Modern PMS: Anchoring Today’s Hotel Tech Stack

Conversations at HITEC Charlotte confirmed that an All-In-One property-management system with Open APIs, centralized guest data, and embedded payments will provide the technology stabilization operators need to weather turbulent times and be grounded for future growth

By Audrey MacRae

“NOW is the time to invest in hotel technology.” That was the general consensus among attendees at the industry’s premier Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) last month held in Charlotte, N.C.

Topping the list of sought-after solutions were platforms that consolidate multiple systems into one and feature Open APIs that allow for the centralizing of guest data, streamlining of payment processing, monetizing of experiences, and protecting of the asset amidst unforeseen turbulence. There were discussions on connecting the tech stack, navigating AI, making real-time data actionable, leveraging experiences, and putting payments at the center of the guest experience.

We learned that AI and machine learning continue to be at the forefront and that these technologies can enhance predictive analytics, personalized guest experiences, and operational efficiencies . . . that integration of IoT in hotel management systems will revolutionize the way properties manage everything from energy consumption to maintenance schedules . . . that smart rooms, which allow guests to control their environment via mobile apps or voice commands, are now a standard operating procedure . . . and that the shift to cloud-based property-management systems (PMSs) continues to gain momentum, offering scalability, improved data security, and real-time access to information from anywhere.

The modern hotel PMS has become the anchor on which a hotel tech stack is built and the foundational platform on which hoteliers can ground themselves and their operations during difficult times. To determine if your hotel PMS is sufficient enough to take you into the future, ask yourself these questions:

  • “Is my PMS an all-in-one solution?”
  • Is it capable of serving as the central repository of all guest data that other systems feed into and pull out of to influence the behavior of those systems?”
  • “Does the PMS provider have excellent relations with third parties for the remaining parts of the operation that require experts in the field and a proven track record of industry-leading support and after-sale service?”
  • “Is my PMS browser based and can it be deployed in the environment that is most relevant to my operation (on premise, in a private cloud, or cloud-hosted environment, etc.)?
  • “Are embedded payments a sustainable feature of my PMS and does it extend to my hotel’s point-of-sale system to create even more consistency and remove redundancy and layers?”

Just as an anchor stabilizes a vessel, a modern PMS stabilizes and protects owners, operators, guests and even staff from uncertain experiences. No matter how good a hotel’s customer-relationship management (CRM) system, booking solution, or marketing application claims to be, it is only as good as the data it can acquire from the PMS. The more accessible the data is within the hotel PMS the better third-party solution providers can manage the vision of the operation and keep the ship afloat.

Throughout the show I spoke with countless operators who said they were looking for a PMS that houses detailed, accurate, granular-level guest data that is readily accessible and manipulable as needed. Unfortunately, not all PMS companies are presently equipped with this type of data offering, and for many, critical features such as open APIs, AI, machine learning, mobile tools, and embedded payments are not even on their radar.

Anchoring Revenues & Loyalty

Embedded payments, for example, are set to play a crucial role in the advancement of the hotel tech stack. Seamless integration of payment solutions within the PMS will streamline transactions, reduce fraud, and enhance the overall guest experience. For instance, with AI and IoT, embedded payments can facilitate automated billing for services consumed during the guest’s stay, providing a frictionless experience. But there are advantages to embedded payments outside of back office processes.

People wanted to know how embedded payments can be leveraged for contactless check-ins and check-outs, as well as in-room purchases. Others were curious about leveraging this technology for real-time payment tracking and instant rewards for guests participating in on-property activities or dining experiences. This shows a growing desire to innovate beyond traditional uses.

There was also interest in leveraging a PMS gift card program to manage recognition and reward programs for hotel employees. The versatility of a program such as this drives guest loyalty and makes it an excellent tool for incentivizing staff performance and fostering a positive work environment. It can also be expanded to support employee engagement initiatives.

Another notable request during HITEC was for enhanced mobile functionalities of the PMS, including a more robust mobile app for guests and staff. Additionally, there was significant interest in advanced analytics dashboards that provide deeper insights into operations and guest preferences. These requests are set to influence the look and feel of Maestro in 2025, as we continue to prioritize user-friendly, data-driven solutions.

Anchoring Guest & Staff Experiences

With more and more focus on experiential travel and monetizing activities outside the guestroom, it’s also important that hoteliers seek out a PMS partner that understands guest behavior to deliver the perfect experience and allow staff to manage that experience. PMS modules for check-in surveys and two-way guest messaging platforms go a long way to stay in constant communication with guests and identify action issues before they happen. A modern PMS will have the capabilities to help monetize experiences via an inventory module or integration to a venue-management system, especially in a resort environment. Knowing what activities should be chargeable will go a long way towards building a positive experience for guests and staff alike.

Hoteliers are getting extremely creative with their properties. In order to compete, they have to deliver unwavering service and experiences. As third parties continue to enter the market with unique and impactful hotel solutions, hoteliers should understand the weight that a modern PMS holds in grounding a property to their guests and to profitability. It’s going to take a proven, innovative, and solid PMS partner to support the evolving tech stack and futureproof it for years to come.

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About the Author

Audrey MacRae is the Vice President of Maestro, the preferred cloud and on-premises PMS solution for independent hotels, luxury resorts, conference centers, vacation rentals, and multi-property groups. Maestro was first to market with a fully integrated Windows PMS and Sales & Catering solution and is continuing that trend with leading edge web and mobile based solutions encompassing all aspects of the operation. Platform and deployment independence present Maestro as an investment that will continue to grow and adapt as innovative technologies emerge.

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