Oracle OPERA PMS: 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 especially when Oracle's OPERA product line enters the discussion. Everyone has horror stories and preferred products. These types of insights are helpful for hoteliers evaluating new technology partners to improve both hotel operations and deliver a great guest experience. They act as a barometer of sorts, shaping initial impressions and guiding the vendor vetting process.
In this expert review of Oracle Hospitality and opera hotels software, we've combined Hotel Tech Report’s expertise with insights culled from interviews with real users. This article provides a comprehensive resource for hoteliers immersed in the process of vendor evaluation. Oracle Hospitality's OPERA (formerly Micros) is the largest PMS player in the hospitality industry and in this article we'll review how their hotel management software can improve operational efficiency for your business then point out some areas that every buyer should be aware of as they consider the solution.
No software is ever the "best for everyone" so we'll also dive into which types of hotels OPERA is a great fit for and discuss how independent hotels, boutiques and chains all benefit in different ways. We'll also cover the impact of Oracle Cloud on its hospitality solutions division and whether Oracle's PMS is actually in the cloud.
Before we get started, here are a few helpful resources for those evaluating Oracle OPERA:
Oracle OPERA Reviews (121 verified client reviews)
Oracle OPERA Integrations (371 verified integrations)
Oracle OPERA Alternatives (10 similar products)
Oracle OPERA Comparisons (compare Oracle OPERA to alternatives)
Oracle OPERA PMS: The Basics
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.
Which Types of Hotels Does Oracle OPERA Work Best For?
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 Features of Oracle Hospitality's Property Management System
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: Like Any Vendor, There Are 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 Oracle 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.
Which Hotels use Opera PMS?
Social proof is a valuable consideration during the hospitality technology evaluation process, as it validates vendors and highlights industry expertise. It’s especially useful at the start of the process, as you develop your shortlist of potential technology partners.
A vendor’s list of reference clients answers three questions: 1) Is the technology widely adopted among hotels similar to mine? 2) Which features do similar properties find useful? 3) Are these reference brands reputable and in alignment with the way I want my own brand to be perceived? These questions are a litmus test to make sure that you are focusing on vendors that can provide the most impact on your business.
For instance, selecting a vendor that focuses on budget limited-service properties may not always be the best fit for a five-star luxury property. You may want different features or a vendor that has more experience with hotels in your category.
As you begin to consider property management systems for your hotel, here’s a look at hotels that use Opera PMS. With this market overview, you'll have a better picture of how Opera PMS fits into your tech stack.
ARP-Hansen Hotel Group, Denmark
With twelve hotels in Copenhagen (and one in Aarhus), the ARP-Hansen Hotel Group wanted a property management system that could accommodate multiple properties while still being accessible to all staff members. The hotels range in size from 98 rooms to 679 rooms, which also means that each property has a different profile as far as technology needs.
Software: OPERA 5 PMS ad OPERA Sales and Event Management
What the team likes: Automation, which allows information to be entered into the system without manual intervention; Customization, so the software can be adjusted according to shifting needs and priorities; Multi-property, so guest profiles are shared across properties and can be used to personalize and recognize loyal guests; Reporting and Analytics, so data can be easily compared and contrasted across properties; mPOS, which untethers staff from desks and wait stations.
Manquehue Hotels, Chile
This family-owned hotel chain started 35 years ago and has recently expanded its operations to 5 hotels. The expansion led it to select Opera to support its property management and food and beverage operations across properties.
Software: OPERA 5 PMS and Simphony Cloud
What the team likes: Provides granular profitability data so that the food and beverage operations can identify popular dishes and customized offerings based on guest requirements; Integrated surveys within the Opera Cloud allow the group to automate the process of measuring guest satisfaction and improving the service quality.
Ilunion Hotels, Spain
The Illunion Hotels Group has 26 hotels in 12 cities across Spain. For 30 years, the group had relied primarily on its own internal property management technology. But, because no one knew the system, the company couldn't contract external knowledge. This limitation became insurmountable, and the group turned to Opera.
Another aspect of this digital transformation relates to the group's focus on accessibility. With over 40% of its staff having some form of disability (and a brand promise of accessible tourism), the chosen technology had to accommodate these varying abilities.
Software: OPERA 5 PMS and Simphony Cloud
What the team likes: Customization, which allows the team to adapt the software to its preferred level of guest-centricity; Agility, as the team did not want to be encumbered by inflexible software and wanted a rapid deployment; the 360-degree view of the guest that puts guest information at the staff’s fingertips, both at the front desk and in F&B outlets; Seamless integration of guest profiles across properties.
Ojai Valley Inn, USA
The Ojai Valley Inn is a luxury resort located in California. The resort, which dates back to the 1920s, has been steadily expanding its footprint -- especially when it comes to food and beverage. The resort has 16 outlets and adds a new one nearly every year. It chose OPERA to accommodate this growth in both its lodging business and food and beverage operations.
Software: OPERA 5 PMS and Simphony Cloud
What the team likes: Sync between PMS and Simphony Cloud allows data to be seamlessly shared across F&B outlets and guest profiles in the PMS; interfaces with every other system used on-property; mPOS allows staff to greet guests and process transactions more efficiently; open API simplifies the integration of guest data into guest-facing mobile applications; Cloud offers redundancy, as each POS functions even with a power or system outage.
Banff Park Lodge, Canada
Banff Park Lodge is an independent resort tucked away in the Canadian rockies. The property includes ample conference and meeting space, and is often host to weddings, reunions and other events. While it’s a smaller resort, it must nonetheless deliver the top-notch experience that guests expect from comparable luxury properties serving mountain settings, both elsewhere in Canada and in the United States.
Software: OPERA Cloud and OPERA Sales and Event Management
What the team likes: The interface is intuitive and easy-to-use, reducing training costs and making for a more pleasant staff experience; cloud PMS reduces IT investment and is more reliable than on-premise; self-paced eLearning options made implementation a breeze; sales team spends less time on tedious tasks and more on high-value ones, like generating leads and closing deals.
Movenpick Hotels, Global
Movenpick’s mantra is “ordinary things in an extraordinary way,” creating memorable moments for guests that build long-term loyalty. The global hotel group went with OPERA to achieve that objective, deploying it worldwide so that its customer database extends globally and guests can be recognized wherever they stay.
Software: OPERA Cloud
What the team likes: The system reduces complexity and allows staff to focus on innovation rather than managing clunky legacy systems; the intuitive interface makes it easy to train staff, as well as retain younger employees more familiar with consumer-grade UX than legacy; runs on any device so staff can work wherever and “check the heartbeat of the hotel”; consistent performance worldwide, no matter where a property is located.
SantaPark Arctic World, Finland
SantaPark has a unique appeal. It sits in the heart of the Arctic Circle, which is the ideal backdrop for a guest offering that focuses on natural beauty, winter and Christmas-themed experiences, like the Ice Princess Ice Gallery, Santa’s Secret Forest. To accommodate its growing number of themed attractions, The resort consolidated its operations technology with Oracle Cloud so that it could handle the volume of guests across its 21 experiences and F&B outlets, in addition to its luxury Arctic TreeHouse Hotel.
Software: OPERA Cloud and Siphony Cloud
What the team likes: The system can scale with the brand as it grows into new properties; one system across 21 POS terminals throughout, which integrates into a single PMS; performance reporting for sales, customer service and front-desk; single platform to oversee luxury experiences and preferences for guests; minimized time to value due to 3-month deployment; ease of use, and intuitive interface; reduced complexity freed up staff resources to focus on new growth opportunities.
Circa Resort and Casino, USA
Circa is the newest hotel on Fremont Street, the original Las Vegas Strip. It's the third addition to the casino group that also includes the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate Hotel. The addition of a third property was an opportunity to further integrate technology across the entire group.The team wanted a platform that connected casino operations, gaming property management, central hotel solutions and restaurant management into a single solution.
Software: OPERA 5 PMS, Simphony Cloud, NetSuite
What the team likes: Foundation to “future proof” operations across back office, hotels and restaurants; out-of-the-box integrations simplify the process of plugging customer communications, integrated room controls and contactless tech into the guest experience; 360-degree guest profiles offer detailed information about preferences and behavior across all three properties; flexibility and extensibility to grow and customize as needed.
Is OPERA Right for Your Hotel?
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.