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 Is the classic notion of PMS outdated?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?
While the role of the PMS has not necessarily changed—every property, no matter what the size, requires a core platform to run its business—it's the concept of the PMS that has greatly evolved. The problem is embedded into the name itself: the property management system, which implies a platform that manages everything on-property, such as check-in and check-out, taking reservations, room assignments, billing, housekeeping, etc. However, many of these tasks are now easily and efficiently handled by the guest digitally and often on a mobile device.
But being successful in today's travel landscape requires going far beyond the confines of the property. To reach and meet the expectations of travelers today, accommodation providers need to be digitally savvy and operate in an increasingly complex world of online distribution. They need tools for distribution, revenue management, digital marketing, e-commerce, and guest communication.
The hospitality tech industry has responded in kind with dozens of varying technologies and software to cater to this landscape. But that has created a new problem—piecing together these disparate systems so that hoteliers can still have one holistic view of their business. Integrations have become the new pain point in the world of PMS, and the modern PMS companies (Cloudbeds included) have developed open API models that have alleviated some of the issues.
I would argue, however, that the hub-and-spoke model of PMS is not the future of hotel technology. Hoteliers and guests want simplicity, not complexity. Especially in a post-pandemic world where many lodging businesses are experiencing labor shortages, property staff simply do not have the time to learn and manage a tech stack with numerous platforms and integrations. The future of hotel tech will be in centralized, fully integrated platforms that can handle the core functions of every hospitality business—operations, reservations, distribution, revenue, marketing, guest communications, and payments—without requiring numerous vendors, multiple dashboards, or costly integrations. Importantly, they will provide guests greater flexibility by allowing them to digitally managed tasks, while hoteliers receive greater efficiencies and revenue lift. One single-sign-on system, one source of truth for your business.