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Introducing the new Hospitality Management System – CiHMS and its journey from the start

We – CiHMS – started just like any other hospitality management software company. Our first client came to us with a predicament. Contemplating among 100+ hospitality management software choices, taking trials, and evaluating the runners-up who seemed to have all the qualifications. Finally settled on one of the most expensive On-premises Property Management Systems in the industry, expecting its optimal effectiveness and unfailing support. Instead, our client was struggling, as time went on with on-going and unresolvable issues that we have mentioned in our previous blog “Buy or Build your own Property Management System”. If you have missed it, be sure to check it out. Hoteliers who have been using an off-a-shelf Property Management System probably would fathom the difficulties and challenges our client has gone through.

It became clear that there is a big opportunity here for us.

A brand-new Property Management System – Where to begin

Before we kick start the building project, we have set out a compelling roadmap to navigate the process:

  1. Optimize hotel revenue as the top priority
  2. Optimize operations cut down excessive procedures and time
  3. Improve customer experience and satisfaction

These criteria had helped us to strategically concentrate on building the PMS that achieved our client’s benefits in their best interest.

A hotel Property Management System function consists of Front Desk Operations, Reservations, Channel Management, Rate & Occupancy management, and Payment processing. These often are linked to enable hotels to organize, schedule, and manage effortlessly their daily operations while serving their guests effectively. Where should we start first?

That was plainly from a business viewpoint. Looking through the technical aspect of it, there were much more criteria that come into the picture. Which programming languages should we use: Java? Node.js? Ruby? Python? PHP? .NET? Or in a combination of which? What should we build our database on? MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc? What should the network infrastructure be? How do we protect customer’s data, which includes confidential information, guests’ personal & payment data, and etc., during the building phases and while migrating to the PMS?

What would be the first step in building your own PMS?

Taking all these into account, putting ourselves into the client’s shoes, we came into an agreement to build the Central Reservation System (CRS) before the rest of the PMS. CRS acts as a centralized booking platform for hotels to manage, distribute, and maintain rate and room availability from various channels. It is extremely vital for us; especially in high seasons when booking always has been chaos.

Our customer provides accommodations and a dining experience, but also integrated golf courses, and entertainment complexes. They have many destinations across the country and 1 location can welcome up to 3000 guests a day during the high season. In the past, the customer would have the On-Premises PMS installed and running separately at each destination. This has made unnecessary delays, excessive double booking, or unwanted overbooking during rush hour. That was the result of not having a centralized system, they didn’t have the room and rate availability data for all properties in real-time.

Our customer also worked with numerous Travel Agents and Agencies so it can be overwhelming for the Front desk operations handling the booking. The result was many bookings were created through direct confirmation with the front desk at each destination, to avoid overbooking as the existing On-Premises system was unable to centralize all the booking data in real-time. In many cases, Sales had to contact the hotel directly to check room availability at the time, requested to put those rooms temporarily on hold, confirmed with guests, check successful transactions, then officially booked the rooms in person.

The booking system brings in daily revenue and is the first encounter your customers have with your hotels. If everything goes right, it is smooth sailing from here. After 6 months of endless coding, our CRS has successfully integrated with the existing On-Premises PMS as well as the many online travel agents that are connected to the current PMS, cutting down reservation time span tremendously. There were no longer phone calls, or unnecessary room hold and overbooking never occurred. Customers can also get their reservations done online, maximizing room occupancy.

Then, we shifted our focus to building the rest of the Property Management System, which we later named CiHMS, to optimize and automate the client’s hotel operations, which took us another 9 months. The development did not stop there. We were also set out to improve the guests’ experience during the stays as well as future ones.

Challenges behind the PMS

The Human

Finding the right companion was the most impatient, disappointed, nerve-wracking, and irrational process. Considering the fact that we had to commit to a very aggressive timeline, you can imagine how stressful a scenario we were in. We had to constantly leverage both full-time employees and outsource partners. At times, we found ourselves working with 100+ developers from 30 different outsource partners. Apart from the technological partners, we are grateful for the help of many business consultants and vendors. Without strict guidelines, intended set goals, and dedicated team, and the enormous support we received, the project could be an impossibility to us.

The Timeline

The initial timeline was set for 24 months. Yes, you read it right. We were given an extremely tight time frame, as others would likely take up to 5 years to build. It might sound intimidating to others, but for us, we were absolutely thrilled and excited to take on this challenge and achieve the ultimate goal. We got the whole system up and running in less than 18 months, which took 6 months coding the CRS alone, and 9 months on the rest of the CiHMS. It still screamed impossible to us, but this accomplishment is achieved with willpower, consistency, collaboration, and harmony of the team as a whole.

The Digital Transformation Journey

You may have heard the term Digital Transformation over and over again. What is Digital Transformation exactly? It is the integration of digital technology into all areas of business, ultimately changing your operations and value delivering to your customers. This also makes a change in your workplace culture; it requires the organization to constantly challenge itself. It becomes imperative to any business that wants to remain competitive and relevant to the world in this constantly evolving technological era.

As the digital era keeps changing, the business has to take their own path in the digital transformation to stay relevant, especially in the hospitality industry.

Building the CiHMS Hospitality Management Solution is the first step taking us into the next stage of our Digital Transformation journey, and definitely, it does not end here. The new PMS strives to create room for creativity in better procedures, modern tools, and consuming time effectively. It gives a new approach to the hospitality industry to explore new opportunities awaiting ahead once perfecting operations protocols, smooth workflows, guarantee meeting customer satisfaction, and maximize revenue.

The new Property Management System gives us the shot to train the hospitality employees in becoming professionals in what they do, making decisions, improving the hotel procedures, products, and services based on actual data and analysis exporting from the system. The CiHMS is aiming to help others in the hospitality industry to embark on their own path in the digital transformation journey.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a progress; working together is success.

-Henry Ford-

More on a digital transformation can be read at our “Hotels Digital Transformation” blog or discussed in our last webinar that you can re-watch here @Digital Transformation in the Hospitality Industry. After getting done with the CiHMS coding, it’s time for our Pilot Testing in real hotel operations in real-time. All will be shared in our next blog: “Building a Property Management Software in-progress: Fail fast and learn fast.” Be sure to watch out for the upcoming blog this time, next week, you would not want to miss it.

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Cloud vs On-premise PMS for hotels: which one is better?

Hotel owners have always been debating on whether to choose a hospitality management software on the cloud or just keep sticking with the good old On-premises system. The technology-savvy hoteliers would preferably lean on the modern cloud-based PMS, which has gradually caught up with all the features, conveniences, and benefits one seeks for earlier on the On-premises PMS.  

As its name describes, On Premises’ PMS and data are stored on a physical server at the site. The software shall then be installed on any workstation that needs access to it. The cloud-based PMS, on the other hand, typically features access through a web browser-based, making the software highly flexible and delivering real-time access to hoteliers. 

Cloud based Property Management Software has been dominating the hospitality management software industry as its benefit has outperformed On-premises PMS

The cloud computing hospitality management software has been favored by hoteliers in the last few years, making a significant shift in the industry


Switching over to a cloud-based Property Management System has been going on for a while now. What does the cloud have to offer making this paradigm shift? Is it a trend or it is a new movement? Both systems serve the same purpose, however, each can be tailored to its customer’s needs differently. Here are a few highlights on the pros and cons of the two systems that have stood out for us. 

Technical Differentiations 

On-premise Property Management System requires a significant number of “on property” hardware compared to the Cloud-based one. It gives the hoteliers total control: data and the system, system configurations, networks, updates, and changes are all yours to decide. Running the On-premises PMS means hoteliers must maintain a dedicated server room, which also needs an effective cooling system and an around-the-clock support team to keep everything up and running smoothly.  

The cloud-based Property Management System takes care of all the servers, maintenance, upgrades, updates and back-up for you

On-premise hotel management system puts hotel owners in complete control of the system, while be a heavy burden expenditure upfront


Backup data and migration can become a headache. They get accumulated over time. To make sure you store data correctly, update in time and security in check shall drain out your human resources.   

With the cloud computing vendors, the PMS providers would be responsible for most of the IT operations expense. The hoteliers can also get the advantages from the cloud computing vendors’ highly available servers, at their optimal performance. The upgrades and backups will also be covered by your vendors, as all of these are included in your contract.  

The Cost 

The On-premises PMS licensed fee normally does not include the initial setup fees and already totals up a huge sum of capital. The hidden cost includes hardware server costs, additional IT staff expenses to manage the system infrastructure, maintenance fees (yes, more maintenance fees), and the expenses of other 3rd party software integrations. Depending on the size of your hospitality business, everything adds up and gets more expensive by the day. The capital expenditure spent on the On-premise PMS can be a burden for small and medium-size hotel businesses.

Not all can handle the financial burden of purchasing a hospitality management system in a long term

The cost of purchasing a hospitality management system in a long term is not sustainable as your business model scales up


A cloud-based PMS has a much lower entry cost. They charge a fixed monthly subscription model, with a small initial setup fee. No server cost, maintenance fee, extra human resources cost, lower energy bills and is an extremely affordable budget for small and medium scaled hotel businesses.  

Mobility & Scalability  

If you value the ability to be accessible to your PMS anywhere in the world at any given time, the cloud-based Property Management System is the one. Your system is hosted on the internet and can be available to login using any devices supporting a web-based browser. Certain access restrictions can also be set up to enhance security if you have the need to do so. 

Although you can set up your On-premises PMS to be accessed from an off-site workstation or device, remote access can be affected by various factors. Getting real-time data can certainly be challenging, especially not at the speed that cloud-based PMS delivers.  

The cloud computing system provides greater flexibility in scaling up or down your hotel model and gives you the option to add or scale back licensing fees.  

Integrations 

The On-premise PMS has been around for years, way before the cloud-based system. It gets developed and integrated with countless integrations from accounting software to POS systems, from F&B to in-room management systems, and much more. However, the implementation of the process is complex and time-consuming. As cloud computing services are growing faster than ever, 3rd party software is constantly developing to adapt to the prevalence of cloud-based solutions. The integration process is getting easier and faster on the cloud thanks to the open API. Undoubtedly, On-premises PMS is still ahead of the Cloud-based system when it comes to the number of integration capabilities, the flexibility of built-in reports that got customized, added over the years. 

On Premises PMS has been around for years with plenty of 3rd party integrations

The cloud-based PMS makes the integration faster and much easier with the open API

Security 

Many hoteliers are afraid of not being in control if they cannot physically neither see nor locate the system in their property. It is old-fashioned thinking and is a quite common mindset found in the hospitality industry, mostly in big corporations and international hotel chains. 

In reality, they fail to consider following the security standards protocols for the in-house system. The server has to function at all times, meaning your hotel should have an uninterrupted power supply 24/7 with backup power to keep your server operating in a power outage or unexpected occurrences. Data backup for any crucial business data on your system is also essential in case of unusual erasing data events. Otherwise, a security breach can happen, losing your internal data, your brand reputation, revenue loss is unavoidable. 

In-house hospitality management system needs strict security protocols to make sure up-time remains high

On-Premises Property Management system puts you in total control of your servers, hardware, upgrades, data and so on, however, security protocols can be chaotic


The cloud-based PMS vendors have the expertise to carry out security procedures in building and maintaining the highly robust cloud computing platform. They help to remove all those hassles and vulnerabilities associated with servers automatically. With all the security standards to comply, hoteliers can rest assured that their data are well protected, the system is running up-to-date. They also offer public and private cloud computing networks for hoteliers to choose from depending on their preferences. 

Which Property Management System is right for my business? 

There is certainly not a right or wrong answer. Every hotel has its own requirement, expectation, and deployment strategy. Undoubtedly, there are many benefits the cloud-based PMS has outperformed On-premises: 

  • Lower upfront cost: servers, IT staff, hardware, etc. 
  • Regular and predictable cost for license fees and maintenance. 
  • Highly accessible to the system in real-time 
  • Quick and easy integration 
  • Highly secured and very high uptime 

It explains the widespread adoption of cloud-based systems. The only thing you have to hold responsible for is your Internet connectivity which is basic infrastructure any hotel should already have in place. In fact, the switch to cloud-based PMS is not impossible for the existing On-premises system. With all said and done, we believe the shift toward Cloud-based PMS is here and you should take it into consideration. What is your thought on those two systems? Which PMS platform system you would go with? Share with us in the comment section down below.  

We also have a previous blog on the controversy of “Buy or Build your own Property Management Software?”. Be sure to check it out and don’t forget to tune in to the next blog where we share our own journey in Building hotel management software right here next week.  

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cloud service concept

All you need to know about Property Management System

What is Property Management System?

PMS or Property Management System is a software to manage all hotel operations. In other words, the PMS lies at the heart of hotels, collects information, and coordinates operations from booking, check-in and check-out, housekeeping, maintenance, billing, payments, and more. In today’s world, PMS is not just a tool to manage hotel operations but to deliver a better guest experience.

Cloud-based PMS can be accessed from any device

Cloud-based PMS can be accessed from any device

 

Currently, there are two popular types: On-premises PMS and Cloud PMS.

On-premises PMS:

On-premises or server-based PMS stores limited data in the local hotel. You will need an IT department to operate, maintain and upgrade the system. Besides, you will need to invest in workstations, data centers, and backup storage.

Cloud-based PMS:

A cloud-based PMS uses cloud computing. The software can be accessed anytime, from any device that is connecting to the Internet. Cloud-based PMS has lower capital costs, while it’s easier to run, upgrade, and backup.

 

The main functions of a PMS

In general, a PMS includes the following functions and features:

  • Reservation management
  • Night audit
  • Housekeeping management
  • Distribution channel management
  • Revenue management
  • Guest profile management
  • Business reports and analyses
  • Allotment management
  • Maintenance management
  • Point of sales

Why you need a PMS

Undoubtedly, emerging technologies impact everyone. Guests are now expecting more from hotels. Thus, a hotel must provide a smooth personal guest experience or even exceed their expectation to win their royalty. Traditional management will not get you far in this area, and having a PMS is the first step. A cloud hotel management system would bring you better benefits in the long run:

  • Secured information and real-time updates
  • Lower operation costs and easy to manage tasks
  • Minimize human mistakes
  • Know your guests better with a 360-degree guest profile feature
  • Take no time to set up rate plans and distribute across channels
  • Comprehensive business reports with real-time data

Before choosing your PMS

Picking a PMS vendor depends on your operational scope and needs. Note down what you are looking for and answer the following questions:

  • What kind of features does the software cover? Do they resolve your problems?
  • How much does it cost? Any hidden cost?
  • Is the software easy to use and mobile-friendly?
  • Does the system comply with security standards?
  • Does the supplier provide comprehensive customer support service?

Choosing the right PMS is critical as it can make or break your hotel operations. If you are looking for one, contact us to get a free consultation.

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