Price comparison: property management systems

Is there anything more satisfying than getting a bargain deal on something you really want?

Not in our consumer-driven world, that’s for sure. But grabbing that Boxing Day special offer might leave you with a bitter aftertaste. Sure, you saved yourself a few dollars and felt great in the moment but without the special offer would you even have bought it? Is that new smartphone really much different from your last? Are you even going to wear those expensive new shoes? There’s always the worry that something won’t quite be worth it, that the bargain isn’t really a bargain after all.

It is human nature to act first and reflect later, more often than not, we are creatures of impulse and habit. But this pattern of bargain-hunting consumer behaviour creates a sense of foreboding that leaves many of us reluctant to buy much of anything at all. It’s a pent up hesitation that means when we do finally make a purchase, it’s after a hefty amount of internal debate and as a treat or impulse buy. Of course, this is forgivable in everyday life, especially as we all do it. (Are you thinking about that last thing you bought and temporarily hid? It’s okay, you’re not alone.) But in business this kind of erratic decision-making can be detrimental.

In the accommodation industry, purchasing decisions need to be made all the time and every little saving counts. Whether it is a stylistic decision about a property’s aesthetic, stocking the minibar or choosing how best to market to millennials, managers are constantly presented with things to buy and reasons to wrestle with. Arguably the most important thing to decide on though, is which property management system to install.

PMS are the centrepiece of every accommodation provider. In a sector increasingly governed by the interaction between humans and technology, where the main thing separating a property from potential guests is the internet, they are about as relevant as it gets.

While technology continues to evolve, it’s crucial to make sure your system evolves with it. An archaic PMS might feel like an old friend, technology well within your comfort zone, something that, hey, probably ‘gets the job done’, but there’s no way it’s getting the job done to the standard required for optimised success in today’s hyper-competitive market. An up-to-date system will save time, provide more avenues for profit, and ultimately save you some cash.

Because it is such an important asset to your business, purchasing a new PMS should definitely not be an impulse buy. Getting a great deal is always the goal but as with everything in life, cheaper doesn’t always mean better and preparation is key. You need to know your stuff. So how much should you expect to pay for a PMS? Well that depends which one you want as there are a few different types but lucky for you, AMG has compiled a list of each along with their estimated cost for your price comparison reading pleasure.

Property management systems can be split into three main types: there’s the tiered model, pay-per-room, and the one-time licence. They each have their pros and cons and differ slightly in price. Budget and necessity are the deciding factors here, so it’s important to consider your property’s needs alongside the price guidelines.


This is the most popular choice for accommodation providers looking to install some new software. It generally has an installation fee, which will come to approximately $650. After that, the cost is monthly and generated based on the number of rooms in the property. While it sounds very reasonable, with prices as low as $5 per room per month, this can quickly add up. It translates already to about $150 per month for a property with 30 rooms. However, discounts are usually available for very large properties.

Things get far more expensive when combined with a tiered model that brings in extra features and customised benefits. Then prices can reach upwards of $15 per room per month, which is obviously a larger investment but one with visible returns.

The tiered model

Although this type of PMS structure can tie into the pay-per-room model as previously discussed, it usually targets a range of rooms rather than a specific number. Subscription-based, this is a middle-ground option bridging the gap between pay-per-room and a one-time licence fee. The various tiers add a plethora of different functions and winning features like bonus storage and other data capabilities. Obviously the higher the tier, the higher the price.

There are also cloud options available with this model, which lessen the expense yet again. A monthly subscription generally shapes up to be around $65 for an initial tier with a one-time installation and training fee that will likely set you back around $1500.

A more generic subscription, eliminating cloud-based solutions, should cost around $200 to $400 a month, any more than that would be unusual but again it depends on how many rooms are catered to. Prices with the tier model fluctuate so widely due to added functions and rooms that sample costs are hard to pin down. It really depends what your specific property needs are, so it might be worth getting a few quotes from companies offering the different models.

One-time licence

With this type of PMS there is no long-term commitment or subscription cost. Providers simply pay a one-off fee to install and use the software and that is it. However, the initial fee will obviously be much higher, starting at around $5000 with the potential to reach over $20,000.

The benefit to this model is obviously that it’s a one-time payment, so depending on how long you plan to keep it, this could work out cheapest in the long run. There are also usually no contracts involved. However, the downside to this model is that there might be restrictions or extra fees in the fine print so it is important to do your research.

Making the choice

Of course, prices will vary from company to company and the figures listed here are really just estimates. The most important thing is to shop around, ask lots of questions, discuss your options, know what your property needs and what hasn’t worked in the past. Don’t ‘treat yourself’ to a new PMS until you’ve done all the preparation and thought it through carefully because it will be a vital asset to your business. On the other hand, whichever solution you ultimately choose will be a terrific workday treat for you and your future profit margin.


Rosie Clarke

Rosie Clarke is managing editor at Multimedia Publishing.

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