Cloud PMS – Is a technology shift is coming?

Technology is evolving and CLOUD seems to be the word of the hour. Cloud computing takes virtual server tools one stage further, using them to allocate the resources of vast numbers of servers quickly and flexibly among many different companies’ needs. These server farms are located in highly secure data centers managed either by third parties (public clouds) or by major companies themselves for their own use (private clouds). Clients access the software applications loaded on them via the Internet, or sometimes through private networks. Economies of scale mean that cloud resources are less expensive than those at a single property, even virtualized. Further, the on-demand flexibility means that hoteliers no longer need to worry about buying and implementing more hardware resources as their businesses grow; they just call up the cloud vendor and ask for it to be allocated. Solution implementation is a critical factor for any size property or chain, (both financially and operationally) one that’s driving them to insist that vendors move their applications to the cloud. Asian markets are seeing an explosive growth and two countries are clearly emerging markets, China and India. Many major chains are looking to open (or acquire) new hotels there at a very rapid rate to gain market share. Given the often challenging infrastructure in these regions, there is simply no other way to equip these properties quickly enough with the chain’s standard systems than by configuring a new instance of each application in the cloud and providing the property with Internet access to it.

Combine this with Web-based video training, and a new property can be brought online much more rapidly, in a matter of a week or two instead of the several months it would take to acquire and implement multiple servers and system interfaces on property. Another factor allowing faster implementations is service-fee or transaction-based pricing, which allows systems to be brought online without time-consuming and difficult capital expenditure approvals beforehand.

Data storage is another factor, growing ever larger as properties keep more long term data on their guests and operations to help with forecasting. As mentioned above, it’s a challenge for any individual property to maintain the multiple applications, servers, networks and interfaces that property-based systems require. Apart from fixing problems as they arise, there’s also the constant need to keep up with new security patches for the software, and the discipline both to back up each system every night and to test the backups to make sure they’re usable. Off-loading all these tasks to third parties whose sole focus is to provide a secure, stable and up-to-date environment makes for a huge reduction in this effort. Centralized support is another advantage that offers a higher level of expertise from more-qualified staff at lower cost, because their services are spread across multiple customers. So what does moving all of your systems off-property buy you? Apart from the maintenance savings and greater system and data security, interfaces also become much simpler to implement and support. There’s one link between the PMS and the revenue management system, one to S&C, one to the GDSs and Web booking sites, and so on, not one per system per property. Traditional remotely hosted approaches do outsource the support and security issues, but can’t provide the economy-of-scale savings or the flexibility of clouds.

Data security and loss of the connection

Data Security- Many properties are wary about the vulnerability of their critical data if it’s held off-property. However, that data is very likely more secure in a dedicated data center, which will have more rigorously enforced physical access restrictions, software patch management, anti-virus and other malware protection and data backups. User can always sign a contract for security, nondisclosure and safe keep of data .The key is to make sure that whatever contract you sign permits you to download a copy of your database at any time you choose–it’s your data, after all–so that even if the vendor fails or needs to be changed unexpectedly you still have a recent backup available.

Connection Loss- It is every hotel manager’s nightmare for the system to go down or communication or internet line to drop when a line of guests is waiting to check in. Given the high reliability and relative affordability of internet access these days, one obvious solution is to have redundant connections from different vendors. Alternatively, since many cloud-based systems are accessed via web browsers it’s also possible to use 3G (and soon 4G) high-speed cell phone connections to access them if the internet or other main communications line goes down. Apart from above benefits, it provides a very critical advantage to predict IT costs and reduced capital investment through a scalable subscription model. Hotelogix is first true Cloud based hospitality system and has users spread across 20 countries system requires almost zero initial investment for hotel owners. Consequently, there is no need to purchase and maintain costly infrastructure and hardware associated with traditional property management systems. This lower total cost of ownership continues to be of tremendous appeal to prospective hotels, resorts and hospitality chains that also benefit from being able to access the system from any computer with Internet access. "Hotelogix" is an incredibly powerful, easy-to-use property management system, the most robust on cloud platform and it is very easy to learn and navigate around due to its user-friendly, intuitive design. This helps empower its users with access to the resources and information they need to improve productivity, guest satisfaction and financial performance.

Deepak Chauhan is Director of Products at HMS Infotech and has been associated with the Hospitality Industry for the past two decades, which includes managing hotels to designing, implementing and providing Hospitality solutions.