Category Archives: Marketing

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 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 attract 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.

This article was originally published on ezeeabsolute.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 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 a 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.

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Booking & Reservations Management
Booking and reservations are important functionality 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 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 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 a hotelier should look for in a PMS. The important thing a 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 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 before hand 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]

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 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

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.

Majority of Purchaser are small to Mid-size Hotels

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.

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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 other hand 15 percent had no method in place.

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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.

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The rise of Global Distribution System (GDS) channels over last few years is 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 ability to manage real-time rates and inventory.

Among others looking for an upgrade towards new software is bad experience with support service (15 percent), lack of satisfaction with 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

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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.

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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

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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]