A common thread shared by successful individuals throughout the hospitality industry is an uncanny ability to wear many hats and answer the bell whenever duty calls. It requires a high-energy person who loves what they do and one who can meet the demands of a schedule that often runs 24/7.
This is especially true for general managers of experiential properties in the ranch, fishing, hunting, and adventure lodge set. These hard-working professionals typically lead their organizations from the front and work side by side with their seasonal crew members from sunup to sundown (and sometimes a few hours before and after). GMs must be savvy in the delivery of a wide array of front and back of the house services; ranging from guided activities, food & beverage, housekeeping, engineering, IT, stock management, financial reporting, HR, sales, marketing, and the list goes on.
To make it all work there is an imperative for selecting the right tools. Of all the key decisions a GM can make to help their team in this regard, choosing the right property management system (PMS) ranks very high on the list.
A PMS is the digital backbone of your business, and it is a resource for every person on the team. It should support nearly every internal process and make a positive impact on every guest experience. As such, how well your PMS is functioning is a major driver of staff morale, guest satisfaction, and the total performance of your business on the whole.
The vast majority of systems available are designed for the hotel market and business models that run on a la carte pricing. These systems are not naturally equipped to meet the unique needs of niche destinations that feature all-inclusive packages and programs. This leaves GMs of experiential properties saddled with the challenge of working around (and against) their system instead of benefiting from the efficiencies a good PMS should deliver.
If you can identify with this scenario, ask yourself these questions:
- Does my PMS support all aspects of my operation or only a portion, and are they the ones I need most?
- How do my co-workers feel about the PMS? Do they feel like it is aiding their success or holding them back?
- How do my guests feel about the PMS? Is the PMS contributing to the guest experience or causing frustration?
- Am I getting the ROI my business needs?
The bottom-line for many hospitality businesses is that when a PMS is well suited to the needs of the property, teams are empowered, confident, and frequently make a habit of winning the day. However, when a PMS is ill-suited, issues can become systemic. This, in turn, puts team members on their heels, creating a dynamic of constantly trying to fix something that went wrong, rather than in the advantageous position of building on a job done right the first time.