Face it: You’re going to spend a lot of money on IT stuff in 2017. You can’t avoid it.
Hotels spend an average of 4.9% of revenue on IT and tech to improve their operations each year. That means if you’re pulling in $1.5 million in revenue each year, you’ll average spending $73,500 on adding bandwidth, securing your data and, yes, buying hotel management software. So if you do decide to plunk down some serious cash on software to streamline your hotel’s operations, you need to get it right the first time.
There are a lot of options out there, but Oracle’s Opera, and Maestro PMS are two intriguing alternatives, each having their own unique advantages.
Oracle’s Opera property management system is the 500-pound gorilla in the hospitality management software world. It has a market score of 96 on Capterra’s popularity chart, compared to the second highest score of 81. We estimate that Opera has 26,000 customers and 104,000 users.
Maestro PMS is a good bit smaller, scoring a 51 on our popularity chart with an estimated 430 customers and 10,000 users. But as every hotel manager knows, the size of the company behind the software pales in comparison to the quality of the software itself. And even though Opera is a top-notch product, it doesn’t mean it’s the best option for your hotel.
So how do you decide whether to go with a market leader like Opera or with an up-and-comer like Maestro? I’ve put together a detailed comparison below of how Opera vs. Maestro match up in terms of features, customer support, and other criteria.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen Oracle’s Opera PMS system, you may want to give it a second look, as the software has gotten a brand new user interface.
The dashboard now has large buttons meant for easy navigation to reservations, maintenance, and everywhere else you need to keep an eye on for smooth hotel operation.
The software also is mobile and hosted on the cloud, enabling staff to be connected wherever they are. That allows housekeeping, for example, to receive a real-time update that guests have checked out of a room so they don’t have to knock on their door.
Opera also collects guest preferences and special requests, and personalization can extend to room service, allowing you to create a customized room service menu that takes into account the guest’s dietary preferences.
The software is capable of generating customized reports so you can track your hotel’s progress and spot trends.
Maestro PMS also is designed for the cloud, and its main feature is the integration of more than 20 modules into one place, like reservations and front desk, sales and catering, spa and club management, retail point-of-sale (POS), dining POS, and an integrated booking engine.
The aim is to simplify the experience for the hotel manager so all tasks involved in running a hotel can be done from one dashboard. That way, there’s no need to juggle a bunch of different platforms.
Maestro says the software is ideally designed for independent and boutique hotels, but multi-property groups can also make use of it.
Modern features include web check-in, text messaging, email marketing, group landing pages, and reputation management.
Maestro PMS also claims that you’ll be able to stay in full communication with your guests before, during, and after their stay directly through messaging systems built into the platform.
Both Opera and Maestro PMS claim to offer 24/7 support with live representatives, and reviewers had very strong opinions about both of them in this category.
Oracle offers three tiers of support for their products (the company does not publicize the prices of these tiers):
- “Sustaining support” is the most basic level, which includes maintenance for as long as you use the software, giving you access to online support tools, pre-existing fixes, and assistance from experts.
- “Extended support” is the middle tier, and it includes allows you to get additional maintenance on top of the “sustaining support” tier, as well as upgrades for an additional fee.
- “Premier support” is the top level of support offered by Oracle, and it includes “complete server and storage system support.”
Some customers were critical of Opera’s customer service in reviews on Capterra, saying that the company was not very responsive to service requests. They also disliked the extra fees for additional levels of service.
On the other hand, customers praised Maestro PMS’s support in their reviews. The software has nearly unanimous perfect reviews at Capterra, although there are only four of them. Several specifically praised Northwind’s—the company that develops the software—customer service as being very responsive and helpful.
“Great support. Great sales team. They listen to customers and worked closely with our team to understand our software needs, IT resources, personnel, and our customers,” wrote one reviewer.
Pricing is a bit trickier to gauge. Neither company lists a price for the software on their websites.
An Oracle representative declined to comment on price, noting that they need to consult with customers to determine their needs before figuring out a price point. Their pricing model appears to use a one-time fee. Capterra has listed a one-time starting price for Opera of $15,000, while two reviewers at Software Advice have paid between $20,000-$50,000 and from $100,000-$250,000, so your price tag will probably differ greatly depending on your company profile. However, one thing is clear: signing up probably won’t be cheap, at least from the outset.
A consultant on Quora says that prices depend on three factors: number of rooms, the level of the edition you want (full service versus express), and if your hotel is part of a major chain that has a special corporate price.A consultant noted on Quora says that prices depend on three factors: number of rooms, the level of the edition you want (full service versus express), and if your hotel is part of a major chain that has a special corporate price.
Opera doesn’t offer a demo through the site, but you can place a product inquiry at Oracle to set up a conversation with a sales representative who can determine your needs and the best solution for you.
Like Opera, Maestro PMS’s team will set up a meeting with you to determine your needs and requirements, and then figure out a solution with its own customized pricing. Maestro PMS generally goes with a one-time price model. However, a Maestro PMS representative said that the platform uses a subscription-based model with no licensing fees, and only training and services are charged upfront. They also charge an annual support fee that includes 24/7 help desk support, free version upgrades, remote training, and access to the elearning website. Your price will vary depending on the number of user licenses you want, not how many rooms you have.
You can request a live demo through a form on their website.
But wait, there’s more (software options)
Chances are, if you’re interested in one alternative to Opera, you’re probably interested in others. There are a ton of other hotel management software options out there, and if you find that neither Maestro PMS nor Opera quite fit the bill, hopefully our readers can help you out in the comments section below by describing what software solutions worked for them and why.
And if you’ve used either Maestro or Opera, we’re dying to know what you think, so please let us know below.