The leading provider of property-management systems for independent hotels is poised to meet the rising demand for cloud hosting, mobile tools, enhanced two-way texting, marketplace integrations, heightened security, and online gift carding in the new year.
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” When it comes to hotel property management system technology, this quote by Socrates is apropos. Last year, Maestro made five industry predictions for the evolution of PMS. While contactless technology did become more prevalent within the PMS in 2022 and many hotels added two-factor authentication at login to improve data security, neither reached mass adoption. While some PMSs are supporting additional payment products and adding integrations to OTA channels and the major customer-relationship management platforms, many still lack the functionality. But there is some good news.
Technology budgets are increasing this year. According to the newly released 2023 Lodging Technology Study, 69 percent of hoteliers plan to increase their IT budgets in 2023, with 30% rolling out and implementing new solutions. What’s driving the spending is travelers’ desire to embrace mobility and self-service. Mobile reservations, mobile check-in, and mobile room keys will be adopted by 100% of respondents this year. Additionally, 88% said they will be adopting contactless payments, and 62% facilitated check-in/out via kiosk. When it comes to enterprise software, the study reports “significant movement in property-management systems (PMS) … with hotel operators carefully noting the rapid escalation of technology that has occurred in the past 36 months and recognizing that PMS must evolve too.” Sixty-nine percent of hotel operators said they plan to add, upgrade or switch PMS providers this year.
“The pace of progress is not immediate in hospitality,” said Warren Dehan, Maestro President. “As more and more hoteliers realize it will never be ‘business as usual,’ they are finally taking the steps needed to evolve and build a new technology roadmap for change. The lack of qualified labor continues to be a major challenge, and it’s spurring demand for self-service solutions that must tie to the PMS. Some hoteliers say they plan to phase out the front desk within five years, so for them, self-service will become the norm. To ensure they are still delivering personalized service, the technology must be convenient, and it must capture guest data at a rich level and store it in the PMS, whether it resides in the cloud or on-premises. Regardless of how guests prefer to engage, hotels are still in the people’s business. They must ensure the technology they invest in can enhance both staff and guest experiences and they must implement mobile and self-service tools their guests and staff are comfortable using.”
How will the PMS evolve in 2023? Here are 6 things hoteliers can expect from Maestro PMS:
- Cloud hosting growing in demand. Cloud-based PMS is not new, but a cloud PMS designed holistically for full-service independents with complex operations is a BIG plus for operators. Because Maestro is platform autonomous, it can host a hotel’s PMS in the Maestro Cloud, on premises with the server onsite, or be self-hosted by the hotel in its own cloud all with the same Maestro functionality, support for integrations, and ease of access through a Web browser. This autonomy is transparent to the end user. If self-hosting works today but is not optimal tomorrow, hoteliers can easily switch their hosting status without penalty. At Maestro, cloud hosting is synonymous with convenience.
- Contactlessness remains relevant. As the Hospitality Technology study shows, there is a heightened demand for mobile check-in/out and mobile keys. As such, Maestro’s new Touch-Version for front-line users is completing beta testing and will be available to hotels in 2023. The Touch Version will give staff access to Maestro in the way they work best and it can be leveraged for curbside check-in or for line-busting during high traffic check-in/-out times, all working as part of the entire Maestro all-in-one ecosystem. While some operators believe it is inhospitable to engage guests with technology, many travelers prefer it – especially those requesting a mobile key and those preferring to place delivery orders or engage with property staff by mobile device via two-way text apps. Maestro is seeing immediacy from customers requesting contactless PMS tool installation as mobile and self-service continue to grow in demand.
- Demand for ransomware protection rises. Today there is an abundance of ransomware attacks vs. data breaches at hotels. Most properties are not leveraging their IT departments properly and backing-up data consistently. Those choosing a Maestro cloud hosting environment can avoid these threats. Hotels that host their PMS onsite or choose to self-manage must be mindful to back up all data regularly as a precaution.
- Integrations prove integral to operations. As more hotels implement new technologies, the demand is rising for those solutions to communicate with the PMS. In 2023, Maestro is planning to catalog its’ over 800 integration partners in a “Maestro Marketplace” accessible on its website to enable users to access a well-organized list of integration partners, from peripheral property systems to GDS/OTA channel partners, Revenue Management Systems, Kiosk Providers, and hundreds of other systems complementary to the Maestro ecosystem.
- Service, Service, and more Service. With the breadth of features and tools being delivered by a PMS technology provider for total property automation, it is paramount that the help desk services are as innovative and responsive as the PMS itself. Maestro will add even more to its already leading services by expanding the built-in instant live chat help. More self-learning video tutorials to onboard new and seasonal hires easily while providing a monitored environment with report cards. To maintain Maestro’s reputation for outstanding service, Maestro has also expanded its Help Desk by adding staff and cross-training team members to serve customers more effectively and protect their PMS investment.
- Gift Cards will Drive Revenues. Selling gift cards redeemable for hotel stays and amenities is a viable way to drive millions of dollars in untapped revenues without impacting service. In 2023, Maestro will deploy a mobile and browser web app to enable hotel customers to sell gift cards online to travelers and gift-givers. While Maestro has had a gift card platform for years, the new online functionality will be built into the PMS with hotels paying a flat support fee rather than a per-transaction fee.
“Based on the success of the latest mobile online gift card web app, we are looking to enhance our owner and member portals as well in 2023,” Dehan said. “The portals give condo hotel owners remote and real-time access to see all reservations — past, present, and future — on the books, gauge the performance of their investments, and even stay updated on expenses. Owners really appreciate this feature, and it is something scarce in a PMS offers. The enhanced tools will give owners more transparency in 2023 and beyond. These developments and others are being delivered to strengthen Maestro’s all-in-one environment further.”