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Revolutionizing Hotel PMS: A Guest-Centric Approach

04 June 2024
The hospitality industry has seen remarkable changes over the past 50 years, yet the core functionality of Property Management Systems (PMS) has remained surprisingly consistent. The lack of new functionality is because the fundamental processes of running a hotel — managing bookings, assigning rooms, handling billing — have largely remained the same. However, how hotels execute these processes has evolved significantly, driven by a greater focus on the guest experience and the guests' adoption of technology, such as smartphones.
This blog post explores the need for a paradigm shift in Property Management Systems (PMS) within the hospitality industry. It emphasizes the importance of adopting a guest-centric approach to PMS development, empowering guests to take control of their hotel experience and personalize their stay.

From Phone Calls to Clicks: The Changing Booking Landscape

In the past, hotel reservations were primarily made through phone calls, requiring a robust booking management system within the PMS. Today, guests predominantly book online through various platforms, rendering the traditional booking process within the PMS less critical. Instead, seamless integration with online booking systems has become essential to ensure real-time updates and accurate availability.
Similarly, automated Revenue Management Systems (RMS) and channel managers have replaced hotel staff manual rate updates. These systems optimize pricing strategies based on real-time market data, freeing staff to focus on guest service.

The Rise of Cloud-Based PMS and Open APIs

The advent of cloud-based PMS solutions has revolutionized hotel technology management. Cloud-based systems reduce maintenance costs and enhance data security by eliminating the need for on-site servers. Open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) have also enabled seamless integration with various third-party systems, allowing hotels to leverage valuable data for personalized guest experiences and informed decision-making.
While technological advancements have undoubtedly improved hotel operations, the focus has often been on internal processes rather than the guest experience. There are currently hundreds of PMS vendors worldwide, each offering a range of solutions tailored to different hospitality industry segments. They all have the same functionality, and new entrants in the market continue to develop the same functionality to catch up with the large players. No new vendor has developed a hotel PMS with a guest-first approach to create a modern PMS that prioritizes the guest's needs and desires.

The Guest-Centric PMS: A Paradigm Shift

Imagine a PMS that empowers guests to take control of their entire hotel experience. From booking and check-in to room service and check-out, guests can manage everything through a user-friendly interface, similar to how online banking has transformed personal finance. This guest-centric approach would enhance convenience and foster a sense of autonomy and personalization. Guest should be able to:
  • Select their room, just like you can select your seat on an airplane.
  • Book a room from a specific day and time to a particular day and time, just like you can rent a car.
  • Customize housekeeping services, such as cleaning, changing towels, and requesting additional amenities.
  • Order anything to the room, such as food and beverages, a yoga mat, a massage, a book, clothing, etc.
  • Make reservations at the hotel restaurant, spa, or meeting rooms.
  • Receive proposals for things to do in the destination and immediately make reservations or place orders.

The Hesitancy of Hoteliers: A Barrier to Guest-Centric Innovation

Building a guest-centric PMS is not as technologically challenging as one might think. The genuine hurdle lies in the hoteliers' resistance to change and reluctance to relinquish control. Many hoteliers are accustomed to traditional practices and perceive guest empowerment as a loss of authority. They prefer to maintain the power to assign rooms, control check-in/check-out times, and curate the guest experience according to their preferences.
This hesitancy is often rooted in a fear of the unknown and a perceived loss of revenue. Hoteliers may worry that allowing guests to choose their rooms or book specific time slots will disrupt operational flow and lead to logistical challenges. They may also be skeptical about the potential for additional revenue streams, such as charging for room selection or early check-in, even though other industries like airlines and car rentals already use these practices.
Furthermore, some hoteliers believe allowing guests to book stays with specific start and end times would make managing housekeeping and room turnover challenging. However, the car rental industry has demonstrated that technology can effectively handle reservations and cleaning schedules, even with flexible booking options.
This resistance to change is a significant barrier to adopting guest-centric PMS solutions. While the technology is readily available, convincing hoteliers to embrace a new way of thinking and operating remains challenging. It requires a shift in mindset from control to empowerment, from traditional practices to innovative solutions.

The Future of Hotel PMS

The evolution of Property Management Systems is an ongoing process driven by hoteliers' ambition to improve productivity rather than make staying in hotels easier for guests. By adapting to new technologies, embracing customer-centric design, and prioritizing flexibility and integration, PMS solutions can continue to play a vital role in enhancing hotel operations, improving guest experiences, and driving business success. As the industry moves forward, hotel technology developers need to stay ahead of the curve and create PMS solutions that meet the evolving demands of the guests now and in the future.


The future of hotel PMS lies in creating guest-centric solutions that go beyond simply automating existing processes. By empowering guests and prioritizing their needs, hotels can create a modern, personalized experience that sets them apart in an increasingly competitive market. While the technology is readily available, shifting hoteliers' mindsets from control to empowerment is the real challenge. By embracing guest-centric PMS solutions, hotels can unlock new revenue streams, enhance guest satisfaction, and ultimately thrive in the digital age.

Takeaways for Hoteliers

  • Embrace Change: The hospitality industry is constantly evolving, and so should your approach to technology.
  • Empower Your Guests: Give guests the tools and freedom to personalize their stay.
  • Think Outside the Box: Explore new revenue streams and operational models.
  • Invest in the Future: A guest-centric PMS is an investment in the long-term success of your hotel.
By embracing these takeaways, hoteliers can position themselves at the forefront of the industry, delivering exceptional guest experiences and driving sustainable growth.