With 2016 fast approaching Guestline (market leaders in property management and distribution systems for hotels) have put together a guide to help owners and operators in the hospitality industry drive sales and operations from their hotel software. Here’s our hints and tips for a successful and prosperous 2016:
Drive more direct bookings – Make sure your online booking engine is simple and quick to use to encourage more direct bookings (and reduce booking commissions). Ensure the ‘book now’ button is visible on all pages of your website to tempt bookings. Offering a price comparison tool such as Guestline’s Price Assure (where bookers can see up to 5 comparable rates from other online travel agents) can help to secure direct bookings by reassuring the customer can see they are getting the best deal direct. Use email and social marketing to encourage past guests back to the hotel – it costs as much as 5 times more to attract a new guest as it does to secure repeat business from a current one!
Make sure you are PCI compliant – Becoming PCI Level 1 compliant will MAKE you money! Storing payment card details enables you to charge for lost revenue through cancellation charges and take payment for no show fees. This can represent a significant percentage of revenue for some properties. It will also help you stay secure and safeguard against credit card fraud.
Increase Average Room Rate (ARR) – Use your knowledge of the market, competitors, past trends and local events to flex your rates as and when needed. Where there are peaks in past bookings, analyse and adjust rates accordingly to drive profit margins.
Get mobile – In an age when 50% of millennials use mobile to search for a hotel, it is essential that your website is mobile optimised. Enabling your potential guests to find you online via a smartphone or tablet – along with the ability to make a booking in a simple and quick manner – is of paramount importance.
Invest in your website – Make sure your website looks on-brand, professional and trust-worthy. A mobile friendly site is a must have for 2016 (to ensure you rank high in Google search results) and the more visually appealing the better! Ideally you’ll be able to edit the content on the content management system to keep your site up-to-date, displaying the latest offers and events (like you can with Guestline’s digital marketing solution). Your website is your connection with future guests, it is their first impression of your property and their potential experience. Ensure the site looks good, safe and secure – as you can be sure that OTAs will be doing just the same!
Increase your occupancy – By using a channel management system all of your inventory will be exposed to multiple online travel agencies and all your channels are able to communicate with each other in real-time enabling you to sell down to the last room and eliminate any overbookings.
Maximise revenue from events, conferences and food and beverage sales – If conference and events are popular within your area / property, look at implementing an Advanced Conference and Banqueting Manager to optimise and manage your offering. Organise event orders and associated bedroom bookings on one system. Mobile EPoS is a great tool to manage and potentially upsell orders. Lunch outside, afternoon tea on a terrace, pre-dinner drinks in the garden – these are all things you can promote to drive sales and enhance the customers visit. Look into technology that is available to help process these orders quickly and efficiently.
Streamline operations throughout your property – Implement a system that can deliver daily, weekly, monthly, yearly reports to enable you to analyse past trends and forecast accurately. By centralising operations and reducing administration and manual uploading, property management systems like Guestline’s Rezlynx PMS will enable hoteliers to reduce costs and streamline operations. Choose a system that is flexible and accessible that allows management to easily access information with the latest functionality to maximise efficiency for the year ahead.
Upsell at every opportunity – Always offer an extra or upsell to the room booking. Promote offers and additional services online and via your front of house staff to really maximise revenue. Put together promotional packages and tempting offers to encourage guests to extend their stay, dine in the restaurant or opt for the higher valued bedrooms. Add these upsells to your PMS and online booking module to secure additional revenue when guests are booking.
Get social – Interact with your guests online and engage via social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. You want to be top of mind when they are making a reservation and for them to come to you direct. You can keep potential guests up to date with what is going on in the area, at the hotel and any special offers you are running. Keep referring the traffic back to your website to capture the guest’s booking. Likewise, offer an online booking facility on your Facebook page to capture reservations on this platform.
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