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 who’s 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’s 3 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’s three 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 create a harmonious, productive hotel team | hotel management software uk

A happy hotel team is a productive and effective one, but achieving harmony amongst your employees can be challenging.

Here are a few tips for independent hoteliers who want to boost staff morale, improve communications and enhance productivity in one fell swoop. Ultimately when you have a productive hotel team, guest satisfaction will improve, as guests can sense when they're in a pleasant environment. Here's how you can build the most productive and motivated hotel staff possible.

Recognise and reward hard work

Employee reviews hotel team | hotel upselling

If you want your hotel staff to be committed to your organisation, it’s important to keep track of their performance and make sure they feel that their efforts are appreciated, rather than ignored.

Quarterly and annual reviews can be helpful, but don’t just ply them with bonuses or purely financial perks; sometimes what they really want is a reward of a different sort – something more memorable.

Extra time off for important occasions which doesn’t eat into their allocated annual leave is a good option.

Embrace a modern PMS

implement a modern hotel PMS | hotel booking systems

Technology will oil the behind-the-scenes mechanisms of any hotel, especially if you adopt a cutting-edge property management system (PMS) which offers the ability for employees to contact each other on the fly.

A PMS with an integrated instant messaging platform will be the best option, giving staff a discrete and convenient way to pass on information to colleagues, request help dealing with issues or provide updates on the progress of important tasks.

Train your staff to take advantage of messaging tools and other shortcuts in the PMS, or else they’ll never reap the benefits and you won’t maximise the return on investment.

Plan social events

plan social events for your hotel employees | hotel software uk

You might feel that your staff see enough of each other on a daily basis, but the only way to keep them happy and effective as a team is to boost the social bonds between them outside the context of the hotel.

This is where social events come into play, and we’re not just talking about the booze-fuelled Christmas bash at the end of the year.

You could book in specific team-building exercises aimed at businesses, but it’s often just as effective to arrange activities that aren’t so structured or formal.

There’s no need to opt for outdoors activities to establish a rapport between employees; something simple and inclusive can actually be more effective.

For example, you could host a game night where staff get to engage and compete with each other in a relaxed, informal environment, or simply buy them takeaway pizza and extend everyone’s allotted lunch breaks.

Keep an open ear

encourage your employees to speak up | management systems for hotels london

Hotel staff who feel they aren’t being listened to by the management will almost certainly become disgruntled over time.

This means that encouraging employees to speak up if they have a problem is the only route to guaranteed harmony amongst team members.

Aside from helping people conquer the obstacles they’re facing, you might find that the issues raised are actually helpful to your organisation as a whole and could give you some fresh ideas on how to improve the experience your hotel offers guests.

Wrapping up

An independent hotel can only be successful if the team works in harmony and enjoys spending time with one another. Staff harmony and productivity go hand-in-hand with guest satisfaction and customer loyalty, after all.

As a result, you can’t afford to ignore the needs of your employees, or leave the ebb and flow of morale to chance.

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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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Five Reasons a PMS will Increase Your Hotel Revenue | hotel booking systems

Hotels are about the people; the people booking in for a comfortable stay and the people who work to make that stay memorable. Moreover, it is the personal touches that are remembered. Excellent and personable staff increase your hotel revenue with excellent salesmanship. And of course, by creating a desire to return to the hotel at a later date.

This is all well and good. However, the world has become technologically driven, and it stands to reason that your hotel must cater for that. Without a deeply-functional PMS, a hotel has its work cut out. There are many ways that a PMS will increase your hotel revenue. Let me walk you through the top 5.

1. Administering the customer experience

hotel customer experience | hotel software uk

If there is a member of your team hugging a desk, shuffling papers, or performing some other thankless administrative task, then they represent a hole in your customer experience. Nobody wants to be juggling bookings in a dark room, especially when they can make a difference out on the floor.

A PMS will free your staff up to interact with your guests. By taking on the clerical elements of a hotelier, they create the opportunity for customer interaction and help you build connections in a way that carves out memorable moments for guests. It's these moments your guests will consider the next time they need to make a booking in your area.

2. Increasing your hotel revenue online

online channel manager hotel | hotel management software uk

If there is one place you want to be as a hotelier, it is online. Whatever your geographical location, or additional facilities you offer, your guests are all the web. To increase your hotel revenue, your PMS needs to be capable of managing your online presence.

Most hotel guests are in your area for a reason beyond staying in a nice room for the night. They may be there to see Slipknot at your local concert venue, for instance, and those sweaty, tired rockers may not have been aware of your hotel. That is, until they were online looking for a place to stay - and it will have been your PMS that will have lured them conveniently through your door.

3. Distribution Management

hotel distribution management | hotel upselling

A PMS with a channel management function is hugely beneficial.  You can market yourself across all the OTAs and GDSs, as well as retail travel agents.

With such carnivorous competition in your market, creating partnerships in these channels is imperative.  It's important for survial, let alone increasing your hotel revenue.

It might be time to change your PMS if you are still manually updating the OTAs.

4. Transparent communication

hotel customer service tip | management systems for hotels london

Your PMS provides easy and clear communication between the various departments in your hotel. With your hotel functioning efficiently, your hotel is able to save time and offer guests a more personalised experience.

Importantly, your PMS is able to bypass unnecessary kerfuffle. Thus, you have the ability to craft moments for guests, because you will have built an environment for up-selling.  Remember - transparent communication enables you to respond to the whims and desires of your guests.

5. Profitable decision making

making better hotel business decisions | hotel software uk

Revenue and rate management in a modern PMS uses existing data to help identify trends and create profitable, enticing rate plans. With availability and competitor rates data available at your fingertips, you'll find yourself equipped and ready to react to the market.

With such information at your disposal, you can drive higher occupancy rates and implement a competitive room pricing strategy.  Manipulating this data and adjusting your rates accordingly will inevitably result in your hotel's revenue increasing - it's that simple.

Wrapping up

Yes, the hospitality industry is heavily influenced and manipulated by the human condition. But without a PMS installed into your hotel, your resources will be stretched beyond their ability to create a personal customer experience.

If you are a hotel owner, we'd love to hear how you increase your hotel revenue with your PMS. Comment below if you fancy sharing your best practices!

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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 deal with an angry guest at the reception desk | hotel booking systems

Providing friendly, outstanding customer service is one of the key responsibilities for a hotel receptionist.

Unfortunately, if that’s the career path you’ve chosen, you’ll inevitably encounter the odd angry guest who is absolutely appalled with the level of service provided by the hotel.

While it may not be your fault or have anything to do with your specific role, you, as a front-of-house representative, are probably going to be the first port of call when people have a complaint.

Here’s how to deal with them when they stomp angrily towards the front desk.

1. Listen calmly

How to deal with an angry guest at the reception desk | hotel software uk

Without interrupting the guest, allow them to explain the situation. Listening to them will give them space to explain, and giving them the chance to express their views should calm down the situation.

A problem shared is a problem halved, and all that…

2. Address them personally and show attention to detail

How to deal with an angry guest at the reception desk | hotel management software uk

It won’t take you five seconds to reference the guest’s details on your hotel PMS. And, with that information on hand, you can directly interact with the guest and give them a more personal response to their issue, based on the details of their stay.

This should make them feel acknowledged and as though resolving their problem is important to you.

3. Apologise

hotel guest complaint | management systems for hotels london

Even if the problem has nothing to do with you, apologising to the guest is the best way forward – no matter how hard it might sometimes feel to do so.

This will let the guest know that you empathise with their situation and that you care about resolving the issue as quickly as possible. It also demonstrates that the hotel knows when it might have made a mistake, and that might even result in a favourable online review when the dust has settled!

4. Don’t allow emotion to affect your response

hotel industry tips | hotel upselling

If you struggle to deal with people shouting or are likely to become emotional if someone is angry towards you, that could cause further problems in the communication between you and the angry guest.

Allowing yourself to remove any personal emotion from the situation will help you deal with and resolve the complaint as quickly as possible.

Remember, the guest is more than likely not angry at you, but at the service, so try not to take it personally - that should help you manage the situation professionally and efficiently.

5. Ask a relevant member of staff for help

angry hotel guest complaint tips to resolve the issue | hotel software uk

Quickly decide if you can resolve the issue yourself, and if not, notify a colleague who’s in a position of greater authority. Remember, though - you should only pass such a problem onto another employee if the situation extends beyond your control.

If a more senior pair of hands is needed, it’s important to remember that you haven’t failed. In such instances, their level of authority will help deal with the angry guest quickly and take the problem off your hands.

Wrapping up

As you progress through your career as a hotel receptionist, you’ll find that each angry guest encounter is unique. You’ll also find that they’re few and far between, but by using our tips above, you’ll ensure a swift, positive resolution every time.

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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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By going the extra mile as a hotelier, you’ll create experiences that guests share far and wide. It’s a super-simple yet highly effective marketing strategy; you do what you do best and let guests do the talking. Thanks to the power and reach of social media, their effort alone will ensure your hotel lands in the news feeds of countless potential guests without a penny of marketing spend. Managing the hotel guest experience doesn't require a large financial investment.

All that’s required is some time and ingenuity. Oh, and the following list of small yet brilliant touches that create a great, personalised guest experience:

1. Destination tips

destination promotion strategies | hotel management software uk

Destination promotion is increasingly being used by hotels across the world to boost occupancy.

By talking about the area in which your hotel is located and providing insider tips on how to get the most out of a stay, you’ll attract the attention of guests who are seeking an authentic, local experience.

This strengthens your brand reputation, proves you’re about far more than just a bed for the night and raises your authority online.

You needn’t spend any money on destination promotion either, just blog regularly about things to do in your town, city or village and include destination tips in your welcome packs.

2. Provide customer care on Twitter

hotel customer care Twitter | hotel booking systems

This might sound a bit too corporate for your independent hotel, but customers expect businesses to respond to their criticism or praise on Twitter (or other social media platforms) - no matter the industry.

For instance, if a guest has a less than enjoyable stay at your hotel and decides to make their feelings known on Twitter, they’ll probably mention you in their tweet. And this is great (no, really!), because it gives you the opportunity to jump into the conversation, reply and show the world that you care about the service you provide.

Be active on social media. Complaints will hopefully be few and far between, but aside from dealing with incoming flak, make sure you thank people who say nice things about your service. Search for hashtags relevant to your area, too and get involved; demonstrate your knowledge of the area and give your hotel that all-important personality online.

3. Leave handwritten notes

personalise hotel guest experience | hotel upselling

In an age of social media, instant messaging and smartphone addiction, handwritten letters are unique, satisfying, traditional and - most importantly - engaging.

Why not delight your guests by leaving handwritten notes in their room? If you’re abiding by GDPR rules and ethically collecting data about them, you could say happy birthday, invite the guest to try an update to the restaurant dish they enjoyed last time or simply thank them for staying at your hotel.

This requires minimal effort, yet is the kind of gesture that might make its way onto the social media feed of the guest you’ve delighted.

4. Surprise guests with in-room treats

hotel guest experience tips | hotel upselling

During the booking process (be it online or over the phone), ask guests if they’re celebrating anything during their stay. Engagements, anniversaries and birthdays are common reasons for getaways, therefore if you’re aware of the special date, you can grab the opportunity to leave a little surprise in the room.

A complementary bottle of champagne, flowers or box of chocolates won’t break the bank, but will put a huge smile on the faces of guests who are in the mood for celebration.

And they won’t forget it!

5. Use a modern PMS

Update your hotel PMS | hotel software uk

All four tips above can be undertaken without technology, but you’ll save considerable time if you have a modern PMS from which to gather the required data.

Personalising a guest experience starts with their profile on your PMS. The more you know about a guest, the more you can build a stay for them which will feel entirely their own. Old PMSs that don’t offer comprehensive guest profiling, GDPR compatibility or integration with guest feedback platforms simply don’t cut it anymore, and you don’t need to spend a fortune to upgrade, thanks to cloud computing.

Wrapping up

What have we missed? If you’ve experienced success by personalising your guests’ experiences and don’t mind sharing them with the world (hey, we’re all in this together, right?), let us know 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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How To Create A Killer Room Rate Strategy For Your Hotel | Hotel Software UK

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 Psychological Pricing

Psychological Pricing | Hotel Upselling

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 and looking to book online, £99 looks a lot cheaper.

In fact, it looks almost £10 cheaper!

Keep an eye on the competition

Create Room Rate Strategy | Hotel Management Software UK

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 a low room rate strategy.

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

Create a Room Rate Strategy | Hotel Booking Systems

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

How To Create A Killer Room Rate Strategy For Your Hotel | Hotel Upselling

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 attract people through the door.

Look at your room rate 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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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 Limit Your Hotel's Impact on The Environment | Hotel Software UK

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. So, what options are available to environmentally conscious hoteliers?

Recycle, recycle, recycle!

Recycling for hotels | management systems for hotels london

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 energy supply | hotel software uk

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

water waste hotels | hotel 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

laundry housekeeping hotels | hotel software uk

A lot of a hotel’s resources are tied up in keeping sheets and towels clean. So, if you can improve the housekeeping 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 PMS that has built-in housekeeping features will enable that team to be more efficient and environmentally-friendly.

Get creative

Green Spaces for hotels | hotel management software uk

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

Work with customers hotels | hotel booking systems

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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