Experienced Trainers and Property Participation Are Key
You’ve carefully evaluated your technology needs. You’ve completed exhaustive research on the different software solutions available. You’ve compared product features, pricing and calculated your return on investment. It’s time to sign on the dotted line and prepare to go live with your new property technology.
Whether you’re undergoing a massive property-wide PMS implementation or adding a new interface or module, these projects require preparation, organization, engaged employees and quality training.
With more than 25 years in the business of installing and training PMS systems, we’ve optimized the training process to help all properties have a successful system implementation. Here are our top secrets to successful PMS and Spa System launch:
View the training process as a partnership, not a battle.
In a partnership everyone wins. Approach installation and training with a win-win mentality. Be engaged throughout the process from the kick-off call to the hand-off. Remember that your top objective is to have everyone on your team understand the new solution and be successful in their roles so that the property can be successful with guest service.
“Great trainers make for the best training experience,” commented Michelle LaBarge, Implementation Coordinator for Springer-Miller Systems. “But the experience is only as good as the participation from the property.”
Set aside enough time.
It can be tempting to create a supersized training agenda and try to execute it in as few days as possible. However, successful training is an exercise in patience. Leave enough time for review and questions, as well as accommodating different learning styles.
“Our trainer Ashley was knowledgeable, relatable, tailored the training session to our exact needs and she followed up in a timely manner. She also lead us to believe that she genuinely cared about our ability to use the system. Thank you Ashley!”– Kherri Smith, Cabot Links
Use project management tools to keep all the details straight.
Even if you’re not a project manager by trade, use project management software to keep yourself – and your project – very organized. There is progress to monitor, schedules to track and piles of documentation to review. Undertaking this initiative with project management skills enables faster responses and a greater grasp of the big picture which will help the entire project proceed more smoothly.
Engage Great Trainers
This might be out of your hands, but training should be one of the considerations when selecting a new software system. Ensure that your solution provider offers a dedicated training team with relevant experience and hospitality expertise. Pursue referrals from other clients to ascertain the quality of the training staff.
“Our trainers, Marisa and Tim, have been absolutely amazing. They have been very patient and understanding and they have also made the learning process enjoyable and are a true credit to Springer-Miller. If I could steal them to work with me all the time I would!!” Emma Beckley, Resident Manager, Wroxall Abby
Get employees on board early.
As soon as your software choice is clear, start communicating with your staff to get them mentally prepared. Utilize online training resources in advance of installation and/or live training. This helps to reinforce knowledge and enables employees to be prepared with questions. Provide a workstation as well as shift time specifically for this advance training and be prepared to offer incentives and competitions to get employees to prioritize the preparation. It may be difficult to involve all key employees in the training; after all they still need to perform their day jobs. However, anyone with a key role in property operations should not be exempted. Find the best way for them to participate in training while staying on top of their day-to-day responsibilities.
Don’t forget about your interfaces.
When you’re installing a new PMS, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the changes of going live with this new system. Hotels have so many interconnected systems and interfaces, scheduling the interface work can be a challenge. Prioritize these details to ensure they don’t slip through the cracks.
Create the best learning environment possible.
You’ll receive information about suggested requirements for on-property training and we suggest trying to accommodate those requests as closely as possible. In the event that the requested training room or resources just aren’t available, be flexible and work with the trainers to have the best possible experience for everyone involved.
“Because we had several participants in our training class and we all have different learning styles, our trainer was able to verbalize as well as diagram the processes. Having hands on was also a useful tool for all students and made the complexity of the topics seem approachable.” — Tracey Welsh, General Manager of Red Mountain Resort
Preparation, project management, staff encouragement – and of course topnotch trainers – are the keys to a successful training experience. Contact SMS to learn more about our training programs.