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Welcome Anywhere Property Managment System > Blog > Hotel technology

In-room hotel entertainment used to be remarkably simple. A TV with access to terrestrial channels and pay-per-view movies was about as far as it stretched until tablets, streaming and a desire to link home devices to in-room tech began to emerge.

The Caterer recently published a round-up of what it expects to be the in-room entertainment of choice for hotel guests during 2019, and it caught our eye. If you haven’t read it yet or would like it summarising, we’ve done just that (you can thank us later).

“Casting” will be the new buzzword

If you’ve invested in a Google Chromecast for home entertainment purposes, you’ll be acutely aware of how wonderfully convenient it can be to beam video content from your smartphone or tablet to the TV.

If ‘Chromecast’ means nothing to you, think about the number of times you’ve found a YouTube video on your phone but have become frustrated by the small screen’s inability to immerse you in the content when you have a perfectly good (and big) TV sitting opposite you.

Devices like Google’s Chromecast enable users to transfer video content from a handheld device to the television, and with more hotel guests wanting to watch their Netflix accounts while staying away from home, offering them the ability to do that at your property could result in plenty of favourable reviews.

WiFi: as essential as hot water

Just as they’d expect running water from taps upon entering the bathroom, modern hotel guests expect WiFi to be available immediately and for free. What’s more, they won’t stand for a weak, slow connection - much like they wouldn’t stand for a lukewarm shower.

In the Caterer article, marketing manager of Airwave, James Grant, explains that “WiFi is at the bottom of it all”. He also points out that, beyond WiFi, guests are increasingly expecting the same level of tech comforts at hotels as they enjoy at home.

Thankfully, rather than a complete overhaul of your in-room systems, this might simply mean implementing stronger, free WiFi and the ability to ‘cast’ (see above) content from personal devices to the TVs you provide in each room.

Familiar EPGs

How many times have you checked into a hotel room only to be frustrated by the infinitely-confusing TV menu system? Imagine, instead, turning on the box to find the familiar sight of Sky’s EPG.

Bliss!

Sky Select is Sky’s centralised HD distribution system for hotels, and it’s starting to make its presence felt in rooms across the UK.

But that’s not all. Savvy hoteliers are beginning to use management software than enables TVs in public areas such as the bar to display special offers and hotel-specific advertising. Imagine being able to signal the start of happy hour during the half time of a big game!

Audio expectations

It’s not all about visual stimulation when it comes to the modern hotel guest. With more and more bringing colossal music collections on their smartphones thanks to streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, the ability to play their favourite tracks on decent hotel room speakers will go down very well indeed.

Thankfully, speaker technology has accelerated to the point where a great sound can be produced from a particularly diminutive device, with some - such as Amazon’s Alexa - even incorporating speech recognition and digital assistant capabilities.

Wrapping up

Perhaps the best news about in-room tech expectations in 2019 is, as we’ve alluded to above, the fact that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune for the hotelier to implement.

Technology is reaching the point where services, hardware and software platforms that were once only available to those with deep pockets is now democratised. Guest expectations might be on the rise, but exceeding them won’t break the bank.

What in-room hotel tech are you most looking forward to implementing this year?

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A recent story that’s shocked the hotel industry is the data hack at Marriott’s Starwood division. Affecting over 500 million customers, the cyberattack resulted in email addresses, passport information and, most worryingly, encrypted credit card data being compromised.

When news stories like this emerge, it’s a reminder that any hotel is at risk of fraud. A security breach can be very damaging - especially in the digital age where hoteliers are requesting more sensitive information from their customers.

Whilst hotel fraud is thankfully pretty rare (thanks in part to software security updates becoming a necessary part of everyday life), regularly assessing the associated risks within your own business should still be a top priority.

The scale of the task for Marriott’s IT security team is not to be underestimated, but this very unfortunate incident is a timely reminder that guest information security must be treated seriously by hotels of all sizes.

Let’s consider some of the modern forms of fraud that can take place in hotels.

1. Loyalty schemes

Loyalty schemes are a great way to ensure customers continually choose a stay at your hotel to keep racking up their points. By rewarding frequent guests with discounted nights or free use of your hotel amenities, you’ll keep them coming back.

However, loyalty schemes also feature an attractive database of information for cyber criminals, due to the belief on their behalf that customer loyalty scheme information is easier to obtain than encrypted credit card data.

By retaining names, email addresses and other sensitive information, your customers can become more susceptible to identity fraud. With the right cybercrime knowledge, their hard-earned points can be compromised or transferred to fraudsters to sneakily reap the benefits of your scheme.

2. Digital check-in

Offering a smartphone app to check in and out of hotels is a great way to increase guest satisfaction. It reduces reception desk queues and makes for a highly convenient stay, thus benefiting both your staff and guests.

However, you should always be aware of the increased risks this type of technology can have on the data you collect.

The depersonalisation of hotel check-ins can unfortunately result in guests being more susceptible to identity fraud. While fraudsters might not be able to bag themselves a free overnight stay, there’s still the possibility of skilled hackers bypassing the check in procedure to make use of guest-only amenities.

3. EMV fraud liability

Card preauthorisation via EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) terminals is by far the most secure way to take payments from hotel customers, be it at the front desk or via an online booking.

EMV-equipped terminals accept fraud liability, which means your hotel and its guests are covered if any fraudulent activity takes place.

If your hotel doesn’t use EMV or a member of staff inadvertently uses a non-EMV-equipped POS terminal at check out, the liability remains with your hotel, which is bad for business and reputation. You should therefore always invest in up-to-date payment technology for your hotel - not just for efficiency, but for the extra security it offers you and your customers.

Wrapping up

Even with adequate security measures in place, it’s important to consider the ways emerging hotel technology can be targeted by cybercriminals for fraudulent activity. Marriott’s recent troubles demonstrate that it really can happen to any business, no matter how deep their pockets for cybersecurity.

Investing in the latest tech to create better guest experiences is still an important strategy for modern, savvy hoteliers, but cybersecurity is unfortunately a topic that isn't going anywhere.

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Originally released in 2014, the Amazon Echo (more readily referred to as ‘Alexa’) is now a common fixture in homes across the world.

Cast your mind back to your last few visits to friends and family and it’s almost guaranteed that at least one of them will have attempted to wow you with their digital home assistant.

“Alexa, how old is Elton John?”, “Alexa, play the latest song by Paloma Faith”, “Alexa, turn the living room lights on”; talking to technology has become as familiar as switching the kettle on.

It should therefore come as no surprise that Amazon quickly realised how useful Alexa’s skills could be in the world of hotels. Thus, Alexa for Hospitality was born, and it’s slowly appearing on bedside tables in rooms across the country.

What does Alexa for Hospitality do?

Amazon touts Alexa for Hospitably as ‘the hub of the room’, offerings guests the ability to control in-room devices, find local businesses and play music by doing northing more than talking to the diminutive device.

Depending on the technology you have in your property, Alexa can also integrate with existing services, thus essentially becoming a digital concierge.

Asking Alexa to call the front desk, send additional towels, order room service or provide assistance with self checkout is a compelling way to conduct your hotel stay and one which guests will likely begin to yearn for as digital assistants continue to be such an important part of everyday life.

How does it work?

Thankfully, and as you might expect if you’ve installed an Alexa in your home, Amazon’s personal assistant is pretty straightforward to setup in a hospitality business.

Echo devices in hand, you’re guided through the process of connecting each one to a centralised console (which can apparently manage “hundreds” of devices).

Once connected, hotel staff can use the central console to control individual device volume, reset devices and check their status.

‘Skills’ (the mini apps you can add to an Alexa to make it more functional) can also be administered centrally, enabling you to add ever more wondrous ways for guests to interact with their in-room digital assistant as they become available.

So, what skills does Alexa for Hospitality currently possess?

At the time of writing (and depending on the existing technology you have within your hotel), Alexa for Hospitality will respond to the following guest requests:

  • contacting front desk;
  • assistance with checking out;
  • room service orders; and
  • ordering of certain hotel provisions and guest services.

New skills are being added all the time, but it’s clear at the moment that Alexa’s value for hotels and their customers most commonly resides in the area of digital concierge.

More recently, Amazon has added the ability for guests to sync their Amazon Prime accounts with the in-room Alexa, providing access to their own music playlists, audiobooks and even the ability to watch their favourite TV shows.

Conclusion: is it worth it?

So, the biggie: is Alexa for Hospitality worth it for independent hotels?

Cue disappointingly on-the-fence answer…

Possibly!

The cost isn’t as bad as you might think (Echo devices can be bought in bulk and the latest costs checked out on the Amazon Business website), but with guests becoming more accustomed to such technology in chain hotels, it’d be wise to at least start investigating this exciting guest service sooner rather than later.

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If you run an independent hotel, your customers matter more than almost any aspect of your business, therefore it’s important to manage your relationship with them effectively.

This is where a great customer relationship management (CRM) system comes into play, by providing a variety of tools to dig deep into the guest journey and maximise your chances of delighting them every step of the way.

Here’s why a CRM system is vital for hotels today, no matter their size.

PMS integration

When looking for a CRM system, you’ll want to find one that talks to your PMS.

Two customer databases will essentially become one, and your ability to engage with guests and deliver a service that appears tailored specifically for them will set you apart.

Data. Data. Data.

Gathering data on guest behaviour will reveal why they book with you, how they book, why they come back for more or – if it all goes pear-shaped - what caused them to lose interest in your hotel.

A CRM system will provide precisely this level of insight and enable you to get closer to your guests than ever before.

Automation

Developing profitable relationships with guests is time-consuming, but with a contemporary CRM system at your disposal it’s possible to automate a lot of the work - without turning into a robotic, faceless hotel.

For instance, a CRM will give you the tools to send emails to guests which are tailored to their previous booking and stay habits. Personalised messaging of this kind will enable you to secure far more repeat bookings and foster that all-important relationship with guests.

Empowering employees

Even with a CRM system doing the heavy lifting, hotel staff will still need to take charge and engage with guests before, during and after their stay.

To do this, employees need the right information on tap, so they can make suggestions and provide advice that’s relevant to each guest.

As a result, guests will feel more valued, and enjoy the bespoke treatment. Certainly, it’ll be more memorable than a bland, generic guest experience.

Internal collaboration between departments will gain a welcome boost, too, because CRM systems enable staff to communicate more effectively and share guest data, without relying on Post-It notes or brief discussions at the watercooler.

Getting a handle on guest reviews

The phrase ‘online guest review’ is usually enough to send most hoteliers quivering behind the sofa, but with a modern CRM, you can capture reviews before they make their way out into the world.

Automated guest feedback forms can be sent out post-stay, enabling you to grab their attention and thoughts. This means you can act on negative feedback immediately and turn what might have been a PR disaster into an unexpectedly positive experience for the disgruntled guest.

Just make sure you look for a CRM that has TripAdvisor integration, otherwise the great reviews may never end up online for all to see!

Keeping things simple

Too many disparate systems will have your staff running around in circles and failing to spot opportunities to raise guest satisfaction.

CRM systems simplify the sales and marketing effort for your hotel by combining all the tools, reports and functionality required under one roof.

Wrapping up

A CRM system that integrates with your PMS will make its presence felt immediately.

With so many guest service and internal communication benefits on offer, it’s no wonder independent hotels are increasingly adopting these systems.

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

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

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

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

Taking the plunge

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

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

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

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

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

Automation, cost-effectiveness and other benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrapping up

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

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

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

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It sometimes feels like the big boys of the hotel industry get to play with the tech toys before anyone else. And while the upfront cost of investing in cutting edge systems can be an obstacle for independents, trends tend to find a way of trickling down… eventually.

If you consider yourself to be a tech-savvy hotelier, here are five movements that are being embraced by the big chains which could soon reach independent operators.

Smart TVs

You may know that smart TVs with internet-enabled abilities are entering circulation at mainstream hotel chains. And with brands like Samsung driving down the price of their intelligent displays, this technology is becoming more accessible.

Smart TVs are about more than just meeting guest expectations and opening up a new world of content; they also appeal thanks to their interactions with other gadgets.

From mobiles and laptops to games consoles and beyond, a modern television can enhance the stay of any guest.

Virtual Reality

VR has gained a lot of traction thanks to affordable headsets and the engaging, interactive experiences on offer. As such, it can be surprisingly effective as a tool for marketing hotels and destinations.

In the not too distant future, you’ll be able to give guests a preview of rooms in full 3D before they visit or highlight local attractions with VR. It’s an exciting opportunity to get creative and sell that empty bed space!

Wireless Charging

Providing guests with a place to plug in their gadgets is standard practice in the age of the smartphone. But modern devices are moving away from cables altogether, thanks to wireless charging technology.

Apple’s most recent raft of iPhone handsets come with wireless charging capabilities as standard, but it was actually a little late to the party; many of its rival mobile makers had already embraced this tech.

Adding wireless charging stations to a hotel room will make things super convenient for guests and could be a real selling point for your hotel (plus they’re relatively affordable, which is a bonus!).

AI Customer Service Capabilities

While true artificial intelligence is still a way off becoming a reality, hotels are harnessing this tech in the form of chat bots which can deal with guest questions in an instant.

Adding a chat bot to a hotel website makes it simple to engage with potential customers from the outset. And if you have limited customer service resources at your disposal, this can be a great way to avoid missing out on guests who may otherwise head to the competition.

And finally… Personalisation

Guests like a personal touch when they visit a hotel. And various technologies are coming together to ensure that each visit is as unique as possible.

In-depth analysis of data is at the heart of this movement. Mobiles are particularly useful here, since they can provide location-based insights into customer behaviour which are highly relevant for hoteliers.

Successfully managing your relationship with guests from the point of first contact to the follow-up marketing after their stay is less of a pain thanks to personalisation.

Tell us what you think!

Which tech trend above excites you the most as a modern independent hotelier? Tell us in the comments section, below!

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Travel and hospitality is an incredibly competitive industry which requires the businesses operating within to create unforgettable guest experiences.

Until now, the ability to do this has required massive marketing budgets and inordinate amounts of time.

Now, we live in a world of big data and something called ‘hyper personalisation’. In human language, this means there’s an inordinate amount of information about consumers available to businesses, who now have the ability to use that information to send precisely targeted marketing campaigns.

But what does this mean for independent hotels and their guests?

Big data and hotel customers

It’s easy to dismiss big data as being another indication that ‘big brother’ is watching us all, ready to pounce with unsolicited offers and irritating emails, but that’s a little short-sighted.

The hospitality mantra of ‘customer-first’ runs deep within hotel operations, and big data could help your hotel tailor a much more personalised offering for its guests. And that’s a win-win for everyone.

The more data you collect about a guest, the more you know about them. Demographics, past stay habits and their behaviour on your website can all inform the packages you put together and the offers you send to them via email.

It enables you to segment your guest database, too. An example described on Forbes.com tells of a hotel chain that used analytics from big data to rearrange rooms for either leisure or business travellers.

Why not match your rooms, service and food offering to the data you hold about guests?

Big data and the benefit it offers hotel businesses

Big data can be a bit overwhelming. It comes at you from all angles and arrives in such large quantities that it’s understandable if the desire to do anything with it slips further down the priority list.

For instance, if you publish your availability via OTAs, they’ll likely provide plenty of data and statistics on the guests who book via that method. Likewise, your PMS will probably store comprehensive guest contact and preference details, along with stay histories.

Then you have the smartphone-carrying housekeepers who generate data about room cleanliness and turnaround times. And what if you’ve connected your till system to the PMS? All those bar tabs and table accounts will be generating countless transactions that provide invaluable insights into your F&B operation.

Exhausted? Fair enough. But there’s an answer to the big data conundrum.

With the right systems in place, you can take advantage of this data by gaining access to dashboards and reports that make sense of the raw information.

It’ll help you make decisions about the lifetime value of guests; which ones generate the most revenue for you? Who returns regularly but is yet to spend a penny in the bar?

Big data will benefit your hotel operation, even if you’re yet to obtain it.

Big data: is it ‘now’ or ‘future’ for independent hotels?

Big data might not quite be at full adoption stage for independent hotels, but with technology once reserved for large chains fast filtering down the industry food chain, it’s coming.

For your guests, big data will deliver a more personal experience. For your hotel, it will enable you to build profitable relationships with customers, give you a competitive edge and uncover countless latent revenue generating opportunities.

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The world is driven by the connectivity, content and methods of communication the internet has delivered. And it’s absolutely everywhere.

Virtually every public place and method of transport now has some form of connectivity that enables us all to enjoy high speed internet access on our devices, without paying a penny.

If you’re a hotelier, you can no longer get away with rubbish Wi-Fi. There - we said it. And, if you’re yet to upgrade yours, we’d like to offer five myths about hotel internet connections we feel compelled to dispel:

Myth 1: Your current gear will last for ages

Sorry - it won’t.

In the last decade, we’ve seen countless Wi-Fi standard and methods of security arrive, achieve adoption and then be superseded.

Things move on in tech - fast - and if you hang onto your same internet gear for as long as you can, guests will eventually suffer from slower speeds, incompatibility with newer devices and, worst of all, poor security.

Build a Wi-Fi refresh into your budget at least every three to five years.

Myth 2: You can set it up and manage it yourself

Even if you’re relatively tech savvy, you’re still the owner of an independent hotel, and that’s not the sort of job where you have five minutes spare to fix an dynamic IP address issue on your router.

Instead, make sure you invest in the services of someone who can set up and maintain your internet connection. It’ll be one of the best investments you make, because they’ll ensure your connection is configured properly and will be on hand when it all comes crashing down (which it will).

Myth 3: Guests will pay extra for decent Wi-Fi

Take a trip to your local shopping centre and there’s a strong chance you’ll be able to log onto Wi-Fi that’s fast enough for a bout of browsing and video streaming.

It’ll have been free, too, like most Wi-Fi connections these days.

Are you still charging for access to Wi-Fi or offering a paired-down connection for guests who aren’t willing to pay?

You won’t win many rave reviews if so.

Myth 4: Decent Wi-Fi will cost the hotel fortune

Good news: it won’t.

Speak to two or three providers and ask them to quote. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the packages they offer and the various ways in which you can finance the hardware.

Remember - great, free Wi-Fi will make your guests very happy indeed, and if they return, any investment you’ve made in your internet infrastructure will have played its role handsomely.

Myth 5: Guests will bring their own internet connectivity

Granted - most of your guests will have access to smartphones that have 3G or 4G internet connectivity, but don’t assume they’ll use it over free Wi-Fi.

Most simply won’t. Regardless of the connection symbol displayed on their phone, they’ll usually seek an alternative that won’t cost them anything or eat into their data allowance.

Furthermore, people still use laptops and tablets that don’t have built-in cellular connectivity, and they absolutely need a route into the digital domain.

Wrapping up

If we still haven’t convinced you to review the Wi-Fi connectivity you provide guests, there’s one last thing you can try.

Take a look at a few random TripAdvisor reviews and make a note of how many contain negative comments about poor internet connectivity. Do you want to number among them?

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If you Google anything that contains the words ‘Wi-Fi’ and ‘hotel’, you’ll be met with a barrage of webpages that appear to suggest guests need to undertake military-grade cyber defence training in order to keep their personal data safe.

In truth, operating an internet-connected device in a hotel is no different to doing so within any other public arena. It’s as safe as both the guest - and the hotelier - makes it.

In today’s blog, we’re going to focus on how hoteliers can build Wi-Fi networks that are as secure as possible and which give guests ultimate peace of mind.

We think there are five things you can do today to make a real difference:

1. Implement two Wi-Fi networks

You may have been told this by your IT guru previously and dismissed it for being too much of a faff, but hotels really should carry two Wi-Fi networks.

The reason is simple: one will be for your operation (front of house, back office, the till system, etc), and the other solely for guests.

This offers two big benefits. Firstly, you can set more stringent access controls for guests and, secondly, ensure they get all the bandwidth they need.

2. Change default passwords

If you set up the Wi-Fi network yourself and did so in a rush, you may have inadvertently left the back door swinging conveniently for would-be hackers.

The networking gear you purchased will have come with default passwords and user credentials, but no matter how secure they may look, it’s vital to bear in mind that they haven’t been created by you. They’re ‘default’ and default stuff gets around.

Always make the first task when setting up a Wi-Fi network that of changing the default passwords. Use a secure password generator to ensure that your digital back door remains firmly closed.

3. Use WPA2 encryption

Data encryption evolves constantly, but you should always ensure you’re using the default level of security on your hotel’s network.

That is known as ‘WPA2’, and unless your router was born in the era of Britpop and the Spice Girls, it will support it. Turning it on (if it isn’t already) should be very straightforward following a glance at the manual.

4. Don’t plaster the Wi-Fi password everywhere

When you offer public Wi-Fi access, there’s no getting away from the fact you’ll need to distribute the password, and as a hotel guest, there’s nothing more painful than hunting around for a Wi-Fi key that isn’t anywhere obvious.

It may therefore be tempting to place big signs everywhere that advertise the password, but in doing so, you’ll simply invite passers by and the more nefarious members of society to use your bandwidth as they sit outside in the car park.

Instead, place it somewhere obvious in the guest handbook or on a card within the room.

Alternatively, move onto tip 5, which would be our preference…

5. Implement a login system

Our last tip is only relevant if you don’t have the ability to implement a login system on your Wi-Fi network. If you do, you should use it.

These replace the need for a Wi-Fi key with a username and password combination that must be setup by the user on first use.

Some of these platforms will offer usage for a certain period of time before requiring a second sign in and, while this may be a little less convenient for guests, it’s not enough to send them packing elsewhere, and is far more secure than relying on a standard Wi-Fi key.

Wrapping up

How secure is your hotel’s Wi-Fi network? Use our tips above, and you’ll be doing your bit for the fight against cybercrime.

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Is ‘hate’ a strong word? Not in this context - because if you’ve ever had the misfortune of visiting a website only to be frustrated beyond belief by the way it’s constructed, you’ll have no doubt uttered that very word.

Terrible websites are commonplace in the hotel industry. And this is for one very simple reason; the reliance on OTA listings has inadvertently forced many hoteliers to completely ignore the most important online presence of all.

Nothing is more valuable online than a business’s own website, and the same goes for hotels.

If yours is languishing (come on - you know it is!) or if you’re constantly scratching your head, wondering why you’re not getting enough direct bookings, here’s seven things that visitors - and potential guests - probably hate about it:

1. They can’t find the Book Now button

We’ve covered this a lot, yes, but it’s because we continue to witness incredibly poor placement of Book Now buttons on hotel websites.

This button is the ultimate call-to-action for your website - it’s the one thing you want everyone to click before they leave. So - why hide it?

If yours takes mere seconds to find - that’s too long. Position it front-and-centre at the top of the page and make it big, bold and beautiful. Don’t hide your Book Now button pages deep!

2. You’ve spent three minutes on the copy

The first paragraph of your website could be the the first meaningful contact a potential guest has with the hotel.

So why ruin the opportunity with poor copy?

Despite the rise in popularity of online video and the importance of imagery on the web, words still play a pivotal role in converting passers-by into paying customers. If you quickly whipped up the copy for your hotel website during a lunch break, you didn’t give it the time it deserves.

Get a professional in, or ask your marketing agency for advice on how to construct the best, most engaging copy for your hotel website.

3. The navigation is confusing

Website navigation should be intuitive and approachable. Menus that are adorned with countless options and drop-downs are an immediate turn off.

Keep the number of pages listed in your main site navigation to a minimum and use simple language; for example, try and avoid swapping the word ‘Rooms’ for ‘Sleep’ (it’s irritating - trust us).

4. Your web designer has put tech prowess before function

We love web designers, but we know that if you leave some of them to their own devices, they’ll quickly get lost in a sea of new technologies about which they get very excited indeed.

That’s great, until each and every new technical and design language bandwagon onto which they jump ends up on your hotel website.

Trends in web design and coding come and go, so be sure to work with web developers who know the value of sticking with industry standards and practices that are proven.

5. It isn’t mobile friendly

A simple one, this.

Grab your smartphone and access your hotel’s website.

Does it work? Brilliant! Move on to point 6.

Does it fail to load or require endless amounts of pinching and zooming? Speak to your web designer!

6. There aren’t enough images

We extolled the virtues of great copywriting in point 2, and the same goes for the imagery used on your website.

As a hotel business, you benefit from being able to lean on entirely unique photography of your own venue in order to raise occupancy levels.

Don’t pass on this significant opportunity by quickly taking a few snaps of the place with your iPhone - invest instead in the services of a pro photographer who will show off the property in it’s best possible light. Potential guests will appreciate the efforts you go to with this and repay you with far more direct bookings.

7. They had to resort to picking up the phone

Most industries are forging ahead with what has become known as ‘digital transformation’ and in the process, they’re raising the digital expectations of consumers.

Every transaction is now expected to be entirely possible online, and if you’ve included any kind of barrier on your website that prevents a potential guest from completing their booking journey without speaking to you, you’re immediately on the back foot.

If someone really wants to stay at your hotel but can’t find the answer online to the question of whether or not you accept dogs, they’ll reluctantly have to pick up the phone. Do you want a reluctant call from a guest?

Wrapping up

Some of the best hotel businesses in the world have awful websites, so if yours has fallen foul of the points above, don’t despair - it’s fixable, and once fixed will encourage more people to book direct than ever before!

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