Why your hotel needs to invest in the latest hotel door locks | hotel software uk

When guests arrive at a hotel, they want to head to their room, close the door and have confidence that their privacy and security are in safe hands.

Unfortunately, a study by F-Secure has revealed that a huge number of electronic hotel door locks around the world could be compromised via a fairly straightforward hack.

This is definitely a wakeup call (if you’ll excuse the pun) for hotels to update their door locks, or to upgrade entire locking systems if they’re over the hill by modern standards. Here are some reasons why you should rethink your door locking system and invest in the latest technology for your hotel's locks.

Verified vulnerabilities

door locks for your hotel | hotel upselling

The security loophole pinpointed by researchers allows malicious third parties to program a master key which can then unlock any room in a hotel.

Because this is a software-related issue, the researchers that identified the vulnerabilities were able to alert the manufacturer immediately and a patch has already been issued to address it. An impressive, swift reaction, then, but does that mean hotels using such systems are out of the woods?

Slow responses to updates

Why your hotel needs to bite the bullet and invest in the latest door locks | hotel management software uk

The problem with centrally-issued updates for hotel door lock security systems is that the properties need to implement them (either personally or with the help of the manufacturer).

Security specialists say that even though the software patch has been issued in this instance, many hotels are yet to install it. This means that millions of rooms around the world are still vulnerable to hacking - at least in theory, if not in practice.

The obvious conclusion to draw from this is that it’s vital to apply the latest software patches for door locking systems as soon as they are made available to your hotel.

This is just as true of key card-based hotel door lock systems as it is of desktop computers, server hardware, smartphones, and tablets.

In the wake of the GDPR, independent hotels can’t afford to take any chances and guests will appreciate efforts made to ensure their personal belongings and private details are kept safe.

An important lesson: tech isn't infallible

hotel door locks | hotel booking systems

The silver lining to this dark cloud of hotel security doom and gloom is that, so far, it doesn’t seem as though any major breaches have been carried out using the master key creation technique.

As is often the case in the wider world of hotel IT security, white-hat experts have mercifully uncovered the vulnerability before their criminal counterparts, thus preventing any serious damage.

Another important lesson to learn from this revelation is that even fairly modern hotel door locking systems are fallible, so it pays to invest in the latest solutions if you want to restore guest confidence and avoid suffering a reputation-damaging breach.

Of course, this isn’t just about security, but also the image that’s given off by a particular type of door lock. Old fashioned mechanical locks may have the nostalgia factor, but they can be too easy to crack and will cause headaches if the keys go missing.

Electronic locks with reprogrammable key cards or smartphone integration are more convenient for guests and staff alike, but need to have their software updated regularly - for reasons that should now be clear!

Wrapping up

Now is as good a time as any for independent hotels to take the plunge with the latest door locking systems.

It’s also essential to stay abreast of developments in this area so that when security vulnerabilities are spotted, you’re not left exposed to criminal exploitation. Make sure you sign up for updates from the manufacturer and choose a supplier which takes a proactive approach to customer support.

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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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Big Data And Hotels: How It’s Changing The Game For Guests | hotel upselling

Travel and hospitality is an incredibly competitive industry which requires the businesses operating within to create unforgettable guest experiences.

Until now, the ability to do this has required massive marketing budgets and inordinate amounts of time.

Now, we live in a world of big data and something called ‘hyper personalisation’. In human language, this means there’s an inordinate amount of information about consumers available to businesses, who now have the ability to use that information to send precisely targeted marketing campaigns.

But what does this mean for independent hotels, their guests and online hotel booking systems?

Big data and hotel customers

Big Data And Hotels | hotel booking systems

It’s easy to dismiss big data as being another indication that ‘big brother’ is watching us all, ready to pounce with unsolicited offers and irritating emails, but that’s a little short-sighted.

The hospitality mantra of ‘customer-first’ runs deep within hotel operations, and big data could help your hotel tailor a much more personalised offering for its guests. And that’s a win-win for everyone.

The more data you collect about a guest, the more you know about them. Demographics, past stay habits and their behaviour on your website can all inform the packages you put together and the offers you send to them via email.

It enables you to segment your guest database, too. An example described on Forbes.com tells of a hotel chain that used analytics from big data to rearrange rooms for either leisure or business travellers.

Why not match your rooms, service and food offering to the data you hold about guests?

Big data and the benefit it offers hotel businesses

Hotel PMS UK | hotel software uk

Big data can be a bit overwhelming. It comes at you from all angles and arrives in such large quantities that it’s understandable if the desire to do anything with it slips further down the priority list.

For instance, if you publish your availability via OTAs, they’ll likely provide plenty of data and statistics on the guests who book via that method. Likewise, your PMS will probably store comprehensive guest contact and preference details, along with stay histories.

Then you have the smartphone-carrying housekeepers who generate data about room cleanliness and turnaround times. And what if you’ve connected your till system to the PMS? All those bar tabs and table accounts will be generating countless transactions that provide invaluable insights into your F&B operation.

Exhausted? Fair enough. But there’s an answer to the big data conundrum.

With the right systems in place, you can take advantage of this data by gaining access to dashboards and reports that make sense of the raw information.

It’ll help you make decisions about the lifetime value of guests; which ones generate the most revenue for you? Who returns regularly but is yet to spend a penny in the bar?

Big data will benefit your hotel operation, even if you’re yet to obtain it.

Big data: is it ‘now’ or ‘future’ for independent hotels?

Big data might not quite be at full adoption stage for independent hotels, but with technology once reserved for large chains fast filtering down the industry food chain, it’s coming.

For your guests, big data will deliver a more personal experience. For your hotel, it will enable you to build profitable relationships with customers, give you a competitive edge and uncover countless latent revenue generating opportunities.

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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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Last year, the data hack at Marriott’s Starwood division shocked the hotel industry. Affecting over 500 million customers, the cyberattack resulted in email addresses, passport information and, most worryingly, encrypted credit card data being compromised. Fast-forward to 2019, and British Airways is fined a whopping £183 million for a data breach after falling foul of the GDPR’s strict guidelines.

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