How To Efficiently Migrate To A New Property Management System

October 25th, 2018 Kent Howard General

Top tips to help you upgrade your hotel property management system stress-free.

Switching from one Property Management System (PMS) provider to another, or making the decision to implement your first PMS at your hotel, can feel like a daunting process.

With concerns over high investment costs, missing out on reservations, and the time and resources involved in training new staff, it might be tempting to prolong, or even avoid the transition altogether.

However, upgrading your hotel technology is an important step in growing your business. Fortunately, this process does not have to be costly or harmful to your day-to-day operations. With strategic planning and a little help, you can efficiently upgrade your PMS without the extra stress.

Here’s how:

Identify the needs of your property

Before starting the transition, identify the immediate and future needs of your property to ensure you’re migrating across to the right Property Management System.

Questions to think about include:

  • What ongoing pain points do you have with your existing software?
  • What challenges do you face at your hotel in general?
  • How will your new PMS help to solve these problems?

From the beginning, clarify if your new PMS has the flexibility and customization your property requires, and don’t forget to factor in your future goals for growth and expansion. Your PMS should scale as your business grows so that you can minimize dramatic software changes in your hotel’s technology timeline.

The best property management system are efficiency-driven, and give you more time to deliver great guest experiences. Make sure to find a PMS that seamlessly integrates with other software that you use and reflects the current industry standards.

 

What to look for in a Property Management System

Mobile optimization

As a manager on-the-move, you’ll find it convenient to access property data from your mobile phone.

Cloud-based solutions

Software is moving to the cloud, and for good reason. It’s quick to set up, accessible from anywhere, and effortless to update.

Extensive integrations

To boost efficiency and ensure that your business operates smoothly, find a PMS that seamlessly integrates with all the software you rely upon at your property.

User-friendly interface

An intuitive interface that’s easy to learn and simple to navigate will make management tasks easier and faster, which frees up more time for you to focus on your guests.

Automated online distribution

Rather than handling each OTA separately, which leads to problems like double-bookings, find a PMS with a central reservations system. It will make distribution easier to manage.

Detailed reporting features

Integrated reporting and accounting features can help you make better business decisions and optimize your revenue.

Guest Profiles

Effectively tracking your guests’ preferences will help you to cater to your customers, deliver personalized experiences, and drive loyalty.

Opt for an immediate overhaul

While it might be tempting to run your old PMS and new PMS side by side as you make the transition, there are many challenges involved in taking this approach.

Running two systems simultaneously will ultimately double your workload, delay the process, and potentially harm data integrity. It can also easily lead to confusion and errors that directly impact the guest experience, like lost reservations or missing history on your guest profiles.

Most PMS providers, InnQuest included, advise making the switch over a short window of time to achieve the most stress-free and effective transition.

Be strategic about the timing

Set realistic timelines and ensure that the transition does not clash with other demanding projects, or high season on your property. Make sure you factor in workload pressure and staff vacations too.

You could even consider aligning the transition with other major changes on your property, like onboarding new staff or finishing up renovations.  

Your new PMS provider has completed this process several times before, which means they’re a great resource to help you manage your time and prevent setbacks during the migration.

When you decide to make the switch, ask your PMS provider exactly what they expect from you and establish what role you will have in the overall process. With effective communication, you’ll be less likely to experience delays later on.

Estimated Timelines

The transition should take no longer than two weeks in total. Our PMS software, roomMaster, for example takes about 7-to-8 days to set up. On-site training may take longer to facilitate; depending on demand and your staff’s schedule, you might need to book in advance. InnQuest, as an example, requests that you give 6-to-8 weeks notice for training.  

If on-site support is a priority for you, strategically plan the transition so you can pair the onboarding process with training.

Understand the process

From the beginning, it’s important to manage your expectations against the deliverables promised by your PMS provider.

The transition from one PMS provider to another typically involves a two-part process – configuration first, and then migration of the data.

The nature of your information and how it’s stored in your existing PMS will determine the extent of manual data migration that will be required. Some PMS providers, like InnQuest, have support teams that can assist with manual data migration too, so keep that in mind when you plan the transition. Sometimes, spending a little bit more for expert help during onboarding is the most cost-effective decision, especially when your staff is busy focusing on your guests.

With InnQuest, you can specify exactly how involved you want the support team to be in the process, whether that’s taking it off your hands completely, or answering questions as you go along.

Whether or not you can automate the process depends on how quickly and accurately the information on your existing system can be transferred to your new PMS. Chat with the support team of your new PMS provider to better understand your property’s unique transition.

Are you ready to make the switch?

Carefully assess your current PMS to see if it’s effectively supporting the size and day-to-day operations of your property. If you’re experiencing slow loading times with your current PMS, including glitches in the system, constantly manually inputting data, or facing limited integration options, then migrating to a new system will have immediate benefits.

If you’re feeling overworked and slightly disorganized too, upgrading your hotel technology may help ease this stress and improve efficiency.

Interested in starting a conversation about how roomMaster can meet the needs of your property?

Get in touch.