The Mews Blog > Why Open Platforms Do It Better
- A closed one-stop-shop PMS is fundamentally limited, doomed to inefficiency and, ultimately, more costly (hidden interface fees stack up!)
- With today’s pace of technological change, it’s vital to be plugged into an ecosystem of products that is constantly evolving and adapting to modern requirements.
- An open cloud-based PMS allows you to plug in any of your favourite apps, tools and services in minutes and for free.
What hotelier wouldn't love being able to introduce cool new concepts for guests and use innovative tools to help run their properties? We are all accustomed to having incredibly useful apps on our smartphones and, with so many great technologists and entrepreneurs working on solving hospitality problems in different ways across the globe, we should be able to access a similar world of options from a ‘hospitality app store’.
Software companies traditionally make money by charging an upfront setup fee for each third-party app, tool or service that a hotel wants to integrate into their system and/or a further monthly connection fee for their troubles. These monthly subscriptions can quickly add up and effectively become a hidden cost of the property management system (PMS). Why are they so expensive? It’s expensive because their PMS is a ‘closed’ system installed on premises, which means it takes a lot of time and manpower to integrate any software add-on.
“These monthly subscriptions can quickly add up and effectively become a hidden cost of your PMS”
The unfortunate reality is that many hoteliers mistakenly believe that a single PMS exists that can solve all their problems without the need for third-party extras. To be clear, these unicorns don’t exist. A closed one-stop-shop PMS is fundamentally limited, doomed to inefficiency and, ultimately, more costly. With today’s pace of technological change it’s vital to be plugged into an ecosystem of products that is constantly evolving and adapting to modern requirements.
Even more savvy hoteliers who appreciate the benefits of an app store brimming with innovative tools are too often dissuaded by the fact that those products usually come with a hefty integration price tag anyway.
Fortunately, the world has moved on…
So it’s clear that GMs want to be able to integrate with mission critical systems like business intelligence or staff task management while not getting price-gouged for the pleasure.
The solution? It all revolves around having a cloud-based PMS that is open and allows you to install any of your favourite apps, tools and services in minutes and for free.
Think of it like an app store for your hotel where you can immediately access dozens of tools via your PMS that can help supercharge your operations and improve the guest experience. Although an ecosystem of thousands of apps sounds intimidating, it’s actually much easier than the slow and expensive traditional approach and a future-proof way to streamline your business and inspire your guests.
Why change to the cloud?
Beyond the glaring shortcomings of not having an open platform to facilitate affordable add-ons, there are a number of problems innate to traditional on-premises hotel systems.
Usually just a handful of people have user access so key people can't always access data essential for the running of an operation, while it's also costly and complicated to keep backups (if at all). It often only works on one local network and data bounces from place to place, including via unreliable and insecure USB drives or stacks of paper which can be damaged, rendered unreadable or even lost. In any case, that data is rarely up to date and neither is the software.
But the real killer is that the software of a closed architecture on-premises PMS is expensive and time consuming to upgrade, which is exactly how the old behemoth software companies want it. And lest we forget that customer support is pricey, slow and the polar opposite of community driven.
It comes as no surprise that using cloud-based software is rapidly becoming the norm for businesses. The product is better designed and more intuitive to use, software updates are regularly pushed out at no extra cost and the subscriptions are far more affordable than the old process of inviting a legacy IT company to come in and install heavy upgrades.
It's important that a property should be able to test drive any potential solutions and it is only through the cloud and an open platform that they can trial things and cancel at just a moment’s notice.
In the end, the automation of processes is at the core of cloud-based software as employees are finally able to automate routine and repetitive manual tasks. That means staff can focus on more important and more guest-facing functions. It also means they have the ability to easily store and access any data in the cloud from anywhere and at anytime, which facilitates rapid information sharing and better communication within teams and with any external partners a hotel may have.
So do yourself a favour and look for a PMS that is open, scalable, flexible and affordable. Come join the Mews revolution!
What is the science behind an ‘open' platform?
Without boring you with too much tech jargon, accessing this rich world of third-party apps, tools and services for free requires a PMS to have what is know as an open API. What is an API?
Think of an API like a waiter that connects you (and your request) to a kitchen that prepares what you want and then brings that order back. An API is a messenger that takes requests and tells a system what you want to do and returns the response to you. An ‘open’ API means that any member of the public is allowed to put an order through with that proverbial waiter.
In practice, an open API allows your PMS to access thousands of smart solutions built (and constantly being built) by startups around the world and for a fraction of the cost. Even if one can’t find the integration one wants amongst the thousands of products out there, with an open platform one could still easily build it oneself and plug it into the ecosystem. In fact, we founded Mews and built the Commander PMS precisely because the open PMS we wanted didn’t exist.
In the end, an open hospitality operations platform helps forge a better guest experience as guests get access to services they previously could only dream of and automated online payments means they never have to worry about fumbling over pesky bills at check-out. Think self-service beer taps which automatically charge the customers account once dispensed or arranging a late check out via your smartphone from the warmth of your bed...
But caveat emptor - many property management systems claim to have an ‘open’ API when, in fact, it is rarely available to the public. We are looking at you Sophie...
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