By Warren Dehan
Hospitality is just not like other industries when it comes to giving and receiving customer service. This is a business that is built on patience and understanding, as well as an unwillingness to compromise on quality and effort. These elements are the secret sauce that make hospitality so profitable and rewarding, and it’s why hotels thrive when they share a service culture with like-minded partners.
When it comes to technology partnerships, independent hoteliers often lack a safety net when providers fail to deliver on what is promised. That’s why it is essential to choose an innovative company with a solid reputation for trusted service, proven systems, and the ability to adapt to a clients’ needs to support future growth.
At the core of operations, PMS technology defines what a hotel is capable of and how guests can be served. Therefore, selecting a vendor with solutions that offer mobile- and browser-based platforms with flexible deployment options and an all-in-one approach to the technology can make the difference in how guest data is made accessible to the operating teams.
Independent operators must align with PMS partners that share their view of the industry and how quality service is defined and delivered.
When buying a new product or making a new technology investment, there will inevitably be questions. How quickly answers to those questions are provided, and how responses are delivered, can tell a lot about the partnership from the start. It is not enough to point someone in the general direction of an answer, you must lead them there and practice stellar customer service along the way.
This dedication to providing a quality experience is a natural part of hospitality, and it is well understood by PMS partners in this space. When seeking a new property-management system, hoteliers should look not only at the technology, but what providers do culturally to improve their service delivery. It’s the company commitment from the top down that counts.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do potential partners offer regular town halls between employees and leadership to improve internal communication?
- Do they properly recognize their employees for exemplary client service?
- Is leadership available to employees to review and track their personal growth?
If your PMS provider is also offering a level of service to workers that keeps them happy, they will be better equipped to help their hospitality clients succeed day-to-day.
The culture of independent hotels is always set by ownership and management, and they want to see this reflected in their chosen partners. The leaders at these properties are setting the pace for their daily operations.
The hospitality industry remains hyper-fixated on labor and culture today, and rightly so. Financial recovery is rebounding as leisure travel makes its triumphant return, but the culture behind the scenes may have been irreparably damaged by the pandemic. Many operators were forced to furlough or let go team members who were vital to the identity of a property. Unfortunately, innate skill sets and unique industry knowledge left with them.
The ability to retain staff could mean the difference between an efficient and rocky relationship with any of your hotel’s partners, and the impact this shift has left on the culture within hospitality is unmistakable. If a technology provider can show real longevity with its staff, or a willingness to train and grow those within its organization to preserve skills and knowledge and better succeed, hotels will take notice. The investment back into staff ultimately will affect the service levels extended to their client partners.
Understanding the hidden investment a partner PMS vendor is making into its team and clients is also paramount. This often goes unnoticed when researching a partner, but it will have a significant impact on the future relationship once engaged in a long-term agreement.
When selecting a PMS partner, make sure the company consistently invests in its service levels to clients by adding more avenues to reach them that align with your hotel staff needs; provides live chat help with real agents and a 24/7 manned and live help desk; offers ongoing system audits to ensure you are maximizing your investment; features a culture of care and client-first accountability to ensure you are responded to no matter what the need and guided towards resolution; and makes available internal education programs to cross train departments and create a learning and sharing environment to ultimately benefit the client at point of contact. How the PMS partner enables sharing and caring in its’ own environment is crucial.
Lastly, operators should be well informed as to the terms of their PMS providers’ software license. Every agreement in the industry has quirks, addendums, and hidden attributes that must be accounted for, including whether your regular version upgrades are part of the annual licensing fees. Learning how balanced the agreement is, and how it puts the control in the hand of the client, can speak to a company’s trustworthiness, their intentions, and even its business acumen.
Finding a reliable partner is never easy, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. If hoteliers can practice due diligence and find a partner they align with culturally, hospitality will come naturally.
About the Author
Warren Dehan is the 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. Platform and deployment independence present Maestro as an investment that will continue to grow and adapt as innovative technologies emerge.