How to set key performance indicators for your hotel staff | hotel booking systems

If you run an independent hotel, you might not think that key performance indicators (KPIs) are relevant. But in truth they can make it much easier to manage staff, hit targets and keep up with the big chains.

Whether you’re new to the hospitality industry or an old hand in the business, it pays to track employee performance.

Here are a few tips on how to set KPIs for your staff which will benefit the entire hotel.

Getting started

KPIs for staffing | hotel software uk

It might seem obvious, but KPIs for employees need to be related to the performance goals you’ve set for the business as a whole.

You might want to raise occupancy rates, increase per-room revenues and boost customer satisfaction. Measuring your success in each area will be tied to staff performance, as well as the broader business strategy of your hotel.

There are lots of overarching KPIs related to staffing to consider; calculating the cost of wages as a proportion of your total monthly sales is a good example.

You can also look at the number of hours that employees work across different departments and see how this relates to your booking and occupancy rates.

Most importantly you need to be able to collect this data on a regular basis and analyse it consistently. There’s no point dipping in and out of company-wide staff KPIs when the mood takes you; get a handle on the basics and you’ll be on the right track.

Considering customers

hotel staff feedback forms | hotel management software uk

Hotels need to be focused on delivering the best possible experience for guests. Setting KPIs for front desk staff, as well as any employees that interact directly with guests, will let you see where you’re going wrong and make improvements to increase satisfaction levels.

Feedback forms can be useful in working out which aspects of a visit to your hotel are most important to your customers. If you can survey guests regularly, you’ll be able to build up a better picture of how your hotel is performing over time.

Trawling online review sites can be helpful as well, especially if you want to get genuine feedback; people can be overly polite on surveys filled out during their stay under the watchful eye of reception staff.

Informing staff

KPIs for your hotel | management systems hotels london

Ultimately the KPIs you set need to show staff what targets you want to hit, while giving them the tools to make meaningful changes to the way they work.

Unless they have the right information available to them, employees won’t be able to work out the best way to improve their performance.

There’s definitely a learning curve, but the process of developing KPIs for your hotel should empower staff, not be something that makes them feel overly scrutinised.

Wrapping up

If you haven’t sorted out any key performance indicators for your hotel staff, now’s the time to start. You’ll be able to reap the benefits for years to come and keep on improving your business so that guests are happier and employees feel more confident in their roles.

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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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Why your hotel needs to invest in the latest hotel door locks | hotel software uk

When guests arrive at a hotel, they want to head to their room, close the door and have confidence that their privacy and security are in safe hands.

Unfortunately, a study by F-Secure has revealed that a huge number of electronic hotel door locks around the world could be compromised via a fairly straightforward hack.

This is definitely a wakeup call (if you’ll excuse the pun) for hotels to update their door locks, or to upgrade entire locking systems if they’re over the hill by modern standards. Here are some reasons why you should rethink your door locking system and invest in the latest technology for your hotel's locks.

Verified vulnerabilities

door locks for your hotel | hotel upselling

The security loophole pinpointed by researchers allows malicious third parties to program a master key which can then unlock any room in a hotel.

Because this is a software-related issue, the researchers that identified the vulnerabilities were able to alert the manufacturer immediately and a patch has already been issued to address it. An impressive, swift reaction, then, but does that mean hotels using such systems are out of the woods?

Slow responses to updates

Why your hotel needs to bite the bullet and invest in the latest door locks | hotel management software uk

The problem with centrally-issued updates for hotel door lock security systems is that the properties need to implement them (either personally or with the help of the manufacturer).

Security specialists say that even though the software patch has been issued in this instance, many hotels are yet to install it. This means that millions of rooms around the world are still vulnerable to hacking - at least in theory, if not in practice.

The obvious conclusion to draw from this is that it’s vital to apply the latest software patches for door locking systems as soon as they are made available to your hotel.

This is just as true of key card-based hotel door lock systems as it is of desktop computers, server hardware, smartphones, and tablets.

In the wake of the GDPR, independent hotels can’t afford to take any chances and guests will appreciate efforts made to ensure their personal belongings and private details are kept safe.

An important lesson: tech isn't infallible

hotel door locks | hotel booking systems

The silver lining to this dark cloud of hotel security doom and gloom is that, so far, it doesn’t seem as though any major breaches have been carried out using the master key creation technique.

As is often the case in the wider world of hotel IT security, white-hat experts have mercifully uncovered the vulnerability before their criminal counterparts, thus preventing any serious damage.

Another important lesson to learn from this revelation is that even fairly modern hotel door locking systems are fallible, so it pays to invest in the latest solutions if you want to restore guest confidence and avoid suffering a reputation-damaging breach.

Of course, this isn’t just about security, but also the image that’s given off by a particular type of door lock. Old fashioned mechanical locks may have the nostalgia factor, but they can be too easy to crack and will cause headaches if the keys go missing.

Electronic locks with reprogrammable key cards or smartphone integration are more convenient for guests and staff alike, but need to have their software updated regularly - for reasons that should now be clear!

Wrapping up

Now is as good a time as any for independent hotels to take the plunge with the latest door locking systems.

It’s also essential to stay abreast of developments in this area so that when security vulnerabilities are spotted, you’re not left exposed to criminal exploitation. Make sure you sign up for updates from the manufacturer and choose a supplier which takes a proactive approach to customer support.

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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 attracting more corporate bookings at your hotel | hotel management software uk

Corporate bookings are the holy grail for hoteliers when it comes to filling midweek space that’s inconvenient for leisure guests.

There’s just one problem - attracting corporate clients is hard when you’re an independent hotelier battling against the big brands and their even bigger corporate booking schemes.

Don’t give up! Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and the following five tips will help you attract more corporate bookings to your hotel than you thought possible.

1. Keep an eye out for future local business events

Hotel Industry Tips To Attract Business Clients | Hotel Booking Systems

Depending on your location, you may be within a short taxi ride of a popular event venue that regularly holds conferences or trade shows. If that’s the case, keep a close eye on its schedule and add some business seasonality to your tariff by pitching rates competitively during those times.

Look at what the big boys are doing; if they’re offering discounted B&B rates during a conference, go one step further and throw in free transport to and from the venue (assuming you have a minibus or similar), and add dinner as an option for weary event-goers.

2. Enable groups to manage the booking themselves

tips for more bookings at your hotel | hotel software london

There’s nothing worse as the organiser of a group hotel booking for your company than feeling completely out of control when it comes to the accommodation arrangements.

As the hotelier, there’s nothing more time consuming than the constant requests for booking changes that often come from corporate clients.

Surely, there must be an answer that leaves everyone satisfied in this situation, right?

Thankfully, there is - if you have the right hotel booking systems in place (PMS). The best will enable you to provide group bookers with tightly controlled ways of modifying and managing the booking themselves. And don’t worry - you won’t be giving them the keys to your castle; instead, they’ll get just enough access to make the changes that would otherwise take up an inordinate amount of your day.

3. Don’t try and be something you’re not

5 tips for attracting more corporate bookings at your hotel | hotel management software london

You’re not a big hotel brand, but you know what? That’s absolutely fine!

Trying to compete with the big boys of the hotel sector by becoming a mini version of them will probably land you in hot water as you start implementing levels of service you simply can’t sustain.

Some business travellers want an independent, small hotel experience. In fact, many will crave it if they spend the majority of their travels staying in flat-pack, soulless brand hotels.

You are what you are, and that’s a very good thing indeed. Independent hotels will often stand out for all the right reasons (price, location and flexibility to name but a few) during corporate booking searches.

4. Automate where you can

hotel industry tips to attract corporate hotels | hotel upselling

Even if a business traveller yearns for an independent hotel experience, they’ll still expect certain levels of automation.

Lean on your PMS and its surrounding technology as much as you can to ensure your business guests get the swift, easy service they require from the point of booking to check-out.

Automated booking confirmation emails and SMS messages are a must, as is the ability for guests to have all of their miscellaneous spend conducted in the hotel posted directly (and accurately) to their room invoice.

5. Don’t skimp on Wi-Fi - ever

Don't skimp on Wi-Fi | hotel booking systems

It’s amazing how many hotels still charge for access to in-room Wi-Fi.

Those days are long gone, and just because you’re trying to attract business guests, it doesn’t mean you can ‘get away’ with charging for access to the internet.

Make it free, fast and secure it behind login systems that don’t require a call to reception to unlock.

Wrapping up

There are plenty of business guests out there for your hotel to welcome through its doors.

Don’t give up - the big boys have absolutely nothing on you when it comes to delivering a corporate accommodation experience that will keep businesses coming back for more.

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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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vital hotel receptionist skills | hotel upselling

Working in a customer-facing role is challenging in any industry, so it’s no surprise that hotel receptionists are often under considerable scrutiny. After all, there's so much work that goes into managing a hotel and receptionists often are the first ones to deal with an angry guest, even though an issue may not have been their fault. They're also often the first person that guests interact with, so they play a crucial part in forming a first impression of your hotel.

Here’s ten skills hotel receptionists need, and the qualities employers should look for when recruiting new front desk talent.

1. Appearance that is ‘on-brand’

10 vital skills for hotel receptionists | hotel software uk

Every hotel is different when it comes to dress code but taking pride in your appearance and adhering to the hotel’s clothing rules will show that you’re proud to represent the business as a whole.

2. Level-headedness

hotel receptionists must be level-headed | hotel management systems london

A hotel receptionist will be the first port of call for guests when something goes wrong, so you need to be capable of keeping your cool when a crisis presents itself.

3. Stamina

stamina is key | hotel software uk

Hotel reception shifts are usually considerably lengthy, and because most of that time is spent standing behind a desk and rushing around the property servicing guests, physical fitness and mental stamina are key.

4. Tech-savvy

tech savvy hotel | hotel management software uk

A hotel receptionist role involves a lot of admin and booking management - most of which will be done digitally via cutting edge technology.

This means you need to be at home with modern PMS platforms and online booking systems, while also being willing to learn new systems and guest services that are adopted by the hotel.

5. Great communication

great communication skills | hotel booking systems

When you’re not welcoming guests, you’ll be interacting with other members of staff face-to-face, firing off emails to deal with enquiries from prospective customers and generally calling on your communication skills non-stop.

Being able to express yourself clearly and concisely, both in-person and within written communication, will make you a great front desk representative.

6. Linguistically versatile

versatile hotel receptionists | hotel upselling

As well as having a firm grasp of your native tongue, you’ll also need to be competent when dealing with guests whose first language may not be English.

You don’t necessarily need to be fluent in other languages, but being able to hold a simple conversation and answer basic queries in French, German and Spanish can certainly be an asset.

7. Time management

great time management skills | hotel software uk

Keeping on top of all your responsibilities as a hotel receptionist can be tricky, which is why you need to be able to manage your time effectively and make sure that no important tasks are overlooked or deliberately ignored.

8. Flexibility

hotel receptionists must remain flexible | hotel software uk

Because hotels need staff on call around the clock, hotel receptionists need to be comfortable with night shifts, as well as schedules which involve working at the weekend or during bank holidays.

9. Mental dexterity

mental dexterity | hotel software uk

A lot of unusual conundrums and challenging guests can present themselves in a hotel environment, therefore receptionists need to be flexible thinkers and true problem solvers.

10. Social skills

10 vital skills for hotel receptionists | hotel upselling

You need to be a people person if you want to work as a hotel receptionist – it’s that simple.

Dealing with challenging guests, welcoming weary business travellers and ensuring excited holidaymakers get their trip off to the best possible start is all in a day’s work for a hotel receptionist, therefore great social skills need to be very high on the agenda.

Wrapping up

Hotel receptionists are superheroes, and finding the best takes time, but if you’re either recruiting for such a position or want to fill it yourself, our tips above will give you the best possible head start. It's also crucial to equip your receptionists with the right hotel management software so they're given the proper tools to perform their tasks as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

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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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New Year’s resolutions for independent hoteliers | hotel management software uk

So, 2020 is on the way. Another new year. Time to stop, take stock (after the Christmas rush), and start the new year with a bang.

But how do you do that as a busy independent hotelier? With chain hotels continuing to pop up everywhere and brands such as Airbnb redefining guest expectations, what new year’s resolutions should you be making?

The good news? They’re pretty simple and don’t require any immediate action - just a promise to yourself, the hotel and its team that you will make headway on them as 2020 kicks off.

Review your hotel tech

New Year’s resolutions for independent hoteliers | hotel upselling

Hotel technology evolves at a rapid pace. In fact, it’s so fast-paced that you can be forgiven for lagging behind a little as an independent hotelier.

However, there are a few areas in which you might need to invest if you’re to continue providing a range of services and an experience that befits the modern guest.

Pay particular attention to the following:

  • The property management system (PMS): is it web-based, reliable and fully integrated with both your website and the OTAs on which you rely? Does it connect to your other hotel technology such as your POS system?
  • In-room guest services and entertainment: you don’t have to spend big here - the simple addition of USB plug sockets might be enough to satisfy the digital needs of your guests, but if budget allows, perhaps 2020 is the year you finally upgrade the in-room TVs to be fully on-demand and add complimentary iPads to rooms, complete with a bunch of boredom-busting apps for the duration of guest stays. Have a look at last year’s guest feedback on TripAdvisor to spot areas where you might be lacking.
  • The restaurant: can you accept online bookings for your restaurant? If not, you might be missing out on a raft of reservations; people are far more inclined to book tables digitally nowadays.

Schedule some events

2020 hotelier tips | hotel booking systems

Staging events at your hotel is a great way to find new revenue streams.

Advertising yourself as a wedding and conference venue is no longer enough. What about running networking events for local businesses, or cooking competitions hosted by your talented head chef?

Live music, social dining experiences and tie-ins with local events can all be explored next year and might just result in a host of corresponding room bookings and new advocates of your property.

Turn your website into a conversion machine

hotel website tips | hotel software uk

Hotel websites are no longer simply digital brochures - they’re designed to bring in more bookings for the property; lots more bookings.

They can only do this if they’re set up for conversions in the same way an online store is. And if that sounds a bit cold or lacking in the personal touch for your hotel, you might need to leave some of your preconceptions at the door.

When you buy something on Amazon, it’s hassle-free; they’ve mastered the online shopping experience. The same should go for your hotel’s website. If someone wants to book a room, they should be able to check availability and rates and place their reservation as conveniently as possible.

It should be just as simple on whatever device they have to hand and fast no matter how weak their connection.

Try out your online booking experience with the mindset of a guest in a hurry for a decent room at a decent rate. If you get frustrated, it’s time to look for a new platform.

Touch base with your OTA reps

2020 hotel management tips | management systems for hotels london

Yeah, let bygones be bygones and all that - it’s the new year!

The relationship between independent hotels and OTAs has always been rather tetchy, but OTAs aren’t going anywhere and with the latter stages of the calendar year hopefully making you feel more reflective, now is the time to get back in touch with your OTA reps.

If you don’t hear from them regularly, be proactive and seek out their help. For all you know, there could be much better ways to manage your listing and there might even be new tools you can use to optimise your presence on such sites which could result in better placements.

Make 2020 the year you foster a healthy relationship with the OTAs you rely on. Challenge them but accept their help when it’s offered. Combined with a conversion-tastic hotel website (see tip above), this is the best strategy for a stellar online presence that will result in plenty of profitable bookings.

Wrapping up

What’s your hotelier new year’s resolution? What have we missed?

Tell us what you’ll be doing next year to bring in more bookings and draw guests away from the big-name competition by commenting 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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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 whose 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 are 4 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 are four 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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