Category Archives: Marketing

ROI on Hotel Technology: Are you measuring it ‘The Right Way’?

How does Hotel technology benefit you?
Have you ever tried measuring it?
What did you find?
Is the investment worth the returns?

ROI i.e. Return On Investment. We are talking specifically about Returns on Technology Investment. Ideally, when you implement high end software to get something done, you bear in mind benefits it brings to you. Same goes for hotel software, when you install it at your property you expect it to improve efficiency and accuracy of operations, reduce labor costs and a lot more.

Well, this makes complete sense. These days, this bigger-than-ever adoption of hotel technology and tools replaces those manual practices on a big scale. Hotel software are no longer limited to operations optimization, they are influencing guest engagement a big way. Thus, a newer formula to calculate returns is called upon.

How to measure ROI on hotel technology

Let me present a brief guide on changing role of hotel technology and thereby re-defining and measuring tech investment return.

Hotel Technology and ROI: Old school days

Earlier, investing in right hotel software was somewhat an expensive decision a hotelier had to make. A lot of research, going over requirements and needs, financial planning and in the end evaluating solution resulted into software purchase.

After that tech solution would automate and streamline all hotel operations, boost revenue and ensure maximum output from hotel staff. Correspondingly, ROI calculation formula was primarily focused on,

  • Automated basic operations and Reduced man hours
  • Freed staff interacting more with guests (Difficult to quantify this. I know!)
  • Elimination of human errors and losses
  • And, increase in hotel Revenue (Obviously!)
  • And, get more done faster with fewer employees.

All in all, conventional formula revolved around measuring cost reduction due to automation by hotel software. “Old ROI Methods Are Holding Back Adoption Of New Technology” cites Andrew Bartels, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs. (Source)

Why those traditional methods of measuring ROI are not working?

The financial models used to calculate return-on-investment (ROI) for tech purchases in hotels show that old formula evaluates capital investment versus customer engagement.

In current times, hotel technology is blending marketing and online presence with increased guest influx and thereby guest satisfaction. Hence, newer ROI calculation formula must measure these combined efforts. When you have figured it out, you would cross past your others in terms of digital competition.

In this era of on-hand details and enhanced analytics, ultimate benefit is not cost savings. “Primary business benefit is not doing more work with fewer people. Instead, main benefit of these new technologies is reducing probability of bad business outcomes, and increasing probability of good business outcomes.” says Andrew. (Source)

ROI with advanced hotel technology: Changing Trends

Latest hotel software have a lot to make it easy for both guests and hoteliers.

Be it Smart phones, Mobile Apps, Internet and Social Media, Tablets and Gadgets, not to forget modern travelling tools that give them access to tons of information in a click. Likewise, hoteliers too are armed with cloud based hotel technology, quicker one-touch operations, faster service and digital settings to be omnipresent in market.

Therefore, top objective of hotels inclines to focusing more on customer facing technology, mobile payment, task management tools, flash reports, and all that is needed to provide splendid services to millennials.

Hence, there should be present-day formula to calculate ROI, right? Because if you try to measure benefits in terms of headcount or operational cost savings, you won’t find them, resultantly, you refrain from investing in technology.


The fundamental formula is:
ROI on technology = Net gain on technology / Cost incurred to implement technology.
Therefore, to get positive ROI either you have to focus on both increasing gain and reducing capital cost.

Formula of measuring ROI on technology ‘The Right Way’

Guest-facing technology

Term ‘guest facing’ stretches to manner in which your services are experienced or seen by your guest. Young generation demands to be dealt with in a high tech way. Hence your need to employ technology that saves THEIR time and delivers services they need. For example, equip them with a mobile guest portal and they can perform self check in/out, fill up details from their smartphones and more. Give them a tablet menu and they can browse through and place order themselves.

Setting a digital strategy

Overall experience that modern guest perceives at your hotel critically demands use of digital mechanism.

  • Instant online rates and inventory distribution.
  • Mobile-ready hotel website that takes direct bookings.
  • Being present on all booking channels your guests might look for you on.
  • Offering optimum rates to combat competition.
  • No paperwork, using digital devices such as digital menu, or online feedback system.

Everything of this builds a compelling strategy for you to rock and sets you apart from the rest and as a result boosting ROI.

Data Security

This should be clear priority for you. Investing for data security provisions in cloud environment not only protects your privacy, but also gives you a strong edge against any worst case scenario of data loss. Secured data provides you with anytime backup and easy restore options.

Everyone is going Cloud, are you?

Access anywhere and operate from everywhere is mantra you need in your day to day hotel management. Convenient mechanism, eliminated upfront purchases of hardware and affordable subscription plans are becoming favourite to hoteliers as they are saving a big deal in costs. Easily adaptable features, automatic software updates, minimum downtime, low maintenance, all this is just a beginning of positive ROI.

So next time when you want to upgrade to a more efficient Hotel PMS, do consider cloud based options.

Get set with new payment modes with technology

Millennials are tech savvy, so you should walk a step advance in order to deliver tech-driven services that please them and make them return to your hotel.

Provision of modern payment options is one such factor they prefer. Online payment, credit/debit card swipe, payment gateway integration and variety of mobile-first payment gives a final punch. Make sure you have these options in your hotel software to ensure you get desired cash flow.

Make the most of Mobile engagement

With maps in their palms, they can find best place to stay, services they want, where-how-and-why of any location. Your guests are online most of the time, and you are too. You see a cool opportunity to connect with them here?

“Be present on their screens, send them push notifications, connect with them on social media platforms. All-time-best guest retention technique.”

Make them feel you want to keep in touch with them. And, if your hotel technology can do it for you, then it is bringing you constant revenue flow. Sounds good in terms of ROI? Of course it does.

Just a random question, do you offer your guests free Wi-fi at your hotel? How effective it is? Give it a thought.

How easily your guests can find you?

How you can increase revenue and thereby returns with hotel technology?Well, simply make your software bring you bookings. Yes, it can bring you bookings from all over the world. Use software that connects you on channels where your guests can reach you easily. What is result?
More bookings, higher occupancy rate, higher revenue and you guessed it right! Quick ROI.

In a Nutshell

There is no one-size-fits-all technology. Numbers on paper can only give you calculation of returns on tech purchase. But real ROI comprises of performance, analysis and informed decision making. ROI is a tool that tells you what is working and what is not. Ultimately, it is your brain that helps you make decision which makes or breaks your business.

Technology cannot work per se. You have to select right technology and make it work for you.

Watch over market trends from time to time, stay abreast with latest technology. Stick to what works best for you and deliver what your guests seek from you. I bet you’ll be rewarded with all time high returns on investment.

Optimize Hotel Management with ‘Just Right’ Payment System

“Do you accept credit cards?” 

What is your answer when your guest asks you such a question? If you accept digital payments, you are on safe grounds, Mate! But if, you are cash-only, or not-yet-mobile-payment-friendly, then it is going to be a tough ride for you ahead. Because that guest might not taste your finest food or not stay at your coziest room. Hotel management is out of style for you. Why, just because you do not offer modern payment options.

Cashless! People are going frenzy over this lately.
Cashless payments, cashless transactions, cashless business and cashless nation!

Undeniably, demographic of contemporary consumers shows that, most of the consumers heavily use mobile wallets and plastic cards. To serve such client base- hotels and restaurants must adapt systems or software that offer cashless services.

Hotel management made easier with cashless payment

Recently in India, announcement of banknote demonetization set entire nation to a state of hysteria. The unanticipated ‘Cash Crunch’ made the entire nation look for an alternative of cash and explore cashless payment system. Having said that, it is an irrefutable fact that majority of the sectors are troubled by the drive at a considerable scale. As a part of cash-driven economy, Indians prefer making cash payment. So do the business owners! But with the changing times, the business processes are bound to change.

Showing tangible signs of recovery, Indian businesses and consumers, both are on their way to fight ‘Cash Crisis’ with technology having their back.

By and large, hotel industry and tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in India and internationally as well. The drive towards going cashless has impacted day-to-day affairs of people; compelling them to put a limit on spending cash money down the drain. Presumably, hotels and restaurants with ‘Cash only’ mode are at loss of a king’s ransom.

Tourism, Hotel industry and F&B are innate components of any country’s economy. Hence, although this transition towards cashless country appears unpleasant as of now, it holds positive consequences in longer run.  

Hotel and restaurant businesses have no choice but to adapt to this digital evolution. In the end, it will only reward them with quicker and transparent transactions, satisfied millennial clients, and improved services.

So, what happens if your business is still ‘Cash-only’ or ‘Not-ready-for-mobile-pay’:

Meanwhile, when ratio of plastic to cash money transactions is at peak and number of ‘Saved Cards’ has grown by 30%; people in your region too are definitely going for digital payment methods. Or simply this cash crunch would oblige them to use hospitality products that let them use other payment options. Do you think you are ready?

  • Owing to a fact that higher cash spending is seen at restaurants, both standalone and hotel restaurant might face interim slowdown in revenue if they are not next-gen yet.
  • People willing to pay with non-cash payments get irritated over inconvenience.
  • Consumers might buy lesser with cash as compared to higher non-cash purchase.
  • Loss of prospect guests.
  • Paperwork and bookkeeping still remains to cause further headache.
  • Cash money stored basically means your security at risk.

And benefits of going cashless with technology

  • Optimally improved service and efficiency
  • Reduced human errors and labor costs
  • Flexibility in receiving orders and payment for them,
  • Increased guest satisfaction and loyalty
  • Eliminated hassles of dealing with manual payment process
  • Above all, you get to promote a cashless economy.

What is futuristic alternative of accepting cash payments?

Simply install a hotel management software and/or a Restaurant Point Of Sale software that allows you to offer modern payment options.

As technology in hospitality is the new extravaganza, operators implementing hotel management software to manage daily operations at hotels and restaurants are increasing day by day.

Conventionally, technology influences everything from attracting guests to enhancing services, and best thing, it provides myriad of alternatives for accepting cash payment from guests (young generations in particular). Ultimately, this creates a potential for more streamlined, secure and transparent transaction system.

Implement a right payment system, that allows your guests to make payment how and when they want to, while providing a superior experience.

Which software to use? Why?How? This is all you need to read:

In exponentially growing industry, hoteliers and restaurateurs have to stay updated with technology that help stay ahead of pack and grow.
Here we are presenting a collection of must-have and nice-to-have solutions that make hotel management easy as pie and help you optimize and deliver world class services.

A hotel management software: the tech way to serve your guests!

Install a hotel management system that is lightweight, easy to use and automates all your daily operations and offers your guests all the convenience of choice for making payments. Ideally, you need hotel software that allows you to accept payments via cash, credit/debit cards, wallets while not missing those globally popular payment gateways. Besides, accepting digital payments in multiple currencies, if available would be a cherry on cake. Thus, keeping you up-to-date with everything related to payments.

Online Booking Engine: Bookings right from your hotel website

When your guests can book online with you, they must be able to pay online too.

Select a booking engine that allows the bookers to make direct payments, credit card and online banking (net banking too). Besides, best Booking Engine is responsive to work flawlessly for smaller screens, with quick and simple booking process to avoid booking abandonment. Going a step further, using booking engine you can even display rates in different currencies and allow guests to make payment in the currency of their choice.

The Restaurant POS system that you must have at your place

Your restaurant needs a Point-of-sale system, that can speed up service, reduce manual errors, manage all order types, track orders, simplify billing process and all that you need at your restaurant. Importantly, payment should be effortless with multiple payment options of Cash, Debit/Credit Card or Loyalty/Reward Points. Additionally, integration with payment gateways and third party loyalty systems would further facilitate payment process.

Loyalty points

Did you know that you can create your own small transaction system by launching Loyalty and Reward programs? Yes, in such programs you can enable your guests to earn points on various deals at your restaurants. Guests can later on redeem those collected points with you and get discount benefit of your service. This in a way increases influx of guests and engagement too. Isn’t it so cool?

Everything summed up

Definitely yes, you need to adopt various cashless modes of payment to save yourselves from loss of business. You need to automate everything to ace hotel management.

However, you don’t need to follow others blindly like a sheep. Talk to your guests, observe them and engage with them, ask them what they need; what they prefer most from you. Then and only then, make a decision and move ahead with the ‘just right’ technology.

Connecting with each and every hotelier’s requirement of operations automation and ease of payment collection, we have it all under one roof. Employ eZee hotel software and it’ll take care of everything for you.

We have integration with more than 83+ payment gateways around the world. Special regional integrations include PayPal, CCAvenue, Atom, PayTM, SagePay, Stripe, PayUNigeria, BML, Valitor and more. Check out which payment gateway in your region is available with eZee.

Mobile First Index for Hotel Website: Reinforce Your Efforts to Foster Rank & Bookings

Hoteliers!
Do you have a hotel website?
And you try to get more visitors there?
As well you pay attention to online website bookings?

Well then, it’s time you have to listen to what Google has to say. Why? Because, recent announcement from Google demands change in the way you have been building up your hotel website and online bookings.

Just a couple of days back, Google declared that they are going to carry out an experiment that would transform entire search results we get for our queries (of course, to provide better search experience)! Tech gurus call it ‘Mobile-first Indexing’. According to announcement, the ranking system that currently looks at desktop versions of a website, will now primarily consider mobile version of a website to rank it in search results.

What does this mean?

In a nutshell, Google will consider what does your website look like when viewed from a mobile device in order to rank it in results. (I know you just picked up your phone to check it ) System will bring those web pages higher in search results that provide most useful content and superior user experience on mobile devices.

Blog Mobile First Indexing for hotel websites

Mobile First Index: Game-changer enters the spotlight now!

Following this announcement, Google is introducing latest ranking system that is mobile-friendly and is mindful of content that performs better on smaller screens. Mobile-optimized web pages are indexed and used for displaying search results for both mobile and desktop users.

Why hoteliers need to pay attention to it ?

Well, since you have a hotel website and you always try to keep it on higher ranks in search results; you need to pay a close attention to this.

What hoteliers can do to stay firm in this transition from desktop to mobile websites?

  • Square one: Are you present there in mobile world?
    If you are already up-to-date with mobile-ready website, you do not have to change anything. Still you better how does your hotel website appear on smaller screens!
    Well, if you don’t have a mobile-optimized website yet, get a one ASAP. Preferably, you need to pick a responsive web design for your hotel website.
    This means, your website will adjust itself according to screen size and type of device to deliver uniform experience; without having to build different website for different screen sizes. Relieving, isn’t it!
  • Load time and relevance do matter, because
    Load time and relevance do matter To check load time of your property website, you can try using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. You can even get Custom Recommendations to increase your website’s speed. For more information and tools, check this out: How to Create a Better Mobile User Experience
  • What about content?
    When people say Content is King, it holds true always. Ensure that your website contains up-to-date quality content that helps it rank better. It is recommended to keep the content and links of mobile version similar to desktop version. You can use Read More links to put adequate content on smaller screens.
  • Don’t have a mobile site? Don’t mess it up in hurry, take your time to make an accurate one!
    Never launch a broken or incomplete mobile site, it would only hamper your search result rankings. Take good time to properly build it.

Mobiles bring in-store revenue: How this index shifting affects Bookings for a hotel website

Your website is a mechanism that popularizes your brand and transforms visitors in guests; a source of revenue that you cannot afford to bypass.

Google is aiming to make web browsing easier and well-suited for mobiles, by introducing this index. At bottom line, it helps businesses increase mobile visitor traffic on their website. Your mobile website will be primarily used for search engine indexing, which clearly implies that if you don’t have a mobile friendly hotel website;
then your rankings will be affected and consequently ‘bookings’.

Moreover, you might even face reduction in website traffic, also, even guests who reach your website on mobile will not convert and abandon booking process due to poor experience.

It is high time for you to measure the impact of mobile searches done by bookers.
Run the test here to see how does your website appear on mobile

Researches have shown that hotels with mobile friendly websites have higher chances of boosting mobile conversion rate to 5% or above. At such times, an excellent (Responsive!)Booking Engine can prove to be a booking booster. Read how-

  1. Clear and simple booking process and forms
    A quick 3-step booking process to instantly and easily book a room at your hotel from smartphones.
  2. User-driven appearance and UI to fit mobile browsing
    A responsive booking system that blends beautifully with your website theme and contains responsive structure, would provide matchless user experience.
  3. Instantly loading on smaller screens
    It should take no time to load and work smoothly, giving splendid booking experience to mobile bookers.
  4. User Engagement
    Compelling user friendly booking environment makes a visitor stay longer on website, thus reduces chances of booking abandonment.

Alternatively, if one website (your own, of course) is not enough for you; if you want to get more visibility; then you must consider flaunting your inventories on Online Travel Websites. Trust it, this way you can attract global traffic of guests at your property. Wondering how you can do this? Simple, get a Channel Manager and get set with all those highly popular travel sites right away.

 

Importantly, though started on a small scale, this whole update is in Testing Phase as of now. Hence, you might see the minimal effect initially.
It will take a couple of months for Google to completely launch this index. Meanwhile, you can prepare and arm yourself with knowledge and tactics to rank higher in Mobile First Indexing.

Behind the scenes: Where this all started

Mobile is incredibly changing and dominating the way people access web content. In recent times, the number of people hitting a Google Search from mobile devices has already surpassed the number of desktop searchers. When you want to know more about something you right away look at that smart-phone next to you, don’t you?

Well, Google knows it all. Hence, to make search results more useful, Google is now emphasizing ‘mobile-first factor.’ Therefore, if your website delivers poor user experience to mobile visitors, warning bells should ring in your head.

How mobile is taking over: These stats are enough to say it all

This recent research by Google makes it very clear what role mobile plays in shopping behaviour of millennials. They are more likely to shop for hotels and accommodation on a smartphone right away. These figures tell it all,

2/3 of young travellers plan antire trip on smartphone

66% millennial travelles search for flights and hotels on smartphone

64% millenial travellers book a hotel room from smartphone

Leisure Travelers & Business Travellers

(Source: Millennial Travelers: Mobile Shopping and Booking Behavior)

Now, you cannot overlook power of smaller screens anymore when it comes to capture the Let’s-book-it moments of millennial travellers.

The End Note

For industries like hospitality, dependent largely on digital consumer channels; very soon mobile will be everything. The way number of mobile users in bookings and travel shopping is booming, you should definitely pay heed to your digital appearance on mobile devices to keep up momentum.

Afterthought:

Right now, somewhere your guest is looking at your website from his smartphone to book at your property. Go and see for yourself how does your website look on that smartphone!

Getting the best out of Hotel Marketing on TripAdvisor!

Like it or not, but you cannot ignore TripAdvisor if you are in the hotel business. Not only are the people excited to review your hotel after their visit, but they also spend quality time in drafting their detailed experience, be it positive or negative. The travel planners also like to read reviews on TripAdvisor in the course of planning a trip.

 

TripAdvisor is already a travel behemoth now and has gone beyond the issues of sham reviews to become a candid source of travel information

 

TripAdvisor is already a travel behemoth now and has gone beyond the issues of sham reviews to become a candid source of travel information. We can say that if it’s Google for the general search, it’s TripAdvisor for the travel search! That’s the analogy are talking about.

Let us look at some enchanting statistics that you cannot ignore if you are in the hospitality business:

  • TripAdvisor has a whopping more than 290 million reviews from travelers worldwide
  • More than 126,000 destinations and 5.3 million businesses are registered on TripAdvisor
  • TripAdvisor android app has been downloaded by more than 230 million mobile users
  • Travelers make 190 new contributions every minute on TripAdvisor

The above key statistics prove that getting positive online reviews from the guests is a non-negotiable strategy for the hotelier to succeed in this day and age.

trip-advisor

Here is a list of 9 best tips for you to highlight and market your property better on the world’s largest travel website TripAdvisor:

CLAIM YOUR LISTING

The first thing you can do is visit tripadvisor.com/owners and claim your business if you haven’t done it already. This is a very important step because by doing so, you can update your listing, correct information that seems imprecise, add your property pictures, receive emails when people review your property and ultimately respond to those reviews.

Travelers like to know what they can expect from your hotel before they make a booking. Write a brief description of your property but make sure you cover all important aspects you want to highlight about your property.

ADD TRIPADVISOR WIDGETS

Visit tripadvisor.com/Widgets to get TripAdvisor widgets that you can add to your hotel website. These snippets of HTML will enable live reviews on your website. There are different ones available in this category, featuring one that shows your overall star rating and total number of reviews, another that highlight only your most recent 5 star reviews and exhibits the number of travelers who marked you ‘Excellent’.

Go to tripadvisor.com/FacebookApp and add the TripAdvisor app to your Facebook page. This is a very easy thing to do and doesn’t actually require coding knowledge. If you are getting good reviews on TripAdvisor, why not let your Facebook audience know about it!

 

If your financial plan allows a little more marketing budget, you can get full business listing on TripAdvisor besides claiming your free listing. By doing so, you can add direct contact details to your listings which will help in driving a direct business to your property

 

If your financial plan allows a little more marketing budget, you can get full business listing on TripAdvisor besides claiming your free listing. By doing so, you can add direct contact details to your listings which will help in driving a direct business to your property. Additionally, you will also be able to promote exclusive offers through TripAdvisor. You can upgrade to a business listing at tripadvisor.com/BusinessListings.

TripAdvisor gives you free stickers to stick in your hotel premises. Once you request for it, they take about six weeks to send them to you at your address. You can request TripAdvisor stickers by visiting this link – tripadvisor.com/StickerRequestSupport

If you want more guests to write a review about their experience of staying with your property, you can visit tripadvisor.com/ReviewExpress. You can use the link to send standard email to the guests who visited your property and encourage them to write about your property.

If some prospective guest is looking for hotels in your city, you can now pay to have your ad banner appear at the top of the listing. Go for it if your budget permits. It will ultimately increase the possibility of your hotel link being clicked manifold times. You can find out how it works in detail on tripadvisor.com/MediaKit.

In case you are looking for more number of direct bookings without paying hefty commissions to the OTAs, you can promote your hotel through TripAdvisor’s TripConnect Instant Booking Program by paying nominal commission charges. You can find more about this on: tripadvisor.com/InstantBooking

CONCLUSION

New Year is always a great time to exploit TripAdvisor’s free marketing resources and tools that can help you appear different from the crowd.

Check out tripadvisors.com/Owners to take full benefit of all these resources. You are probably much more likely to get attention from prospective guests if you are successful in encouraging the guests who already visited your property to write reviews or post videos on TripAdvisor.

A brief guide to differentiate your hotel online from others

As much as we would like to believe it, but converting the lookers into bookers on the internet is not about offering the lowest rate. Being a part of the lowest rates race is the easiest thing that a hotel can do, but the repercussion of reduced margins is surely going to adversely impact a hotel’s long-term strategy. What is imperative is to provide a distinctive experience as well as an unparalleled service to your guests even before they arrive!

What is imperative is to provide a distinctive experience as well as an unparalleled service to your guests even before they arrive!

 

Revenue per available room (also known as RevPAR) is a key index for hoteliers since it’s one of the ‘Key Performance Indicator’ that suggests how weak or strong the hotel’s income is based on their current sales strategy. Moreover, hoteliers must keep in mind that RevPAR does not essentially go up when the numbers of bookings are maximized by lowering the room rates. Too much dependency on the OTAs also lowers the margins thereby diluting your brand by keeping the potential travel planners away from your hotel’s website.

designhotel-final2

Thus, a differentiation strategy based on your brand, the facilities you provide and your location will entice new guests to your property. If a potential guest visits your website and finds it confusing, there is an immediate action to shift to your competition’s website and even book there. To avoid the loss of a potential guest, following are the 5 fundamental rules that will help hoteliers to get an edge above competitors and ensure maximum occupancy all year round.

Exhibit your hotel properly on website

Displaying your hotel on the website doesn’t only mean posting some pictures or images and write some catchy texts below it. The visual content you post must reflect the value that your hotel has to offer. Even the smallest detail will help to allure your guests. Almost all hotels display a ‘Photo Gallery’ option, but in order to stand out, your pictures should communicate a story to involve your prospective guests. Make sure that your hotel’s page loads right away in just two seconds, because the clients are usually impatient and more so, if they are using a mobile.

Offer attractive promotional deals

You can offer certain promotional deals that are valid only when reserving a room through your website. You can even choose some reputed offline agencies which can book certain packages for you by offering a deal to guests that they will not find elsewhere.

Putting these two efforts will upscale your sales through your channels and even increase the probability of returning customers.

Reward your loyal guests

Nothing works best than creating a sentiment of loyalty within your customers. Run a ‘Reward Redemption Program’ to get more reservations from your frequent guests. Keep the loyalty program module enabled on your hotel reservation software. Surprise your loyal guests sometimes by providing them an exclusive offer of a free additional night stay if they book for certain number of days.

Utilize your funds in specialized channels

It is important that your hotel is ubiquitous on the most relevant distribution channels in your market. An integrated software can help managing these channels fruitfully. Integration shouldn’t be overseen since managing several apps and sources of data can get ineffectual and ultimately costly.

Call-to-action

Once the user finds exactly what he is looking for on your website, he would like to make a purchase decision and thus, it is significant that he is immediately provided with a necessary ‘Call-to-action’ or a ‘Book Now’ button.

A ‘Reservation Button’ must be all the time or most of the times be clearly visible on a mobile or a computer screen. A prominent ‘Call-to-action’ button will help you keep the potential guests engrossed on your website rather than driving them to an OTA page, because once they go away from your website, there are all chances that they lose interest in your property, and ultimately book some other property from somewhere else.

At the end of the day, being non-identical suggests that you are not just executing standard operating procedures but also interested in providing out-of-the-box, pleasant experience to your guests. It lets your guests know that you are actively managing a guest experience that makes your hotel distinctive, especially from the guest point of view, which ultimately rewards both you and your guests!

Tips to woo the travelers with ‘Social Media’ engagement

Social media has changed the conventional pattern of marketing and sales across all business segments and even the hospitality sector is not untouched in this regard. With the enormous impact of social media in today’s marketing practices, the hospitality industry is quickly moving towards ‘Technological Sociability’. So, what exactly does this mean? Social media usage is a growing practice which majority of hotels are following with the intention of turning social communication into data. Hotels are seeking out newer tools and technologies extensively that empower them to evaluate and manage social activity for their online reputability.

 

Social media is not just about attracting guests to your property, but it is also an integral element to foster relationship, share value and engage with the guests

 

With innovative and creative ways to captivate guests in conversations, hotels can use this channel as a substantial marketing tool to build strong brand rapport. These days, social media is not just about attracting guests to your property, but it is also an integral element to foster relationship, share value and engage with the guests.

Let us observe these eye-opening statistics on travel planning of guests via social media –
Roughly, one in five travelers refers social media for accomplishing the travel plan (and these figures are ever increasing), including:

Destinations: 27%
Hotels: 23%
Leisure activities: 22%
Sightseeing: 21%
Meal options: 17%

Now that you know that significance of social media engagement, we bring to you some simple yet innovative and very useful tips for better guest engagement on social media:

TAP THE SOCIAL NETWORKS THAT YOUR GUESTS ARE FOND OFF

To assist your guests online efficaciously, it is important that you are aware which social networks they are spending time on! This is the basic and most important factor to engage and interact with your customers. This knowledge will help you yield a superior customer service experience thereby empowering you to reach the target customers exactly at a time when they need your response the most!

DO TEMPTING PROMOTIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Hardly would there be anybody who is not fond of using social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and this itself is a huge opportunity for the hotel management. You need to come up with irresistible promotional offers that catch the eye of these masses and they are tempted to book! In order to strike a super impressive social media campaign, you have to be very particular about right balance of timing, onlookers and attractive deal.

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ENCOURAGE YOUR GUESTS TO INTERACT ON SOCIAL NETWORKING PLATFORMS

As a prospective client, you would be more convinced if you happen to see the feedback of the previous customers. The same goes for your guests. It is very important to be able to motivate the guests to post reviews about your property on your social media page, TripAdvisor or Yelp. They can even post the pictures of your hotel on your Facebook page or Instagram and share their experiences of staying in your property. Whether it a positive or negative feedback from the guest, make it a point to reach out and respond to them on time. Ignoring a feedback on social media would be a grave mistake.

Apart from this, proactively keep a watch on the mention of your brand on different social networks and conscientiously try to be a part of that conversation in order to connect with the customer pleasingly and convincingly.

POST CREATIVE TRAVEL RELATED CONTENT TO LURE NEW FOLLOWERS

Aspire for a cordial communication style and design, create engaging contents for your social media posts to coax in new fans and followers. Avoid being too formal on social platforms without leaving the authenticity and decency. Wit and humour related to your industry can also entice new people to your profile or page thereby providing them with entertainment value.

ENGAGE IN PAID SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS

Exploring the option of paid campaigns on social media will not only expand your engagement with customers, but also grant you to get the most out of your online marketing plans. In most of the cases, the option of paid campaigns generate very effective and engaging results because through that, you are targeting a broader base of customers who are likely to have strong interest in knowing about your business. You can also embed the social media plugins to your hotel website to increase your followers on these widely used networks.

Social media is surely going to stay here as a vigorous marketing tool for the hospitality industry for a predictable future. In all possibility, the prediction seems to be quite optimistic for hoteliers who are all set to welcome the industry trend of social hospitality for engaging with guests, enhance their brand recognition and subsequently yield greater ROI.

Online Reputation Management – key to hotelier’s success

Online Reputation Management (ORM) is basically the process of keeping a track on online conversations regarding your brand and contriving brand strategies to accentuate positive content from the customer’s view. That’s not all! It also works towards tactfully repressing the negative and potentially detrimental reviews. ORM has become critical to all the industries in today’s era of social media, but for the hospitality industry, it has almost become an unavoidable ‘onus.

ORM has become critical to all the industries in today’s era of social media, but for the hospitality industry, it has almost become an unavoidable ‘onus’

 

Today no hotel can afford to disregard the power of various online communication platforms available and thus need steadfast systems to manage the online reputation effectively. You need to be on your toes to monitor how your brand is being projected and perceived by the existing customers and potential customers.

Online Reputation Management – key to hotelier’s success

The influence of reviews on online reputation 

With smartphones and other gadgets so handy, around 85% of people look for online reviews and ratings before making a purchase. Another survey reveals that more than 90% of the people believe online reviews are reliable and look forward to them. These eye-opening statistics divulge how businesses are at the mercy of internet!

Popular web portals like TripAdvisor and Yelp are ranked amongst the topmost review sites by Google. This implicates that a negative user-remark can make a new customer see the apathetic side of your brand. This is surely bound to influence the buyer’s decision.

A negative review may not indicate dissatisfied customer all the time. It can also mean perversity by an unexpected online user, or a deliberate reprimanding by the competitor!

 

A negative review may not indicate dissatisfied customer all the time. It can also mean perversity by an unexpected online user, or a deliberate reprimanding by the competitor! In any case, you have to be quite vigilant in safeguarding your online reputation and defending it smartly in a way that your business does not suffer adverse consequences in a longer run.

These kinds of ‘bad press’ could dwindle your revenue generation and blemish the hotel’s stature to an irretrievable extent. This is why ORM should be at the cutting edge for your hotel’s marketing strategy. Faster internet access on cell-phones, readily available Wi-Fi and myriads of social networking sites makes it fairly easy for the guests to promptly share their experiences with others while they are still fresh.

Here are some easy-to-use unmatched practices for better ‘Online Reputation Management’ that can be helpful to hoteliers:

  • Generating social media profiles in such a way that they are optimized and managed to rank higher in search engine algorithms
  • Tracking and handling bleak comments and reviews well in time with a satisfactory reply without losing the patience and with utmost humbleness
  • Posting novel travel related contents regularly to enhance your brand visibility, which in turn brings down deteriorating remarks automatically
  • Adopting a proactive approach to prevent your brand name from future reputation attacks
  • Giving significant exposure to positive and pragmatic links for boosting your brand image over the web
  • Sharing feedback with the staff and using it as a worthwhile learning tool. Eventually, it will gradually prevent similar complaints to recur and generate a stream of positive online reviews
  • Keep a close track on your ratings on key review sites and determine your goal firmly where you want to be! Set an objective of what you want your guests to say about your hotel once they leave.

Assimilate these key points resiliently into the daily operational plans of your hotel management, and you will see an upsurge in guest contentment, ultimately leading them to write great reviews about your property and thereby ensuring a long-term success for your hotel.

Why a revenue management company must partner with hospitality tech provider?

What is involved in revenue management?

If we have to define it , revenue management is the determination of hotel’s pricing strategy, business analysis and optimization of the monetary results. Monitoring market behavior and forecasting results, using historical scenarios, price strategies are adjusted to maximize revenues.

Make the most of the available opportunity by selling the right rooms at the right price to the right guest from the right avenue

When revenue management companies syndicate with eZee

How much can the latest technology help in automating the process of revenue management?

A- Channel Manager to effortlessly update rates and inventory

A good channel manager will help you to manage and update your client’s inventory on all associated channels like the OTA, GDS, Vacation Rental Portals, hotel’s website etc. Additionally, owing to the power of the channel manager, you can also avoid the issues caused by rate parity and minimize the concept of overbooking at the client’s property.

B- Booking Engine to accept online bookings from hotel’s website

To amplify the hotel revenue as you might have promised, revenue manager will need to provide the hotel, a website with basic search engine optimized and remarkable booking engine integrated with the website, in order to receive direct bookings. Plus, all the reports awarded through the online reservation system will allow you keep a track of all the booking received to the hotel facilitating in better management.

C- Yield management to determine the perfect pricing strategy

In order to obtain the anticipated profit margins, you need to come up with a foolproof pricing plan and for that, you need a system which provides you with everything needed to obscure the said pricing plan. You need to analyze the market behavior, fetch competitor prices for comparison, compare past strategies and more to evaluate the Best Available Retail Rate (BAR) and efficiently manage hotel revenue and increase returns.

Where does eZee come in picture?

How can eZee help the Revenue Management companies

 

We provide complete hospitality solutions and we are looking to partner with entrepreneurial revenue management and hospitality consulting companies, offer them a unique bouquet of technology solutions to help them succeed.

Tried and tested complete hotel technology platform

Associating with eZee means you get to benefit from eZee’s renowned hospitality solutions. We are one of the rare companies to offer total hospitality solution, our various solutions include:-

1- Online Booking Engine: eZee Booking Engine will allow you to receive direct bookings from the hotel’s website.

2- Online Channel Manager: To manage rates and inventories on various connected OTA and 3rd party travel booking sites.

3- All-in-one hotel management system: We provide Cloud PMS and on-premise hotel software that allows you manage all the hotel operations effectively and keeping sync with the online channel manager and booking engine.

Economical services, thus a hefty profit margin

eZee offers one of the most competitive pricing in the industry as well as a rich service level agreement. We offer 2 types of pricing strategy

1- Transaction Fee- eZee Ultimate
If you opt for our unique eZee Ultimate package, you get to market or use our online PMS, Booking Engine, Channel Manager, Cloud POS (Coming soon), Digital restaurant menu, Guest feedback management and Hotel App for free, while we charge a small transaction fee on the confirmed online bookings while leaving hefty commission for you.
Additionally, we can also build a hotel website with basic SEO for your clients, Online
Payment Gateway, Facebook and Google business page, assist in Major OTA Contracting, Payment Gateway Integration, Software Implementation & Training and more for free.

2- Fixed amount
All our cloud solutions can be availed by you or your clients on monthly, quarterly and yearly subscriptions. On the other hand, our on-premise products are available for a one-time fee.
In both the cases, if you use or sell eZee solutions, you can expect a broad profit margin to increase your revenue.

24×7 Live Support and Dedicated account manager

If you run into any error, we offer 24×7 live support to troubleshoot your queries. Moreover, we provide you with a dedicated account manager who will aid you with complete onboarding as well as product training. As a result, you get to make the most of the eZee solutions.

Sell our products under your brand value: White Label Solution

If you don’t want your client’s acknowledging the identity of your technology partner, we can customize our solution with your company name.

Working with such an established brand has been a fantastic experience. We have been working with Ezee Technosys since 2014 and this is the best partner we have ever come across. I have to say I am most impressed by you as a technology provider, you provide a great customer support service and have always helped with quick and clear answers to our needs. The software developed are so simple and user-friendly. Our clients are very happy.

It goes without saying that we look forward to continuing an excellent working relationship with eZee.

deepa_gupta
Deepa Gupta
Chief Executive
Whitesky Hospitality

Leave the worries of technology on us, you take care of what you do best- Client Acquisitions

Let us know what you think? If interested in becoming a partner contact us here.

How to get a quick ROI on hotel software?

Learn how hotel software will get you a quick ROI

 

Apart from building or acquiring the hotel itself, procuring appropriate hotel technology is one of the most expensive investment a hotelier has to make. It is not easy to get the best property management solution, it involves a lot of research, examining each of your needs and requirements, financial planning, testing the solution at your property and more.  As I said it’s not an easy decision to make. However, it’s a decision your hotel cannot live without because you want to spend your time enhancing guest experience not keep assembling data and trying to make sense of it.

Without an efficient all-in-one hotel software, you will not be able to automate and streamline all hotel operations, boost revenue, ensure maximum output from hotel staff or enrich guest satisfaction. Most of all there are chances that it will greatly affect your ability to run a successful hotel business.

If hotel technology seems like a huge expenditure, keep in mind it also brings in means for quick revenue. The yield will not only be in direct monetary measures but also in terms time saving and various other microscopic measures.

Let us see how you can get Quick ROI on hotel software

Diminish requirement of human resources

 

As a hotel management solution automate a majority of hotel operations it helps you reduce the capital spent on human resources. It even frees the hotel staff from running basic operations to focus on guest interaction.

 

  • Depending upon the size of the hotel and the services offered by you, a comparatively smaller amount of staff can also easily perform the operations through a powerful HMS.
  • Reduction in man hours spent on performing routine time-consuming tasks like check-ins, check-outs, billing, reports etc.
  • Moreover, the all-in-one system also saves time by computerizing the process of distributing rates and availability across multiple booking sources such as the OTA, GDS, hotel website and more.

Increase in Hotel Revenue

 

Your online reach is amplified, thanks to the 100+ travel booking channels connected with the channel manager and unlimited direct bookings from hotel website.

 

  • Through booking engine, accept unlimited commission-free bookings from the hotel website, which are updated in your PMS and associated OTA in real-time assuring that you miss no bookings.
  • As all the changes are updated in real time, you can publish your hotel’s entire inventory online resulting in amplified bookings.

Adequate Revenue Management

Manage different rate plans and get access to comprehensive market behaviour analysis to efficiently manage hotel revenue and increase returns.

 

  • Providing you with exhilarating profit margins, a feature rich PMS like eZee Hotel Software comes with a powerful tool for revenue optimization.
  • You can keep a lookout on your competitor’s rates, compare previous year’s rates and evaluate the Best Available Retail Rate (BAR).

Minimizing losses and human errors

Worst way to lose money in any business are the involuntary errors such as glitches while manually updating inventory on connected OTA site. It hurts credibility, attracts heavy penalties and worst you lose the guest’s trust.

 

  • When you distribute inventory from Channel Manager to OTA, there is a delay of a nanosecond, whereas, when you have to update from PMS to channel manager and channel Manager to OTA, your delay will be doubled.
  • Utilizing an integrated channel manager and PMS greatly minimizes the chances of those inaccuracies. It helps in reducing the delay and ensure minimum overbookings or any other faults due to the delay.
  • As all your systems are interlinked, your data is consolidated. Thus reducing the chances of incorrect decisions derived from disparate data and undeniable human errors. Thus, hotel software will easily get you a quick ROI.

The long run benefits

 

A hotel management software keeps you in par with the latest hotel technology, this in turn helps you offer your guest exquisite hotel experience in terms of feasibility and convenience.

 

  • A happy guest will surely wish to return to your hotel as well as provide you a positive feedback on various travel review sites like TripAdvisor and more.
  • Higher positive reviews will increase bookings as other onlookers will consider the positive reviews and be inclined to book at your hotel.
  • Additionally, an advanced PMS like eZee helps you save money due to the availability of 350+ third-party hardware and software interfaces.
  • In the long run, you can acquire a strong guest database for which you can run numerous promotional campaigns and obtain returning guests.

 

The above scenario was to give you a glimpse on how you can get a quick ROI on hotel software. However, it is our moral obligation to show you the other side as well. Apart from missing the above obvious mentioned benefits, not having an integrated PMS can cost you a lot. Let me paint the picture for you.

Just imagine if you pay your front desk agent $7/hour. As per that, you pay your staff $14/ day for a simple task of night audit. That sums up to $350 in a month (25 days) and $4200 per year. On the other hand, with a PMS your staff can complete the night audit in 2 minutes. Thus, the same task would have cost you just $70 per year

 

Through a PMS your staff can perform the same task in less than 1/4th of the time it takes to do manually!

That means you currently spend 3X more time and money which you could utilize in other benefiting operations instead, thereby helping you obtain more revenue.

In terms of money, by investing in a PMS the amount spent on human resource for a particular task is reduced by 3 times.Without an adequate hotel system, you are also throwing away a copious amount of money and losing resources. Let me show you how.

Just imagine if you pay your front desk agent $7/hour. As per that, you pay your staff $14/ day for a simple task of night audit. That sums up to $350 in a month (25 days) and $4200 per year. On the other hand, with a PMS your staff can complete the night audit in 2 minutes. Thus, the same task would have cost you just $70 per year.

 

I can continue showing you the numbers or ask you to come out of the stone ages and try eZee’s all-in-one hotel management software yourself.

Unlock the door to your hotel’s success today!

Try All-in-one Desktop PMS  Try 360° Online Hotel Software

Billboard Effect And The Magic It Can Do For Your Hotel Business!

The Billboard Effect

 

Hotels that reflect and feature on the websites of ‘Online Travel Agents (OTA)’ clinch an additional benefit of getting more reservations over and above direct sales. This advantage, in the hospitality industry, is often referred to as ‘Billboard Effect ’ through which hotels observe an upswing in the number of direct reservations through various connected distribution channels and hotel’s website. This effect not only quantifies the number of direct bookings but also enriches hotel’s online search. Numerous hoteliers over the globe have adopted this marketing technique to wangle an astonishingly great number of reservations through the middlemen.

Let’s see step by step what magic can the billboard effect do for your hotel business

Be as visible online as any other bigger brand

Modern travelers tend to surf dominant OTA websites before finalizing their travel plan for the sake of comparison between different hotels, locations, visitor reviews as well as best deals.Ultimately, this increases the chances of traveler visiting the hotel’s own website to seek more information once he finds it acceptable on the travel site. Essentially, Billboard effect is all about being present everywhere, as these travel giants splurge a huge amount of money in marketing and advertisements which eventually help you building your brand stature vis-à-vis the bigger established brands.

BILLBOARD EFFECT AND THE MAGIC IT CAN DO FOR YOUR HOSPITALITY BUSINESS!

Save yourself from extravagant marketing costs

Prominent OTAs spend a herculean amount on online advertising; this has significantly affected the increase in sales trend of the hotels. The precipitous rise of hotel OTAs is also because of the fact that these travel sites offer a wide range of hotels to bookers in a single place to select from instead of conducting a long and exhausting individual hotel search. Even though the booker found your reference on the OTA, many of them will still visit your website before finalizing the booking. You can easily take advantage of this opportunity to attract the guests directly while saving a lot on marketing expenditures.

Access reliance on the Billboard Effect can get a little sour

We all are aware that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Thus, use of the Billboard effect is a little bitter-sweet as trying to be present and managing a huge number of distribution sites can go little awry as well. Quite often, things go out of control when hotels receive a massive number of booking but are unable to update their inventory on all the associated site. It can lead to over-bookings which…. let’s face it, is a sticky and very unpleasant situation. Additionally, with an upsurge in the bookings through the OTA, the commission the hotel has to pay increases as well.

What should a hotelier to do? How can you take advantage of the billboard effect without facing the negative impact of the approach?

What you need to do is a complete analysis of the current situation and apply a few well-tested approaches that attracts more direct bookings compared to the OTA.

Offer the most competitive rate

When the bookers visit your website, make sure they are aware that they will get the best price while booking directly with you instead with third-party agents.

Take advantage of guest reviews

Make sure to have a lot of positive reviews on OTA portals as well as your hotel website, this will definitely impact your sales positively and attract new guests to experience your hospitality.

Responsive website and content marketing

One of most obvious methods of converting lookers into bookers is offering a smooth and user-friendly booking experience with your website. At the same time, don’t forget the importance of content marketing either through promotions, a fresh and new travel blog series or newsletter.

To conclude

Thus, it is beyond doubts that the ‘Billboard Effect’ can work in your favor enchantingly well to enhance your brand reach and online visibility. Part of the magic formula is to be unswervingly represented across all influential OTAs, succouring to strengthen your brand reputation while not losing control of the situation to maintain a win-win situation.

Exploring TripAdvisor Programs: TripConnect Instant Booking and TripConnect CPC

Connecting the world of travellers with prospective hotels, inns and B&Bs to formulate their upcoming travel plans, TripAdvisor TripConnect introduced 2 powerful programs of TripConnect CPC (cost per click) and TripConnect Instant Booking. Launched in 2014, both programs quickly became a market favourite for accommodation providers as well as travellers all around the world. TripAdvisor truly believes that both programs will significantly increase monetization, as the travellers all around the world establish a direct relation with the hotel through the trusted medium of TripAdvisor.

However, understanding the difference between both the services can be a little bewildering. Nonetheless, I will help you differentiate between TripConnect CPC (cost per click) and TripConnect Instant Booking and get a hang of both the services.

Explore the TripAdvisor programs to increase hotel revenue

TripConnect Instant Booking

Being one the largest review platform, TripAdvisor enjoys more than 10 million unique visitors on daily basis. Travellers from all over the globe rate, review and now even book travels with the online review giant. The unique feature of Instant Booking allows hoteliers to take advantage of their ‘pay-per-booking commission’ model and enrich their online bookings. Instant Booking offers the traveller opportunity to immediately confirm the booking at your hotel without even leaving the metasearch site of TripAdvisor.

Functions of TripConnect Instant Booking

Along with hotel reviews, the metasearch engine also allows the traveller to compare the real-time rates and availability of your property. Furthermore, the Instant Booking model offers the booker to instantly confirm the hotel booking by clicking on ‘Book on TripAdvisor’ button. Adding to the advantage, TripAdvisors delivers all the guest information to you from the first point on, and you are directly in contact with your guest without any interference of the middle agent.

As the entire concept works around the ‘pay-per-booking model ’, you only pay commission for the confirmed booking. Additionally, the travel giant offers you 2 different commission rates to choose from, 15% commission per booking ensures that you receive half of the bookings received on TripAdvisor. On the other hand, the commission rate of 12% brings in the hotel on 1/4th of the booking through Instant Booking. The remaining booking which are not claimed by your hotels is passed on to the OTAs connected to your hotel with you ultimately paying the OTA commission.

Moreover, the simple yet innovative service of Instant Booking requires no bidding, no deposits and the commission to the company is only paid after the guest stay.

Click here to enrol your property with TripConnect Instant Booking.

TripConnect Cost-Per-Click

Another program introduced by TripAdvisor is the TripConnect Cost-Per-Click (CPC). Similar to Instant Booking, this program also allows travellers to view real time rate and inventory of the property. However, instead of offering the traveller option to book from TripAdvdisor platform, TripConnect CPC offers direct booking to the hotel by redirecting the booker to your hotel’s website.

Functions of TripConnect CPC

Contradicting the Instant Booking plan, the TripConnect CPC program works on ‘cost per click ’programme which requires you to bid the amount you pay per person, visiting your website through TripAdvisor. The hindrance here is that the place of your hotel on the price comparison search bar is determined by the price of your bidding. Thus, the bidding structure gets a little complex here, as the highest bidder is placed on the top of the price comparison search bar as you are once again competing with the might OTAs ( you are connected with) for direct bookings. The CPC model ranks your hotel’s position according to your bidding, and higher your ranking more you get noticed. As soon as the booker clicks on your property’s website link, he is redirected to your hotel’s website to further confirm the booking. In this policy, your hotel is charged for the click regardless if the traveller actually completes the booking or not.

You can refer to TripConnect CPC user guide

You can enroll your property for TripConnect CPC programme from TripConnect website.

Which program is better for your property- TripConnect Instant Booking or Cost-Per-Click?

Through both the programs, TripAdvisor is offering hoteliers a power and low costing platform for gaining a tremendous online exposure. Identifying on you requirements and expectations you can choose either of the programs to increase your online sales or you can benefit immensely by strategizing a combination of both.

image 2 - Explore the TripAdvisor programs to increase hotel revenue

The eZee Connection

eZee is a Premium Partner of TripAdvisor TripConnect and has established a seamless interface between eZee Reservation and TripConnect Instant Booking. As a result, our clients would be able to easily update rates and inventories directly to TripAdvisor and increase hotel revenue by receiving direct bookings from the massive number of travellers visiting TripAdvisor.
This article was originally published on ezeetechnosys.com

Importance of Hotel Software for Small & Mid-Size Hotels

The importance of Hotel Management Software or Property Management System for hotels cannot be stressed enough anymore. It is one of the most important factors which contribute significantly to the long-term success of a hotel.

In recent years, there has been a rise of budget travelers around the world which has led to rise in a number of small to mid-size hotels in the industry. This has drastically changed the landscape of the Hospitality industry in general and also directly affected the Hospitality IT industry.

Hotel Management Software (HMS) BuyerView 2014, a survey conducted by HMS research firm Software Advice, who surveyed 385 randomly selected buyers in 2013. The survey was conducted in order to discover what exactly buyers expect or want when they are choosing software for their property.

According to the report, 54% of hotel management software purchasers in the industry are independent small to mid-size hotels. The report also states that majority of the buyers are adapting to the latest software in order to leave behind the manual management of their property and buyers who are specifically looking for a software which offer reservation and online booking facilities.

Majority of Purchaser are small to Mid-size Hotels

A majority of the owners or managers, who are looking for a software solution represent (57%) properties which have 10 to 50 rooms. A combined 11 percent of buyers are from very small properties such as B&B’s, Inns, chain hotels, or large hotels with 500 plus rooms.

Independent Hotels, Resorts and Inns are the Primary Customer

When consulted with various managers and owners of different property types, the report found that around 1 percent is looking for software for a large hotel or a chain hotel. This is not surprising as the big brands usually have to go for in-house or corporate-mandated software. The rise of independent properties is very evident from the fact that majority of the buyers (54 percent combined) comprised of independent hotels, inns, and resorts.

As the travelers are also opting more for independent hotels, inns and resorts, the properties have to adapt to new technology and advancements to keep up with the growing demand.

Majority of the buyers want to upgrade to a better system

When questioned about what method they currently use to manage their properties, 34 percent respondents are already using a property management system. The next 28 percent use manual methods consisting of spreadsheets or paper, on the other hand, 15 percent had no method in place.

The “Other” categories (10 percent) use independent booking system or have stopped using a property management system. 7 percent of buyers use management software with reservation facility to meet their requirement, and last 4 percent use software built specifically for them.

Buyers want feature-rich and faster software

The report also highlights the diverse set of reasons which buyers have provided. Approximately 18 percent are looking for speed and efficiency in software which is also compatible with the latest hardware in the market. 16 percent of respondents said they go for a new product because the current one being used lack the necessary features, such internet bookings and channel management, other 15 percent just wants to improve efficiency.

 

The rise of Global Distribution System (GDS) channels over last few years its no surprise as online bookings have become a standard norm in the industry today and since 2011 bookings from GDS has grown by 14 percent. Making it a surprise to no one that one of the most frequently request feature is the feature to connect to the (GDS) and system with the ability to manage real-time rates and inventory.

Among others looking for an upgrade towards new software is the bad experience with support service (15 percent), lack of satisfaction with the user interface or GUI for other 9 percent and unsound technical software for the 7 percent of the respondents and remaining 6 percent are looking for a solution which requires minimum investment.

First timers expect higher efficiency

72 percent of first-time buyers for hotel software make it clear that they want to achieve higher efficiency in their day-to-day operations and get away from the traditional methods. Property Management System can automate daily operations and bring a higher level of efficiency.

Majority of Buyers Need Reservation and Guest Management

28 percent of total respondents, the highest in this survey said they would like the ability to enter and edit reservations, which is a central function of a property management system. The next 22 percent buyers want an online booking capability giving them a competitive advantage, which does not surprise as 65% of hotel bookings now are made online.

 

Approximately 11 percent would use guest management feature which will help them maintain information about their guests in order to understand them better and provide better service in the future.

Housekeeping management was important for 9 percent of respondents and another 9 percent expect advanced accounting and reporting feature. Lastly 6 percent of hoteliers want a distribution management and marketing functions part of their hotel management software.

Implementation in less than three months

HMS buyerview images.007

Staggering 85 of buyers expect the new hotel software to be implemented in less than 3 months; given the nature of the industry and how fast things are evolving it comes as no surprise. 14 percent want system to be implemented in three to six months, and remaining 2 percent in 6 to 12 months ahead of time.

Conclusion

Analysis by Software Advice Team, reflected in the report clearly shows the diversity and rapid expansion of independent hotels and how they are demanding higher-performing systems with latest features. As the competition is heating up across the industry, first-time buyers or buyers who are upgrading are looking for a solid property management system with specific features, real-time reservation, online bookings, channel management and guest management as it is the key to constantly grow and stay ahead of the competition.

[This article originally appeared on ezeetechnosys.com]

Hotel Management Software Buyer View | 2015

Hundreds of hospitality professionals contact Software Advice each year to find software that meets the needs of their properties. Digging into these interactions provides us with a great deal of insight into industry trends and buyer behaviors.

In this report, we analyze a random sample of buyer interactions from the past year to uncover the factors that drive new hotel management system (HMS) purchases.

Key Findings

  1. Hoteliers want to replace systems or automate daily duties: 34 percent are replacing a current HMS while 25 percent seek new software to replace pen-and-paper methods.
  2. Many buyers seek more advanced, integrated software: Those replacing an HMS primarily say it lacks functionality (13 percent) or doesn’t integrate with other systems (12 percent).
  3. Hoteliers seek to maximize their exposure to online travelers: More than three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents ask for online booking functions.

Introduction

In response to increased demand for lodging, bolstered by a growing class of millennial travelers, the U.S. is in the midst of a hospitality construction boom. This boom began a few years ago, as the recession tapered off: New hotel construction jumped by nearly 50 percent between 2012 and 2013, increasing about 16 percent more in 2014.

Overall travel spending has slowed in the first quarter of 2015, but it’s still rising by 2 percent annually, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. And U.S. business travel is expected to reach $295.7 billion in 2015—in due to the growth of millennial travelers, who take an average of three more trips each year than older age groups, and are 62 percent more likely to extend business trips into vacations.

This data paints a lucrative picture for hospitality companies—but without adequate software in place, they’ll be ill-prepared to handle the growth. Using an HMS can help:

  • Streamline daily tasks, such as checking guests in;
  • Manage reservations effectively; and,
  • Facilitate online bookings.

In this report, we’ll explore these and other benefits by looking at the current methods, common pain points and most requested functionality among a sample of prospective HMS buyers.

34 Percent Use Software, One-Quarter Use Paper-Based Methods

When asked what methods they use to manage their hospitality business, the largest percentage of buyers (34 percent) say they already have a hotel management system. Another one-quarter use pen-and-paper methods and 16 percent say they have no system in place at all.

Prospective Buyer’s Current Methods

Prospective Buyers’ Current Methods

Travelers today expect a certain degree of personalization when staying in a hotel. Many companies use software to handle daily tasks so they can focus on adding a human touch to guests’ stay. A software can streamline the check-in and check-out process, generate financial reports, manage housekeeping staff and more—freeing the general manager to greet guests and address their needs.

A PMS can also store and organize guest data to help hotel staff provide personal touches. A general manager might notice, for example, that a guest orders a particular wine during their stay. When that guest books another stay in the future—even if it’s at a different location of the same hotel brand—the manager can review the guest’s information and leave a bottle of the wine in their room.

Scott Sussman is the hotel and marketing director at The Peacock Inn; a 16-room independent luxury hotel with a fine dining restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey (part of the Ascend Hotel Collection by Choice Hotels). He says he’s surprised that so many buyers are using manual methods because software offers so much in terms of the “sheer organization” of reservations, guest information and distribution of hotel rates.

“[Software offers] organization not just for today and tomorrow, but for months ahead,” he explains. “It gives you the ability to handle rates and see what’s coming up.”

In this way, an HMS can help hoteliers prepare for the growth that’s expected to continue in the market.

Many Buyers From Independent Hotels Seeking Online Booking Engines

Among those replacing an existing HMS, the top response, at 14 percent, is that it’s missing necessary features and functionality.

Others say their system isn’t user-friendly (13 percent), or note that they would like an integrated system (12 percent)—meaning they want a comprehensive HMS that can perform all necessary functions, instead of using different systems for different tasks.

Top Reasons for Replacing Existing Hotel Management SystemTop Reasons for Replacing Existing Hotel Management System

Of those who cite missing features, one-quarter says they would like a system with an online booking engine. Our demographic information may help explain why an online presence is so important: 34 percent of buyers in our sample are from independent hotels while those from motels make up the second-largest percentage (16 percent). A combined majority of buyers’ properties also have fewer than 50 rooms. (Charts can be found in the Demographics section below.)

As we’ve noted in past reports, millennials are the travelers hotels want to attract most. According to data from the Pew Research Center, they also make up the largest age group in the U.S. workforce—and many of them have now reached a comfortable position in their careers, with more time and money to travel for both business and pleasure.

Boutique and independent hotels offer the type of authentic experience millennials seek, as opposed to the corporate luxury hotel offerings that dominated the hospitality industry decades ago. In response to this demand, the boutique hotel market is booming: It’s expected to grow by about 6 percent per year through 2019, according to a report by IBISWorld.

So, we can see that independent hotels are aware that having an online presence is important to attract new guests, especially millennials. They must maintain consistent rates across all online travel websites, where millennials are likely to read hotel reviews before booking. An HMS with functionality to add an online booking engine to the hotel’s website can help achieve these goals.

On an average, a traveler reads between 6-12 reviews before making a booking, making the online booking engine a crucial part of the PMS. The brand promise and expectation should be carried onto other travel websites, and it’s important for them to have a booking engine to maintain rate parity. Rate parity—meaning a hotel’s rates are consistent across all distribution channels, such as Expedia and Orbitz—is especially important when competing with other hotels in the same area.

Majority of Buyers Seek Online Booking, Reservation, and Housekeeping

Overall, more than three-quarters of buyers in our sample (both those with and without software) are looking for an HMS with online booking capabilities, while 75 percent request reservation management.

Housekeeping management (61 percent) and front desk management (58 percent) rank third and fourth in terms of desired functionality. Top-Requested Hotel Management Software Functionality

Top-Requested Hotel Management Software FunctionalityTop Reasons for Replacing Existing Hotel Management System

Reservation, housekeeping and front desk management are all core applications every hotel needs to access on a daily basis. Hospitality staff must ensure that reservations are entered into the system, that housekeeping staff is organized and on-time and that guests are checked in quickly. Aside from pure organization, these HMS applications offer several additional benefits.


Use Case: For example, below we see the reservation Stay View in eZee FrontDesk color codes for reservations can be customized—here, we see in-house guests in purple, future reservations in green and out of order room in peach. This offers a high-level look at reservations for a month ahead, allowing management to make decisions based on occupancy. Maybe a manager sees that multiple corporate groups will be arriving in a few weeks. This could prompt him to divert some housekeeping staff to clean and prepare an additional conference room. Alternatively, she might notice that many families with children are staying soon, and add more kid-friendly options to the breakfast menu.

A color-coded Stay View in eZee FrontDesk

eZee FD Stay_View

Managers can use housekeeping management functionality to keep track of which rooms are clean and ready for check-in, which are currently being cleaned and which haven’t been attended to. Overall, this helps hotels more efficiently prioritize cleanings, so guests always arrive at a clean room on time. Also, with mobile devices in hand, housekeeping staff can update a room’s status immediately after cleaning, adding to the real-time data in the system. Below, we see a PMS screen showing the status and availability of rooms and which worker is assigned. This allows managers to make informed decisions so that guest satisfaction isn’t impacted by a dirty room.

Housekeeping view in eZee FrontDesk

eZee FD House Keeping View


Finally, online booking engines give potential guests the ability to book a room from a hotel’s website, which feeds the reservation data directly into the HMS. As an added bonus, online bookings made directly through a hotel’s website allows the hotel to avoid the 15 to 25 percent commission it must typically pay online travel agencies for each booking.

Sussman reiterates how important online booking is in today’s hospitality industry.

“No one wants to call anymore,” he says. “People want to do things online, without talking to anybody—so having that option available is huge.”

Conclusions

The data provided by the HMS buyers in the sample confirms overall trends in hospitality today: Independent hotels are popping up to attract the millennial crowd, and they want to aggressively market themselves online.

Buyers should make sure the software they purchase can help them stay on top of daily responsibilities, such as managing check-ins, room cleanings, and reservations while also offering crucial online booking engine functionality.

With daily tasks streamlined by software, hotel managers can spend more time on increased personalization, which requires careful attention to individual guest behavior and habits. Travelers today expect a seamless experience—one that hotel management software can help provide.

Demographics

As mentioned above, the demographic breakdown of the sample shows that 34 percent of buyers are from independent hotels, followed by 16 percent from motels and 14 percent from inns.

Prospective Buyers by Property Type

Prospective Buyer Size, by Number of Rooms in Property

Prospective Buyer Size, by Number of Rooms in Property

Prospective Buyers by Property Type

The statistics in the above article were originally researched and analyzed by Software Advice.

[This article originally appeared on ezeefrontdesk.com]

Features Guide for a Property Management System

Property Management Systems help hotels to manage their day to day operations with higher efficiency and heighten the quality of service they offer to the guests. A good property management system simplifies the diverse operations via features which the staff performs on a steady base.

We are going to cover key features which an hotelier should look for in any good Property Management System.

Front Desk Operations
The very basic of the operations in any property regardless of its type or size is the Front Desk Operations. A good system will allow easy check-in and checkout process for the staff. Just like any other operations, the front desk staff may have to make changes to reservations such as room change, change dates, assign rooms, and so forth. This should be relatively easy to carry out in a secure system, the modifications should take immediate effect and should make the process easy and not hinder it.

blog_features_guide

Booking & Reservations Management
Booking and reservations are important functionalities of a hotel management system. Traditionally, hotels received bookings from limited sources such as travel agents and direct bookings. Today, the story is very different as bookings come from a diverse range of sources such as hotel’s website, travel websites, business source like a corporate clients and airlines, travel agents, etc. The system should be able to handle walk-ins, bookings from online travel agents, traditional agents, business sources and from the corporate website with ease. An efficient system will easily distinguish between the different sources and update the records for future reference.

Billing and Payments
Stability is of the utmost importance when it comes to billing and settling payments with guests. Guests today use multitude methods of settling payments, the system should accommodate multiple payment methods per reservation including cash, credit cards, check and online payment gateways. In addition, it should have the ability to post adjustments, advance deposits, split receipts, extra charges, settlements, folio printing and taxes. The staff must be able to check and modify tasks related to billing and payment at any time according to changing requirements.

Housekeeping
Housekeeping is another central characteristic which an hotelier should look for in a PMS. The important thing an hotelier should look for in housekeeping is the flow of real-time information. The housekeeping module should highlight the status of rooms and provide the ability to delegate chores to the housekeeping staff.In addition, built-in inventory management for cleaning supplies and linens is always a plus.

Reports
A good system should offer the different departments the ability to generate a diverse set of reports. Given the diverse set of hotel operations and different departments working together, it is imperative that every department is able to generate reports according to their need. These reports can help management to make sound decisions and also help them build better sales and marketing strategies.

Third Party Interfaces
A good hotel management system needs to integrate and work successfully with a multitude of third-party hardware and software. The interfaces for your hotel will depend on factors such as the size of hotel, facilities offered and operational style. A standard hotel today usually have PABX, Door Lock, ID scanners, cash drawers, payment gateways and financial accounting software. It is always beneficial to go over beforehand how compatible the PMS is with third-party or they are exposed to new ones.

Conclusion
Traditionally, the hotel software came with features that covered basic hotel operations. Today, choosing the right solution for your hotel is more complex than it has ever been as the processes have become more complex. At the final stage, a good Property Management System should provide solid features that satisfy the requisites of the hotel and should be easy to adjust and carry out. Another key factor is the software provider, the provider should possess the industry expertise and experience and provide high-quality post-sales support.

A good Property Management Software is the key to your hotel’s success.

[This article originally appeared on ezeetechnosys.com]

How to Increase Bookings with TripAdvisor

Everyone knows and most likely have heard of TripAdvisor at this point in time. For the uninitiated, TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site with up to 280 million unique visitors each month, 32 million members and over 150 millions reviews and opinions available online.

It is traveler’s first stop to learn about a hotel they are looking into and see what other people have to say about it. And it is only growing with 90 user generated reviews per minute allowing travelers around the world to be make more informed decisions.

TripAdvisor with its Business Listing service give options to hoteliers around the world to take complete advantage of the exposure they can receive. With a Business Listing you can share your hotel’s contact information, special offers, website link, and directly connect with your guests. In addition, your contact information will be displayed on your mobile listing page as well.

Business Listings will give hotels access to:

Direct Contact Information: Add up-to-date contact details to your hotel’s profile page making it easy for your travelers to book directly.

Special Offers: Perfect place to highlight special promotions and offers attracting more travelers.

TripConnect: This service will allow hotel subscribers to appear in Hotel Price Comparison search showing rate and availability to users.

Property Dashboard: As a Business Listings subscriber, you get exclusive access to Property Dashboard which lets you access important analysis such as competitor metrics, local market trends, visitor details and overall performance of hotel on TripAdvisor.

Sideshow and Announcements: This will let you post important updates and news for the readers. In addition, the photos uploaded will automatically be converted into a slideshow for your travelers viewing pleasure.


So now you got your hotel in Business Listings, So how can you make the best use of the tools provided? Read on to find out
:


Reply To Reviews
: Probably the single most important thing you can do is to reply the reviews posted by users, after all that’s what people read the most on TripAdvisor. Regardless if your hotel has received a positive or negative review, it is very important that you reply to it no matter what. Just a simple a reply can put big impressions on travelers. If possible, have a dedicated person who looks after reviews online and establish the practice for managing online reviews.

Update Information
: It is more common than you think that many times hotels might have the wrong number listed or the page has not been updated. This is probably the worst thing you could do, the traveler will most likely avoid your hotel if the information is wrong or is not up to date.

Write Proper Descriptions: Spend quality time on the description which potential guests are going to read. It is very important write a proper and detailed description of your hotel, as you are the best person to do so. Description should Speak the strengths of your location and services you provide, setting yourself apart from the competition.

Right Photos: The best way to showcase your hotel is to have the right combination of high quality photos of your property. Have a diverse collection of pictures that not only show your rooms and lobby but also other facilities. Get creative with your pictures, take pictures of art and decor in your lobby, show case rooms with different view points, pictures of views from your hotel rooms etc.

Showcase Awards
: TripAdvisor regularly rewards hotels with their Travelers’ Choice Awards which cover various categories. If your hotel has received one, make sure to highlight that on your hotel website and TripAdvisor page.

TripAdvisor with various options available for hoteliers, allow them to maximize their online presence. Hoteliers with the right practice in place can have the same exposure like big brands and increase their bookings.