This week we attended the PAII Innkeeping Conference in Austin, Texas. Our first presentation was “How to Select Guest Management Software” on Tuesday afternoon (changed from its original time on Wednesday afternoon). Since it seemed that many were not aware of the schedule change, we wanted to make the slides available for viewing here.

During the presentation we also gave access to a Google Documents spreadsheet to help in comparing different Property Management Systems, and evaluating them according to your own priorities. The slide presentation explains how to use the spreadsheet, and we’ll describe it again, below the presentation, but if you only need the link to the spreadsheet to download it for your own use, you will find the Guest Management Software Comparison spreadsheet here.

Using the Spreadsheet

The first two columns breaks the features we will consider into several categories (User Interface, Online Bookings, Reports, etc.), and identifies the features within each category. The column titled “Importance” is a numeric value you define, setting a value from 1-10 (10 being highest) of the importance of the feature to YOU. The values in the spreadsheet are samples, only. Your values may differ. Also, you can add more features (or delete irrelevant features) by adding rows between two other rows (or deleting a row). However, if you make such changes, you may need to update the formulas which automatically calculate totals in various sections.

  1. Read through all the features and edit the values in the Importance column to give relative importance of each feature to you.
  2. Download a demo copy of the software you are considering (or sign up for an online evaluation of a web-based system), and try it out, paying specific attention to the features listed in your spreadsheet.
  3. In the column under the product you are evaluating (next to the Importance column), enter a value from 0-10 representing your impression of the quality of the product’s implementation of that feature. Repeat for each feature.
  4. If you are comparing more than one system, repeat steps 2 and 3 for each product.

In the top row of each feature category, there will be an automatically-calculated total for the product in that area. In the top row of the Score column will be a total for the entire product, across all feature areas.

The result will be a number you can use to compare one product against another (higher scores are better), using your own definitions of the importance of specific features. However, do not allow the appearance of objectivity in the numbers blind you to common sense. If your impression is that one product is better than another in a specific area, but the numbers do not bear this out, re-check your Importance entries, and your evaluation entries, as changes to either or both will greatly affect the calculation.

This spreadsheet is a tool, which we hope you find useful. However, it is no substitute for common sense and testing the systems for yourself.

If you try the spreadsheet, please let us know in the comments any feedback you have.