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In his study - Evaluating and Selecting a Property Management System - by Galen Collins, Assistant Professor, School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Northern Arizona University, Assistant Professor Collins states briefly at the outset: “Computerizing a property requires a game plan. Many have selected a Property Management System without much forethought and have been unhappy with the final results. The author discusses the major factors that must be taken into consideration in the selection of a PMS, based on his personal experience.”

Although, this article was written in the year 1988 and some information contained may be dated, there are many salient points to consider. “Technological advances have encouraged many hospitality operators to rethink how information should be processed, stored, retrieved, and analyzed,” offers Collins. “Research has led to the implementation of various cost-effective applications addressing almost every phase of operations,” he says in introducing the computer technology germane to many PMS functions.

Professor Collins talks about the Request for Proposal, its conditions and its relevance in negotiating a PMS system. The author also wants the system buyer to be aware [not necessarily beware] of vendor recommendations, and not to rely solely on them. Exercising forethought will help in avoiding the drawback of purchasing an inadequate PMS system. Remember, the vendor is there first and foremost to sell you a system. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the adjectives unreliable and unethical are on the table, but do be advised. Professor Collins presents a graphic outline for the Weighted Average Approach to Scoring Vendor Evaluations.

Among the elements to be considered in evaluating a PMS system, and there are several analyzed in this essay, Professor Collins advises that a perspective buyer not overlook the service factor when choosing a PMS system. Service is an important element to contemplate. “In a hotel environment, the special emphasis should be on service. System downtime can be costly and aggravating and will happen periodically,” Collins warns.

Professor Collins also examines the topic of PMS system environment; of which the importance of such a factor should not be underestimated. “The design of the computer system should be based on the physical layout of the property and the projected workloads. The heart of the system, housed in a protected, isolated area, can support work stations strategically located throughout the property,” Professor Collins provides. A Property Profile Description is outlined in Table 1.

The author would also point out that ease-of-operation is another significant factor to think about. “A user-friendly software package allows the user to easily move through the program without encountering frustrating obstacles,” says Collins. “Programs that require users to memorize abstract abbreviations, codes, and information to carry out standard routines should be avoided,” he counsels.