Digital Assets for Lodging – Keeping Your Guest Data Forever

Understanding Digital Assets for Lodging

Lodging professionals are often frustrated when shopping for new Hotel Property Management Systems (PMS). Vetting the many systems can be very trying, but working through a checklist as described in this earlier blog can help you find the right system for your properties’ needs.

Is it a plot against you or merely limitations in technology? Well, it can be a mix of both.Hotel PMS puzzle

Technology Limitations

It wasn’t too long ago that a 1 Mb photo was unheard of except in high-end brand settings like for advertising and printing. Now it’s commonplace. Data requirements are the same. Lots of data equals lots of storage space and in the past saving it all has been very costly. The good news is that with today’s technology it is getting more affordable and easier to manage.

But it could also be a plot…

Many PMS companies deliberately randomize the files on export, so data is virtually unusable. Why would they do that, you ask? To keep you at their mercy! It acts as a hindrance for clients that may not be entirely happy with their PMS technology partner. It’s a black hat method that works on a majority of their more complacent, non-technological customers.

Due diligence

Before you buy or subscribe to any system, do some due diligence and ask any potential new PMS providers how they export all info (be specific about what fields you need and want to export). Ask them to demonstrate how you can do the export and then examine the files after export. When opened (usually in Excel via .csv file) do the records all align in proper rows and columns? If not, call them on it. Then find out if they can import ‘everything’.

Some Caveats

It is common to have ‘guest profile’ info export into one file and ‘past reservation’ info export into a different file. And even if you want ALL your info, realize that due to PCI compliance, for example, there may be some reasons that info is not ALL transferred (like credit card numbers). Many good PMS vendors will import guest profiles, but draw the line at importing ALL reservation data. It’s a COST versus NEED dilemma. Do you really need ALL the info? Or would it just be a ‘nice to have’ kind of thing? If you insist, then are you willing to pay for it?

No matter which PMS company you choose, realize that moving is not an easy or inexpensive process. Being a PMS hopper will not help your bottom line. Take your time, talk to professionals and do your due diligence so you end up with a PMS and a technology partner that helps your business thrive for years to come.

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