Running a Hotel Remotely With a Cloud-Based PMS
By Larry Gorman Chief Technology Evangelist, SkyTouch Technology | January 08, 2017
It used to be that a General Manager was tied to the front desk in order to solve issues or keep track or manage a hotel. With a cloud-based PMS, a GM can technically run the hotel from anywhere on a phone or tablet. A 100% we-based system allows two way communication at the hotel, and management can stay informed on operations from anywhere.
The difference between cloud-based systems and server-based networks is as dramatic as the difference between an iPhone and a land-line. Traditional phones are like anchors-they're tied to a specific place, your home or office. Remember the days before wireless technology? People living in the same home all shared the same phone number, and usually the same phone, making it difficult to have private conversations. Sure, families could compensate for this by installing multiple phone jacks in the house or putting long cords on the phones for better mobility, but they were still tethered to their house. Businesses didn't have it much better, needing to install expensive telecomm equipment so individual offices and cubicles could have separate phone numbers.
Even then, if you weren't at your desk, you couldn't use the phone. The advent of cellular networks and smartphones changed all that, allowing us to communicate with whomever we need to, whenever we need to, wherever we are. Think of the capabilities smart phones provide that land-lines don't. The ability to access video, pictures, instant messaging, and social networking enhances our communication abilities more than was possible ever before. So when mobile technology entered the marketplace, it was an obvious consumer choice. And now, cloud-based application providers are developing solutions to help hoteliers streamline business operations beyond simple property management.
Server-Based Vs. Cloud-Based PMS
Today, a hotel operator has options in selecting a property management system (PMS). The first decision in this selection process is whether to install a traditional premises-based PMS or to leverage the capabilities available through cloud computing and commit to a cloud-based PMS. A legacy PMS will require the hotel to have one or more servers on-site to support the system. There are still many operators that feel comfortable housing their PMS under their own roof, but this decision comes with a significant initial investment and ongoing operating costs and responsibilities.
A legacy PMS requires a secure on-site location with limited access, in addition to significant compliance requirements. There is ongoing maintenance and life cycle replacement for this equipment. Even PMS providers that modify their service "for the cloud" keep hotel owners tied to on-site network servers, require additional licensing, and still demand equipment life cycle replacement and ongoing upgrades-all costs that come out of the property owner's pocket. Someone will need to support and monitor the equipment, such as a dedicated information technology person for larger hotels, while a smaller hotel may have to rely on contract resources to operate and maintain the equipment and assist in emergency situations.
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