How to limit your hotel impact on the environment | management systems for hotels london

 

How to limit your hotel's impact on the environment | management systems for hotels london

For some guests, a visit to a hotel is an excuse to forgo their usual frugal behaviours and take full advantage of the facilities available to them.

Whether blasting the air con at max, charging all their devices at once, running a piping hot bath or getting fresh towels every 24 hours, eco-friendly habits go out the window when someone else is footing the bill.

Meanwhile, hotels are increasingly under pressure to improve their sustainability and cut their carbon footprint. In fact, going greener can come with financial benefits for your hotel as well. So, what options are available to environmentally conscious hoteliers?

Recycle, recycle, recycle!

limit your hotel's environmental impact | hotel software uk

With recycling resources in abundance today, there’s no excuse for sending all hotel waste to landfill.

A lot of the hard work can be taken out of the equation if you encourage guests to sort their waste materials for you. Add a separate bin for recycling to each of the rooms in your hotel and you’ll be off to a good start.

Leverage renewable energy

hotel environmental tips |hotel booking systems

There are lots of sustainable alternatives to electricity generated by burning fossil fuels. And with solar and wind power becoming more affordable, adoption doesn’t need to be a drain on your finances.

Even if you just supplement your existing energy supply with some renewable alternatives, rather than going all-in immediately, you’re taking a step in the right direction.

Avoid water waste

save water for hotels | hotel management software uk

While modern hotels may benefit from baked-in improvements to water management, older premises are often not as well equipped in this department.

Thankfully there are lots of cost-effective adaptations that can save water, including devices which reduce the amount used in each flush of a toilet. Even contemporary shower head designs can create savings, both for the environment and your bank balance.

Overhaul laundry handling

hotel environmental impact laundry tip | hotel booking systems

A lot of a hotel’s resources are tied up in keeping sheets and towels clean. So, if you can improve the efficiency of your laundry processes even a small amount, the cumulative benefits will be significant.

Replace old, power-hungry machines with modern equivalents which boast better energy ratings. Or if you outsource your laundry, only work with third-party firms that are committed to combating waste and avoiding environmental issues.

Even implementing a hotel PMS that has built-in housekeeping features will enable that team to be more efficient and environmentally-friendly.

Get creative

create green spaces at your hotel | hotel upselling

Your eco-efforts don’t need to be kept behind the scenes. Why not create green spaces around your hotel which are not only easy on the eye, but also do more to curb climate change than concrete and tarmac?

You could even start growing vegetables and fruits on-site as part of a gardening project, which will be worth boasting about on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram and will also be a tasty treat for guests to enjoy!

Work with customers

You might worry that actively promoting your green policies will put off guests who want to relax without having to obey more rules. But in this environmentally aware age, the opposite is true.

Ask visitors if they’re willing to stick with the same sheets and towels for more than one night (it’s standard practice in many major chains today). Even think about giving them tips on how to travel locally while leaving their car at the hotel to reduce emissions.

With a positive attitude and a few good ideas like those above, you can make your hotel a fine example of environmental friendliness.

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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 a B&B owner _ hotel software uk

 

tips for a B&B owner _ hotel management software uk

You’ve always wanted to run your own B&B. You have the right property, a great PMS, enough time on your hands to make a serious go of it and you’re confident the location is ideal.

So, where do you begin?

Make no mistake, running a B&B is incredibly hard work. For many, it’s a lifestyle business, but it’s a lifestyle that can quickly swallow you up and cause undue stress if you go about it the wrong way.

Help is at hand! We’d like to give you the leg-up you need to get started on the path to B&B success with the following five tips:

1. Work your personality into the business

B&B business tip _ management systems for hotels london

Ask any guest who enjoyed their stay at a B&B what it was that set it apart, and one of their answers is likely to be “the owner”.

You are a huge part of your B&B business. You need to be welcoming, approachable and flexible if people are to recommend your property to their friends.

Thankfully, that’s you all over, so work your personality into the business from the moment it starts.

2. Don’t do it alone

breakfast prep for B&Bs _ hotel booking engines

When first starting out, you may have no choice, budget-wise, but to run the entire operation single-handedly (or in conjunction with your partner).

Despite this, budgeting for staff in the future is a vital tactic, because you’ll quickly find this is a business you simply can’t run by yourself.

For instance, think about finding help for the cleaning and breakfast preparation. Even just a few hours from the right pair of helping hands will make the world of difference once your B&B business starts to take off.

3. Embrace technology

embrace technology

Your website, hotel booking systems, guest review platforms and social media will become vital tools as your business grows.

Just because you’re running an ultra-small business doesn’t mean you can do it without technology of this kind. In fact, without it, you’ll struggle to compete against the big boys of the industry.

Thankfully, all of this technology is within reach these days - none of it will break the bank or prove cumbersome to use.

4. Write a business plan

business plan for B&Bs _ hotel upselling

Many a B&B business owner has skipped this step in the belief that it isn’t required. You simply open your doors, advertise the accommodation that’s available and deliver a great guest experience, right?

At its base level, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing, but the absence of a business plan will mean you won’t haven’t planned or budgeted for the future. And that means your business will struggle to become sustainable.

You don’t need to pen War and Peace, but a concise, well-considered business plan written with the help of a knowledgeable friend or business associate will really make the difference.

5. Accept the realities of being a B&B owner

tips for B&B owners _ hotel management software uk

One of the most exciting things about running a B&B is that very few days are the same; you’ll be met with new challenges and triumphs every week.

This is where the realities of being a B&B owner need to be identified and taken into consideration. Make sure you’re comfortable with what it entails; the uncertainty, long days and varied roles you’ll have to play need to be met with a strong will and desire to succeed.

Wrapping up

Like any business venture, it takes a huge amount of bravery, persistence and courage to become a B&B owner.

Follow our tips above, equip yourself with the best possible hotel software and you’ll embark on this adventure with a mindset that will give you the greatest chance of success.

Image credit

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

 

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

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The future of guest experience

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

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

The eco-friendly guest experience

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

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

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

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

The fully connected experience

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

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

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

The "more personalisation, please" experience

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

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

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

Wrapping up

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

Seamless.

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

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We can write teaching-gran-to-suck-eggs articles about being customer focussed on repeat until they become white noise.  And it stands to reason; your hotel's warm and friendly experience will always be top priority.  However, you can't provide warmth or friendship if there's nobody booked in to experience it.

You're still running a business, after all... right?

Those doors need to swing open; heads need to hit pillows.  Your hotel may have a parade of loyal customers coming back to you every time they're in the area, but how often do they visit?  You still need a murderously good room rate strategy for your hotel.

Here are a few ideas to get as many guests as possible through your door.

Adopt Pyschological Pricing

This might just be the oldest trick in the book - but still one of the best.

We know there's no tangible difference between £99 and £100.  When you have time to weigh it all up and talk about it, there isn't a lot of value that can be found in the £1 you're losing.  But when people are comparing prices, £99 looks a lot cheaper.

In fact, it looks almost £10 cheaper!

Keep an eye on the competition

If your hotel's struggling to get people through the door, there's a good chance that it might be happening to other hotels in your area, and some of them may have tried to counteract the quiet period by creating low rate strategies.

It's always good to know what your competition are doing.

By using your PMS, researching OTAs, or by using social listening techniques on Twitter and Facebook, you can keep tabs on them.  If a competitor's basic room price is lower than yours, then combat it.  Can you lower your price to match?  Can you add something of value to your own room to capture the interest of potential guests?

Offer packages

Is your hotel just a building full of beds?  Does it have a restaurant in which you could add a set price for a meal? A free breakfast, perhaps?  If your hotel can add value to the customer's stay, then go ahead and create the ideal package for your guests.

Even if there's little extra you can offer, you can create great experiences by partnering with other businesses in the area.  Between you and the local golf course, for instance, can you work together and create a package with great value?  And what about local attractions and museums?

There's always opportunity to add value to your customers stay, whether you have extra facilities or not.

Implement a length of stay strategy

Is your hotel in a bustling city?  Is there a local festival or attraction happening?  Could it be that there is so much to do that it might just take more than one night to make the most of the trip?

A convincingly low price on multiple nights might just tempt your guests into elongating their visit.  Even if this sounds like you're losing money on the room, you may just make up for it at the bar and restaurant.

Wrapping up

For some hotels, standard room rates are as much a fixture of the hotel as that great big tree in the car park.  However, some things shouldn't be quite so immovable.  By using real-time data, and creating tantalising offers you could still drag people through the door.

Look at your pricing strategy often.  In fact, look at the OTAs and GDSs on a near daily basis to see what's happening in the market.  I am sure, with one of these strategies, you'll be filling your hotel in no time!

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So, here it is; 2019. Another new year. Time to pack away the Christmas tree (unless you’re doing the whole ’twelve days’ thing), 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 2019 progresses.

Review your hotel tech

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 2019 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

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 this 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 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

Yeah, let bygones by 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 January 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 2019 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 this year to bring in more bookings and draw guests away from the big name competition by commenting below!

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In episode 12 of the Welcome Systems podcast, we're joined by two award-winning hoteliers - Frances Meeres Young of Stoberry House and Struan Lothian from Knockendarroch Hotel and Restaurant.

Having both picked up prestigious awards from the Good Hotel Guide this year, we decided to quiz Frances and Struan on what it takes to become a successful independent hotelier in the digital age.

This is a must-listen for any hotelier who wants to know how to raise occupancy, develop a consistent yet personalised service and make the most of the wonderful technology available today.

Find out more about Stoberry House by clicking here

Find out more about Knockendarroch Hotel and Restaurant by clicking here

https://soundcloud.com/user-568165456/the-welcome-systems-podcast-ep12-knockendarroch-and-stoberry

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Online travel agencies aren’t going anywhere - let’s get that particular fact out of the way immediately. That means savvy hoteliers will continue to pay commission for the new bookings generated by sites such as Booking.com.

But that’s not a bad thing. You see, if you’re running one of the latest channel managers for hotels, you’ll benefit from a set of tools that make online distribution a cinch.

Such tools provide you with something rather invaluable: more time to work on your direct booking strategy. And, with that in mind, here’s four direct booking strategies you should be working into your 2019 hotel marketing plan:

1. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly

How often do you encounter websites that don’t work properly on your smartphone? You have to pinch to zoom and read text and, nine times out of ten, you’ll hit the wrong link as you try and navigate the site.

In a 2017 survey by Google, 89% of people confirmed they’re more likely to recommend a brand after a positive mobile browsing experience. How compatible is your hotel’s website with smaller screens? If it’s a frustrating experience, make 2019 the year you go fully mobile-first with your web presence.

2. Reach out to existing guests

The guest email addresses you collect could hold the key to a significant uplift in return bookings.

With an email marketing platform such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor, you can finally make use of those email addresses in 2019 by sending tempting offers to stay with you again. And, if your PMS allows you to filter and export specific sets of customers (by business or leisure and demographical data, for instance), you can send highly relevant emails to people who are most likely to engage with them.

Oh, and the good, old-fashioned telephone and snail mail aren’t bad ways to reconnect with old guests, either!

3. Build a rate strategy from past performance

Providing you have a PMS that offers deep analytical data on your guests’ past staying habits, you should be able to create a rate strategy for 2019 that’s influenced by past performance.

Look for your most popular rates by booking channel and try and identify those which were most often booked directly. You clearly got something right, whether it was the inclusion of some free extras for booking direct or the name you chose for the package.

The more you study last year’s performance, the more you’ll be able to spot direct booking trends that will help inform the hotel’s rate strategy for 2019.

4. Find something unique about your hotel - and promote the hell out of it

Every independent hotel is unique. For some, that uniqueness is obvious (the presence of giraffes as dinner guests, for instance), while for others, it’s a little more subtle - but equally compelling.

Whether your property is supposedly haunted by a ghost, once played host to a celebrity or played a minor supporting role in an episode of Dr Who, make a big noise about it next year.

Booking via OTAs is a relatively soulless experience, simply because every hotel is listed in a near-identical fashion. When people reach your hotel’s own website, they want to be drawn into your world, and one of the best ways to achieve that level of engagement is to highlight the one thing that makes your property unique.

Don’t be shy - shout loud and proud about whatever it is that makes your hotel special and have some fun with it; create a special menu or stay package based on the unique element.

Wrapping up

You have the time to undertake the direct booking strategies above, even if it feels like the clock is forever ticking against you.

The trick lies in making your direct booking strategy a vital task that’s present on every day’s to-do list. Find the time, and you’ll find more guests who are willing to come straight to your website rather than book via OTAs. It’s that simple.

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