Why a UK multi-serviced apartment provider chose RMS Cloud as the flexible technology solution to adapt to their growing brand.
With seven serviced apartments across the UK, Mansley Serviced Apartments (Mansley) is a growing enterprise that shows no signs of slowing down. Established in the 1960s by Sir Charles Rowley and now managed by his son, Sir Richard Rowley, Mansley is continuing to expand, with properties in London, Cheltenham and Edinburgh and a plan to extend their portfolio to Europe in the very near future.
Chief operating officer, Colin Stone, who has been part of the Mansley family for the past five years, was a key driver of the group’s transition from their previous PMS vendor to RMS Cloud.
Finding a flexible PMS system that could adapt to their growing brand
With expansion on the horizon, Colin and his team needed a more robust PMS system to alleviate their challenges and do more than just the basics. Three main requirements included:
- Tools to satisfy their owner accounting requirements
- Clarity on data to shape their business strategy
- The ability to overcome technology gaps in their operations
A thorough decision-making process
After conducting in-depth research into a number of PMS providers, Colin knew that the group needed to find a solution that addressed their key challenges, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic.
“From a cash-flow perspective, there was a strong argument for delaying the go-ahead because RMS was going to add to our costs, but it had great benefits which made it justifiable in normal trading,” says Colin. “I think it’s important to keep moving forward as a business and RMS was very much a part of us being able to deliver on our plan.
“It was also a really good time to do it; practically because the number of reservations on the books is lower so the onboarding process was simpler as a result of that. The teams also have more time on their hands to deal with the technology changes. When trading returns to normal, we feel we’ll be at a much stronger position because we’ve already made the transition and have this great technology powering our business.
“We had some fixed criteria that we needed the system to do and I think RMS was the only one that ticked all those boxes,” says Colin. “It was strong in all areas; I can’t think of any particular area we perceived weakness in.”
Designed for serviced apartments, customised for Mansley’s business strategy
RMS Cloud’s solutions delivered on Mansley’s requirements for all essential areas.
With Colin’s background in revenue management, the rate functionality was a particular focus for him. “I saw great capability in RMS’ rate engine; the functionality is second to none compared to the other PMS’ that we looked at; it really was top in that regard.”
Other solutions that benefited Mansley’s strategy included RMS’ owner accounting module and the inbuilt features within the software.
“We have some apartments that have individual owners and RMS have their comprehensive system for managing that which was a huge tick for us. Plus, the integrated channel manager, the online booking engine, the pre-check-in functionality; the latter was one of the reasons we moved ahead during the pandemic because we could fill in the COVID questionnaire online prior to guest arrival.”
Another big part of the decision to choose RMS was the ability to integrate RMS into the Mansley app.
“Our app is an important part of our guest offering. A lot of our properties have very little in the way of staffing; they're run on an on-call basis so we view the app as a really important tool to keep up-to-date information at the hands of our guests. RMS offered us that integration which was a huge factor in our decision-making.”
Colin also liked the cleanliness and simplicity of the interface compared to competitors.
“I was surprised that quite a few people hadn’t heard of RMS including our past PMS provider,” admits Colin, “but actually, one of the support agents came back a few days later and said they’d had a look at the RMS system and it looked fantastic, which was quite reassuring from your outgoing PMS vendor.
“I also know some very respected serviced apartments that use the product which was a big part of my decision-making process.”
Remote implementation and tailored training
With pandemic spikes strongly encouraging people to work from home, RMS Cloud delivered a remote installation and a flexible training program with recordable sessions that suited Mansley perfectly.
“Because we’ve expanded the company quite rapidly over the last five years and opened four new properties, we’re reasonably experienced in onboarding. I actually found the RMS process more valuable than PMS installs I’ve done in the past though.
“Normally, the first time you’ve really got your hand on it is when you start onboarding and then you’re almost going live the next day without much time to use the system or it’s not been configured for you. We actually built the system for our properties two weeks in advance, adding the room and rate types we’re familiar with. By the time go live came around, we felt we knew it pretty well and were in a much stronger position than with a traditional onboarding process.”
Looking ahead to a future with RMS
“I firmly believe going forward that it will give us really good management data that will help shape our strategy. The CRM and segmentation systems are incredibly powerful and we expect to see real advantages from that.
“RMS can work with weekly and monthly rates which is a big advantage to us because we’ve pivoted towards much longer length stays. Being able to offer this, as opposed to just nightly rates, is a very strong feature that we’re making use of.”
Colin sums RMS up in three words: powerful, adaptable and feature-rich. With an ever-evolving market and the need to be reactive, Colin and the Mansley team are looking forward to using RMS to assist with their future strategy.
Watch a snippet of our chat with Colin below: