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!

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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 improve your hotel offering with mini events | hotel upselling

Encouraging people to book a room at your hotel will involve a number of different strategies.

Some are obvious (someone needs a bed for the night – your hotel is well priced, well located and has great reviews).

Others… less obvious (and require some proactive thinking and planning on your part).

One excellent option is to host regular events. These events will grab the attention of potential guests and give them another reason to choose your hotel over the competition.

These events don’t need to be all-encompassing and over-the-top; you can usually get a leg up with mini events that are interesting enough to turn heads while still being simple and cost effective to organise and run. Not only will events help boost occupancy at your hotel, but they provide a ton of great hotel upselling opportunities.

Here's three brilliant mini event ideas to get you started. Each of these should help boost direct bookings and tempt guests to spend more with you during their stay.

1. Movie screenings

hotel movie screenings offering | hotel booking systems

If your hotel is in a relatively isolated area, guests may be tempted to retire to their rooms early after a busy day of exploring their rural surroundings.

Coaxing them out can be tricky (that iPad won’t play with itself, after all). However, if you’ve got a unique entertainment experience to offer, they might be more willing to head downstairs and give it a try.

Movie screenings can be an excellent activity, so long as you have a suitable space within the hotel to accommodate such an event.

You could showcase old classics, highlight recent releases or even theme the screenings around the season; just be sure to keep your audience in mind when choosing which films to exhibit.

2. Open mic nights

How to improve your hotel offering with mini events | hotel software uk

If your hotel has an appropriately sized bar area, there are many ways to take full advantage of it.

An open mic night is a good choice. It’s not only a great way to get guests interested in spending time in the bar, but also helps boost your engagement with the local community and its artists. Of course, guests could have the option of performing themselves, alongside acts from the surrounding area.

It’s a tactic that works for pubs across the UK and is equally impactful in a hotel setting. You just have to make sure things wrap up promptly and guests aren’t kept awake by the noise.

3. Quiz nights

quiz night hotel | hotel industry tips | hotel management software uk

Another great mini event option for hotels is a quiz night hosted on a weekly basis. The great thing about quizzes is that they’re relatively easy to arrange and run, and appeal to a wide audience.

Again, you’ll need to dedicate the bar or restaurant to the quiz (although a conference room could work, too), with mid-week probably being the best time to host - unless weekends are proving to be quiet in the bar.

You could even tie in the prizes that are on offer with the hotel itself. For instance, why not give the top three teams a discount on their next stay, money off at the bar or some other perk that will keep them coming back for more?

Wrapping up

Whatever route you decide to take with your mini events, it’s definitely worth promoting these added extras so that guests know what to expect when they book.

It could also provide an added boost for the hotel’s social media profile. With these events, guests will likely tweet and check themselves in on Facebook if they have a good time.

You can highlight your upcoming events schedule with a modern online booking platform and PMS that reminds both guests and reception staff of events taking place during a particular stay. In turn, this should help increase occupancy rates, drive up customer spend and enhance your hotel’s reputation.

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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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hotel marketing tip | hotel software uk

Running an independent hotel can feel like an uphill struggle - especially if you stick to the same old methods you’ve always used and ignore the need to innovate.

But rather than let the big chains walk all over you, it makes sense to stop procrastinating and take action.

Here are five things you can do today to level the playing field in this competitive market.

1. Implement price-matching offers

match big chain hotel prices | hotel upselling

With comparison sites making such an impact on the industry, ignoring the likelihood of being undercut by the big chains is not wise.

You don’t necessarily need to make all of your rooms cheaper than your rivals on your PMS, but it’s advisable to make sure your rates are at least in tune with customer expectations.

Matching prices with the big chain competition can lure in bargain hunters while still ensuring that your hotel has that unique, boutique, exclusive feel that you’ve worked so hard to foster.

2. Create a loyalty scheme

create hotel loyalty program | hotel booking systems

Getting guests to return after their initial stay is tricky, but if you offer an incentive, they’re much more likely to re-book.

Many of the major hotel operators have loyalty schemes designed to do just that, but there’s no reason you can’t recreate this on a smaller scale for your own property.

You could even factor in discounts for guests who recommend you to their family, friends and colleagues to spread the benefits even further.

3. Improve your website

optimise your hotel's website | hotel management software uk

There’s no excuse for having a sub-standard website that looks unprofessional when compared with those of mainstream rivals.

Makes sure your website is optimised for search engines, easy-to-use on mobile devices and targeted to win bookings in as few clicks as possible to get the best results.

Make your online hotel booking systems front and centre on every page; it’s what potential bookers will be looking for!

4. Get on top of social media

hotel social media marketing | hotel upselling

You need a presence on social media to both promote your hotel and respond to guests who may be using platforms like TwitterFacebook and Instagram to ask questions and provide feedback.

Running your social media accounts doesn’t need to take up too much of your time, and you shouldn’t neglect them if you can help it.

The potential benefits are too good to pass up, and all the top hotel chains are already maximising their impact on these sites, so you should too.

Also remember that you can use social media proactively, both to request reviews from previous guests and to promote your latest offers to people who have stayed with you in the past.

5. Create a mobile app

hotel mobile app | hotel booking systems

Smartphones are ubiquitous today and you can assume that most guests who stay with you will have an iOS (Apple) or Android (Google) device at their disposal.

Because of this, creating an interactive mobile app is a sensible and exciting idea, and will allow you to impress visitors with what they can do from their smartphone during their stay.

From checking in and out to placing an order for room service without needing to make a call, a hotel app can be flexible enough to offer a wide range of convenient functions, thus creating a memorable guest experience.

If you don’t want the big chains to win the tech war, this is a great investment to make.

What do you think?

What have we missed? If you’re a successful independent hotelier, tell us what has worked for you in the comments section below (don’t worry – you can remain anonymous).

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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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Google Analytics for Hoteliers | hotel software uk

You’re a modern, savvy hotelier, which means you’ve got a website with an awesome online booking portal. Obviously.

It also means you understand what Google Analytics is. You’re aware that it provides vital insight into the way in which visitors interact with your hotel’s most important web presence. You also know that it offers data that enables you to fine tune your website to better engage visitors and ensure they click the ‘book now’ button.

There’s just one problem. It’s a bit cumbersome and you don’t really have the time to spend on it.

If you feel like this, you’re not alone. Google Analytics is a fantastic tool, but it does require a significant amount of time if you’re to get to grips with it.

…unless you know immediately where to head for the juiciest stuff.

And now, you do. Here’s the three most important Google Analytics metrics to review regularly:

1. The bounce rate

hotel industry tips | hotel software uk

Of all Google Analytics stats, the bounce rate is the worst when it comes to crushing your digital hopes and dreams, because it indicates how many visitors enter your website - and leave, immediately.

A high bounce rate is anything above 60%; keep it below that, and you’re probably serving the right content to the right audience.

You can break the bounce rate down by page if you want, too, therefore if you’ve recently set up a new winter warmer offer and want to see how many people have immediately decided it’s not for them, Analytics will give you all the data you need.

Find it here: Audience > Overview

2. New vs Returning visitors

new vs. returning visitors | hotel upselling

One of the best ways to segment your website visitors is to create two pots - one for new visitors, the other for people who have come back for more.

These are two very different audiences. The new people may never have heard of you before, and therefore probably need a fair bit more encouragement to book. Returners may be far ‘warmer’ and closer to the point of reserving a room. You may be more inclined to implement more hotel upselling initiatives for returning guests, who have already enjoyed a nice stay at your property and are ready for more.

Understanding how many of the total visitors are made up by these two groups is vital in helping you tune your website to best serve them. For instance, if new visitors have a particularly high bounce rate, you may not be providing enough information about the hotel, or the booking facility might be too hard to find.

Find it here: Audience > Behaviour > New vs. Returning

3. Average session duration

Google Analytics Average Session Duration | hotel management software uk

Second to bounce rate in terms of potentially demoralising web stats is the average session duration. As you’d expect, this refers to how long people browse your website on average, but the headline figure demands further exploration.

Once again, you can view average session duration by page, and by using the Users Flow report (Audience > Users Flow) to determine the most common journeys through your website, you can start to build a picture of where people are either hitting some kind of barrier or spending a significant amount of time.

It’ll take a bit of guesswork and experimentation, but the average session duration may indicate a usability issue or that you’ve absolutely nailed it with the page content.

Find it here: Audience > Overview

Wrapping up

You’ll notice that we haven’t once mentioned the page view, users or total session stats above. And this isn’t because they’re not important (they are), but the number of people visiting your hotel website is far less important than the quality of those visitors.

Invest the short time you have for Google Analytics in the above datasets and you’ll start to build a picture of how well your website is performing and what needs to be done to improve the number of direct bookings you’re receiving.

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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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Choosing The Right OTA For Your Independent Hotel | Hotel Booking Systems

Whether you’re new to the hotel industry or have been part of it for decades, you’ll doubtless share one opinion on online travel agencies (OTAs).

No, no - not that one…

This one: there are so many of them. There’s the biggies, of course, but the number of smaller, niche OTAs has simply exploded in recent years.

This presents something of a problem for savvy hoteliers who want to maximise their presence online; how do you choose the right OTAs for your hotel?

As it turns out, it comes down to four simple factors. But first…

It’s about quality - not quantity

Spreading your wings wide online and having a presence on several OTAs has always been good practice, but that can lead to OTA overload if you get too carried away.

Your agency strategy should be one that focuses on quality rather than quantity. Even with the best channel manager in the world linked up and ready to go, you’re still giving yourself rather too much work if you sign up to every OTA under the sun.

Instead, it’s better to seek out the OTAs that best fit your hotel’s ethos, target market and, obviously, which are the most cost effective.

Here’s how to find them:

1. Check the audience

Choosing The Right OTA For Your Independent Hotel | Hotel Software UK

If you list your rooms and rates on an OTA that targets an audience you’d never target yourself your hotel might begin filling with customers who’s demands, tastes and expectations simply can’t be fulfilled.

For instance, if you cater mainly for couples seeking short breaks in kid-free environments, listing your hotel on a family-oriented OTA is probably going to result in some rather uncomfortable guest clashes.

Before you sign up to any OTA, find out exactly what type of audience they’re targeting by either asking them directly or scouring their website (the clues will be there).

2. Suss out the price

OTA market | management systems for hotels london

Every booking sent via an OTA comes at a price - that will never change. However, to avoid getting too grumpy over commission, you need to look at it more positively.

Which commission rates are going to deliver the best bang for your buck? If the OTA appears to target your perfect market, or is likely to bring in some high-spending guests, a slightly higher commission rate is probably a price worth paying.

Oh, and the commission rate should reflect something else you get, too…

3. …the features!

OTA Shopping | Hotel Booking Systems

Not all OTAs are made the same; some offer specific rate management and listing features that you won’t find elsewhere - and some of those features may not be compatible with your marketing plan at all.

One of the key things to check during your OTA shopping trip is compatibility with your PMS and channel manager. Without that, an OTA is next to useless, because you’ll end up in double-booking hell and with a huge amount of work that should be undertaken by software. So you'll have to ensure your hotel booking systems comply with consumer expectations.

OTAs spend a lot of time and money creating new features that hoteliers can take advantage of - just make sure they’re features you’re likely to use.

4. The guest experience

Guest Experience | hotel upselling

Time to put your guest hat on.

What’s the OTA like when it comes to booking a room? Is the booking process accessible, intuitive and likely to resonate with your audience?

A great feature set, cost effective commission rate and perfect audience is nothing if the OTA is a pig to use - tough but true.

Wrapping up

Happy OTA hunting! Take your time, but use the four factors above to narrow down your search to the most relevant websites for your hotel.

Been there and done it? What’s your OTA strategy? Have we missed something? If so, tell us 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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