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.

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How to boost occupancy in slump season | hotel software uk

The festive season is over, and for hotel operators that results in two certainties:

  1. An exhausted hotel team that desperately needs some time off.
  2. Immediate worries about how to boost occupancy during the inevitable post-Christmas slump.

We’ll let you deal with number one, but how can you boost occupancy in what is, traditionally, a quiet time of the year for hoteliers?

The good news? We live in a digital economy that is full of new ways to reach potential guests. You just need to get creative, and, sometimes, turn to the simplest solutions.

Here are a few simple ways you can boost occupancy during the remaining part of the winter and get 2020 off to a cracking start.

Run a competition for a midweek break

Hey, but that’s giving away occupancy, isn’t it?

Yes, it is, but by running a competition for a midweek break, you’ll boost your influence on social media and grab a booking that will probably spend a bit in your bar and restaurant, too.

What’s more, you might encourage others to book regardless, thus increasing midweek occupancy; a tough task at the best of times.

Look for contractors in the area

If there are new residential or commercial building operations kicking off this January near your hotel, try and find out who’s behind them.

This will enable you to get in touch and find out if the workers have any ongoing accommodation requirements. Building firms often bring in contractors from further afield for large jobs, and if you’re lucky, you may just chance upon a few medium to long-term bookers.

Tempt some longer stays

If you already have a few weekend bookings in place, why not reach out to those guests and see if you can tempt them into staying longer?

By adding a discounted night onto the end of their booking, you’ll both increase occupancy for another day and the chances of them telling the world how wonderful you are as a hotelier.

Schedule some one-day events

Poetry reading, cookery masterclasses, networking events and conferences are just some examples of one-day events that may, in turn, boost your occupancy this winter.

If you’ve got the room to host such events, why not make 2020 the year when you stage as many as possible?

Start tapping into your mailing list

If you’ve been collecting guest email addresses (in a GDPR-compliant fashion, of course), now is the time to start tapping into that goldmine of data.

People who stayed with you over a year ago or those who have demonstrated their loyalty with regular stays should be prime targets for your promotional work this year.

Get in touch and remind them that you exist. Offer discounted stays if you feel it appropriate to do so or simply provide a tantalising glimpse of the work you’ve carried out on your restaurant since they last stayed.

Wrapping up

This time of the year isn’t to be feared as a hotelier - it’s to be relished and taken advantage of.

Use our tips above, and you’ll soon discover that the start of a new year can be just as profitable for your hotel as the festive period.

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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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Facebook Ads strategies for hotels in 2020 | hotel software uk

Facebook is a pay-to-play platform these days. Organic posting has a place, but it’s nowhere near as effective as the Facebook Ads feature - when used correctly.

This should come as no surprise - Facebook is a business, after all - but if you’ve never used Facebook Ads before, you might feel understandably trepidatious about getting involved.

It’s worth it, though. And, if you’re an independent hotelier, it could be a great source of extra bookings in 2020.

Here are some simple tips for making the most of Facebook Ads in 2020.

Set your objective

Facebook Ads for hotel bookings | hotel booking systems

Before you go anywhere near the Facebook Ads platform, you need to set an objective or two. What do you want to get out of it?

For some hotels, it will literally be the case of gaining more direct bookings. For others, they may want to gain extra likes from people who may one day become customers, or simply get word out about their new restaurant menu.

Think of an objective that you can measure and which, ultimately, should prove profitable for the hotel.

Figure out your audience

Hotel industry tips | management systems for hotels london

One of the best things about Facebook Ads is the ability it provides to curate tightly defined audiences.

You can build an Ads audience based on age, location, interests and much more. The key lies in creating an audience that isn’t too broad, but which precisely matches the type of people you want to attract to your hotel.

The best way to do this is to create what’s known as an ‘audience persona’. This is a fictitious character who represents your ideal customer. Think about the generation in which they reside, their likes and where they’re most likely to live.

Remember - you can have more than one audience, too. In fact, if you attract both millennials and baby boomers, for instance, you’ll need separate ads for them anyway, so make sure you create personas for both.

Think about when you’ll run the ad

Running an ad for your hotel on Facebook | hotel management software uk

Scheduling is vitally important in the world of Facebook Ads. Place an ad at the wrong time of the year, and it’ll gain little engagement.

Much of this will come down to what the ad is for. If it’s for a seasonal stay package, you’ll want to start advertising it a few weeks (if not months) out. If it’s a simple ‘like’ campaign, you need to think about when your audience will most likely engage with it.

Think about the length of time you want the ad to run, too. If you’re just dipping your toes into the Facebook Ads waters for the first time, a two-week trial period might be all that’s required. For longer campaigns, carefully consider the shelf life of your ad and set the duration to that.

The ad itself

Taking care of your Facebook ad | hotel upselling

The good news? Anyone can make a Facebook Ad look great - you don’t need to be a designer.

They provide brilliant, easy-to-use tools for creating ads, even if you simply have a bunch of images you want to display. Their slideshow feature also provides lots of great looking templates you can use to turn those images into something that moves and engages.

If you’re just getting started, we recommend playing around with the platform first to get a feel for how the ad creation process works. It’s pretty addictive once you get going, but always keep in mind your audience and the kind of visuals and messaging they’re most likely to engage with.

Wrapping up

Facebook Ads is a big topic which we’ll cover in more depth during 2020, but the above is a great starting point if this is new ground for you. Stay tuned!

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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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power of video hotel marketing | hotel software uk

Humans are visual creatures, so it makes sense that video is set to dominate internet traffic for the foreseeable future.

Hotels can leverage video to boost engagement with their guests, increase booking rates and secure repeat visits over time.

But where does the real power of video lie and what are the best ways for hotels to harness it effectively today?

Facts & figures

even a short video could do wonders for hotel marketing | hotel upselling

There has been a whole heap of work done to investigate just how impactful video can be as a marketing medium in the age of superfast connectivity and online streaming.

Some of the claims made might sound a little outlandish, but it’s impossible to ignore the weight of evidence that supports them.

For instance, Forrester Research made waves as far back as 2014 with its assertion that 60 seconds of video is just as influential as 1.8 million words of marketing copy. Which would you rather work on as someone tasked with marketing a hotel?

YouTube alone has over 1.5 billion users globally and plays host to an army of content creators, brands and businesses, all of whom are intent on tapping into the vast, ready-made audience the platform offers.

Facebook is also a key player in the video marketing field, with more than 500 million people viewing videos daily through its social platform.

In short, the idea that people engage with video more intensely than any other medium is well established - not just over-enthusiastic hyperbole.

From the perspective of an independent hotelier, the accessibility of video marketing makes it all the more powerful.

Video marketing options for hotels

video tip for hotels | hotel booking systems

If you want to sell more rooms and get people interested in visiting your hotel, video will open your doors to a wide, modern audience.

There are lots of ways to harness it effectively, starting with the obvious choice of creating a promotional ad for your hotel. This is easier than you might think, although it’s worth treading cautiously if you fancy the DIY approach.

You could tackle this task head-on yourself, but it’s probably worth investing in professional assistance if you want to avoid ending up with a video that looks amateurish or which ends up taking far more time than you can afford.

Once your ad is finished, you can embed it on your website, share it via social media and start racking up the views on popular streaming platforms like YouTube.

Another approach is to use video as a method to showcase customer testimonials in a way that feels more genuine than relying on a simple written statement on your blog or the emergence of positive TripAdvisor reviews.

Ask regular guests if they’d be happy to appear on camera to say a few words about what makes your hotel special and why they keep coming back for more.

You can push these engaging testimonials out across your social channels and your website. Some platforms - like Instagram and Snapchat - are perfectly designed for bite-sized video content of this kind, so don’t forget to experiment with them to get the best results.

There are even platforms built to facilitate customer-focused video marketing in a way that puts businesses in the driving seat, with StoryTap being a great example of a service that makes it easier and more convenient to control the narrative directly.

Wrapping up

Video creation tools are more affordable and accessible than ever before, so there’s no excuse for independent hotels to overlook this vitally important platform when it comes to optimising their digital marketing efforts.

If you’re a hotelier and you’ve experimented with video, tell us about your experiences in the comments section, below!

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

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

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5 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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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 improve your hotel offering with mini events | hotel upselling

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Movie screenings

hotel movie screenings offering | hotel booking systems

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

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

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

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

2. Open mic nights

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

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

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

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

3. Quiz nights

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

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

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

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

Wrapping up

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

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

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

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

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

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

As hotelier problems go, this one is pretty epic.

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

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

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

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

People have heard they’ll be getting a great experience

great hotel guest experience | hotel software uk

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

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

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

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

You reward guests

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

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

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

You’ve nailed the room amenities

Hotel check-in process | hotel booking systems

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

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

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

This stuff really matters.

Your online booking process is mega easy

hotel booking process | hotel booking systems

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

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

Wrapping up

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

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

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

 

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

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hotel marketing tip | hotel software uk

Running an independent hotel can feel like an uphill struggle - especially if you stick to the same old methods you’ve always used and ignore the need to innovate.

But rather than let the big chains walk all over you, it makes sense to stop procrastinating and take action.

Here are five things you can do today to level the playing field in this competitive market.

1. Implement price-matching offers

match big chain hotel prices | hotel upselling

With comparison sites making such an impact on the industry, ignoring the likelihood of being undercut by the big chains is not wise.

You don’t necessarily need to make all of your rooms cheaper than your rivals on your PMS, but it’s advisable to make sure your rates are at least in tune with customer expectations.

Matching prices with the big chain competition can lure in bargain hunters while still ensuring that your hotel has that unique, boutique, exclusive feel that you’ve worked so hard to foster.

2. Create a loyalty scheme

create hotel loyalty program | hotel booking systems

Getting guests to return after their initial stay is tricky, but if you offer an incentive, they’re much more likely to re-book.

Many of the major hotel operators have loyalty schemes designed to do just that, but there’s no reason you can’t recreate this on a smaller scale for your own property.

You could even factor in discounts for guests who recommend you to their family, friends and colleagues to spread the benefits even further.

3. Improve your website

optimise your hotel's website | hotel management software uk

There’s no excuse for having a sub-standard website that looks unprofessional when compared with those of mainstream rivals.

Makes sure your website is optimised for search engines, easy-to-use on mobile devices and targeted to win bookings in as few clicks as possible to get the best results.

Make your online hotel booking systems front and centre on every page; it’s what potential bookers will be looking for!

4. Get on top of social media

hotel social media marketing | hotel upselling

You need a presence on social media to both promote your hotel and respond to guests who may be using platforms like TwitterFacebook and Instagram to ask questions and provide feedback.

Running your social media accounts doesn’t need to take up too much of your time, and you shouldn’t neglect them if you can help it.

The potential benefits are too good to pass up, and all the top hotel chains are already maximising their impact on these sites, so you should too.

Also remember that you can use social media proactively, both to request reviews from previous guests and to promote your latest offers to people who have stayed with you in the past.

5. Create a mobile app

hotel mobile app | hotel booking systems

Smartphones are ubiquitous today and you can assume that most guests who stay with you will have an iOS (Apple) or Android (Google) device at their disposal.

Because of this, creating an interactive mobile app is a sensible and exciting idea, and will allow you to impress visitors with what they can do from their smartphone during their stay.

From checking in and out to placing an order for room service without needing to make a call, a hotel app can be flexible enough to offer a wide range of convenient functions, thus creating a memorable guest experience.

If you don’t want the big chains to win the tech war, this is a great investment to make.

What do you think?

What have we missed? If you’re a successful independent hotelier, tell us what has worked for you in the comments section below (don’t worry – you can remain anonymous).

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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