In the dynamic world of hospitality, efficiency and guest satisfaction are paramount. As hotels strive to enhance their operations and provide exceptional experiences, the role of technology becomes increasingly dynamic. One such technologies that is revolutionized the industry is the Hotel Property Management System.
We recently got an opportunity to interview, Adam Mogelonsky, a strategic independent hotel advisor, specializing in helping brands determine the best path to increased profitability whatever that direction requires. As a thought leader, he has co-authored seven books on hotel management and over 1,200 articles over the past decade across a variety of trade publications.
In this interview, Adam explains the ins and outs of PMS, revenue management, and how hotel PMS is transforming the landscape of hotel management.
1. What has inspired you to be a hospitality thought leader?
Full transparency, my thought leadership is lead generation for my consultancy. As an advisor to upscale and luxury hotels where these companies already have incredibly smart teams in place, I must demonstrate that I am able to offer a fresh perspective, so the thought leadership has to be insightful and (dare I use a rote buzz term) bleeding edge.
2. What emerging trends do you foresee in hotel PMS and revenue management, and how should hoteliers prepare for them?
In a general sense, we’re all consistently hearing about integration, consolidation and artificial intelligence, and these are all happening as quickly as vendors can code, test and deploy stable product features. What excites me most these days is using RPA to merge previously disparate data sources into singular guest profiles, likely within a CRM, so that hotels can start asking very specific questions about who their guests are and what they want from an onsite experience.
3. What are the common challenges that hotels face in implementing effective hotel systems and revenue management practices, and how can they be overcome?
The biggest challenge comes from trying to fix a car engine while you’re driving on the highway. That is to say, it would be nearly every IT director’s dream to build fresh within a sandbox right to spec, but we are dealing with a ‘live product’, so the risks to implementing an unstable platform are too great for all stakeholders. The only way to really overcome this, aside from building in a staging area, is to deploy iteratively so that each new installation can be tested post-launch before moving on.
4. What do you think about the future of hotel PMS, particularly considering evolving guest preferences and industry dynamics?
If I had to look far into the future, I would say democratization of technology will inevitably make the PMS simultaneously more feature-rich and significantly cheaper to set up or interface. Given the complexity of features that a PMS must now perform, I doubt this democratization will occur in a ‘price collapse’ type of scenario, but it will still happen gradually.
5. How can an independent hotel leverage technology and data analytics in revenue management and expense forecasting?
Teams, teams, teams. All hotel personnel, no matter the brand or working at an independent, must embrace technology as central to success. When this happens, the analytics, the training and the process of upgrading to the latest systems will occur naturally.
6. What strategies do you recommend for boosting employee morale and engagement, which can positively impact labor efficiencies?
There are many ways to tackle this and it depends on the hotel’s current situation. The hardest pill to shallow is that wages have to keep pace with the cost of living. We can dance around this by offering great staff lunches, healthcare services or teambuilding activities, but if staff and managers don’t feel like they are being fairly compensated, then you end up with high churn which can be far more costly in the form of recruitment, service interruptions and leadership gaps.
7. What pricing strategies do you suggest to optimize revenue per guest without sacrificing customer satisfaction?
Again, this depends on the hotel’s current situation. Upfront packaging or redesigning around the trendy all-inclusive pricing model can work, but it can also act as a barrier to other guest segments. You have to know your guests in order to make a clear direction one way or another in terms of who is going to perceive what as valuable. Customer satisfaction is a bit different; while price is important, this is still largely an emotional conceit, so there are a lot of other contributing factors at play. Sentiment analysis by way of NLP and optimized survey design is one such technological avenue to help identify the non-price attributes that are affecting customer satisfaction, but still from day one in modern hospitality people-to-people service can typically overcome all.
8. What ROI can be expected by luxury independent hotels in upgrading to a next-generation PMS?
This is difficult to quantify without breaching an NDA. What intrigues me most about the newest PMSs is their ability to enhance more programming and better service, both of which can then be leveraged to retain customers and attract new ones as well as lure OTA bookers over to the direct channel through adept packaging, promotions and loyalty offers. To that latter point about encouraging a channel shift, for many hotels OTA commissions are a huge line item, so anything that can eat away at that while also building your own loyalty base and potentially increasing TRevPAR is a tremendous win.
9. Is ROI relevant while adopting new technologies that enhance guest experience, help revenues better and automate operations?
Every senior manager or executive I’ve worked with is highly intelligent, so ROI is always important in order to prudently steer the ship. Still, to determine the ROI, one must ask whether you are measuring the right things to arrive at that return. For instance, when it comes to technology we may be trained to think in terms of cost savings above all else; and yet the user experience – for instance, read up on ‘dashboard fatigue’ – may be even more critical nowadays given the strain on labor and the overall push for employee wellbeing. In these scenarios, spending a little more can let a hotel save a lot more in many hidden or seemingly unrelated areas.
About Adam Mogelonsky
Adam Mogelonsky is a partner at Hotel Mogel Consulting Ltd., focusing on strategic advisory for luxury and upscale hotel owners and developers in the areas of financial planning, technology and wellness.