, mobile services, and revenue management. Unlike point solutions, this approach simplifies workflows and unifies hotel operations within a central hub. Users have more consistent and accurate data access, while management is empowered with a holistic view of business operations and performance.

A PMS ready for today’s and tomorrow’s hospitality challenges

While slow adopters may still be surviving with outdated infrastructure, hospitality leaders know that the days of on-premise servers and legacy PMS are long gone. Your hotel property management system should be the heart of all operations, seamlessly connecting every aspect of your hotel's functionality. This all-inclusive software solution should improve your guests' experiences and provide a solid foundation for long-lasting relationships, ultimately leading to increased revenue and profitability.

Take, for example, Infor® Hospitality Management Solution (HMS), a cloud-based hotel property management system designed to constantly exceed guest expectations. Infor HMS enables hotels to streamline their operations, deliver top-notch service, and provide an all-around enriching experience for guests. Its scalable nature also ensures it meets your current needs and future requirements.

So, what other features should you look for in your next PMS? Click here to discover more.

About Infor

Infor is a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry. We develop complete solutions for our focus industries. Infor's mission-critical enterprise applications and services are designed to deliver sustainable operational advantages with security and faster time to value. Over 60,000 organizations in more than 175 countries rely on Infor's 17,000 employees to help achieve their business goals. As a Koch company, our financial strength, ownership structure, and long-term view empower us to foster enduring, mutually beneficial relationships with our customers. Visit www.infor.com.

Aaron Stein
Global Head of Industry Marketing
Infor