How to get better TripAdvisor reviews for your hotel | hotel software uk

There are clever, smart ways to encourage guests to leave good reviews for your hotel… and then there are the rather more daft approaches made by Basil Fawlty types.

For an example of the latter, look no further than the owner of the Royal Clarence Hotel in Somerset, who decided to label one group of guests “muppets” after they allegedly demanded a refund in exchange for a positive review.

Harsh? We’ll let you be the judge of that, but there’s no arguing this isn’t really the way to treat guests - or paint an image of yourself online as a hotel owner.

This chap’s anger is understandable, even if his way of dealing with it is somewhat questionable. Hoteliers know the value of good reviews - they improve rankings on review sites, OTAs and search engines - therefore obtaining them and dealing with the negative stuff is a highly emotive topic.

It goes without saying you shouldn’t bribe guests into leaving decent reviews on TripAdvisor, but there are a number of legitimate, fair ways you can increase the chances of them doing so:

Never compromise on service - ever

customer service is key to great TripAdvisor reviews | hotel management systems london

Let’s get this one out of the way, immediately.

For guests to leave decent reviews, you need to provide a stellar service each and every time they step into your hotel. If you run your business like a tight ship and have a team that values customer service above all else, you’re already halfway there.

Mention it during the check-out process

ask for a review when your guest leaves the hotel | hotel booking systems

Think about how often you’re asked by waiting staff to leave reviews on TripAdvisor when they hand you the bill at the end of the meal.

As a hotelier, you absolutely need to do the same thing. During the check-out process, encourage reception staff to ask if the guest had an enjoyable stay. If the answer is “yes”, encourage them to share their experience on TripAdvisor.

This is by far the best time to ask, because the positive vibe you’ve created for them will be fresh in their mind.

Send a follow-up email

send a follow-up email to hotel guests for reviews | hotel upselling

Clearly, not every guest is going to take up - or remember - your suggestion that they leave a review, but there’s a neat way you can remind them to do so.

A day or so after the stay, schedule a follow-up email (most decent hotel booking systems will have this feature built-in) that repeats the words of the reception staff and includes a direct link to your hotel’s listing on TripAdvisor.

“We’d love to see you again”, “thanks for staying with us”, “why not leave us a review?” are the kind of things you want to be saying in this ultra-simple email.

Keep an eye on social media

social media tip for hoteliers | hotel management software uk

If you’re using software to keep an eye on mentions of your hotel on social media, you can pounce on the positive stuff (you’ll need to do the same with the negative mentions, but that’s for another blog).

For instance, if you spot a tweet that tells the story of a wonderful stay at your property, retweet it first, but then reply. Thank the guest for taking the time to tweet and kindly ask that they leave their happy thoughts on TripAdvisor for you, too.

Wrapping up

Positive guest reviews aren’t easy to come by, no matter how high your guest satisfaction rate.

People lead busy lives, and therefore often need encouragement (and the odd reminder) to do their bit on TripAdvisor if they thought your hotel was particularly wonderful.

Don’t be afraid to give them a gentle nudge!

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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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is your hotel pms genuinely future proof? | hotel property management system

There are a number of competing hotel PMS options out there at the moment, but not all platforms are created equal.

The question you need to ask is whether or not the solution you choose will be able to stand up to changing demands and expectations in the long term.

Here are some of the things to look out for in a truly future-proof hotel PMS:

Cloud hosting & mobile-friendliness

Is your hotel PMS genuinely future-proof? | hotel booking systems

The influence of the cloud can be felt across every segment of the hospitality market today. In the context of a hotel PMS, this type of hosting solution will make it easier to access the system from any device, no matter where you happen to be located.

Staff will be able to log in and keep up-to-date with information that’s relevant to their role throughout the day, whether that’s changes to the housekeeping schedule, requests for emergency maintenance or any other issue that needs to be handled on the fly.

Regulatory compliance

hotel PMS security standards | hotel upselling

Hotels really needed to step up their game in terms of compliance in 2018, with the rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) still having repercussions.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is also relevant for any organisation that wants to handle card transactions without falling foul of regulators and potentially business-crippling fines.

Your PMS must meet both of these standards because if it doesn’t, your hotel might face the likelihood of being hit with a major fine and further punitive action. Unfair? Probably – but that’s life in the GDPR age.

Interoperability

property management system | hotel software uk

A future-proof PMS won’t be inflexible when it comes to bolting on extra functions - especially those supplied via third party providers.

For example, you might want to link your PMS with an external platform that handles payments, or a service that puts you in control of the guest review process.

In this instance, interoperability is a blessing and will enable you to offer even better guest experiences while remaining connected to them long after the date of departure.

Security

hotel software security | hotel management systems london

The rising threat of security breaches and botnet-based attacks is a big problem for hotels and it’s understandably difficult for independents to fight back against cybercrime with their own, limited resources.

A cutting-edge PMS should give you peace of mind when it comes to data security - especially if it’s hosted in the cloud where it can be protected against malicious activity around the clock.

Baked-in capabilities

hotel pms marketplace | hotel booking systems

It’s no longer useful to think of a hotel PMS as a straightforward upgrade from the traditional booking diary and back-office ledger.

Ideally, your solution should be packed with useful features and optional extras that will give your hotel the best chance of thriving in an increasingly competitive marketplace. And those features should keep coming, too, via effortless updates that arrive regularly.

From managing staff to engaging with guests after their first visit to secure a second booking, a PMS needs to be far more than just a digital ledger.

Wrapping up

If you accept the need to adopt a future-proof PMS for your hotel then you’ve already taken the first step on the path to making your business more sustainable and successful.

Don’t settle for second best; pick a PMS that ticks all of the boxes and boasts the flexibility you need to grow.

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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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