Property Management Systems (PMS): Oracle and Cloudbeds
Front office operations are the pillars of any hospitality establishment. Since the front desk or reception is the first and last area that guests interact with, the service offered have the potential to create repeat business or drive clients away. The experiences at this point create firsthand impressions of the level of the services provided by the facility. Therefore, the front office is a crucial brand differentiator and it is important for hoteliers to make the operations as fast and efficient as possible. Utilization of the best tools is one of the strategies used to optimize front office operations. For instance, Property Management System (PMS) , a software tool, is used in the hospitality industry to enhance the management of front-office operations. There are numerous PMSs on the market, which makes it important to select a system that perfectly suits the needs of the intended facility. Cloudbeds and Oracle are examples of technological companies offering PMSs. This paper aims to analyze and compare the two product offerings.
About Oracle and Cloudbeds
The oracle (https://www.oracle.com/) is a Redwood Shores, California-based multinational computer technology company providing business software to over 430,000 customers across 175 countries. Oracle Hospitality OPERA Property, a cloud-based PMS, is one of the software solutions offered by the company (Oracle, 2019). Cloudbeds (https://www.cloudbeds.com/) is a San Diego, California-based multinational computer technology company with operations across 135 countries. Focusing on travel and hospitality, the company offers software solutions like MyFrontdesk PMS (Cloudbeds, 2019).
Features and Functionality
Booking and Reservation
Booking is a critical process for any hospitality property. Direct booking has gained prominence in the wake of online distribution channels like hotel and travel websites, online travel agents (OTAs), Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), as well as other sources like wholesalers and corporate clients. PMSs should not only enhance the management of room bookings but also room inventory allocation and collection of e-payments. Oracle Hospitality OPERA Property has booking and channel management features that enhance the booking and reservation process including group bookings and booking-related communications among staff members (Oracle, 2019). My front desk PMS, cloudbeds’ PMS, has a drag and drop interface that enables users to check-in or check-out guests, then post updated availability to the facility’s internet booking engine. Cloudbeds’ online booking engine, like Oracle Hospitality OPERA, is in sync with the entire hospitality management suite, therefore, when a customer book on OTA, real-time notifications are sent and the system is updated automatically (Cloudbeds, 2019).
Housekeeping is an automated functionality that helps users to view the status of rooms in order to determine if it can be assigned to a guest or assign an employee to tidy up. This feature makes check-ins easier. Cloudbeds’ feature for housekeeping helps users to view room’s occupancy or cleanliness, assign housekeeping staff and keep track of maintenance needs (Cloudbeds, 2019). While the Oracle Hospitality OPERA Property can enable a user to view room status, the tool does not have a specified housekeeping feature.
Reports are essential for the growth of any hospitality business because they help business owners to keep track of reservations, revenue, and inventory. They include production reports, financial reports, or daily activities reports. Effective PMSs should have a robust built-in reporting module to generate timely and consistent reports to help hoteliers analyze business performance. Reports also help users to identify important potential issues like overbooking, thus, boosting hotel management. Cloudbeds has a Full Reports Suite, which generates various reports that can be downloaded and printed (Cloudbeds, 2019). Oracle Hospitality OPERA Reporting and Analytics Cloud Service provide reports captured from data across the system including revenue, marketing, sales, hotel operations, and catering (Oracle, 2019). The reports provide insights on property performance at the hotel or chain level, therefore, helping users to make informed operational choices.
Point of Sale
The point of sale integration might seem a minor detail, but it can make a huge difference in the PMS. A point of sale-integrated PMS makes the acceptance and modification of reservations easy and seamless. Hospitality properties that separate their POS from transaction systems are at a higher risk of errors like mismatched data. Oracle Hospitality Simphony is a cloud and mobile platform that provides a point of sale and back-office functionality to enhance different food and beverage operations (Oracle, 2016). The suite eliminates the need for having servers at each location, which cuts the costs or related technical support and onsite software maintenance. The Oracle Hospitality Symphony continues to operate even when the internet is unavailable, making it convenient. With this POS, hoteliers can ensure centralized operations by updating every POS terminal from a centralized location. Cloudbeds, on other hand, relies on Poster POS to perform POS functions.
This feature allows hoteliers to adjust the prices of rooms in order to yield rates. Depending on the property’s occupancy, hoteliers can increase or reduce prices to speed up the sales processes or create packages and other special offers. The Oracle Hospitality OPERA Channel Management has tools to optimize rates and the allocation of room inventory across OPERA OTAs and GDS (Oracle, 2019). Cloudbeds’ Pricing Intelligence Engine (PIE) analyzes industry data to update hoteliers on the state of the market including uncovering revenue opportunities (Cloudbeds, 2019). As seen, both products like exclusive revenue management features.
Customer Data Management
Properties need to collect and organize customer data in order to enhance communications with both current and past customers as email marketing prevails today. PMS should have this capability to help develop customized experience and loyalty programs as well as organizing marketing strategies. Hoteliers can easily contact previous customers on issues like local happenings, new services, discounts, and other important services. This feature, therefore, is helpful in creating business through returning customers. While both Myfrontdesk PMS and Oracle Hospitality OPERA have features to enter the information of guests, they do not have specific data managers where customer information is organized. However, Cloudbeds has an email automation system that allows users to send emails to customers.
Distribution is one of the major means through which small to medium-sized hotels can compete with their large counterparts. The channel management feature, especially for PMSs with direct, two-way integrations, allow guests to book hotels through channels like OTAs, GDS, direct booking platforms, or wholesalers. Once the booking is done, real-time data on available rooms are distributed across the entire system, thus, facilitating the booking process and eliminating manual work. Cloudbeds’ Channel Manager helps users to list their properties on over 300 booking channels including Airbnb, Expedia, and Booking.com (Cloudbeds, 2019). With multiple channels, users are able to optimize their property’s exposure and increase occupancy by connecting to superior online channels. Also, the feature is customizable, which allows users flexibility in the selling process. Users can easily set appropriate prices and sell in currencies of their choice in order to reach a wider market. The Oracle Hospitality OPERA, on the other hand, has a Web Channel Management unit that provides tools to optimize rates and facilitate the allocation of room inventory across different distribution channels (Oracle, 2019). The technology allows users to manage room inventory and rates from a centralized point and perform complex functions like loyalty memberships and group reservations. The feature is seamlessly integrated with the Oracle Hospitality OPERA to ensure data are in sync.
All hospitality properties require PMSs that are integrated with an interactive calendar feature to allow users to plan and check reservations and availability. With a calendar, users can effectively check for new opportunities and optimize the current flow. Cloudbeds has a drag-and-drop calendar for all rooms and reservations (Cloudbeds, 2019). For Oracle Hospitality OPERA, this feature is not exclusive.
Pricing intelligence is a new technology increasingly utilized by hoteliers of all sizes. The technology refers to the collection and acting upon real-time market data such as competitor prices or consumer preference. This feature is directly related to yield or revenue management because it helps users to make informed data-based decisions. Hoteliers can create sets that group and track competitor rates and occupancy over time. By benchmarking their performance against their rivalries’, the hotelier can reevaluate their amenities’ offerings and make some adjustments to stay on top of the game. Cloudbeds Pricing Intelligence Engine (PIE) helps property owners effortlessly gather market information in real-time to make sound pricing and distribution decisions (Cloudbeds, 2019). Oracle’s PMS relies on its Channel Management tool together with pricing data because it does not have an exclusive pricing intelligence feature.
Kitchen Display Systems
A Kitchen Display System (KDS) is a digital screen that is integrated with a POS. It allows guests to make and track their orders and help hoteliers perform other related functions like staff communications. KDS simplifies kitchen processes and communications through efficiency, minimal errors, and increase speed. The Oracle Hospitality Kitchen Display System displays menu orders for preparation and monitors order timing. The system also captures service times and provides real-time feedback for management reporting. It has table buttons that display status updates of tables including guests seated, kitchen working on orders, vacant tables, and late orders. Once a table is seated and orders are placed, the system notifies the kitchen. Cloudbeds, on the other hand, do not have a KDS.
Figure1. Comparison of Myrontdesk PMS and Oracle Hospitality OPERA
|Oracle Hospitality OPERA||Cloudbeds Myfrontdesk PMS|
|Booking and Reservation||P||P|
|Point of Sale||P||Ï|
|Customer Data Management||Ï||Ï|
|Kitchen Display System||P||Ï|
A hotel PMS solution is essential for its success because it streamlines most commonly executed tasks, creating efficiency and saving time. While Oracle and Cloudbeds are different companies, their product offerings have almost identical features with the same apart from few mismatches, as displayed in the table above. For 100 room hotel properties with full-service food and beverage operations, Oracle Hospitality OPERA Property would be convenient due to its outstanding Kitchen Display System feature. While Oracle’s PMS lacks features like a drag-and-drop calendar, pricing intelligence, and housekeeping, the functions can be easily substituted by the existing features. The kitchen, which is an essential part of a food and beverage operation, requires a KDS for flawless operations. Oracle, therefore, is the most preferred option.
Cloudbeds. (2019). Software features. Cloudbeds. Retrieved from https://www.cloudbeds.com/features/
Oracle. (2019). Oracle hotel Property Management System. Oracle. Retrieved from https://www.oracle.com/industries/hospitality/hotel-property-management/