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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How to use Twitter’s 280 character limit as a hotelier | hotel software uk

In 2017, Twitter gave all of its users access to a new 280 character limit.

At its inception, Twitter only allowed 140 character to be used in tweets, making this sudden doubling of available commentary/shouting/ranting/opinion space quite a big deal.

Some people seem to love it, while others lament the decision to turn what was once the platform’s endearing selling point into something that gives advertisers and internet trolls far more space to irritate all and sundry.

Despite this, Twitter’s longer character limit offers some interesting marketing opportunities. It shouldn’t be abused, but we think you can definitely make better use of the service now if you’re a hotelier.

Here’s four tips for making the most of the 280 character tweet limit:

1. Use paragraphs

Twitter tip for hotels | management systems for hotels london

Perhaps the worst thing to come out of the increased character limit is a tendency for people to publish long winded tweets that don’t feature an ounce of punctuation.

When these tweets were just 140 characters long, that was less of an issue, but at 280 characters, they simply become big blobs of text that few people are going to read.

If you’ve got something interesting to say about your hotel, you now have more space in which to do so, but that means you can rely on white space, rather than endless sentences.

Use paragraphs on Twitter, and break up your tweets so they’re easily digestible.

2. Include multiple links

Tweeting offers for your hotel | hotel management software uk

The shorter tweets of old typically only justified a single link to be included, but with 280 characters to play with, you can get a bit more creative with your calls to action.

For instance, if you’ve just launched a number of new Christmas packages, why not tweet them out in paragraphs (see above), with the corresponding link to each package description on your website?

Don’t forget to include images, too - tweets containing photos or some other form of graphical accompaniment will perform better, and they no longer count to the character limit.

3. Tweet in multiple languages

should your hotel tweet in multiple languages? hotel software uk

If you regularly welcome foreign guests to your hotel or want to broaden your reach on social media, Twitter’s higher character limit finally gives you the space to tweet in multiple languages.

For instance, you can now kill several birds with one tweet if you want to announce the launch of your new online booking system to people in England, Spain, France and Germany.

4. Don’t feel you have to use every character

don't go too long on your tweet | hotel booking systems

One of the best pieces of advice we can provide about Twitter’s 280 character limit is… to not use it at all!

Just because you have all that extra space to play with doesn’t mean you need to use it each and every time. If you’ve experienced Twitter success with short, concise tweets, stick with them!

Listen to gut instinct; if a tweet feels too long or laboured, trim it back.

Wrapping up

Have you used Twitter to your advantage as a hotelier? We’d love to hear your experiences. Get involved in the conversation by leaving your comments, 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 attract bleisure travellers | hotel upselling

The idea of combining leisure with business during an outing from the office isn’t new, but it’s a trend that has spawned its own name. And it’s growing, big time.

In a survey held last year, 75% of respondents revealed they had extended a business trip within the last year for leisure purposes.

Known as ‘bleisure’, this type of travel is popular among all generations, and for good reason. It eases work-life balance, adds some excitement to business trips and improves employee satisfaction.

If you’re running an independent hotel, the bleisure market might be one you’re currently missing out on.

Here are some tips for attracting bleisure travellers to your hotel.

Focus on offering short-stay packages

offer short-stay specials for bleisure guests | hotel software uk

Bleisure guests will typically be looking for a maximum of three-night stays during their travel. To stand out from the rest of the hotels, you could add short-stay specials that appeal directly to these people.

There’s also the opportunity to up-sell. For instance, by offering a percentage discount off an additional night’s stay, you might grab the attention of bleisure guests who fancy extending their stay for a little more leisure time.

Ensure you offer services business travellers want

what do bleisure guests need? | hotel management software uk

Take the leisure element out of bleisure, and these guests are still corporate travellers. Therefore, you need to ensure your hotel offers them everything they need to get work done on the road.

That means great, free, fast WiFi, ample meeting and working space and ease of travel to and from your property.

Oh, and don’t forget those all-important add-on services such as a fitness suite, self-check-in/out and ironing services.

Grab their attention with leisure services

leisure activities to offer at your hotel | hotel upselling

After a long day away from the office, business travellers can be easily tempted with great leisure services.

This might simply be the offer of a first free drink at the bar, but for the bleisure crowd, you can go a lot further.

If you have the budget and space on-site, offering fitness classes, therapy practices or cocktail nights is a great way to differentiate your service in the minds of bleisure guests.

Go for the super-personalised service

personalise your hotel for bleisure guests | hotel software uk

Bleisure travellers all have individual tastes. This is why personalisation is so important for hotel marketing and service teams.

The more you can profile bleisure guests, the more you can tune your service perfectly for them.

For instance, if you know they’re into fitness, a tailored stay and keep-fit package that emphasises your sports facilities will go down very well indeed.

The same goes for specific room preferences, food allergies and room service requests. If you can demonstrate that you’re listening to their every requirement, you’ll likely welcome them back again and again.

Encourage repeat bookings

how to get repeat bookings from bleisure guests | management systems for hotels london

As we alluded to above, bleisure guests are well-primed to become long-term advocates of your brand.

With that in mind, be sure you make it clear how convenient and easy it is to book with you again via your online booking engine.

Even better, why not start up a loyalty program for bleisure guests? By offering points rewards or some other form of benefit for repeat bookings, you’ll catch not just their eye but that of the person who holds the purse strings for them back at HQ.

Wrapping up

Bleisure travel isn’t a flash in the pan - it’s a growing trend that fits perfectly with the modern way of working.

Freelancers, remote employees and those who regularly leave the office for business trips represent a huge, profitable market for independent hoteliers.

Go get ‘em!

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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 mastering local SEO for hotels | hotel management systems london

Search engine optimisation (SEO) has been around since Google was nothing more than a handy directory of websites.

Now, it’s something of a behemoth and a significant challenge for hoteliers. In particular, the nature of the sector has placed a significant emphasis on something known as ‘local SEO’.

Put simply, this is the process whereby your hotel will appear in searches relevant to your area. Clearly, given the type of business you run, this is highly desirable, but how do you go about mastering local search?

Employing the services of an SEO agency can be expensive, but if your marketing budget can stretch that far, and you’re prepared to conduct a beauty parade of suppliers, it’s one of the best investments you make.

Regardless, there are three things you can do yourself to improve your hotel website’s local SEO performance:

1. Be the master of your online reviews

local SEO tips for hotels | hotel upselling

We won’t get into the nitty-gritty of guest reviews, because it’s a topic that has been argued to the point of exhaustion. And, anyway, the fact remains - you need them if you’re to survive as a hotelier.

No matter your opinion on guest reviews, you may not be aware that they can significantly help your local SEO efforts.

This stands to reason; people love to research the hotels at which they’re thinking of staying. Equally, Google is rather fond of websites and businesses that attract a lot of reviews, therefore if you’re prepared to put the time into managing your online reviews (by approving, commenting and acting upon poor feedback), you might just see a satisfying improvement in search engine rankings.

2. Build links with local businesses

cross promotional opportunities for hotels | hotel software uk

Link building is a cornerstone of SEO and involves securing links to your website from other websites that already have high rankings on Google.

Unless you know what you’re doing, it’s hard work.

When it comes to local SEO, link building can actually be somewhat easier, because it involves gaining inbound links to your website from other local businesses.

So, if you’re staging a wedding fair next month, why not kindly ask the local pub, golf course or bridal shop to publish a note on their blog linking to your event? Promise you’ll do the same for them in return, and you’ll have undertaken a nice bit of link building that might just boost your rankings a little.

3. Ensure your website is fully mobile-ready

SEO tips for hotels | hotel management software uk

This is an easy one to finish on, and a tip that should pretty much be inserted into any ‘how to make your website rank better on Google’ blog post.

This is for good reason; Google loves mobile-ready websites. In fact, it now operates on a mobile-first index, which means it generally prefers them over their desktop counterparts.

With over 50% of hotel searches now undertaken on mobile devices, you need a website that is fully mobile-ready (not just ‘mobile optimised’). If you have doubts that yours is - speak to your web developer as soon as possible.

Wrapping up

The three things above won’t supercharge your hotel’s Google listing, but they will help a great deal.

Use them in conjunction with a great SEO contract, and you’ll stand a genuine chance of being found on page one of Google - and that’s no mean feat in this industry!

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

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

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Facebook Ads strategies for hotels in 2020 | hotel software uk

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

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

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

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

Set your objective

Facebook Ads for hotel bookings | hotel booking systems

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

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

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

Figure out your audience

Hotel industry tips | management systems for hotels london

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

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

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

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

Think about when you’ll run the ad

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

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

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

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

The ad itself

Taking care of your Facebook ad | hotel upselling

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

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

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

Wrapping up

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

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

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

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Twitter best practices for independent hotels | hotel software uk

It's thought that social networking behemoth, Twitter, has 145 million monetiseable users on its service - daily.

For a service that opened with the rather innocuous tweet 'just setting up my twttr' in 2006, the 280 character-driven social media site is now a driving force both socially and in business. If you run a hotel, it can be an incredibly powerful tool.

Today, we've got three best practices for the social media savvy hotelier who wants to get the most from Twitter.

Don't ignore the bio

Improving hotel standing on Twitter | hotel management software uk

Twitter has made it so easy to set up an account and start posting, that you may forget to perform one of the most important tasks - configuring your bio page. While your Twitter presence will almost solely be digested by people browsing their timelines, whenever someone decides whether or not to follow you, it is likely they will have a look at your bio.

In fact, in most Twitter clients, they have to. If it's blank and uninspiring (or, worse, there's a little egg to indicate you haven't updated your profile picture), they may well not bother.

Add an attractive image of your hotel, your location, website and a small tagline or description of what you're all about. Don't forget to add a header photo, too - you can be a little more creative with here, as Twitter affords you more space.

Forget the numbers

Twitter best practices for independent hotels | hotel booking systems

Social media is all-too-often about numbers. Much like a LinkedIn profile's connections tally isn't indicative of business acumen, neither is your number of followers on Twitter.

There are all sorts of 'back door' methods with which you can gain a large number of followers, but avoid them at all costs. You can't buy love and you certainly can't by a social media following.

Building a genuine list of followers isn't easy and it takes time. You need to cultivate a community in order for it to be effective.

Use Twitter's brilliant built-in search tool to find hospitality leaders and industry partners - follow them and interact with them where possible. Retweet the tweets you like and engage in discussions by using hashtags to offer your thoughts on a particular topic. If you've got positive relations with a neighbouring hotel, follow them, too.

Listen first

Twitter is just as much a listening channel as it is a broadcasting channel. Nowhere is this more important than the hotel industry.

People tweet in real-time and offer immediate thoughts on their current activities. That activity might be a stay in your hotel and they'll probably mention you by name when they say what's on their mind.

They may do this by using your @ Twitter username, in which case you'll be alerted in most Twitter clients, but if they don't, keeping an eye on mentions of your hotel on Twitter is relatively straightforward - you can simply use the powerful search tool or invest in social media reputation software or professional services.

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

 

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

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power of video hotel marketing | hotel software uk

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

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

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

Facts & figures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video marketing options for hotels

video tip for hotels | hotel booking systems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrapping up

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

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

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

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

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These hotel trends are set to shape 2020 | hotel management software uk

Trivago has recently listed what it believes to be the most important UK hotel trends headed our way in 2020.

With the end of the year fast approaching, we thought we’d do the hard work for you and delve into these trends and highlight what we think are the most prevalent for independent hoteliers on these shores.

There’s an awful lot of uncertainty surrounding the economic future of the country at the time of writing, but these trends represent opportunities for you, as an independent operator, to put your best foot forward and make a success of the next twelve months.

1. The influence of digital on the guest experience

2020 UK Hotel Trends | hotel upselling

Few people will be surprised to hear that digital is going to power most of the hospitality industry as we head into 2020 and beyond.

However, Trivago picks out a few specifics - some of which caught our eye.

  • Internet of Things (IoT).This relates to the smart devices which are gradually making their way from the home into the hotel. Think Alexa, smart lighting and security features. It’s unusual for the home to be ahead of the hospitality industry, but expect to see far more of this tech enter independent hotels in 2020.
  • Virtual reality (VR).Abandoned in the 80s and 90s, VR has had a huge resurgence of late, along with its new cousin, augmented reality (AR). From next year onwards, we should expect to see these technologies make their presence felt more wholesomely in hotels. They’ll offer pre-stay walkarounds and the ability to immerse yourself in a number of new guest experiences after checking in.
  • Facial recognition. Many of us are used our phones unlocking at the mere sight of our faces, but this form of biometric security is expected to become more prevalent in hotels next year. Is it time you upgraded your door locking system?

2. Online character-building

The Top UK Hotel Trends Headed Your Way In 2020 | hotel booking systems

A hotel’s online presence has never been more important, thanks to the influence of social media and the power of the guest in the digital world.

To get in front of as many potential guests as possible during 2020, hoteliers are being urged to define their property’s online character and put as much effort into distinguishing themselves online as possible.

This goes far beyond a few social media posts each week, too. Hotels need to create memorable, branded content that tells the story of their property.

The best news? It costs nothing but your time and some inspiration - and as an independent hotelier, you’ll certainly have plenty of the latter!

3. Embracing sustainability

hotels should start embracing sustainability | hotel software uk

Fed up of reading the word ‘sustainability’? It’s here to stay, and if you’re a hotelier, you need to get on board. Sharpish.

Sustainability is, at its heart, about undertaking environmentally-friendly practices as a business, but it can also be a key differentiator.

Hotel guests are becoming savvier and increasingly look for hotel experiences that keep the health of the Earth in mind. If you can be overtly environmentally conscious, you’ll be the hotelier who picks up more guests next year than those with the lackadaisical laundry policy (people will find out - trust us).

Wrapping up

Which of the above trends are you looking forward to the most next year?

Get involved in the comments section below - particularly if you feel we’ve missed a trend that is going to take the industry by storm.

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

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

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New Year’s resolutions for independent hoteliers | hotel management software uk

So, 2020 is on the way. Another new year. Time to stop, take stock (after the Christmas rush), and start the new year with a bang.

But how do you do that as a busy independent hotelier? With chain hotels continuing to pop up everywhere and brands such as Airbnb redefining guest expectations, what new year’s resolutions should you be making?

The good news? They’re pretty simple and don’t require any immediate action - just a promise to yourself, the hotel and its team that you will make headway on them as 2020 kicks off.

Review your hotel tech

New Year’s resolutions for independent hoteliers | hotel upselling

Hotel technology evolves at a rapid pace. In fact, it’s so fast-paced that you can be forgiven for lagging behind a little as an independent hotelier.

However, there are a few areas in which you might need to invest if you’re to continue providing a range of services and an experience that befits the modern guest.

Pay particular attention to the following:

  • The property management system (PMS): is it web-based, reliable and fully integrated with both your website and the OTAs on which you rely? Does it connect to your other hotel technology such as your POS system?
  • In-room guest services and entertainment: you don’t have to spend big here - the simple addition of USB plug sockets might be enough to satisfy the digital needs of your guests, but if budget allows, perhaps 2020 is the year you finally upgrade the in-room TVs to be fully on-demand and add complimentary iPads to rooms, complete with a bunch of boredom-busting apps for the duration of guest stays. Have a look at last year’s guest feedback on TripAdvisor to spot areas where you might be lacking.
  • The restaurant: can you accept online bookings for your restaurant? If not, you might be missing out on a raft of reservations; people are far more inclined to book tables digitally nowadays.

Schedule some events

2020 hotelier tips | hotel booking systems

Staging events at your hotel is a great way to find new revenue streams.

Advertising yourself as a wedding and conference venue is no longer enough. What about running networking events for local businesses, or cooking competitions hosted by your talented head chef?

Live music, social dining experiences and tie-ins with local events can all be explored next year and might just result in a host of corresponding room bookings and new advocates of your property.

Turn your website into a conversion machine

hotel website tips | hotel software uk

Hotel websites are no longer simply digital brochures - they’re designed to bring in more bookings for the property; lots more bookings.

They can only do this if they’re set up for conversions in the same way an online store is. And if that sounds a bit cold or lacking in the personal touch for your hotel, you might need to leave some of your preconceptions at the door.

When you buy something on Amazon, it’s hassle-free; they’ve mastered the online shopping experience. The same should go for your hotel’s website. If someone wants to book a room, they should be able to check availability and rates and place their reservation as conveniently as possible.

It should be just as simple on whatever device they have to hand and fast no matter how weak their connection.

Try out your online booking experience with the mindset of a guest in a hurry for a decent room at a decent rate. If you get frustrated, it’s time to look for a new platform.

Touch base with your OTA reps

2020 hotel management tips | management systems for hotels london

Yeah, let bygones be bygones and all that - it’s the new year!

The relationship between independent hotels and OTAs has always been rather tetchy, but OTAs aren’t going anywhere and with the latter stages of the calendar year hopefully making you feel more reflective, now is the time to get back in touch with your OTA reps.

If you don’t hear from them regularly, be proactive and seek out their help. For all you know, there could be much better ways to manage your listing and there might even be new tools you can use to optimise your presence on such sites which could result in better placements.

Make 2020 the year you foster a healthy relationship with the OTAs you rely on. Challenge them but accept their help when it’s offered. Combined with a conversion-tastic hotel website (see tip above), this is the best strategy for a stellar online presence that will result in plenty of profitable bookings.

Wrapping up

What’s your hotelier new year’s resolution? What have we missed?

Tell us what you’ll be doing next year to bring in more bookings and draw guests away from the big-name competition by commenting below!

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

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

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GDS guide for hotels | hotel booking systems

Three letters which have remained something of a mystery for many hoteliers: 'GDS'.

They stand for ‘Global Distribution System’, which is a huge network dedicated to providing travel industry professionals with a wide choice of hotels and travel packages.

Until very recently, the GDS has quite rightly been the domain of large hotels and big chains. We say ‘quite rightly’ because it was cumbersome, expensive and required an inordinate amount of someone’s time if it was to be used effectively.

Thankfully, things have changed. Thanks to PMS platforms like Welcome Anywhere finally making the GDS accessible and manageable for smaller operators, everyone can benefit from this brilliant guest finder tool. So without further ado, here's a quick GDS guide for hotels.

So… how does the GDS work?

Connect PMS and channel manager to GDS | hotel software uk

Good question!

There are countless travel industry professionals out there whose responsibility it is to find their clients the best possible hotel rates and travel arrangements.

These agents use tools like the GDS to make their lives easier and their clients happier. And guess what - if your hotel’s rates and availability can be found on the GDS, you’re in with a shout of winning plenty of new business.

By connecting your PMS and channel manager to the GDS, you can advertise your hotel to this massive network and gain access to a market you simply won’t find on any OTA.

Should my independent hotel sign up to the GDS?

GDS increases hotel brand awareness | management system for hotels london

Not long ago, we’d have said “tread with caution” when asked this question, but not any more. The GDS is no longer a tool solely for the big boys of the industry.

The aforementioned travel agents are primed and motivated to find great room rates and decent hotels for their clients, and they could become some of your most loyal customers.

The GDS is brilliant for increasing brand awareness about your hotel, too. It contains market segments that may otherwise never have discovered your property, and the fees for making that happen are pretty reasonable when compared with the marketing budget black hole that is Google Adwords.

Not convinced? Here are 4 reasons you need the GDS!

Okay, the GDS does still have a bit of an image problem within the independent hotel market, and you probably need a little more to go on if you’re to spread your wings wider online.

So, here are four reasons the GDS should be in your hotel’s marketing plans:

  1. You’ll get more bookings. You want that, right? 2017 was a record year for bookings made via the GDS, and if you’re not on that network, you’re missing out.
  2. Your revenue will rise. More bookings = increased revenue. Simple. And, remember - if you’re worried about the profitability of those bookings due to commission fees, the GDS is more affordable than you might think, and there’s always a profit in a room sale if you price it right.
  3. You’ll discover new markets. We’ve mentioned this a few times but it bears repeating: the GDS puts your hotel in front of a brand new audience. New audiences open up so many opportunities for hotels to expand on their offering, widen their customer base and increase awareness of the brand.
  4. Travel agents will become some of your best friends. We all need friends in this industry, and with travel agents under significant pressure to find great hotels and reasonable room prices, the discovery of your property will put a great big smile on their face.

And finally…

With over 100,000 travel websites, agents and portals out there, the GDS can’t be handled manually. Make sure you have a PMS and channel manager that will connect to the network and automate the delivery of rates, availability and confirmed bookings!

___

 

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

 

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

Read More