Blog Archive

Hotelier news, tips and advice from industry experts.

Welcome Anywhere Property Managment System > Blog > 2018 > May

Summer is the season of adventure, which means millions of people will be looking to book a UK hotel and escape the daily grind.

With so many accommodation options available, independent hotels need to work harder than ever to stand out from the crowd.

Here are just a few intriguing ideas to help promote your hotel this summer and earn the attention of guests when they decide to book.

Big up the World Cup

The Russia World Cup 2018 is set to dominate the attention of the entire nation when it kicks off on the 14thJune.

During the competition, plenty of people are likely to have football on their mind, which is why it makes sense for your hotel to appeal to fans in some way.

Holding viewing events for big games is a great idea, as it will create a communal atmosphere and also convince guests to stick around and spend money at the bar, rather than heading elsewhere to keep up with the action.

World Cup themed nights in the restaurant might also be a hit if you can focus on providing food from one of the nations playing that evening.

Serve seasonal dishes

If food is a big element of your hotel’s offering, it makes sense to ensure that the menu you offer is appropriate for the shifting seasons and warmer weather.

In the summer, the time is ripe for offering a range of dishes that reflect the summer heat and also tie in with your local area.

Work with nearby producers to create meal concepts that give you the edge over the competition and keep foodies happy.

Hotels with outdoor dining areas might also benefit from setting up regular barbecue events throughout the summer, perhaps with live entertainment and even cooking demonstrations - if your budget is flexible enough, of course!

Optimise your online presence

The best way to engage with guests this summer is to make sure your hotel is as visible online as possible.

It’s not enough to simply rely on your site cropping up on search engines and booking platforms; you’ll also need to engage with prospective visitors via social media to make the biggest splash and temp them away from spending more time at home or abroad.

Create compelling, seasonal blog content to draw people to your site and boost direct bookings, but also ensure you have plenty of summery images and promotions to share on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, too.

The content you create can relate to almost anything, but it’s best to optimise it so that it fits in with the ethos of your hotel, as well as the region of the country in which you’re based.

Cater to families

The school holidays is a peak time for family trips, therefore your hotel needs to be ready for an influx of excited kids and leisure-seeking parents.

Being able to offer activities to guests that will suit people of all ages is a great marketing tip. If you can do something to keep the kids occupied and give the parents time to themselves, then all the better; you’ll win plenty of fans with that kind of approach.

Focus on weekends and design memorable events that are geared towards families. You could consider everything from sporting competitions and outdoor games to children’s entertainers and mobile petting zoos.

Wrapping up

Summer arrives quickly and is over all too soon, so make sure your hotel is prepared to take full advantage of it this year by following some of these tips, rather than letting it pass by.

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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to lurch into life on May 25th, and the chances are, you’ll already have spent a lot of time and effort preparing for its arrival.

Despite this, and with such a big change to regulation, it’s always sensible to run through some final checks to make sure that you’re not missing anything obvious before the new rules come into effect.

Here are a few steps you can take to prepare your hotel for the GDPR and to help you avoid the fines that might hit hard if you ignore it.

1. Refresh staff on the GDPR’s requirements

The people who need to be most on top of GDPR-related issues are your staff.

It’s a good idea to gather up your team, go over the implications of the new data regulations and make sure they’re up to speed with the changes.

2. Check with third-party partners

Stricter privacy rules don’t just apply to the way you handle guest data in-house; it’s also important that any third-party platforms used to take bookings and manage your hotel are compliant.

Get in touch with whichever OTAs and PMS providers you use to ensure that they’re all set for the GDPR (if you haven’t heard from them already – no news isn’t good news when it comes to the GDPR).

3. Engage guests to build trust

Once the GDPR is enforced, it’s a good idea to keep your guests abreast of the changes and demonstrate that your hotel is aware of its new obligations.

The easiest way to do this is at check-in, when you can let guests know that their personal details will be protected once they’re in your care.

Because this regulation has been so highly publicised, with most people encountering the effects of it in their own workplaces and email inboxes, a hotel which doesn’t showcase GDPR-savvy policies might raise concerns.

4. Update your website

All of the information about how you manage guest data should be available to review online, but don’t just rely on third party platforms to take care of this responsibility.

Check your hotel website and make sure that it features a revised privacy policy which reflects the rules of the GDPR.

5. Contact customers

Most independent hotels will have a mailing list or loyalty scheme aimed at keeping customers informed of news and offers.

You should get in touch with everyone on your books to let them know of any changes to your policies and practices that have been motivated by the GDPR.

This is also a great opportunity to ask your customers to confirm that they still want to be subscribed to your mailing list, while simultaneously reminding them that your hotel exists and that it’s now fully compliant with the new regulations.

6. Plan for problems

Data breaches are unavoidable, and if one of the third-party platforms you use is hit by cyber crime, your hotel will be required to let its customers know.

It’s a case of planning for the worst-case scenarios before they happen so that you’re prepared, rather than being struck by a data security disaster without having contingencies in place.

Wrapping up

Feeling panicky about the GDPR? It might seem daunting, but by this point you should only need to do a few final checks to stay on the right side of the regulations.

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Regardless of how you might feel about the significant interest placed on millennials by seemingly every media outlet, the biggest generation in existence is definitely in the driving seat when it comes to the economy.

Next year they’ll outnumber baby boomers, so it’s important for businesses across all industries to cater to their needs in order to attract millennial customers.

Independent hotels already have a head start in this respect, since the under-35s are more interested in bespoke experiences and seemingly keen to avoid big chains.

Today, we’re going to consider some of the tactics you can employ to appeal to millennials if you’re an independent hotelier looking to boost bookings and raise the average value of every stay.

Embrace craft beer

Although craft beer sales may have hit a plateau after a decade of immense growth, it now accounts for a significant chunk of the market and is a favourite tipple for hip young things everywhere.

Adding a few craft beers to your menu is a great idea, whether or not your hotel has a dedicated restaurant.

What makes this especially appealing is the fact that millennials are happy to sip a cold, hoppy beverage from a bottle or can, so you don’t even need to worry about the extra cost associated with supplying hand-pulled pints.

Offer ethical eats

Food culture is big amongst those born in the 80s and 90s, but great taste is not the only thing they’re looking for; they also want to know that the items on offer are responsibly sourced.

If you can provide locally grown, organic ingredients in the food you offer at your independent hotel, then you’ll have yet another selling point to market to millennial guests.

This has the bonus effect of helping you tie in your business with others in the surrounding area, by working with nearby producers to provide something unique, local and ethically sound at the same time.

Support digital nomads

The rise of the internet and the emergence of powerful portable computing hardware has made flexible working popular amongst millennials.

So-called ‘digital nomads’ are equipped to remain productive while on the move, working from wherever they happen to find themselves rather than being restricted to the office.

Because of this, it’s worth making sure that your hotel is set up to support them. Whether you set aside a dedicated workspace or simply ensure that you have plenty of power outlets to help charge laptops, smartphones and tablets, there are lots of little things you can do to tempt digital nomads through your doors.

It should go without saying, but providing free Wi-Fi access is also a must, as guests of all ages will really appreciate it and those who’re travelling while working will be even more grateful.

Make booking easy

Millennials have grown up with access to the internet and in an age when online booking for virtually everything is the norm.

For independent hotels to thrive, they need to make sure that their rooms and rates are competitive with the big chains as well as being visible on the same popular online booking agencies (OTA).

Make it easy to book your hotel, no matter where the option happens to be found – whether that’s on your own website or an OTA.

Wrapping up

It may seem like millennials are a hard-to-please bunch, but in reality, their needs are fairly simple to meet.

The hotels which tune their services to suit this generation will reap the rewards - without alienating older guests.

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Cloud computing has become a much-discussed topic across most industries, praised for its ability to make modern software solutions and scalable IT resources available to everyone.

In 2018 alone, it’s estimated that around $160 billion (£118 billion) will be spent on cloud-powered services, according to the IDC.

But even in the age of affordable, accessible cloud platforms, some independent hotels are doing more to take advantage of this than others.

So, what can the cloud do for the hospitality industry and what strategies are most impactful in the era of outsourced IT?

Taking the plunge

The cloud is often sold on its ability to simplify IT and help businesses break free of the clunky, complicated systems they have been relying on for decades.

The problem with this is that it can give some hotels the wrong idea about how to approach cloud adoption.

Uprooting legacy apps wholesale and dumping them onto the cloud is a bad idea; it’s better to take the plunge with a service that’s built from the ground up to operate within a cloud infrastructure.

For hotels, this may mean leaving behind outdated booking systems and PMS solutions so that migrating to the cloud can deliver tangible benefits.

Only by cutting back the dead wood can new growth flourish. Only by taking a holistic, strategic approach to cloud adoption can independent hotels hope to remain competitive.

Automation, cost-effectiveness and other benefits

A lot of the hard work involved in managing a hotel comes from keeping on top of time consuming but important admin tasks.

This includes everything from engaging with guests before and after their stay to keeping track of bookings, sales data and other key metrics that help measure hotel performance over time.

All of these things can be achieved by using legacy solutions, but in many cases, you’ll need to do a lot of the hard work manually.

Modern cloud-powered software is all about automation and efficiency. Whether it’s issuing emails and texts to guests before they arrive and after they leave, or rolling out price updates to OTAs, all this and more can (and should) be handled automatically.

For smaller hotels with limited resources, these perks will help to make cloud adoption easy to justify.

The affordability also comes from the fact that by migrating to the cloud, you can avoid all sorts of costs usually associated with IT.

Expensive on-site hardware, security, maintenance and software license fees can all be avoided. Outsourcing to a dedicated third party provider makes things cheaper, more flexible and far more convenient.

Wrapping up

IT can be seen as a serious obstacle to independent hotels, but there’s no doubt that cloud computing is empowering businesses throughout this industry.

Welcome Anywhere is part of the exciting cloud movement, bringing communications, booking, performance reports, front desk services and more together in a cohesive package.

Independent hotels that want to get ahead have already made the leap to the cloud. Isn’t it about time you joined them?

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