How to get better TripAdvisor reviews for your hotel | hotel software uk

There are clever, smart ways to encourage guests to leave good reviews for your hotel… and then there are the rather more daft approaches made by Basil Fawlty types.

For an example of the latter, look no further than the owner of the Royal Clarence Hotel in Somerset, who decided to label one group of guests “muppets” after they allegedly demanded a refund in exchange for a positive review.

Harsh? We’ll let you be the judge of that, but there’s no arguing this isn’t really the way to treat guests - or paint an image of yourself online as a hotel owner.

This chap’s anger is understandable, even if his way of dealing with it is somewhat questionable. Hoteliers know the value of good reviews - they improve rankings on review sites, OTAs and search engines - therefore obtaining them and dealing with the negative stuff is a highly emotive topic.

It goes without saying you shouldn’t bribe guests into leaving decent reviews on TripAdvisor, but there are a number of legitimate, fair ways you can increase the chances of them doing so:

Never compromise on service - ever

customer service is key to great TripAdvisor reviews | hotel management systems london

Let’s get this one out of the way, immediately.

For guests to leave decent reviews, you need to provide a stellar service each and every time they step into your hotel. If you run your business like a tight ship and have a team that values customer service above all else, you’re already halfway there.

Mention it during the check-out process

ask for a review when your guest leaves the hotel | hotel booking systems

Think about how often you’re asked by waiting staff to leave reviews on TripAdvisor when they hand you the bill at the end of the meal.

As a hotelier, you absolutely need to do the same thing. During the check-out process, encourage reception staff to ask if the guest had an enjoyable stay. If the answer is “yes”, encourage them to share their experience on TripAdvisor.

This is by far the best time to ask, because the positive vibe you’ve created for them will be fresh in their mind.

Send a follow-up email

send a follow-up email to hotel guests for reviews | hotel upselling

Clearly, not every guest is going to take up - or remember - your suggestion that they leave a review, but there’s a neat way you can remind them to do so.

A day or so after the stay, schedule a follow-up email (most decent hotel booking systems will have this feature built-in) that repeats the words of the reception staff and includes a direct link to your hotel’s listing on TripAdvisor.

“We’d love to see you again”, “thanks for staying with us”, “why not leave us a review?” are the kind of things you want to be saying in this ultra-simple email.

Keep an eye on social media

social media tip for hoteliers | hotel management software uk

If you’re using software to keep an eye on mentions of your hotel on social media, you can pounce on the positive stuff (you’ll need to do the same with the negative mentions, but that’s for another blog).

For instance, if you spot a tweet that tells the story of a wonderful stay at your property, retweet it first, but then reply. Thank the guest for taking the time to tweet and kindly ask that they leave their happy thoughts on TripAdvisor for you, too.

Wrapping up

Positive guest reviews aren’t easy to come by, no matter how high your guest satisfaction rate.

People lead busy lives, and therefore often need encouragement (and the odd reminder) to do their bit on TripAdvisor if they thought your hotel was particularly wonderful.

Don’t be afraid to give them a gentle nudge!

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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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tips for first-time hoteliers | hotel software uk

For many people, the idea of opening a hotel for the first time is a dream come true. For others, it’s the result of a family business handed onto another generation. Whatever reason you have for entering the hotel industry for the first time, you’ve probably got lots of questions. Providing you follow these tips for first-time hoteliers below, you’ll gain plenty of job satisfaction and great financial security.

Our tips below are for the very start of your journey. In future blogs, we’ll cover the all-important role technology will play in your hotelier journey - particularly the hotel property management system.

1. Gain some experience

hotel industry experience | hotel management software uk

Depending on how you intend to become a hotelier, it’s vital that you gain some experience.

If you’ve already worked your way through the ranks - great! But if you’re yet to experience life on the front line of the reception desk or in the depths of the kitchen, now is the time to get that experience under your belt.

This is true if you’ve inherited a hotel, too. Getting your hands dirty and working at the lower rungs of the hospitality ladder will give you a great appreciation for what it takes to run a brilliant hotel operation.

2. Get used to - and enjoy - working with people

hotel industry is all about working with people | management systems for hotels london

It might sound daft, but there’s no escaping the fact that, as a hotelier, you’ll be working with a lot of people.

Staff, guests, suppliers - there will be countless personalities you’ll need to deal with each day and it’s essential that you can maintain the stamina required to keep smiling and provide the best service possible.

Empathy plays a big role in being a hotelier, as does the ability to deal with an emergency in room four at 2:45 on a Tuesday morning.

3. Pick the right hotel theme

pick the right hotel theme | hotel booking systems

That’s right - just like restaurants, the best and most successful hotels have a theme. What’s yours going to be?

Take the following into consideration when deciding on your hotel’s theme:

  • your ideal guest (demographics, type of stay, generation - that kind of thing);
  • your own experiences and passions;
  • the competition - what are they doing (or not doing)?;
  • a unique selling point; and
  • what kind of experience do you want to create?

A hotel theme might be something as simple as funky decor or musically-themed rooms. Whatever it is, make it as unique and enticing as possible.

4. Get financial help - but only if you need it

look for cost-effective solutions for your hotel | hotel upselling

If you already have the finances in place for your hotel, or if it has been inherited in a good financial state, avoid getting yourself into any debt. It’s simply not needed in such circumstances.

If, however, it’s a new venture, make sure you get the appropriate financial help. Speak to your bank manager and assess the most cost-effective solutions. Remember - running a hotel business is expensive, but it should be ultimately profitable.

5. Make sure it’s definitely what you want

tips for first-time hoteliers | hotel management software uk

Calling a hotel operation a ‘lifestyle business’ will make many hoteliers wince. It’s a very hard career and one that is both incredibly challenging and very rewarding.

Long days, little time away from ‘the office’ and the need to deal with all manner of guest requests and industry red tape can be a little too much for some people.

In truth, you won’t know how well suited you are to this industry until you get into it, but if you have any significant doubts, it might be best to look for an alternative career. It’s certainly better to pull out now than risk your happiness in the future.

Ready for it? Awesome!

Wrapping up

This is a long road full of bumps, surprises and delight, but if you stick with it, your hotel will become not just a business but a treasured part of your life.

We’ve scratched the surface above, so stay tuned to the Welcome Anywhere blog for more hotelier tips!

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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 use Twitter’s 280 character limit as a hotelier | hotel software uk

In 2017, Twitter gave all of its users access to a new 280 character limit.

At its inception, Twitter only allowed 140 character to be used in tweets, making this sudden doubling of available commentary/shouting/ranting/opinion space quite a big deal.

Some people seem to love it, while others lament the decision to turn what was once the platform’s endearing selling point into something that gives advertisers and internet trolls far more space to irritate all and sundry.

Despite this, Twitter’s longer character limit offers some interesting marketing opportunities. It shouldn’t be abused, but we think you can definitely make better use of the service now if you’re a hotelier.

Here’s four tips for making the most of the 280 character tweet limit:

1. Use paragraphs

Twitter tip for hotels | management systems for hotels london

Perhaps the worst thing to come out of the increased character limit is a tendency for people to publish long winded tweets that don’t feature an ounce of punctuation.

When these tweets were just 140 characters long, that was less of an issue, but at 280 characters, they simply become big blobs of text that few people are going to read.

If you’ve got something interesting to say about your hotel, you now have more space in which to do so, but that means you can rely on white space, rather than endless sentences.

Use paragraphs on Twitter, and break up your tweets so they’re easily digestible.

2. Include multiple links

Tweeting offers for your hotel | hotel management software uk

The shorter tweets of old typically only justified a single link to be included, but with 280 characters to play with, you can get a bit more creative with your calls to action.

For instance, if you’ve just launched a number of new Christmas packages, why not tweet them out in paragraphs (see above), with the corresponding link to each package description on your website?

Don’t forget to include images, too - tweets containing photos or some other form of graphical accompaniment will perform better, and they no longer count to the character limit.

3. Tweet in multiple languages

should your hotel tweet in multiple languages? hotel software uk

If you regularly welcome foreign guests to your hotel or want to broaden your reach on social media, Twitter’s higher character limit finally gives you the space to tweet in multiple languages.

For instance, you can now kill several birds with one tweet if you want to announce the launch of your new online booking system to people in England, Spain, France and Germany.

4. Don’t feel you have to use every character

don't go too long on your tweet | hotel booking systems

One of the best pieces of advice we can provide about Twitter’s 280 character limit is… to not use it at all!

Just because you have all that extra space to play with doesn’t mean you need to use it each and every time. If you’ve experienced Twitter success with short, concise tweets, stick with them!

Listen to gut instinct; if a tweet feels too long or laboured, trim it back.

Wrapping up

Have you used Twitter to your advantage as a hotelier? We’d love to hear your experiences. Get involved in the conversation by leaving your comments, 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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How to attract bleisure travellers | hotel upselling

The idea of combining leisure with business during an outing from the office isn’t new, but it’s a trend that has spawned its own name. And it’s growing, big time.

In a survey held last year, 75% of respondents revealed they had extended a business trip within the last year for leisure purposes.

Known as ‘bleisure’, this type of travel is popular among all generations, and for good reason. It eases work-life balance, adds some excitement to business trips and improves employee satisfaction.

If you’re running an independent hotel, the bleisure market might be one you’re currently missing out on.

Here are some tips for attracting bleisure travellers to your hotel.

Focus on offering short-stay packages

offer short-stay specials for bleisure guests | hotel software uk

Bleisure guests will typically be looking for a maximum of three-night stays during their travel. To stand out from the rest of the hotels, you could add short-stay specials that appeal directly to these people.

There’s also the opportunity to up-sell. For instance, by offering a percentage discount off an additional night’s stay, you might grab the attention of bleisure guests who fancy extending their stay for a little more leisure time.

Ensure you offer services business travellers want

what do bleisure guests need? | hotel management software uk

Take the leisure element out of bleisure, and these guests are still corporate travellers. Therefore, you need to ensure your hotel offers them everything they need to get work done on the road.

That means great, free, fast WiFi, ample meeting and working space and ease of travel to and from your property.

Oh, and don’t forget those all-important add-on services such as a fitness suite, self-check-in/out and ironing services.

Grab their attention with leisure services

leisure activities to offer at your hotel | hotel upselling

After a long day away from the office, business travellers can be easily tempted with great leisure services.

This might simply be the offer of a first free drink at the bar, but for the bleisure crowd, you can go a lot further.

If you have the budget and space on-site, offering fitness classes, therapy practices or cocktail nights is a great way to differentiate your service in the minds of bleisure guests.

Go for the super-personalised service

personalise your hotel for bleisure guests | hotel software uk

Bleisure travellers all have individual tastes. This is why personalisation is so important for hotel marketing and service teams.

The more you can profile bleisure guests, the more you can tune your service perfectly for them.

For instance, if you know they’re into fitness, a tailored stay and keep-fit package that emphasises your sports facilities will go down very well indeed.

The same goes for specific room preferences, food allergies and room service requests. If you can demonstrate that you’re listening to their every requirement, you’ll likely welcome them back again and again.

Encourage repeat bookings

how to get repeat bookings from bleisure guests | management systems for hotels london

As we alluded to above, bleisure guests are well-primed to become long-term advocates of your brand.

With that in mind, be sure you make it clear how convenient and easy it is to book with you again via your online booking engine.

Even better, why not start up a loyalty program for bleisure guests? By offering points rewards or some other form of benefit for repeat bookings, you’ll catch not just their eye but that of the person who holds the purse strings for them back at HQ.

Wrapping up

Bleisure travel isn’t a flash in the pan - it’s a growing trend that fits perfectly with the modern way of working.

Freelancers, remote employees and those who regularly leave the office for business trips represent a huge, profitable market for independent hoteliers.

Go get ‘em!

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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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tips for mastering local SEO for hotels | hotel management systems london

Search engine optimisation (SEO) has been around since Google was nothing more than a handy directory of websites.

Now, it’s something of a behemoth and a significant challenge for hoteliers. In particular, the nature of the sector has placed a significant emphasis on something known as ‘local SEO’.

Put simply, this is the process whereby your hotel will appear in searches relevant to your area. Clearly, given the type of business you run, this is highly desirable, but how do you go about mastering local search?

Employing the services of an SEO agency can be expensive, but if your marketing budget can stretch that far, and you’re prepared to conduct a beauty parade of suppliers, it’s one of the best investments you make.

Regardless, there are three things you can do yourself to improve your hotel website’s local SEO performance:

1. Be the master of your online reviews

local SEO tips for hotels | hotel upselling

We won’t get into the nitty-gritty of guest reviews, because it’s a topic that has been argued to the point of exhaustion. And, anyway, the fact remains - you need them if you’re to survive as a hotelier.

No matter your opinion on guest reviews, you may not be aware that they can significantly help your local SEO efforts.

This stands to reason; people love to research the hotels at which they’re thinking of staying. Equally, Google is rather fond of websites and businesses that attract a lot of reviews, therefore if you’re prepared to put the time into managing your online reviews (by approving, commenting and acting upon poor feedback), you might just see a satisfying improvement in search engine rankings.

2. Build links with local businesses

cross promotional opportunities for hotels | hotel software uk

Link building is a cornerstone of SEO and involves securing links to your website from other websites that already have high rankings on Google.

Unless you know what you’re doing, it’s hard work.

When it comes to local SEO, link building can actually be somewhat easier, because it involves gaining inbound links to your website from other local businesses.

So, if you’re staging a wedding fair next month, why not kindly ask the local pub, golf course or bridal shop to publish a note on their blog linking to your event? Promise you’ll do the same for them in return, and you’ll have undertaken a nice bit of link building that might just boost your rankings a little.

3. Ensure your website is fully mobile-ready

SEO tips for hotels | hotel management software uk

This is an easy one to finish on, and a tip that should pretty much be inserted into any ‘how to make your website rank better on Google’ blog post.

This is for good reason; Google loves mobile-ready websites. In fact, it now operates on a mobile-first index, which means it generally prefers them over their desktop counterparts.

With over 50% of hotel searches now undertaken on mobile devices, you need a website that is fully mobile-ready (not just ‘mobile optimised’). If you have doubts that yours is - speak to your web developer as soon as possible.

Wrapping up

The three things above won’t supercharge your hotel’s Google listing, but they will help a great deal.

Use them in conjunction with a great SEO contract, and you’ll stand a genuine chance of being found on page one of Google - and that’s no mean feat in this industry!

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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 keep hold of your best hotel staff | hotel software uk

There’s still a lot of uncertainty in the UK economy. Brexit may finally have taken place, but the far reaching effects of it on the hospitality sector remains to be seen.

In the meantime, every independent hotelier is best advised to continue providing an amazing guest experience by retaining the best possible team.

If you’re concerned about losing your best employees or struggling with a particularly high staff turnover rate, we’ve got some tips for ensuring you build a rock solid team, and keep it that way.

Hire the right people from the outset

tip for hiring hospitality staff | hotel upselling

You won’t get far with your hotel team if you hire poorly.

Unfortunately, it’s an easy mistake to make; hiring is damn hard.

However, the more time you invest in recruitment, the more likely you are to hire the best people from the outset.

Before you choose a candidate, think about the values you have at the hotel. Consider the culture and goals you’ve set - make sure anyone who steps into the interview room is capable of adding value.

Remind yourself that you won’t be able to retain everyone

how to handle exit interviews at your property

Staff leave for a variety of reasons - that’s a fact of life and something you won’t be able to change.

For instance, changing circumstances at home, decisions to move abroad and illness are common examples of why team members might have to leave.

When you accept that you’ll inevitably lose some staff at some stage, it’ll become less of a shock when it happens. Just make sure you hold a decent exit interview before they go to find out where you can improve and what they enjoyed about working at the hotel.

Show your team how much they're valued

show appreciation to your staff | hotel management systems

Showing appreciation for your team doesn’t always have to result in some form of monetary recompense. You can say “thank you” for their hard work in lots of different ways.

Sometimes, a hearty pat on the back for a job well done is enough, but if you feel like taking the entire team out for a night of bowling, go for it.

The more valued people feel, the more likely they are to hang around - it’s one of the simplest facts of management.

Challenge each and every team member

have discussions with your hotel staff | hotel management software uk

Believe it or not, your team members want to feel challenged; no one wants to go to work each day and clock watch.

This is why it’s so important to have regular one-to-one chats with the team. Ask how they’re getting on, what they’re struggling with and where they feel under-utilised.

Make changes to their rota, level of responsibility or tasks to ensure they feel challenged and pushed to their maximum potential.

Create an awesome hotel team culture

create an awesome culture

Who would want to leave a hotel where the team culture is so amazing?

Most of us have experienced that desire to get to work and get stuff done, and that usually stems from a love of the job itself and the team you work with.

The culture you create in your hotel will define the longevity of your staff base. Make sure it’s one you want to get out of bed for each morning.

Wrapping up

The key learning today is that you will lose staff occasionally. The hospitality industry is one of high staff turnover - that’s just how it is.

However, follow our tips above and you’ll stand a far better chance of retaining your best people for much, much longer.

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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 should use derived rates | hotel upselling

Derived rates are powerful tools that independent hotels can use to compete with the big chains.

As well as saving busy general managers a lot of hassle, being able to dynamically adjust rates across a batch of rooms in one fell swoop can boost revenues.

As derived rates are becoming more common, let’s dive into what makes them tick and why they’re worth leveraging at your independent hotel…

The basics

Why your hotel should start using derived rates | hotel software uk

Derived rates are typically offered as a tool within a PMS (property management system) and are linked to the hotel’s online booking service and channel manager.

Historically, and without any form of derived rates tool, hoteliers have had no choice but to adjust room rates individually whenever it was within their interests to make wholesale changes.

This manual approach is time-consuming and not exactly ideal, which is why the automated features offered by derived rates are a big selling point for those who adopt them.

The idea is to set a base rate, then use that rate as the foundation on which all other rates are automatically calculated. For instance, your room-only rate could be a good starting point; the lynchpin which defines how other rates are worked out if you will.

When you run a discount offer, for example, this price will be derived from your base rate, with a percentage of the total subtracted to match the desired promotional discount.

The same applies for room rates which include extra services, such as breakfast, an evening meal or even a spa treatment package.

Once everything is set up according to your liking, you can simply let the derived rates tool do all the hard work, so you can focus on delivering a great guest experience elsewhere.

The benefits

how derived rates help channel management | hotel booking systems

Aside from the obvious advantages that derived rates offer in terms of efficiency and fewer pricing errors, they bring other perks to the table for independent hotels.

For instance, you might want to adjust your rates to reflect seasonal changes, or to compete more effectively with your local rivals. There may also be times when you need to lower prices to stimulate sales when you see a quiet patch on the horizon.

Whatever clever tactics or new strategies you want to try out, derived rates will give you the ability to do so without forcing you to jump through hoops in your PMS and channel manager.

Mistakes happen, and derived rates go a long way to avoiding common errors made by hotel staff. For example, if you lower your base rate, but forget to change your discounted rate, this can create confusion among potential bookers. With derived rates active, you’ll never need to worry about such a slip-up taking place.

Derived rates also make channel management far more effective, by enabling you to make wholesale changes to rates across a range of OTAs in seconds. In a competitive marketplace, this can give you the edge, or at least enable you to respond quickly to whatever new curveball your closest rivals have thrown your way.

Wrapping up

There may be a bit of work involved in perfecting your derived rates setup, but once the cogs are whirring you’ll be glad that you put in the effort with this fantastic form of rate management.

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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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is your hotel pms genuinely future proof? | hotel property management system

There are a number of competing hotel PMS options out there at the moment, but not all platforms are created equal.

The question you need to ask is whether or not the solution you choose will be able to stand up to changing demands and expectations in the long term.

Here are some of the things to look out for in a truly future-proof hotel PMS:

Cloud hosting & mobile-friendliness

Is your hotel PMS genuinely future-proof? | hotel booking systems

The influence of the cloud can be felt across every segment of the hospitality market today. In the context of a hotel PMS, this type of hosting solution will make it easier to access the system from any device, no matter where you happen to be located.

Staff will be able to log in and keep up-to-date with information that’s relevant to their role throughout the day, whether that’s changes to the housekeeping schedule, requests for emergency maintenance or any other issue that needs to be handled on the fly.

Regulatory compliance

hotel PMS security standards | hotel upselling

Hotels really needed to step up their game in terms of compliance in 2018, with the rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) still having repercussions.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is also relevant for any organisation that wants to handle card transactions without falling foul of regulators and potentially business-crippling fines.

Your PMS must meet both of these standards because if it doesn’t, your hotel might face the likelihood of being hit with a major fine and further punitive action. Unfair? Probably – but that’s life in the GDPR age.

Interoperability

property management system | hotel software uk

A future-proof PMS won’t be inflexible when it comes to bolting on extra functions - especially those supplied via third party providers.

For example, you might want to link your PMS with an external platform that handles payments, or a service that puts you in control of the guest review process.

In this instance, interoperability is a blessing and will enable you to offer even better guest experiences while remaining connected to them long after the date of departure.

Security

hotel software security | hotel management systems london

The rising threat of security breaches and botnet-based attacks is a big problem for hotels and it’s understandably difficult for independents to fight back against cybercrime with their own, limited resources.

A cutting-edge PMS should give you peace of mind when it comes to data security - especially if it’s hosted in the cloud where it can be protected against malicious activity around the clock.

Baked-in capabilities

hotel pms marketplace | hotel booking systems

It’s no longer useful to think of a hotel PMS as a straightforward upgrade from the traditional booking diary and back-office ledger.

Ideally, your solution should be packed with useful features and optional extras that will give your hotel the best chance of thriving in an increasingly competitive marketplace. And those features should keep coming, too, via effortless updates that arrive regularly.

From managing staff to engaging with guests after their first visit to secure a second booking, a PMS needs to be far more than just a digital ledger.

Wrapping up

If you accept the need to adopt a future-proof PMS for your hotel then you’ve already taken the first step on the path to making your business more sustainable and successful.

Don’t settle for second best; pick a PMS that ticks all of the boxes and boasts the flexibility you need to grow.

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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 picking the perfect hotel channel manager | hotel booking systems

Finding the right channel manager as an independent hotelier isn’t easy.

There are so many on the market to choose from, it can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for.

Can we let you into a secret? Most channel managers do exactly the same thing. It’s the service, features, choice of OTA connections and PMS integration that matter.

With that in mind, here’s how to pick the perfect channel manager for your hotel.

1. Think about your budget

budgeting for a channel manager | hotel software uk

Hotel channel managers shouldn’t break the bank.

Working with online travel agencies (OTAs) alone is expensive. They charge commissions for bookings, and the last thing you want to do is add unnecessarily to that cost with an expensive channel manager.

Some vendors will charge a monthly fee, others a booking fee. The best will include the channel manager as standard with their PMS.

When pricing it up, make sure the channel manager you choose leaves you plenty of room to still make a decent profit on each room sale.

2. Make sure it links up with your PMS

linking hotel channel manager to PMS | management systems for hotels london

If you’re in the market for a new property management system (PMS) too, you have the luxury of being able to find one that has its own channel manager.

If you have an existing PMS, it’s important that you find a channel manager that links to it comprehensively.

By this, we mean the ability for rate and availability information to be automatically synchronised between the two systems and bookings sent directly to the reservation chart.

Running two separate systems is a no-no in this age; you’ll end up with double bookings and oodles of needless time spent on your hotel’s online distribution.

3. Identify the key channels you need

key hotel channels | hotel management software uk

Most channel managers will link to the big boy OTAs, such as Expedia and Booking.com.

However, there might be other channels from which you can gain lots of bookings. TripAdvisor, Trivago, Hostel World and AirBnB are just some examples of channels that could perfectly suit your business.

Make a list of the OTAs you already work with and any that you might want to work with in the future and make sure the channel manager you choose has those integrations.

4. Make sure it offers two-way interfaces

importance of a two-way interface for channel managers | hotel upselling

A channel manager that only sends information one way isn’t much use.

For instance, some basic channel manager may only send your rates and availability to OTAs. This means any bookings you receive will have to be manually entered, thus creating opportunities for double bookings (or forgetting entirely to enter bookings onto the PMS).

If a channel manager doesn’t offer genuine two-way, automated links with OTAs, it isn’t fit for a modern hotel operation.

5. Don’t forget your own booking engine

tying channel managers to your booking engine | hotel software uk

With the channel management focus so heavily placed on OTAs, it’s easy to forget about the most important channel of them all - your own website.

The best channel managers will offer comprehensive control over your own booking engine. If you find one that doesn’t, its other benefits will pale into insignificance - this is a vital piece of functionality if you want to avoid double bookings and encourage more direct bookers.

Wrapping up

We hope our tips above help in your quest to find the perfect channel manager for your unique situation (because let’s be honest, every hotel is unique).

If a channel manager seems too expensive, overly complicated or lacks the PMS integration you need, walk away - the right one is out there.

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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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Questions hoteliers should ask their OTA representatives | hotel booking systems

Online travel agencies (OTAs) provide a valuable source of new bookings for hotels.

But that comes at a cost; for some, a cost that’s rather hard to swallow.

Your OTA relationships are some of the most important you’ll have as an independent hotelier. Thankfully, most come with a representative with whom you can have regular catch-ups to ensure you’re getting the most from your listing.

When your next OTA rep meeting is due, here are a few tips on what to ask.

How will my hotel’s information be displayed?

hotel industry tips: what to ask your OTA rep | hotel upselling

Most OTAs let you add images and descriptions, but, sometimes, the latter isn’t down to you.

Some OTAs will take a tourism business description and use that, instead. Try and find out how much control you have over editing the description - after all, it’s the first introduction to your hotel for many guests.

What types of rate are allowed?

manage hotel rates on OTAs | hotel software uk

OTAs have different rules about rates and what is and isn’t allowed. Find out from your rep exactly which types of rate you can synchronise between your property management system and their platform.

Quiz them on the following:

  • best available rates;
  • package rates;
  • late cancellation rates;
  • advanced purchase; and
  • add on services such as dinner and other experiences.

Are there any paid marketing opportunities?

Questions hoteliers should ask their OTA representatives | hotel management systems uk

If the OTA rep is doing their job effectively, you should already have heard about this, but in case not, ask if there are any options for paid marketing.

Some OTAs will give hotels the ability to better position themselves within search results by paying additional fees. It’s a bit like Google Ads, only for OTA listings.

What markets will my hotel be exposed to?

what markets are hotels exposed to | hotel booking systems

Most OTAs are focused on specific markets; they’ll have ideal audiences and guest types to whom they target the lion’s share of their advertising.

Try and find out which markets your OTAs are strongest in and whether or not your hotel is missing out on opportunities in markets in which you’re not yet listed.

Are there referral opportunities?

Questions hoteliers should ask their OTA representatives | hotel upselling

Although a relatively new concept on some OTAs, referrals are fast becoming a great way for hotels to build relationships with local businesses.

Your OTA might offer the ability for your hotel to recommend local attractions, places to eat or events to attend during the booking process. Ask if this is an option and, if so, how you can take advantage of it.

What reporting tools are available?

reporting tools with OTAs for hotels | hotel upselling

Although you’ll hopefully be benefiting from lots of great reporting in your channel manager, the OTA itself should offer some key insight from behind the scenes.

Ask the rep what kind of reporting tools the OTA offers via the platform. It might include competitor reporting, revenue stats, rate type performance and more - but you won’t know unless you ask.

Is there a loyalty programme for customers?

loyalty programme for hotel customers on OTAs | hotel software uk

Even if you run your own loyalty scheme, many OTAs will have their own membership options for guests.

These will provide offers, exclusive deals and other loyalty tricks which may encourage a few more regular bookers for your hotel.

Wrapping up

It’s time to take responsibility for your OTA listings. Our guiding questions above will help you get the most from the OTAs you work with, but don’t be afraid to dig deeper.

If you’ve got a burning question on your mind about an OTA relationship - ask it. Remember, the OTA reps are there to help you, and it’s another example of where your commission payments go.

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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.

Read More