St Patrick's Day for UK hoteliers | hotel management systems london

St Patrick’s Day, as always, will prompt millions of people across the globe to celebrate - Irish or not.

For many, it’s an excuse to head to the pub for a Guinness or two, while others will use it to celebrate their heritage. As a hotelier, it presents a unique opportunity to engage a happy audience who are ready to spend - big.

Here are a few ways UK hoteliers can make the most of St Patrick’s Day - there’s still time!

Turn your website green

turn your hotel green for St. Patrick's Day | hotel software uk

Nothing says you’ve fully grasped the St Patrick Day’s spirit than turning as much of your brand green as possible.

It might simply be a dusting of St Patrick’s spirit on your logo or a great big clover leaf-filled banner on your home page, but whatever it is, make it clear as soon as someone visits your website that the hotel has something to offer on March 17th.

Revamp the restaurant’s F&B menus

Let’s not beat around the bush - food and drink play a huge role on St Patrick’s Day.

If you want to get as many people in as possible on the big day, make sure you’ve got Guinness and Irish beers on, at the very least. And you can do the same with the food, too; try adding braised beef, shepherd’s pie and cabbage-based dishes.

Use some last-minute keywords

marketing your hotel on St Patrick's Day | hotel upselling

If you’re running pay-per-click campaigns or undertake a concerted content marketing effort, adding some St Patrick’s Day keywords into the mix is a great way to pique the interest of those looking to do something special on March 17th.

Luck of the Irish, green, St Patty’s parade, pot of gold - they might all sound like clichés, but that’s often the best approach when it comes to keywords and events of this kind.

Decorate the hotel

simple guide to St Patrick’s Day for UK hoteliers | hotel booking systems

The busiest pubs on St Patrick’s Day are usually those that have really gone to town with their decor, and you can do the same as a hotelier.

How far you go is entirely up to you, but if you just add a touch of green to your lobby and encourage staff to get into the spirit, it can be enough to make your guests feel similarly party-ready. And that’s infectious.

Get social and share the luck

social media marketing for St Patrick's Day | hotel management software uk

Luck plays a huge role in the St Patrick’s Day theme, and you can use your hotel’s influence on social media to spread some good fortune.

It’s a great way to show the fun side of your hotel, and anyone who has experienced success with social media will know that’s a key ingredient if you’re to stand a chance of winning business via that channel.

As the day gets closer, keep an eye on your timeline and look for St Patrick’s Day threads you can get involved in. The more active you are leading up to and on the day itself, the more likely you are to grab a slice of the St Patrick’s Day engagement - it’s a great way to boost your social standing off the back of a big national event.

Wrapping up

Are you ready to make the most of St Patrick’s Day this year and next? Our tips above will work consistently each year, so make sure you keep them handy whenever March rears its head in your diary.

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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 first-time hoteliers | hotel software uk

For many people, the idea of opening a hotel for the first time is a dream come true. For others, it’s the result of a family business handed onto another generation. Whatever reason you have for entering the hotel industry for the first time, you’ve probably got lots of questions. Providing you follow these tips for first-time hoteliers below, you’ll gain plenty of job satisfaction and great financial security.

Our tips below are for the very start of your journey. In future blogs, we’ll cover the all-important role technology will play in your hotelier journey - particularly the hotel property management system.

1. Gain some experience

hotel industry experience | hotel management software uk

Depending on how you intend to become a hotelier, it’s vital that you gain some experience.

If you’ve already worked your way through the ranks - great! But if you’re yet to experience life on the front line of the reception desk or in the depths of the kitchen, now is the time to get that experience under your belt.

This is true if you’ve inherited a hotel, too. Getting your hands dirty and working at the lower rungs of the hospitality ladder will give you a great appreciation for what it takes to run a brilliant hotel operation.

2. Get used to - and enjoy - working with people

hotel industry is all about working with people | management systems for hotels london

It might sound daft, but there’s no escaping the fact that, as a hotelier, you’ll be working with a lot of people.

Staff, guests, suppliers - there will be countless personalities you’ll need to deal with each day and it’s essential that you can maintain the stamina required to keep smiling and provide the best service possible.

Empathy plays a big role in being a hotelier, as does the ability to deal with an emergency in room four at 2:45 on a Tuesday morning.

3. Pick the right hotel theme

pick the right hotel theme | hotel booking systems

That’s right - just like restaurants, the best and most successful hotels have a theme. What’s yours going to be?

Take the following into consideration when deciding on your hotel’s theme:

  • your ideal guest (demographics, type of stay, generation - that kind of thing);
  • your own experiences and passions;
  • the competition - what are they doing (or not doing)?;
  • a unique selling point; and
  • what kind of experience do you want to create?

A hotel theme might be something as simple as funky decor or musically-themed rooms. Whatever it is, make it as unique and enticing as possible.

4. Get financial help - but only if you need it

look for cost-effective solutions for your hotel | hotel upselling

If you already have the finances in place for your hotel, or if it has been inherited in a good financial state, avoid getting yourself into any debt. It’s simply not needed in such circumstances.

If, however, it’s a new venture, make sure you get the appropriate financial help. Speak to your bank manager and assess the most cost-effective solutions. Remember - running a hotel business is expensive, but it should be ultimately profitable.

5. Make sure it’s definitely what you want

tips for first-time hoteliers | hotel management software uk

Calling a hotel operation a ‘lifestyle business’ will make many hoteliers wince. It’s a very hard career and one that is both incredibly challenging and very rewarding.

Long days, little time away from ‘the office’ and the need to deal with all manner of guest requests and industry red tape can be a little too much for some people.

In truth, you won’t know how well suited you are to this industry until you get into it, but if you have any significant doubts, it might be best to look for an alternative career. It’s certainly better to pull out now than risk your happiness in the future.

Ready for it? Awesome!

Wrapping up

This is a long road full of bumps, surprises and delight, but if you stick with it, your hotel will become not just a business but a treasured part of your life.

We’ve scratched the surface above, so stay tuned to the Welcome Anywhere blog for more hotelier tips!

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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 keep hold of your best hotel staff | hotel software uk

There’s still a lot of uncertainty in the UK economy. Brexit may finally have taken place, but the far reaching effects of it on the hospitality sector remains to be seen.

In the meantime, every independent hotelier is best advised to continue providing an amazing guest experience by retaining the best possible team.

If you’re concerned about losing your best employees or struggling with a particularly high staff turnover rate, we’ve got some tips for ensuring you build a rock solid team, and keep it that way.

Hire the right people from the outset

tip for hiring hospitality staff | hotel upselling

You won’t get far with your hotel team if you hire poorly.

Unfortunately, it’s an easy mistake to make; hiring is damn hard.

However, the more time you invest in recruitment, the more likely you are to hire the best people from the outset.

Before you choose a candidate, think about the values you have at the hotel. Consider the culture and goals you’ve set - make sure anyone who steps into the interview room is capable of adding value.

Remind yourself that you won’t be able to retain everyone

how to handle exit interviews at your property

Staff leave for a variety of reasons - that’s a fact of life and something you won’t be able to change.

For instance, changing circumstances at home, decisions to move abroad and illness are common examples of why team members might have to leave.

When you accept that you’ll inevitably lose some staff at some stage, it’ll become less of a shock when it happens. Just make sure you hold a decent exit interview before they go to find out where you can improve and what they enjoyed about working at the hotel.

Show your team how much they're valued

show appreciation to your staff | hotel management systems

Showing appreciation for your team doesn’t always have to result in some form of monetary recompense. You can say “thank you” for their hard work in lots of different ways.

Sometimes, a hearty pat on the back for a job well done is enough, but if you feel like taking the entire team out for a night of bowling, go for it.

The more valued people feel, the more likely they are to hang around - it’s one of the simplest facts of management.

Challenge each and every team member

have discussions with your hotel staff | hotel management software uk

Believe it or not, your team members want to feel challenged; no one wants to go to work each day and clock watch.

This is why it’s so important to have regular one-to-one chats with the team. Ask how they’re getting on, what they’re struggling with and where they feel under-utilised.

Make changes to their rota, level of responsibility or tasks to ensure they feel challenged and pushed to their maximum potential.

Create an awesome hotel team culture

create an awesome culture

Who would want to leave a hotel where the team culture is so amazing?

Most of us have experienced that desire to get to work and get stuff done, and that usually stems from a love of the job itself and the team you work with.

The culture you create in your hotel will define the longevity of your staff base. Make sure it’s one you want to get out of bed for each morning.

Wrapping up

The key learning today is that you will lose staff occasionally. The hospitality industry is one of high staff turnover - that’s just how it is.

However, follow our tips above and you’ll stand a far better chance of retaining your best people for much, much longer.

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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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