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Hotelier news, tips and advice from industry experts.

Welcome Anywhere Property Managment System > Blog > 2017 > August

(Left-right): John Jones, Welcome Systems Managing Director and Cornie McGinley, Costa Systems Managing Director.

We're delighted to announce that we have appointed Costa Systems as our sole agent in The Republic of Ireland for the Welcome Anywhere hotel booking system.

Welcome Systems’ Managing Director, John Jones, explains:

“Welcome Anywhere is used by hundreds of hoteliers in the UK who love its ease of use and cutting-edge features. The days of expensive, clunky booking systems are gone, and we’re going to break new ground in Ireland by bringing our next generation product to hotels, B&Bs and guest houses there.

“As a hospitality original, we don’t just partner with anyone, we only work with the best and this new collaboration with Costa Systems is a prime example. I’m absolutely delighted to have forged this alliance with Costa.”

Cornie McGinley, Managing Director of Costa Systems, based in Co. Meath, Ireland, adds:

“Costa Systems is one of the Country’s top Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) success stories and we have an excellent understanding of the local market. In my view hotels, B&Bs, pubs with rooms and guest houses need to work harder than ever before to deliver an unforgettable guest experience, particularly as the Irish visitor economy takes off.

“Through this partnership with Welcome Systems we will help customers achieve their goals by offering world class EPOS products, coupled with the Welcome Anywhere system. It is refreshingly straightforward and offers a constant flow of updates and improvements. It’s a genuinely next-generation product that makes other options look obsolete.”

Welcome Systems and Costa Systems will exhibit together at the Food, Retail & Hospitality Expo on 13th Sept at Citywest in Dublin, where one visitor will receive a free year’s subscription to Welcome Anywhere.

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If you Google anything that contains the words ‘Wi-Fi’ and ‘hotel’, you’ll be met with a barrage of webpages that appear to suggest guests need to undertake military-grade cyber defence training in order to keep their personal data safe.

In truth, operating an internet-connected device in a hotel is no different to doing so within any other public arena. It’s as safe as both the guest - and the hotelier - makes it.

In today’s blog, we’re going to focus on how hoteliers can build Wi-Fi networks that are as secure as possible and which give guests ultimate peace of mind.

We think there are five things you can do today to make a real difference:

1. Implement two Wi-Fi networks

You may have been told this by your IT guru previously and dismissed it for being too much of a faff, but hotels really should carry two Wi-Fi networks.

The reason is simple: one will be for your operation (front of house, back office, the till system, etc), and the other solely for guests.

This offers two big benefits. Firstly, you can set more stringent access controls for guests and, secondly, ensure they get all the bandwidth they need.

2. Change default passwords

If you set up the Wi-Fi network yourself and did so in a rush, you may have inadvertently left the back door swinging conveniently for would-be hackers.

The networking gear you purchased will have come with default passwords and user credentials, but no matter how secure they may look, it’s vital to bear in mind that they haven’t been created by you. They’re ‘default’ and default stuff gets around.

Always make the first task when setting up a Wi-Fi network that of changing the default passwords. Use a secure password generator to ensure that your digital back door remains firmly closed.

3. Use WPA2 encryption

Data encryption evolves constantly, but you should always ensure you’re using the default level of security on your hotel’s network.

That is known as ‘WPA2’, and unless your router was born in the era of Britpop and the Spice Girls, it will support it. Turning it on (if it isn’t already) should be very straightforward following a glance at the manual.

4. Don’t plaster the Wi-Fi password everywhere

When you offer public Wi-Fi access, there’s no getting away from the fact you’ll need to distribute the password, and as a hotel guest, there’s nothing more painful than hunting around for a Wi-Fi key that isn’t anywhere obvious.

It may therefore be tempting to place big signs everywhere that advertise the password, but in doing so, you’ll simply invite passers by and the more nefarious members of society to use your bandwidth as they sit outside in the car park.

Instead, place it somewhere obvious in the guest handbook or on a card within the room.

Alternatively, move onto tip 5, which would be our preference…

5. Implement a login system

Our last tip is only relevant if you don’t have the ability to implement a login system on your Wi-Fi network. If you do, you should use it.

These replace the need for a Wi-Fi key with a username and password combination that must be setup by the user on first use.

Some of these platforms will offer usage for a certain period of time before requiring a second sign in and, while this may be a little less convenient for guests, it’s not enough to send them packing elsewhere, and is far more secure than relying on a standard Wi-Fi key.

Wrapping up

How secure is your hotel’s Wi-Fi network? Use our tips above, and you’ll be doing your bit for the fight against cybercrime.

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You’ve done it, haven’t you?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Thousands of hoteliers (that’s a guess, but we’re probably not far off the mark) start blogs only to leave them dormant after a couple of posts about the new restaurant menu and long-serving staff member Sarah’s leaving party.

If that rings true, you’re unfortunately missing out on a massive opportunity to market your hotel in a way that will gradually build an audience which learns to trust you and - eventually - pay for your services.

The biggest problem, clearly, is finding inspiration, therefore we recommend bookmarking this blog and turning to it whenever you need a great idea for your content plan.

Here’s our top fifteen blog ideas for hotel marketing:

1. A preview of local events

No matter where your hotel is situated, there’ll be local events of some kind that will draw guests to your property. Create a blog that previews the local events scheduled for the year and publish it in January.

2. Review some travel apps

You’ll have noticed that your guests are becoming increasingly dependent on smartphone apps when it comes to planning their trip and stay with you. Help them out by reviewing a few yourself (focus on mapping tools, area guides and online booking platforms).

3. Where to find the adventurous stuff in <your area>

For guests who love the great outdoors and have a sense of adventure, a blog that details the best spots near your hotel for such activity will go down a storm.

4. Top summer activities

What attractions and events should travellers to your area expect to have at their disposal when the warm weather arrives?

5. Top winter activities

As above, but focusing on the stuff that can fill a cold winter’s morning, afternoon or evening.

6. What to do as a couple in <your location>

This is a great one for hotels looking to raise the number of holidaying couples. Write about the benefits of short breaks and the romantic excursions and experiences lovebirds can experience in your area.

7. What to do with the family in <your location>

Come the summer holidays, parents across the UK (and beyond) will be looking for ways to fill their kids’ days. Give them a reason to visit your hotel and its surroundings.

8. Stuff to do during 24 hours in <your location>

Set readers of your blog a challenge. Assume they only have twenty-four hours to play with and highlight all the cool stuff they can achieve in that time (before ending up exhausted, lying in one of your beds).

9. The most unusual attractions in <your location>

Trust us - you’ll be able to find some. Reach out to local businesses, attractions and organisations to identify unusual things about the area that might capture the imagination of people looking for a memorable weekend away.

10. The top 10 cool facts about <your location>

If you can’t think of ten, list as many as you can. If you find more than ten - go bonkers; Google loves content of this kind.

11. The top 5 things you’ll need to bring with you during a hotel stay

If truth be told, there’s a fair few blogs of this nature already, but there’s no harm in being in amongst it - particularly if you can put a unique spin on the list.

12. The funniest things left behind by our guests

Give your readers a laugh. If you’ve run your hotel for a considerable amount of time, you’ll have amassed a collection of stories (and, sometimes, objects) that guests have inexplicably decided to bring with them and forget to take home.

13. The best pubs in <your location>

Far from sending potential guests to the competition, you’ll be helping out travellers who want to mix their hotel stay with a traipse around the best pubs nearby. Besides - you’re all in this together, and you never know what you might get in return for promoting another local business!

14. A day in the life of our receptionist

Obviously, you can substitute ‘receptionist’ for any role within your hotel, but why not give readers an insight into how your hotel is run? It’ll add personality to your brand and give members of staff a moment in the spotlight.

15. 3 dishes from our menu you’ll want to try

Although it isn’t advisable to use a business blog to talk relentlessly about yourself, there’s no harm in occasionally highlighting the awesome things you have available for guests. Pick three items from your menu and detail them with lip-smacking text and hunger-inducing imagery.

Have we inspired you? Thought so.

Have you got your own go-to blog topics for your hotel marketing strategy? If you don’t mind sharing them, please do so in the comments below!

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