6 important hotelier tasks during downtime | hotel management software uk

At the time of writing, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is an international pandemic and has sent millions of people home from work.

This is already having a seismic impact on the hospitality industry and, in particular, hotels.

Together, we can get through this. And, if your hotel is now closed for the foreseeable future, you’ll be glad to hear there are some very valuable things you can still do to ensure your business remains resilient.

1. Keep marketing

focus your hotel's marketing efforts on social media | hotel upselling

This might sound odd, given the situation, but even if your doors are currently closed, ceasing all marketing activity is a bad idea.

Instead, focus your efforts on your social media profile; post daily updates about what you’re doing during the closure and how you can support your followers (inspirational or funny messages are probably what people need right now).

2. Seek opportunities to support the local community

use your hotel to support the local community | hotel software uk

Several hotels are already being converted into temporary treatment areas and bases for NHS staff. You could do the same.

If you’re up for it and if the government expands its requirements for such venues, why not put your hotel in the spotlight by using the space you have to do good?

3. Go back to that business plan

reviewing your hotel's business plan | management systems for hotels london

You wrote it years ago, we get that. But what use is a business plan if it’s never revisited?

Now is the perfect time to dust off your original business plan and see how true you have remained to your original promises. What goals have you met, missed or forgotten about?

During times of significant change, new business ideas emerge. Your business plan is probably ripe for a new injection of inspiration and positivity.

4. Keep staff meetings going

remote hotel staff meetings | hotel software uk

Even if your entire team is now self-isolating at home, you can - and should - still keep up your team meetings.

Thankfully, you can do this via a number of platforms, including WhatsApp, Zoom and Skype. Bring everyone together once a day online to chat about anything - business, self-isolation tips... you name it!

Doing this will ensure everyone keeps their spirits up and won’t lose that all-important feeling that they’re part of a brilliant hospitality team. It’s what makes this industry so special, after all.

5. Review your OTA listings

6 important hotelier tasks during downtime | hotel upselling

When was the last time you properly revised your OTA listings?

Once we get through this and things begin to return to normal, you’ll hopefully meet plenty of guests who are desperate to get away and stay at your hotel. A great many will come through OTAs, and that means now is the perfect opportunity to ensure your listings are up-to-date with the latest photos and descriptions of your hotel’s experience.

6. Tinker with your website

managing your hotel's website during down time | hotel booking systems

Your website is just as important as your OTA listings, so use this time to give it a much-needed fettle.

You might decide to start posting a weekly blog, or finally get around to adjust the homepage content. Equally, you may decide to ‘play guest’ and try out the online booking experience to sniff out any issues it might have.

Whatever you decide to do with your website during this time, make sure you keep your hotel booking systems in mind and the overall feeling you want to illicit when people visit.

Wrapping up

We know that this is an incredibly tough time for the industry and hope that our tips above provide some respite.

Together, we’ll beat this and come back stronger than ever.

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

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

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5 tips for picking the perfect hotel channel manager | hotel booking systems

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

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

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

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

1. Think about your budget

budgeting for a channel manager | hotel software uk

Hotel channel managers shouldn’t break the bank.

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

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

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

2. Make sure it links up with your PMS

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

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

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

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

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

3. Identify the key channels you need

key hotel channels | hotel management software uk

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

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

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

4. Make sure it offers two-way interfaces

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

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

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

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

5. Don’t forget your own booking engine

tying channel managers to your booking engine | hotel software uk

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

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

Wrapping up

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

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

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

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

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