Choosing a strong and diverse evaluation team to help choose the best tools to run your hotel is also the first step to having buy-in from your hotel team. It is important to have everyone on-board when a new property management system is selected for your Hotel, Resort or Inn. Everyone involved in your organization from the owner, hotel management company and senior management to the front desk, reservations, sales and housekeeping department needs to be invested and committed to the project.
Prior to beginning the evaluation process, it is important to designate a project manager that will be accountable and see the project through from start to finish. The purchase of the property management system will signal that the evaluation process has officially ended.
The Project Manager is the first person to be selected. This selection may already be determined and possibly a consultant has been hired for the job, a manager at head office, a manager at the hotel, someone in operations or someone in the information technology department.
At this time it is important begin to think about the next project, this will be the property management system training and implementation which is likely to occur several months to a year after the evaluation process begins. This time line depends on how complex your business needs are and how much time can be dedicated to the evaluation and purchase process not to mention the schedule of the property management system vendor.
Evaluation team members may consist of operational managers that may use functionality that is geared to their management role as well as front line staff that would use the property management software on a daily basis and for the majority of their day. Staff in various positions such as Front Desk Clerk, Reservations Clerk, Housekeeping Managers or Supervisors, Sales Staff, Accounting Staff, Concierge Staff and staff in the Information Technology Department would be able to offer different perspectives. Consider representatives from these departments to be included in the evaluation process. Their experience with past systems as well as their department processes and their insight into what functionality they need to best serve the hotel guests will be very valuable when building your requirements list.
The Project Manager should set expectations and objectives of what is to be accomplished during the evaluation process and provide this information in writing to the team. Setting expectations and objectives will help to keep the evaluation process on track. The team needs to understand that although comments and suggestions are appreciated and necessary, not everyone’s wants will be fulfilled. The goal is to choose the best system to meet your specific business needs while providing the best overall tool for all departments and the business as a whole. There will be some areas and functionality that will require compromise. Sorting out items that are needs as opposed to those that are wants is essential during this process. Items that are determined to be needs should be qualified as such.
Now it’s time to start building your team!