GDS guide for hotels | hotel booking systems

Three letters which have remained something of a mystery for many hoteliers: 'GDS'.

They stand for ‘Global Distribution System’, which is a huge network dedicated to providing travel industry professionals with a wide choice of hotels and travel packages.

Until very recently, the GDS has quite rightly been the domain of large hotels and big chains. We say ‘quite rightly’ because it was cumbersome, expensive and required an inordinate amount of someone’s time if it was to be used effectively.

Thankfully, things have changed. Thanks to PMS platforms like Welcome Anywhere finally making the GDS accessible and manageable for smaller operators, everyone can benefit from this brilliant guest finder tool. So without further ado, here's a quick GDS guide for hotels.

So… how does the GDS work?

Connect PMS and channel manager to GDS | hotel software uk

Good question!

There are countless travel industry professionals out there who’s responsibility it is to find their clients the best possible hotel rates and travel arrangements.

These agents use tools like the GDS to make their lives easier and their clients happier. And guess what - if your hotel’s rates and availability can be found on the GDS, you’re in with a shout of winning plenty of new business.

By connecting your PMS and channel manager to the GDS, you can advertise your hotel to this massive network and gain access to a market you simply won’t find on any OTA.

Should my independent hotel sign up to the GDS?

GDS increases hotel brand awareness | management system for hotels london

Not long ago, we’d have said “tread with caution” when asked this question, but not any more. The GDS is no longer a tool solely for the big boys of the industry.

The aforementioned travel agents are primed and motivated to find great room rates and decent hotels for their clients, and they could become some of your most loyal customers.

The GDS is brilliant for increasing brand awareness about your hotel, too. It contains market segments that may otherwise never have discovered your property, and the fees for making that happen are pretty reasonable when compared with the marketing budget black hole that is Google Adwords.

Not convinced? Here’s 3 reasons you need the GDS!

Okay, the GDS does still have a bit of an image problem within the independent hotel market, and you probably need a little more to go on if you’re to spread your wings wider online.

So, here’s three reasons the GDS should be in your hotel’s marketing plans:

  1. You’ll get more bookings. You want that, right? 2017 was a record year for bookings made via the GDS, and if you’re not on that network, you’re missing out.
  2. Your revenue will rise. More bookings = increased revenue. Simple. And, remember - if you’re worried about the profitability of those bookings due to commission fees, the GDS is more affordable than you might think, and there’s always a profit in a room sale if you price it right.
  3. You’ll discover new markets. We’ve mentioned this a few times but it bears repeating: the GDS puts your hotel in front of a brand new audience. New audiences open up so many opportunities for hotels to expand on their offering, widen their customer base and increase awareness of the brand.
  4. Travel agents will become some of your best friends. We all need friends in this industry, and with travel agents under significant pressure to find great hotels and reasonable room prices, the discovery of your property will put a great big smile on their face.

And finally…

With over 100,000 travel websites, agents and portals out there, the GDS can’t be handled manually. Make sure you have a PMS and channel manager that will connect to the network and automate the delivery of rates, availability and confirmed bookings!

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

 

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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How to create a harmonious, productive hotel team | hotel management software uk

A happy hotel team is a productive and effective one, but achieving harmony amongst your employees can be challenging.

Here are a few tips for independent hoteliers who want to boost staff morale, improve communications and enhance productivity in one fell swoop. Ultimately when you have a productive hotel team, guest satisfaction will improve, as guests can sense when they're in a pleasant environment. Here's how you can build the most productive and motivated hotel staff possible.

Recognise and reward hard work

Employee reviews hotel team | hotel upselling

If you want your hotel staff to be committed to your organisation, it’s important to keep track of their performance and make sure they feel that their efforts are appreciated, rather than ignored.

Quarterly and annual reviews can be helpful, but don’t just ply them with bonuses or purely financial perks; sometimes what they really want is a reward of a different sort – something more memorable.

Extra time off for important occasions which doesn’t eat into their allocated annual leave is a good option.

Embrace a modern PMS

implement a modern hotel PMS | hotel booking systems

Technology will oil the behind-the-scenes mechanisms of any hotel, especially if you adopt a cutting-edge property management system (PMS) which offers the ability for employees to contact each other on the fly.

A PMS with an integrated instant messaging platform will be the best option, giving staff a discrete and convenient way to pass on information to colleagues, request help dealing with issues or provide updates on the progress of important tasks.

Train your staff to take advantage of messaging tools and other shortcuts in the PMS, or else they’ll never reap the benefits and you won’t maximise the return on investment.

Plan social events

plan social events for your hotel employees | hotel software uk

You might feel that your staff see enough of each other on a daily basis, but the only way to keep them happy and effective as a team is to boost the social bonds between them outside the context of the hotel.

This is where social events come into play, and we’re not just talking about the booze-fuelled Christmas bash at the end of the year.

You could book in specific team-building exercises aimed at businesses, but it’s often just as effective to arrange activities that aren’t so structured or formal.

There’s no need to opt for outdoors activities to establish a rapport between employees; something simple and inclusive can actually be more effective.

For example, you could host a game night where staff get to engage and compete with each other in a relaxed, informal environment, or simply buy them takeaway pizza and extend everyone’s allotted lunch breaks.

Keep an open ear

encourage your employees to speak up | management systems for hotels london

Hotel staff who feel they aren’t being listened to by the management will almost certainly become disgruntled over time.

This means that encouraging employees to speak up if they have a problem is the only route to guaranteed harmony amongst team members.

Aside from helping people conquer the obstacles they’re facing, you might find that the issues raised are actually helpful to your organisation as a whole and could give you some fresh ideas on how to improve the experience your hotel offers guests.

Wrapping up

An independent hotel can only be successful if the team works in harmony and enjoys spending time with one another. Staff harmony and productivity go hand-in-hand with guest satisfaction and customer loyalty, after all.

As a result, you can’t afford to ignore the needs of your employees, or leave the ebb and flow of morale to chance.

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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Five Reasons a PMS will Increase Your Hotel Revenue | hotel booking systems

Hotels are about the people; the people booking in for a comfortable stay and the people who work to make that stay memorable. Moreover, it is the personal touches that are remembered. Excellent and personable staff increase your hotel revenue with excellent salesmanship. And of course, by creating a desire to return to the hotel at a later date.

This is all well and good. However, the world has become technologically driven, and it stands to reason that your hotel must cater for that. Without a deeply-functional PMS, a hotel has its work cut out. There are many ways that a PMS will increase your hotel revenue. Let me walk you through the top 5.

1. Administering the customer experience

hotel customer experience | hotel software uk

If there is a member of your team hugging a desk, shuffling papers, or performing some other thankless administrative task, then they represent a hole in your customer experience. Nobody wants to be juggling bookings in a dark room, especially when they can make a difference out on the floor.

A PMS will free your staff up to interact with your guests. By taking on the clerical elements of a hotelier, they create the opportunity for customer interaction and help you build connections in a way that carves out memorable moments for guests. It's these moments your guests will consider the next time they need to make a booking in your area.

2. Increasing your hotel revenue online

online channel manager hotel | hotel management software uk

If there is one place you want to be as a hotelier, it is online. Whatever your geographical location, or additional facilities you offer, your guests are all the web. To increase your hotel revenue, your PMS needs to be capable of managing your online presence.

Most hotel guests are in your area for a reason beyond staying in a nice room for the night. They may be there to see Slipknot at your local concert venue, for instance, and those sweaty, tired rockers may not have been aware of your hotel. That is, until they were online looking for a place to stay - and it will have been your PMS that will have lured them conveniently through your door.

3. Distribution Management

hotel distribution management | hotel upselling

A PMS with a channel management function is hugely beneficial.  You can market yourself across all the OTAs and GDSs, as well as retail travel agents.

With such carnivorous competition in your market, creating partnerships in these channels is imperative.  It's important for survial, let alone increasing your hotel revenue.

It might be time to change your PMS if you are still manually updating the OTAs.

4. Transparent communication

hotel customer service tip | management systems for hotels london

Your PMS provides easy and clear communication between the various departments in your hotel. With your hotel functioning efficiently, your hotel is able to save time and offer guests a more personalised experience.

Importantly, your PMS is able to bypass unnecessary kerfuffle. Thus, you have the ability to craft moments for guests, because you will have built an environment for up-selling.  Remember - transparent communication enables you to respond to the whims and desires of your guests.

5. Profitable decision making

making better hotel business decisions | hotel software uk

Revenue and rate management in a modern PMS uses existing data to help identify trends and create profitable, enticing rate plans. With availability and competitor rates data available at your fingertips, you'll find yourself equipped and ready to react to the market.

With such information at your disposal, you can drive higher occupancy rates and implement a competitive room pricing strategy.  Manipulating this data and adjusting your rates accordingly will inevitably result in your hotel's revenue increasing - it's that simple.

Wrapping up

Yes, the hospitality industry is heavily influenced and manipulated by the human condition. But without a PMS installed into your hotel, your resources will be stretched beyond their ability to create a personal customer experience.

If you are a hotel owner, we'd love to hear how you increase your hotel revenue with your PMS. Comment below if you fancy sharing your best practices!

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

 

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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5 tips for maximising direct bookings in 2020 | hotel software uk

Hosted by TripTease, the Direct Booking Summit is now in its second year and is the first event of its kind devoted to helping hoteliers increase the number of direct bookings they receive.

The fact direct booking now has its own summit is a clear indication of how big a challenge it is for hoteliers (particularly independents) to drive bookings through their own websites as opposed to the commission-based alternatives.

The good news? If you’re an independent hotelier, there are five things you can do in 2020 to maximise your direct bookings - and they’re easier than you might think!

1. A blatantly-obvious online booking button

new website design for your hotel | hotel management software uk

We’ve offered this tip so many times in the past, but there’s no harm in reiterating it.

When you have a new website designed for your hotel, it’s easy to get lost in everything but the most important element - the call-to-action (CTA).

For a hotel, that’s the ‘book now’ button, courtesy of modern online hotel booking systems. If yours can’t be found immediately (i.e. without scrolling, or pinching to zoom on your phone [see tip 5]), you’re missing out on direct bookings - simple.

2. Nail the user experience

hotel industry tips | management systems for hotels london

A beautiful website isn’t necessarily a functional website or one that’s a pleasure to use.

Given the visual nature of this industry, we’ve seen far too many hotel websites where there has been too much time spent on the design, leaving the user experience to chance.

You need beautiful, original imagery and video if you’re to engage potential guests, but you also need to make it easy for them to navigate. Here’s our user experience golden rules:

  • Make it easy to book (see tip 1)
  • Put all of the important information within the upper-third of each page
  • Create a simple, clear menu

That’s it. Easy, right?

3. Make security a priority

5 tips for maximising your hotel's direct bookings in 2020 | hotel booking systems

Understandably, there’s a lot of nervousness about data protection and cybercrime these days, and your hotel website needs to give its visitors the confidence to hang around.

You can do this by investing in a PCI-compliant online booking system for their credit card payments, and by ensuring that you have an ‘https’ security certificate for the website. The latter displays the little padlock icon in most browsers and is an industry-standard form of security.

These little things will add credibility to your brand and encourage people to hang around long enough to book.

4. Rate parity

rate parity to maximise direct bookings | hotel upselling

If you’re advertising rates higher or lower on your website compared to the OTAs, you’ll be both breaking their rules and confusing guests.

Sound odd? Not really. Guests want transparent pricing, and finding multiple prices for the same room at the same hotel across multiple websites including your own doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Why are they different?

If you have price parity across all of your online channels, the choice of booking method for the guest will usually come down to whichever website they land on when they’re at the buying stage of the customer journey. If yours keeps them engaged and makes it easy to book, why would they head back to an OTA?

5. Mobile compatibility

5 tips for maximising direct bookings in 2020 | hotel booking systems

Test your hotel website on your mobile phone.

Most of the people who visit your website will do so on their smartphone. And that means everything should auto-adjust to fit any screen size, while keeping that all important CTA (re-read tip 1!) front-and-centre.

Whats the experience like? Painful?

You’re missing out on direct bookings!

Wrapping up

You’ll never achieve 100% direct bookings for your hotel. If you do, we’d love to hear from you.

But you won’t - sorry.

That doesn’t matter though, because by using our tips above, you’ll significantly increase the portion that originate from your own website and in turn establish a brand that people want to return to again and again.

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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How to improve your hotel offering with mini events | hotel upselling

Encouraging people to book a room at your hotel will involve a number of different strategies.

Some are obvious (someone needs a bed for the night – your hotel is well priced, well located and has great reviews).

Others… less obvious (and require some proactive thinking and planning on your part).

One excellent option is to host regular events. These events will grab the attention of potential guests and give them another reason to choose your hotel over the competition.

These events don’t need to be all-encompassing and over-the-top; you can usually get a leg up with mini events that are interesting enough to turn heads while still being simple and cost effective to organise and run. Not only will events help boost occupancy at your hotel, but they provide a ton of great hotel upselling opportunities.

Here's three brilliant mini event ideas to get you started. Each of these should help boost direct bookings and tempt guests to spend more with you during their stay.

1. Movie screenings

hotel movie screenings offering | hotel booking systems

If your hotel is in a relatively isolated area, guests may be tempted to retire to their rooms early after a busy day of exploring their rural surroundings.

Coaxing them out can be tricky (that iPad won’t play with itself, after all). However, if you’ve got a unique entertainment experience to offer, they might be more willing to head downstairs and give it a try.

Movie screenings can be an excellent activity, so long as you have a suitable space within the hotel to accommodate such an event.

You could showcase old classics, highlight recent releases or even theme the screenings around the season; just be sure to keep your audience in mind when choosing which films to exhibit.

2. Open mic nights

How to improve your hotel offering with mini events | hotel software uk

If your hotel has an appropriately sized bar area, there are many ways to take full advantage of it.

An open mic night is a good choice. It’s not only a great way to get guests interested in spending time in the bar, but also helps boost your engagement with the local community and its artists. Of course, guests could have the option of performing themselves, alongside acts from the surrounding area.

It’s a tactic that works for pubs across the UK and is equally impactful in a hotel setting. You just have to make sure things wrap up promptly and guests aren’t kept awake by the noise.

3. Quiz nights

quiz night hotel | hotel industry tips | hotel management software uk

Another great mini event option for hotels is a quiz night hosted on a weekly basis. The great thing about quizzes is that they’re relatively easy to arrange and run, and appeal to a wide audience.

Again, you’ll need to dedicate the bar or restaurant to the quiz (although a conference room could work, too), with mid-week probably being the best time to host - unless weekends are proving to be quiet in the bar.

You could even tie in the prizes that are on offer with the hotel itself. For instance, why not give the top three teams a discount on their next stay, money off at the bar or some other perk that will keep them coming back for more?

Wrapping up

Whatever route you decide to take with your mini events, it’s definitely worth promoting these added extras so that guests know what to expect when they book.

It could also provide an added boost for the hotel’s social media profile. With these events, guests will likely tweet and check themselves in on Facebook if they have a good time.

You can highlight your upcoming events schedule with a modern online booking platform and PMS that reminds both guests and reception staff of events taking place during a particular stay. In turn, this should help increase occupancy rates, drive up customer spend and enhance your hotel’s reputation.

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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How to deal with an angry guest at the reception desk | hotel booking systems

Providing friendly, outstanding customer service is one of the key responsibilities for a hotel receptionist.

Unfortunately, if that’s the career path you’ve chosen, you’ll inevitably encounter the odd angry guest who is absolutely appalled with the level of service provided by the hotel.

While it may not be your fault or have anything to do with your specific role, you, as a front-of-house representative, are probably going to be the first port of call when people have a complaint.

Here’s how to deal with them when they stomp angrily towards the front desk.

1. Listen calmly

How to deal with an angry guest at the reception desk | hotel software uk

Without interrupting the guest, allow them to explain the situation. Listening to them will give them space to explain, and giving them the chance to express their views should calm down the situation.

A problem shared is a problem halved, and all that…

2. Address them personally and show attention to detail

How to deal with an angry guest at the reception desk | hotel management software uk

It won’t take you five seconds to reference the guest’s details on your hotel PMS. And, with that information on hand, you can directly interact with the guest and give them a more personal response to their issue, based on the details of their stay.

This should make them feel acknowledged and as though resolving their problem is important to you.

3. Apologise

hotel guest complaint | management systems for hotels london

Even if the problem has nothing to do with you, apologising to the guest is the best way forward – no matter how hard it might sometimes feel to do so.

This will let the guest know that you empathise with their situation and that you care about resolving the issue as quickly as possible. It also demonstrates that the hotel knows when it might have made a mistake, and that might even result in a favourable online review when the dust has settled!

4. Don’t allow emotion to affect your response

hotel industry tips | hotel upselling

If you struggle to deal with people shouting or are likely to become emotional if someone is angry towards you, that could cause further problems in the communication between you and the angry guest.

Allowing yourself to remove any personal emotion from the situation will help you deal with and resolve the complaint as quickly as possible.

Remember, the guest is more than likely not angry at you, but at the service, so try not to take it personally - that should help you manage the situation professionally and efficiently.

5. Ask a relevant member of staff for help

angry hotel guest complaint tips to resolve the issue | hotel software uk

Quickly decide if you can resolve the issue yourself, and if not, notify a colleague who’s in a position of greater authority. Remember, though - you should only pass such a problem onto another employee if the situation extends beyond your control.

If a more senior pair of hands is needed, it’s important to remember that you haven’t failed. In such instances, their level of authority will help deal with the angry guest quickly and take the problem off your hands.

Wrapping up

As you progress through your career as a hotel receptionist, you’ll find that each angry guest encounter is unique. You’ll also find that they’re few and far between, but by using our tips above, you’ll ensure a swift, positive resolution every time.

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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The subtle future of the hotel guest experience | hotel booking systems

You can be forgiven for acquainting the idea of "change" with the word "radical". Often change is punctuated by a glitter cannon. In software terms, innovation is celebrated, advertised, and delivered with a great big neon arrow. Yet, when we think of innovation, we rarely think "hotels".

But that doesn't mean that hotels aren't evolving. In fact, the guest experience is constantly being transformed. Here are 3 things that subtly change the hotel guest experience.

The eco-friendly hotel guest experience

eco friendly hotel guest experience | hotel software uk

You can say a lot about millennials. You can (if you’re that way inclined) ridicule their dress, their music, and their outlook on life. But there are two things that are important to remember: they’re the future customer of every industry, and they tend to care a lot more about certain aspects of modern life – particularly when it comes to the environment.

Travelers are acutely aware of their carbon footprint. Moreover, they're consuming products that openly offer the same values. That includes the hotels they book.

Hotels that responsibly source recyclable goods, or make an obvious effort to conserve energy in rooms are making an impact. Expect more air-conditioning units that turn off when you're absent from the room. Don't be surprised by paperless hotels and downloadable restaurant menus.

The good news? An eco-friendly guest experience is desirable. It's also cost effective.

The fully connected experience

fully-connected hotel guest experience | hotel management software uk

It starts with those Wi-Fi-media-infused coffee machines. You know the ones - they tell you the latest on Trump's wall whilst you’re waiting for your latte. It's a small addition but it's an important one.  The guest experience is only augmented by more connectivity.

Some hotels are already using smart televisions to deliver special offers to their guests (whether they’re in their room or busting reps in the gym). Now the hotels are wrapping their loving arms around the technological revolution, it will move in leaps and bounds from here. Presenting offers in this fashion provides you with additional hotel upselling opportunities.

I’m not suggesting toasters that play Radio 1. But it stands to reason that we may see tablets installed on tables wherein you can place orders, or play Angry Birds. Technology, in all industries, is becoming more prevalent. Subtly, the hospitality industry is putting more and more of the guest experience online.

The "more personalisation, please" experience

personalised guest experience at hotels | hotel upselling

It's becoming a buzzword isn't it? Personalisation. Somehow, the world is automating everything to the point that we only see a human when they’re running back from the bathroom. Yet, we crave a more personalised experience.

PMS platforms are working hard to make sure that they’re offering a service that indulges the nuanced idiosyncrasies of their guests. In the office, behind the singular receptionist, the PMS is humming and clicking. Using the data that their system harvests, hotels are now working towards creating as many guest experiences as there are bookings.

Smart televisions provide rooms with engaging and targeted content aimed directly at the individual guest. Expect more of this. Expect recommendations rooted in the online experience and brought to life in your hotel experience.

Wrapping up

You’ll notice that there’s nothing radical above. Hotels are already moving into the future. And there are no flying cars or AI driven androids. That is the art of the hotel guest experience; a hotel’s motivation and direction summed up in one word…

Seamless.

Nothing glamourous. No glitter cannons. These changes are drawing hotels into providing an experience that can't easily be separated into distinct clunky steps. Just one fluid experience that relaxes the guest.

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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How to find out why your hotel is so busy | hotel booking systems

As hotelier problems go, this one is pretty epic.

You’re busy (really busy) but you have absolutely no idea why. As far as you can tell, it isn’t anything to do with the season, there’s no local events on and your competitors, by comparison, appear to be struggling.

What’s going on? Why are you so awesome at this hotelier lark?

Hospitality is a funny beast. You’ll have periods where you are inexplicably busy and, unfortunately, the same goes when occupancy drops. Sometimes, there’s no rhyme or reason for it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a closer look at what’s going on.

Chances are, you’re getting something (or several things) right. And we’d like to give you a head start on your investigations.

People have heard they’ll be getting a great experience

great hotel guest experience | hotel software uk

A great guest experience beats a simple bed for the night, hands down, and if you’re personalising the service you offer customers, word will soon get around.

To you, this is the stuff you do each and every day; it comes naturally. But to other, less discerning hoteliers, the idea of using a PMS to its full potential and leveraging guests’ personal and stay data to offer tailored experiences will feel like too much work.

Think about it - you’re not just a hotelier; when people check in, they’re also given detailed information about the area and a reminder that the team is always there for them should they need any assistance in making the most of their time.

The pre- and post-stay emails and text messages you send out are also making a real difference. Guests who stay at your hotel feel welcome, looked after and as though their booking has been tailor-made for them. And you know what? They’ll share that experience with their mates, family and the entire world on social media.

You reward guests

How to find out why your hotel is so busy | hotel management software uk

The rewards programme you set up a few months ago may have been a bit of a punt, marketing-wise, but perhaps it’s now starting to take effect.

Once again, as word spreads about the value of being part of your closed group of guests (better rates, room upgrades and whatever else you may have dreamed up for members), people will start to look your way as opposed to the chains.

You’ve nailed the room amenities

Hotel check-in process | hotel booking systems

Nope, not to the desk…! You’ve nailed your approach to room amenities.

Wi-Fi is free (yes!), each TV offers entertainment on demand, and the money you invested in that keycard system that accepts entry via guest smartphones has all but replaced the need for physical cards.

The process of checking in, using the room and getting stuff done in the hotel when you’re a guest is seamless, fast, efficient and - most importantly - enjoyable.

This stuff really matters.

Your online booking process is mega easy

hotel booking process | hotel booking systems

Lastly, one of the key reasons you’re experiencing consistently high occupancy rates is because you offer a great online booking service on your own website.

Direct bookings are hard to come by in an age where OTAs dominate the online hospitality marketplace, but guests aren’t stupid - they’ll shop around and visit hotel websites before making a decision. It just so happens that yours features an online booking platform that’s a cinch to use and on par with anything the OTAs have to offer.

Wrapping up

This isn’t a fluke - you’re definitely getting something right.

Use our pointers above to suss out where your secret sauce lies… and make some more of it!

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

 

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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By going the extra mile as a hotelier, you’ll create experiences that guests share far and wide. It’s a super-simple yet highly effective marketing strategy; you do what you do best and let guests do the talking. Thanks to the power and reach of social media, their effort alone will ensure your hotel lands in the news feeds of countless potential guests without a penny of marketing spend. Managing the hotel guest experience doesn't require a large financial investment.

All that’s required is some time and ingenuity. Oh, and the following list of small yet brilliant touches that create a great, personalised guest experience:

1. Destination tips

destination promotion strategies | hotel management software uk

Destination promotion is increasingly being used by hotels across the world to boost occupancy.

By talking about the area in which your hotel is located and providing insider tips on how to get the most out of a stay, you’ll attract the attention of guests who are seeking an authentic, local experience.

This strengthens your brand reputation, proves you’re about far more than just a bed for the night and raises your authority online.

You needn’t spend any money on destination promotion either, just blog regularly about things to do in your town, city or village and include destination tips in your welcome packs.

2. Provide customer care on Twitter

hotel customer care Twitter | hotel booking systems

This might sound a bit too corporate for your independent hotel, but customers expect businesses to respond to their criticism or praise on Twitter (or other social media platforms) - no matter the industry.

For instance, if a guest has a less than enjoyable stay at your hotel and decides to make their feelings known on Twitter, they’ll probably mention you in their tweet. And this is great (no, really!), because it gives you the opportunity to jump into the conversation, reply and show the world that you care about the service you provide.

Be active on social media. Complaints will hopefully be few and far between, but aside from dealing with incoming flak, make sure you thank people who say nice things about your service. Search for hashtags relevant to your area, too and get involved; demonstrate your knowledge of the area and give your hotel that all-important personality online.

3. Leave handwritten notes

personalise hotel guest experience | hotel upselling

In an age of social media, instant messaging and smartphone addiction, handwritten letters are unique, satisfying, traditional and - most importantly - engaging.

Why not delight your guests by leaving handwritten notes in their room? If you’re abiding by GDPR rules and ethically collecting data about them, you could say happy birthday, invite the guest to try an update to the restaurant dish they enjoyed last time or simply thank them for staying at your hotel.

This requires minimal effort, yet is the kind of gesture that might make its way onto the social media feed of the guest you’ve delighted.

4. Surprise guests with in-room treats

hotel guest experience tips | hotel upselling

During the booking process (be it online or over the phone), ask guests if they’re celebrating anything during their stay. Engagements, anniversaries and birthdays are common reasons for getaways, therefore if you’re aware of the special date, you can grab the opportunity to leave a little surprise in the room.

A complementary bottle of champagne, flowers or box of chocolates won’t break the bank, but will put a huge smile on the faces of guests who are in the mood for celebration.

And they won’t forget it!

5. Use a modern PMS

Update your hotel PMS | hotel software uk

All four tips above can be undertaken without technology, but you’ll save considerable time if you have a modern PMS from which to gather the required data.

Personalising a guest experience starts with their profile on your PMS. The more you know about a guest, the more you can build a stay for them which will feel entirely their own. Old PMSs that don’t offer comprehensive guest profiling, GDPR compatibility or integration with guest feedback platforms simply don’t cut it anymore, and you don’t need to spend a fortune to upgrade, thanks to cloud computing.

Wrapping up

What have we missed? If you’ve experienced success by personalising your guests’ experiences and don’t mind sharing them with the world (hey, we’re all in this together, right?), let us know in the comments section, below!

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

 

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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5 reasons to change your hotel PMS

The signs that you need to change your hotel’s property management system (PMS) aren’t always that obvious. This is because your hotel PMS is a tool which is deeply embedded within your operation, and even if it’s gradually falling apart by the seams, staff will probably accept its increasing number of foibles and assume that’s just how it’s going to be for the foreseeable future.

That’s just not good enough. And not on your team’s part, either; if your PMS is slowly dying or increasingly out of step with modern guest expectations, it’s no longer doing the job for which it was purchased.

Here’s five common but often hard to identify reasons that you need to change your hotel PMS.

1. Your staff are frustrated with your current PMS

reasons to change your hotel PMS | hotel booking systems

Why does it crash every time you click on the arrivals list? Why on earth do you have to keep doing that really complicated workaround just to place a deposit on a future booking?

If members of the team are continually shouting at the PMS or banging their fists on the table in frustration when it doesn’t act as it should, don’t assume it’s because they’re using it incorrectly or need training. While that might be the case, there could be something much worse at play.

Speak to the team and find out what it is that frustrates them the most about the PMS.

2. You’re still updating OTA sites manually (and you hate life because of it)

update OTAs automatically | hotel software uk

It’s the task on your daily to-do list that you’re always pushing to the bottom. It’s tiresome, laborious and nearly always results in you making mistakes because you just can’t be bothered.

In 2019 and beyond there’s absolutely no reason at all to update OTAs with rates and availability manually. Your PMS should connect directly to the likes of Booking.com and Expedia and do all of the hard work when it comes to ensuring every website knows how many rooms you have free and what your latest rates are. It should sort out the incoming bookings for you, too, thus removing any chance of the dreaded double booking.

If it doesn’t do any of this, you need to find a hotel PMS with a brilliant channel manager.

3. Another guest has complained about the bottle of wine they didn’t drink

modern PMS benefits | hotel upselling

Not again!

How many times this week have guests complained about their room bill or queried certain items on it? And how often are those transactions related to the bar or restaurant?

Chances are, this is because you’re still manually transferring charges from the F&B side of the business to room accounts. Did you know there’s a much better way of doing this that pretty much eradicates human error?

A modern PMS should be able to connect to a host of POS systems. In doing so, it’ll enable bar staff to automatically post food and drink bills to room accounts. Some will even transfer across the POS sales data into your main PMS accounts reports! This will increase your hotel upselling opportunities and ensure you maximise revenue on every guest's stay.

Imagine that…

4. Very few guests bother to return

build great guest relationships | hotel management software uk

Tempting guests to return to your hotel isn’t easy, even if they had a brilliant stay with you the first time around.

In order to build great relationships with your customers that result in plenty of return bookings, you need to nurture them with email marketing and personalised guest correspondence.

Can your hotel PMS send pre- and post-stay emails and SMS messages automatically? Are you able to export a list of customers that can then be imported into a modern email marketing tool?

More importantly: are you making it easy to book directly on your website?

If the answer is “no” to any of those questions, it’s time to get a new PMS - it’s that important.

5. Your competitors are wiping the floor with you

modern pms competitors | hotel booking systems

What gives? Your competitors’ room prices seem to flex more than yours and, as a result, they appear to know the secret sauce that draws in more guests.

Why can’t you do the same? And why do you never really know what level to set your room prices at?

Guess what - your competitors are probably using modern PMSs that enable them to flex rates strategically based on market conditions and work from actionable, insightful data about past performance.

Do you really want to be lagging behind because your system is no longer up to scratch?

Wrapping up

The best news? Property management systems no longer cost an arm and a leg. Well, some do, but choose the right one and you’ll pay a manageable monthly fee that enables every staff member to use the system no matter where they are or what device they have to hand.

Is it time you replaced your PMS?

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Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part -  it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.

Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@welcomeanywhere.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.

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