Oracle Opera PMS Review: What You Need to Know When Evaluating Hotel Software
There's nothing quite like the topic of the best property management systems to trigger a lively discussion among hoteliers. Everyone has horror stories and preferred products. These types of insights are helpful for hoteliers evaluating new technology partners. They act as a barometer of sorts, shaping initial impressions and guiding the vendor vetting process.
In this expert review of Oracle Hospitality and the Opera PMS, we've combined Hotel Tech Report’s expertise with insights culled from interviews with actual users. The objective is to provide a comprehensive resource for hoteliers immersed in the process of vendor evaluation.
What Opera PMS does: The nuts and bolts
Oracle OPERA is a cloud-based property management system that integrates several functionalities into a single platform. In addition to the core property management functionality, such as room assignments, check-in/check-out, and rate management, OPERA includes integrated channel and rate management with group travel functionality to handle more complex requests.
Who Opera hotels software is for: The ideal customers and uses
An integrated platform solution isn't for everybody. While OPERA can be used for a single property, it’s built with multi-property in mind. Very small properties likely won’t realize the full benefits of the platform and may be overwhelmed by unused functionality.
The ideal customer segment is a hotel group with many larger properties that offer full service. Since OPERA is an integrated platform, hotels with more complex operations stand to benefit the most. For example, a hotel that uses Oracle POS (point of sale) and kitchen management can integrate full F&B operational functionality into the OPERA property management system. Such deep integration improves outcomes on the customer service front and gives hotel management stronger reports to monitor KPIs and profitability.
5 essential Opera PMS features
Personalized guest profiles: OPERA has comprehensive guest profiling capability, which allows your staff to keep track of guest preferences. These rich guest profiles can be quickly accessed to better personalize stays. Staff can see useful details, such as stay history, past communications, and previous service requests, to inform their approach to each guest. For hotel groups, these rich guest profiles can be shared seamlessly across multiple properties. You can think of this feature functionality as a lightweight operational hotel CRM without the full marketing capabilities.
One way to personalize profiles is to create relationships between them. For example, ensuring the corporate traveler is linked to the parent company. These relationship types can then be used to share rates among different groups or to send out personalized marketing campaigns targeted to specific relationship clusters.
Advanced rate management: Orient your entire staff around up-selling and cross-selling with OPERA’s integrated rate management tool. OPERA has advanced rate and room availability restrictions, as well as enhanced rate-management capability offering a vast number of room pricing options, including best available rate, dynamic rates, daily rates, base rate, and negotiated rates. These rates can then be distributed via OPERA’s integrated channel manager.
Rate management also extends to group travel, simplifying group bookings with advanced group management tools that help hotels deliver personalized proposals and accurate on-stay experiences.
Intelligent accommodation management: Effective room management is the hallmark of a well-run hotel. Proper allocation of room inventory avoids overbookings of specific room types and ensures that rooms are cleaned and maintained in a timely manner. OPERA’s intelligent accommodation management automatically assigns least-occupied room first. By striving for balanced usage, maintenance costs are more predictable.
Mobile: Mobile has become a must-have feature of any modern Property management system. OPERA now offers a completely mobile version of its flagship software, called OPERA Mobile Cloud Service. Staff can access the following information via any smartphone or tablet device: Check-in/check-out, reservation management, room status, task sheet, room maintenance, as well as Track It and Post It mobile that can provide real-time status updates on rooms and maintenance requests.
With the staff freed up from desktops, they can circulate more effectively and help guests in new ways. A more mobile staff can reduce check-in and check-out times and improve efficiencies in housekeeping and maintenance. This includes booking-related guest communications using tools such as traces and messages.
Loyalty support: The ability to support multiple languages and currencies is a requirement in today's globalized travel environment. Hotels that do not provide this support are at a disadvantage when competing for international visitors.
OPERA’s Customer Loyalty Tracking Cloud Service helps hotels with properties in multiple countries to achieve seamless personalization, regardless of a guest’s primary language.
One single customer record can be transliterated into multiple languages, which eliminates the need to create multiple guest profiles. Hotels with properties in different countries can address guests according to local conventions -- especially important with high-value guests, who want to be addressed accurately wherever in the world they are.
To drive loyalty-based marketing, guest behaviors accrue automatically to profiles, so hotels can build relevant packages and services based on guest history, including the length of stay, expenditure in restaurants and bars, and other preferences. The rich guest profile can then be used to personalize the experience on subsequent visits -- and to market to guests in between visits.
Want to see how Oracle Opera stacks up on feature functionality? Launch comparison
Oracle Hospitality: Pros and Cons
For quick reference, here are a few of the most revealing pros and cons. Sometimes the pros can be cons, so we’ve addressed both sides of certain aspects of OPERA.
Cloud-based. Cloud technology is more affordable and flexible than hosting on-site servers, reducing ongoing maintenance costs and minimizing upfront investments. Cloud-based products are usually more simple and reliable on the IT infrastructure front. There's also the added security benefit of regular updates and fewer on-site vulnerabilities.
Integrated platform. Oracle Hospitality offers a suite of applications for hospitality, including the Micros point-of-sale system. If your property wants a single vendor to handle F&B, as well as kitchen and property management, you'll be hard-pressed to find one with a product suite similar to Oracle’s.
Extensibility. The system is built to scale alongside your business. If your hotel group plans to grow into traditional brands and properties, the system can grow with you.
Large corporation. A large company means more stability and past performance. It also means that future staff are more likely to be familiar with the software, which reduces training time.
Customizable bundles. At the lower plan, OPERA allows hoteliers to select 55 features (out of 150) to customize a bundle that works best for them. See the image below for the breakdown.
Read Oracle Opera Reviews on Hotel Tech Report
Price. For properties that have specific needs or properties of a certain size, it may be too expensive to pay for a full-featured solution with unnecessary functionality. For example, the minimum package includes 55 features, which may be too many for some.
Large corporation. Smaller properties may get less attention than larger accounts and unless you are a big management company (or a mid sized brand) you are likely to experience long customer support times especially during critical periods like holidays. Many companies opt to work with third party support and implementation specialists who can help you fix problems in short period when Oracle corporate has slower turnaround times.
Contract complexity. Another challenge with larger companies is red tape. There's a lot to navigate in the Hospitality Cloud service descriptions and on the Oracle Contracts page. Opaque legalese can be a turn off for those use to simpler agreements from emerging vendors. This is par for the course in the enterprise software world though so just make sure at least one person on your team (preferably your IT manager) has past experience purchasing enterprise software to facilitate the process. Make sure to carefully review your contract and ensure that you have the right guarantees around training, support and integrations.
Tips and tricks from OPERA customers
During conversations with recent OPERA customers, the most common recommendation is to be very clear and consistent when communicating with the vendor. The company is quite large, so it's possible that inquiries can get lost in the shuffle.
TIP: Do not hesitate to reach out often and as needed to ensure that your implementation needs are met.
Another recommendation is to train staff in batches. By providing group training, it creates a sense of camaraderie and empowers the group to help each other with inevitable issues. One front desk manager suggests posting a laminated cheat sheet of OPERA shortcuts next to each terminal. This helps new staff learn to navigate the system more confidently.
TRICK: OPERA Help can be accessed from any screen by clicking F1.
Getting started with Opera PMS: On-boarding and implementation
The implementation process depends on a variety of factors, such as whether your property is transitioning from another software and if the property has a significant amount of existing data to import.
Your implementation manager will schedule an initial consultation to go over the on-boarding plan. Depending on your property’s room count, staff size, and existing digital infrastructure, expect a 3 to 6 month implementation period, on average. While we heard from our hotelier network about delays amongst the first clients who signed during the rollout of OPERA 9 those growing pains seem to be behind Oracle and implementations are back to normal.
Should you go with Opera for your new PMS?
Ultimately, Oracle (formerly Micros) is undeniably the incumbent in this space and as a twist on the old Xerox adage: “nobody ever got fired for buying an OPERA PMS.” Micros has been in the game as long as anyone and despite some bumps along the road is widely viewed as the most powerful platform in the industry today. Because of its legacy and resources, Oracle has had the ability to develop thousands of features that many other top rated property management systems who are newer to the market just plain haven’t had time to develop yet. If you are a super picky hotelier or IT Manager with super demanding needs and a portfolio of full service properties - you’re wise to at least get a demo from Oracle.
A PMS is the operating system and nucleus of your hotel. This is a big decision so it's critical to do your research up front. Get lots of demos, do lots of online research and pull insights from your peer community so that you can make the best decision for your property. PMS is not a "one size fits all" category so it's important to deeply understand your own internal requirements then align those with the best fit for your property.