Where does the PMS sit in the new technology stack?
— 21 experts shared their view
When it comes to hotel tech, we may all agree that PMSs are at the top of the food chain. It's semantically already in the name itself: a PMS is the SYSTEM used to MANAGE your PROPERTY. This gives the software connotations of centrality in operations. However, a new wave of leaner systems is rising: PMSs are becoming "hubs" rather than all-in-one solutions, using open APIs to allow users to plug in other software and tools as needed. These systems are less about "managing the property," and more about integrating third-party software.
In this environment, where do PMSs sit in one's tech stack? Is the classic notion of PMS outdated? Will the future of hotel tech be less reliant on PMSs as we know them?
A PMS system is, quite rightly, the most important and indispensable application within any hotel and has been positioned at the centre of the software architecture since the advent of modern PMS systems in the 1970's.
However, a "hub and spoke" architecture with the PMS directly connected to every other application is costly and highly restrictive. There will be a licence fee for every connection and there will be additional costs and potentially lengthy delays for any new connection. This set-up serves the requirements of the PMS provider very well – a captive customer with many opportunities for additional income. If you have ever tried replacing a PMS system you will know what an upheaval it can be. It is not something to be considered lightly!
Hoteliers need to migrate to more flexible architectures where applications can be added or removed easily without onerous costs and delays, whilst retaining full connectivity with the PMS. This is precisely the function of “Middleware” – and the good news is that most hotels already have it!
Middleware connects different applications to each other, allowing data to flow between them in real-time facilitating operations without delays.
Middleware allows the easy introduction of new applications (that satisfies the current requirement for mobile device solutions), enabling hotels the freedom of choice of “best of breed” resolutions for their requirements. It also significantly reduces the hotel's outlay in annual support costs as there is no need for multiple interface licences – one connection will suffice. The PMS retains its position as the most important system and continues to be connected to all other applications.