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Hotel management: Definitions, operations, ideas, and software

  Posted in Hotel Management

Hotel management: An introduction

For hoteliers, hotel management is not one concept but many tied together under one umbrella.

It’s hard to really say you’ve mastered hotel management when it comes with such a range of roles and responsibilities. Being able to adapt, meet challenges, and place yourself on a scale of personal growth is vital for a hotel manager.

There are always new strategies, traveller preferences, or industry technologies emerging that you have to keep track of. Even new roles within hotels and the hotel industry are being created that will affect the way one manages their property so it pays to have your finger on the pulse.

This blog will take you through the major considerations to keep in mind regarding hotel management and throw some tips and ideas along the way, to help you run a better hotel business.

Table of contents

What is hotel management?

Hotel management is really about overseeing every operation of the property. This requires knowledge of distribution strategy, finance, customer service, staff management, marketing, and more.

In no way should any of these be treated as ‘set and forget’. Hotel management is about constantly evaluating performance is every facet of the business and making necessary adjustments.

Ultimately effective hotel management will not ensure your hotel stays in business, but is able to profit and grow over time. Think of the hotel as an ecosystem that will get healthier the better you manage it. As your hotel becomes more successful you can upgrade and charge higher rates, pay staff higher wages, and create an experience that guests want to come back for.

It can take time to get everything right however. There are many skills you’ll already possess but many others you need to learn along the way, or else hire staff that can provide the knowledge for you.

Hotel management definition

A nailed down definition of hotel management is that it’s ‘a field of business and a study, that tends itself to the operational aspects of a hotel as well as a wide range of affiliated topics. Such as: Accounting, administration, finance, information systems, human resource management, public relations, strategy, marketing, revenue management, sales, change management, leadership, gastronomy and more.’

Clearly there’s a lot to be aware of and many of these functions do require specialists. However not all properties have the luxury of hiring a full team of staff, so it’s certainly not impossible to run a successful small hotel business without a range of degrees.

Read on to learn more about managing a hotel as an independent operator.

Hotel operations management: Inventory and revenue

The day to day operations of a hotel are pretty all encompassing. Is everything that guests need in order? Are staff and cleaning schedules organised? Is the occupancy rate where you’d like it to be?

Obviously a core aspect of hotel management is to manage your rooms; or your inventory.

Effective inventory management for hotels involves both creating and managing demand, and maximising returns. The investment backing a hotel is tied up in its rooms and the returns can only be gained from selling those rooms optimally.

Here are some strategy basics:

  • Pricing
    By driving prices up during high peak periods and knowing how much to discount prices by to ensure rooms are rented during low peak periods, hotels can maximise their return. Through dynamic pricing, businesses can provide discounts and incentives in a controlled way during different seasons.
  • Distribution
    Hotels generally advertise their rooms through multiple channels, such as online travel agencies, to optimise reach and promote sales. Distribution management is essential and this involves calculating the minimum numbers of rooms needing to be sold for any given period by each channel. In doing so, you then have the ability to make informed choices regarding reallocation from cancellations or where to list spare rooms to maximise sales.
  • Market segmentation
    Being aware of your market and the variable preferences, demands and affordability of different demographics are paramount to understanding how to price and distribute your room sales across the various channels. Not only does this help in managing your existing rooms, but it can also allow you to capture more of the market and increase sales and revenue. Flexibility is an important virtue required of hoteliers and being able to understand your clientele and adapt to their needs is vital to building loyalty and guaranteeing profitability.

To read a full guide on inventory management, click here.

Revenue management is another huge part of managing your hotel. How do you get more money coming in and achieve business goals?

Smart revenue management and pricing strategies are needed if you want to optimise your Average Daily Rate but here are some handy tips…

1. Packages, promotions and extras
Packages are any rate that pairs the accommodation with an add-on; it could be free breakfast, free parking, or a ticket to a local event or attraction.

Take a look at these methods to make sure your packages offer a unique experience.

Promotions are special rates that can change depending on:

  • The season or holiday period;
  • If the guest is a VIP; or,
  • You want to capitalise on an event.

You can get even more specific by offering things like mobile-only promotions.

Extras are an added expenditure that guests will only realise they want during the booking process.

This might include items like champagne and chocolate stocked in their room, shuttle services from the airport, or activities like exercise classes.

Extras are an added expenditure that guests will only realise they want during the booking process.

This might include items like champagne and chocolate stocked in their room, shuttle services from the airport, or activities like exercise classes.

2. Events and tours
Selling tickets to local events, tours, or offering car rental is a good point-of-sale opportunity to increase your revenue per customer as well as providing a more satisfying experience for your guest.

3. Sell your hotel products
If you offer your guests the chance to buy your shampoo, bath and beach towels, art pieces, linen and so on, it can provide you with extra revenue and might even save you from the cost of replacing items that guests ‘accidentally’ pack with their own luggage when they depart.

4. Referrals and return business
If your guests give you positive feedback on completion of their stay, encourage them to share their experience with family and friends, and on social media to drive more bookings and brand awareness.

You could also set guests up with a promotion code to get a discount the next time they stay. This encourages return business and helps you keep a consistent occupancy rate.

5. Accommodate flexible travellers
Some travellers don’t have a set itinerary or allow themselves flexibility with their schedule, so take the opportunity to raise your occupancy and incremental revenue by offering guests a discount for an additional night’s stay.

Click here to read a full guide on revenue management.

Hotel management and operations: Mistakes to avoid

Everyone, by virtue of being human, makes mistakes.

Some mistakes have worse consequences than others and depending on the industry, backlash can range from minor to cataclysmic. The type of mistake you make will also have an impact on this. Did it just affect you, or did it also affect your customers?

In the hospitality industry almost everything revolves around the customer, and they’re the quickest party to point out any flaws. There’s also plenty of times where you might simply self-sabotage and fail to get the most out of your business.

Human fallibility prevents us from eliminating all our mistakes, but you can certainly look out for some common errors to avoid. Here’s our top 10.

1. Failing to provide basic contact information
A beautiful looking website with a fancy design and stunning features means nothing to the customer if they can’t find your address or phone number on the homepage. The basics are something every hotel must get right before anything else.

Travellers have all kinds of queries and many of them want to call to get instant clarification, and often people will be calling to make a booking so your phone number is an absolutely essential piece of information.

2. Website scarecrows – autoplay videos and music
Many people book holidays between the hours of 9am – 5pm, i.e work hours. The last thing they need is for their computer to start blasting commercials or ditties around the office. The first thing they’ll do is close your website and it’s unlikely they’ll return.

3. Incorrect use of social media
It’s great to use social media as a marketing avenue but it’s important you use it in the right way. You want traffic to be directed to your website and booking pages, not away from them. A common mistake hoteliers make is sending website visitors away to their social media channels immediately after a visitor has landed on the homepage.

How many people are going to be coming back once they’ve been redirected to YouTube for instance?

4. Poor quality photos
There’s really no point in investing in a great website design if the photos you integrate into the theme are lacking quality. Travellers want to see what they’re paying for and if what they see is a grainy, blurry, or poorly framed image they won’t be racing to open their wallets.

Paying for high quality photography is worth every penny and you should update your images every couple of years, or every time you refurbish.

5. Downloads for simple information
Does anyone actually enjoy downloading a PDF to their phone or computer? The answer is probably no so why would you make a prospective guest do this? If a traveller wants to view the menu of your hotel restaurant for example, they should be able to do it on your website. Making them download documents is a conversion killer.

6. Connecting to the wrong distribution channels
When you connect to online travel agents manually or via a channel manager, it’s still important to do some research. You have to look beyond the four or five biggest channels and find partners that most suit your target market.

7. Ignoring the potential of the local area
Guests are simply buying a hotel room when they come to stay at your hotel. For them, they’re paying for an experience delivered by the destination. It would be silly for you not to take advantage of this.

Make sure you partner with local businesses and run promotions and packages around local events and attractions.

8. Closing your ears (and mouth) to feedback
Reviews are one of the most important aspects to get right for your hotel. Customer satisfaction and brand reputation are vital if you want to keep the bookings coming in.

The worst thing you can do is stay silent online when people leave reviews and feedback on sites like TripAdvisor or your social media pages. You need to respond diligently to both positive and negative reviews.

9. Not paying close attention to seasonality
The price people are prepared to pay for their hotel room will depend on the supply and demand trends over time. Seasonality matters, and you’ll have to change rates a number of times during the year to reflect buying behavior and market conditions. This, together with the date and timing release of packages and promotions forms an integral part of your sales and marketing plan.

10. Lacking attention to detail in housekeeping
One of the most common complaints from guests is about dirty rooms or general uncleanliness of the hotel. There should never be any shortcutting when it comes to housekeeping and cleaning. Not only is it a healthy and safety issue, but you open yourself up to a flood of negative reviews.

Of course, there are plenty of other pitfalls that could hit your hotel so you have to be constantly diligent and find ways to optimise your processes, reducing the risk of mistakes that could cost you money.

Hotel and restaurant management

Life gets even more complicated for hotels that also have a restaurant. Since managing a restaurant is a whole other kettle of fish.

A study by Leonardo looked at what images travel shoppers viewed the most. Obviously the number one result was guest rooms but the second most viewed was restaurant photos.

This indicates that travel boils down to two primary needs; people want a nice place to sleep and they want a nice place to eat. Most of the time the hotel restaurant is a solid driver of revenue and an integral part of the hotel’s identity, so it’s ability to help market and sell your hotel should not be underestimated.

Here are some reasons your restaurant will drive more bookings and how you can aid the process:

Individualise your restaurant
The first thing you need to do is to maximise the quality of your product by treating your hotel restaurant as a restaurant in its own right, rather than a glorified bar only accessible by guests.

Turn your restaurant into a premium dining experience that focuses on the whole package including the food, lighting, music, decor, and wine lists.

This way, your restaurant won’t only be the bait to bring new customers in, but also an incentive for current guests to return when they revisit the area.

At the same time it’s important to remember who your customers are and understand what they want and what they can afford. Create a menu that will sell, not one you think is cool and trendy, and make sure the pricing is in alignment with the rest of your hotel. Using local produce will help with this.

Give your restaurant its own website
Don’t let the physical setting of your restaurant deter you from creating a separate website for it. While it should also be featured on your hotel website, a dedicated restaurant website will help maximise revenue and potentially increase traffic to your hotel via page links.

The restaurant website should feature large, high-resolution images and videos to showcase the food and decor. Hopefully, if guests land here and see they can also stay in the hotel, they’ll be more convinced to stay and book direct.

By cross-referencing both lines of business you’ll improve your search engine optimisation and maximise the traffic and conversions you receive. You should make sure everything is optimised for mobile devices and you could also include a direct link to your hotel’s booking engine on your restaurant website.

By dedicating a separate website to your restaurant you’ll be catering to consumer’s need for relevant and distinctive content while also increasing your web presence. It’s definitely worth the time and effort, especially if you use a smart intuitive website builder.

Make offers or give discounts
Consider offering different restaurant deals for different parts of the week to further encourage people to book with your hotel.
Midweek you might advertise via social media or another medium giving away cheaper drinks or free desserts. On the weekend you might include a discounted three-course meal with a booking.

As we know, managing a hotel is an extremely complex, stressful, and time-consuming task. The same can be said of running a successful restaurant.

Combining both might seem like a fool’s errand. And while there’s definitely some risks involved in such an enterprise, there’s also the opportunity for rich rewards at your hotel.

Hotel restaurant management: How you need to operate

Not only does a successful hotel restaurant have to serve and please your guests at your property, it has to stand on its own as a dining option for anyone in the local area. This is because many guests will want to explore the city and the many options available to them.

So if you can’t convince your guests to stay in for a meal, you have to attract other paying patrons. Who knows, some diners might even decide to make it a night and book a room directly through your front desk.

For this to work the quality of your product has to be high. Your hotel restaurant has to individualise itself and offer a comprehensive dining experience. This means in addition to great food, you need to focus on lighting, music, decor and well thought out wine lists.

Things you need to consider include:

  • Space
    How big will your restaurant attraction be relative to your hotel?
  • Staff
    How many patrons can you serve and how many extra staff will you need to oversee this?
  • Menu
    Will you create a menu that sells and is affordable or one that is cool and trendy? Make sure it’s in line with who you expect to enter your restaurant.
  • Packages
    Obviously giving guests deals and discounts when they book a room direct with you will help increase restaurant traffic and revenue for your property.
  • Bookings
    You should always reserve some tables for your own customers. If a guest walks down to eat and the restaurant is booked out by people not staying at the hotel, the response may be less than favourable.

The main issue is that if your restaurant is receiving poor reviews, it could be turning people off booking a room, no matter how amazing the rest of your hotel is. If it looks like the effort to produce the best possible experience is missing in the restaurant, travellers will assume the same for your whole business and look elsewhere.

The same risk applies on the other side of the coin. If your hotel is derided for a poor experience and your occupancy is low, your restaurant could dwindle and die if it relies solely on business from outside the hotel walls.

Your hotel and restaurant have to work in harmony to keep each other strong.

Here are five tips to make your hotel restaurant a success:

1. Strike a balance between class and convenience
For guests already staying at your hotel your restaurant should be a quick and easy place to get a meal. They won’t want to spend too much money, nor spend too much time waiting for food if they have other plans. On the other hand, diners coming for the restaurant alone will be expecting first-class ambience, food, and service.

To keep everyone happy, you need to offer a simple but delicious menu that can be eaten in a comfortable setting that also promotes social interaction.

2. Give your restaurant its own website
While it should certainly be featured on your hotel website, a dedicated restaurant website will help maximise revenue and potentially drive extra traffic through your hotel via links. Cross-referencing both lines of business will improve your SEO and help maximise conversions and direct bookings.

On your restaurant website, feature large high-resolution images and videos to showcase your food and decor.

3. Create a social media page for your restaurant
If your hotel restaurant has its own website it stands to reason it should have its own Facebook page too. This is especially true if regular events are hosted. Think live music on Friday nights, monthly wine tasting, or happy hours. It’s also useful for posting pictures of your food and dining experience.

4. Offer deals and discounts
You can use different parts of the week and different mediums to drive customers to your restaurant. Before a guest arrives, email them a drink voucher for the restaurant bar. It’s likely they’ll also grab a meal.

You might use social media midweek to promote cheaper drinks or free desserts with every meal order.

On the weekend, you could offer a three-course deal when a guest makes a booking.

5. Hire talented hospitality staff
Given the unique challenge of running a restaurant, you need staff that are specifically trained to meet it. Give them the power to create the best possible restaurant experience for your hotel’s guests.

Hotels and restaurants both form a large part of the hospitality industry and customer service is vital to both. These businesses live and die by customer satisfaction because of the public exposure they’re always open to. Guests are only too eager to share stories of their holiday or dining experience – both good and bad.

OTA hotel management: Optimising your online travel agent profile

It’s common knowledge hotels are at a disadvantage if they aren’t engaging online travel agents to boost their distribution and sell rooms.

The prominence of OTAs, such as Expedia and Booking.com, continues to grow and they’re a proven resource for travellers who use them to discover a diverse range of accommodation options at the best price.

Connecting to OTAs will help hotels increase visibility and maintain their occupancy. Your property may even rank higher on search engines – and yet the commission fee from OTAs can feel like a necessary evil if hotels want to accomplish this.

However, to make sure you get the full benefit of OTAs and their reach, there’s a number of steps you should follow to optimise your hotel’s profile.

Given your hotel is a brand, your marketing efforts should be consistent across all channels. Don’t save your best images and content just for your website, make sure this is also on the OTA websites.

Similar to search engines such as Google, OTAs have their own algorithms for how your property will rank, meaning you need to pay close attention to the following tips:

Here are 6 easy steps to optimise your hotel’s OTA profile:

  • Accurately manage your inventory
    Because the availability of your rooms will fluctuate due to peak periods or seasonal changes, you need to maintain an accurate inventory across all OTAs to keep your occupancy rate high. Using a channel manager with pooled inventory is the best way to achieve this because travellers won’t be disrupted by double booking issues or incorrect data.
  • Cleverly manage your rates and promotions
    Guests don’t simply use OTAs for a wide range of choice and inspiration, often they’re looking for last minute deals and offers. If you have time-sensitive promotions they’ll have more chance of being caught and you can more easily sell the remainder of your rooms. It’s not hard to make alterations on OTAs to highlight a particular rate or capitalise on seasonal events to attract more guests to your property profile.
  • Carefully respond to reviews
    While only 14% of consumers trust traditional advertising, 92% respect reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor. Reviews on OTAs are traditionally reliable because guests can only post a review after they’ve stayed at the property. However, only 36% of hoteliers respond to reviews on OTA sites. It’s important to do an efficient job of managing online reviews.
  • Consider paid advertising
    This doesn’t have to be restricted to big and rich hotel corporations. It can also be a viable option for independent hotels on a pay-per-click basis. While paid advertising is no guarantee of more bookings, it will help make your property front-of-mind. If your content and aesthetic is strong enough, you should see a rise in revenue and your OTA ranking.
  • Focus on specific markets
    Narrowing down your targets will mean you impact a lower volume of customers but you’re also more likely to secure the bookings you want if you use certain time periods, events, geo-targeting or other methods to target specific audiences.
  • Understand your competition
    It’s vital to know who the similar players in your market are so you aren’t significantly underselling or overselling your rooms. If you are, you won’t be able to compete. On top of this, being aware of their activity may provide an opportunity to snare extra bookings. For example, changing rates could indicate the occupancy of a competitor or a promotion based on something you could also benefit from. There are specific data systems hotels can use to monitor competitors.

With an optimised OTA profile, your hotel will not only gain bookings from third-party channels but direct traffic to your website should also increase, helping you to offset the commission fee you pay.

Hotel management ideas

To improve the way you manage your hotel, you have to think about everything and look for ways to save time and money, or increase efficiency. Even small changes can reap big rewards over the course of a financial year.

Sticking with the theme of food, there’s a big opportunity here.

As humans, food represents our most essential connection to the planet and its resources. Yet environmental researchers often surmise that we place less value on food than we used to. You only have to look at numbers from Hotel Kitchen around food waste to understand their perspective:

  • In the US alone, an estimated 40% of all food is scrapped
  • American hotels serve food worth $35 billion each year
  • It’s estimated that 40% of food in customer-facing businesses, such as hotels and supermarkets, goes to waste

How to control food waste in your hotel’s kitchen
Fighting food waste at your hotel goes beyond feeding people and helping the environment – it also improves your property’s bottom line. Do you really know how much food you throw away each week? Have you worked out its monetary value? Are staff and guests aware of your efforts to be more sustainable and properly manage food waste disposal?

According to Hotel Kitchen, more than 90% of staff say they want to take action on tackling food waste. Guests are also becoming increasingly savvy with 60% of those surveyed saying they expect hotels to be actively reducing waste across their operations.

There may be steps you can take to reduce waste:

Tip #1
Get buy in on food waste from your team
Create a team to take ownership of waste reduction and incentivise them. This should include a cook or chef and a kitchen porter (KP). Your KPs see what gets scraped off plates, while a chef will know how leftover ingredients can be better used in future menus.

Tip #2
Research waste management software to support processes
Conduct a waste audit, by dividing waste into categories and ensuring staff dispose of it in an appropriately-labelled container. There is weight-based software for this: basically a talking bin that records the weight of different categories of waste according to descriptions entered by staff on a touchscreen. The most well-known of these is probably the Winnow system, which its manufacturer claims typically saves operators 3-5% on food costs – a ROI of up to 10 times within a year. The challenges with using a system like this is that, it requires all waste to go into the same bin, leading to congestion in the kitchen or pot wash, and it can take time to input the data.

Tip #3
Assess raw ingredients vs. diners’ plates
If conducting a waste audit manually, you’ll need to at least split waste into raw ingredients and prepared waste that is left on diners’ plates. Almost 10% of raw ingredients are wasted. This includes things like potato peelings and cauliflower leaves, which can be difficult to find a use for. Raw ingredients also covers kitchen prep mistakes. Some 35% of restaurant waste is left on diners’ plates. This is most definitely higher in a hotel restaurant, where diners are less likely to take their leftovers home.

Tip #4
Ask staff for their frequent observations
Raw ingredients and diners’ plates might be the two main categories, but make sure you have as many containers as you have space for. Record the waste, by weight, but also anecdotally. You’ll learn more from staff comments: what did they find surprising? Was there an item plated but not eaten? Is there a garnish that customers commonly leave?

Tip #5
Follow the ‘less is more’ approach
Assemble as many staff as possible to discuss the results, after a fortnight or a month. When it comes to prepared waste, you may find that it’s a result of portion sizes being too large, in which case introduce strict portion controls, possibly using measure scoops that are colour-coded for different items. If lots of butter and preserve is left after breakfast service, consider buying in individual wrapped portions. Keep in mind that, unavoidable post-consumer waste can often be used by farmers as animal feed: all good content for your Instagram stories.

Tip #6
Obsess over food and beverage expiration dates
If you discover that fresh items are going out of date, introduce a strict fridge rotation system and coloured stickers to identify which items to use first. Store new foods on the right fridge and existing on the left to maximise shelf life. Get this ingrained and replicate it in ambient storage areas for rice, herbs and spices, pulses and grains as well. Out of date ingredients can usually be donated to local food banks. Build a relationship with your local food bank operator and post about it on social media to boost your presence in the local community. This may lead to worthwhile involvement in charity events.

Tip #7
Sharpen up your kitchen team’s knife skills
Meat carcasses should always be used for stock. If staff report that there is still a lot of meat left on bones, check that knives are being properly sharpened and that staff are trained to bone items efficiently. If staff lack butchery and fishmongers skills you’ll save on waste by buying, for example, cubed chicken and filleted fish.

Tip #8
Use proper peelers for vegetables
Similarly, are staff prepping vegetables properly? You’ll see less waste using peelers than knives for most fruit and root vegetables.

Tip #9
Allocate some space for composting
Raw vegetable waste can be composted if you have some outside space. A compost area can be simply constructed out of pallets. The resulting compost can be used to improve the soil on site or donated to local allotment groups.

It can often be valuable to look at what businesses in other parts of your industry are doing, and seeing how you compare or what you might be able to employ in your own business strategies.

Getting customer service ideas from restaurants
There are similarities between service in restaurants and hotels, but also a few differences.

Let’s see how great customer service in restaurants translates to achieving guest satisfaction in hotels.

  • A great first step is turning ‘service’ into ‘hospitality’

Service is basically about performing a task; doing something for someone. It denotes a mechanical action. On the other hand, hospitality is about making an impression on someone and going the extra mile to make their experience a memorable one. The interaction involved in hospitality is a genuine one and should be based on a caring attitude.

Hospitality is something the best restaurants do extremely well. Customers will generally be served by one waiter their entire visit and will be made to feel like close friends or family, constantly attended to and conversed with warmly. Any requests will be responded to immediately. By the end of the meal, customers will look forward to coming back and seeing their waiter again.

In hotels, guests might interact with many different staff members throughout their stay, meaning they don’t always get this personal connection. They may have to wait longer for services and might get frustrated when the staff member doesn’t remember their preferences.

The attentiveness of restaurants is certainly something hotels can try to replicate. Some things to try is to greet guests by name, get to know their interests, and don’t delay when they want attention.

  • Giving guests a personalised experience at your hotel

A recent report shows full-service and fast food restaurants are revamping their menus and establishing more mobile ordering options, to the delight of customers.

Restaurants are adapting their menus and technology to align with shifting consumer preferences. This looks at millennial tastes for fresh food, mobile ordering, and automated kiosks. The bottom line is that restaurants are working hard to please consumers in a way the customers are dictating, resulting in higher satisfaction.

Hotels need to do the same. New technology, both front and backend, needs to be explored if customer service is to improve. Again this comes back to hospitality and personalisation.

Give each specific guest what they need. Even if you look at mobile check-in, it’s not something everyone wants. Obviously some guests will be in a rush or tired from travel and simply want to get to their room as fast as possible. Others will be craving some human interaction. It’s about what’s convenient for the individual hotel guest.

Technology should be able to help hotels in every regard. Think about how technology can improve the in-room experience, especially when it comes to speeding up room service or cleaning processes. Conversely, if backend tech that makes it easier to manage reservations and distribution is used, more time can be dedicated to guest experience.

  • Empower staff to solve their own problems

Nothing will frustrate a customer more than a staff member always needing to clear something with their manager. Not only does this take more time, but it makes the staff member look incompetent.

Quality restaurants will take difficult or specific requests in their stride and provide customers with any special needs they require. If something goes wrong, their constant hands-on experience allows them to solve it, without the intervention of a manager. Again, it’s done with a smile on their face because nothing is too much trouble for a valued customer.

Hotels need to train and empower their staff this way too. A great example is The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, where even hourly employees have permission to spend up to $2,000 per guest to solve any problem or dissatisfaction that may arise, without needing to ask for approval or involve management. And it’s not the amount of money that’s the point; it’s the instant no-need-for-approval empowerment, which enables quick solutions for guests.

  • Hire the right traits in staff at your hotel

The very best restaurant staff show a passion for their job and authentic desire to make people happy. While the hospitality industry is one where skills can be learned on the job and thus standards may be lax, the approach taken to hiring staff must be taken very seriously. How is a grumpy, sullen staff member supposed to placate a grumpy, sullen guest?

To name just a few, some necessary traits a hotel should find it its staff include:

  • Empathy
  • Warmth
  • Conscientiousness
  • Enthusiasm
  • Charisma

Hotel reports for effective hotel management

Reporting on performance is essential to hotel management. You need to collect and analyse accurate data regularly to see where things are working, and what you need to improve on.

There are a lot of different parts of the business you’ll need reports on to inform your overall strategy. Most of them can be pulled from the systems that you’re using such as your property management system and channel manager etc.

Some of the most important information you need to track includes:

  • Channel performance
  • Website performance
  • Housekeeping
  • ADR – Average daily rate
  • Occupancy
  • RevPAR – Revenue per available room
  • TrevPAR – Total revenue per available room

Channel performance is key. You need to understand a number of factors about your booking channels. For instance, which channel is delivering the most reservations? Which channel is contributing the most overall revenue? Which channel has the highest cancellation rate? Which has the largest or smallest lead time? The list goes on.

The point is the more information you have about your channel performance, the more tweaks you can make to optimise your distribution mix. Cutting some channels and connecting others, or temporarily pausing, can enable you to maximise revenue.

It’s tough to really trawl through this data unless your channel manager can deliver some digestible reports for you.

Given how important direct bookings are, website performance is equally important. Since your booking engine can be included in channel performance you’ll be able to see if direct bookings are down. Investigating your website is a good idea. How much traffic are you driving via organic and paid means? What pages are being visited the most? What’s the conversion rate on calls to action? How many people are abandoning a booking part of the way through?

Housekeeping is extremely significant. Do you know how long it’s taking to clean a room on average? How many guests are arriving to find their room isn’t ready yet? Do you have enough cleaning resources or not enough? How efficient are staff?

This is all information you need to report on each and every month to see if your business is on an upward spiral or if standards are dropping.

Through your property management and revenue management systems you can track occupancy, ADR, and many other metrics.

To learn about all your important metrics, download our formula sheet here.

Hotel management software

Technology in the hotel industry continues to advance at a rapid pace and hotel management software (HMS) remains essential for hoteliers looking to improve the running of their business. With software, hotel operators can streamline their administrative processes and improve their overall hotel management system.

The key to reaping the benefits of an effective hotel management software system is to select the right one for your property. It’s critical that you know exactly what this hotel management technology is, and why it is important for you to implement it at your hotel.

What is hotel management software?
Hotel management software is technology that allows hotel operators and owners to streamline their administrative tasks while also increasing their bookings in both the short- and long-term.

Your hotel management system is not only important for your own day-to-day operations, but it’s a vital part of the overall guest experience. From the beginning of your guests’ online booking journey until the completion of their stay and their feedback once they return home, it is necessary for your hotel management technology to enhance their experience with your brand.

Finding a hotel management system that offers the features you both need and want is necessary to effectively managing your hotel in a global economic climate.

The purpose of management systems for hotels
Management systems serve several purposes for both hotel operators who manage large chains as well as independent hoteliers. These include:

1. Managing bookings
Your property management system should help you efficiently and effectively manage your bookings. Neither you, nor your staff, should be tasked with manually inputting bookings and managing those across all your distribution channels. A property management system should automate the booking process for you, allowing you to escape the back office and focus more on interacting with your guests.

In addition, it significantly reduces the risk of overbooking your rooms, which directly improves the guest experience at your property.

2. Direct bookings
It should allow you to actively drive direct bookings to your website. Travellers today are more apt to book online than they are to call to finalise bookings or partner with a travel agent.

Direct bookings allow you to maximise the revenue that you generate per booking. You should only consider software that integrates with an online booking engine.

3. Channel management
Hotel management technology should allow you to easily implement your distribution strategy. Creating partnerships with different types of agents in the industry, such as OTAs and GDSs, is necessary to survive in a competitive, global climate.

Managing hotel with software that offers a channel manager will allow you to create and implement a diverse distribution strategy that continually drives bookings.

4. Hotel website
Your software should help enhance your online presence. Your hotel management system is only effective if your guests can reach your brand.

Choosing a program that offers a web editor or website creator will allow you to create a clean, appealing and user-friendly website that will encourage guests to book a stay at your property.

Benefits of hotel management technology
When you are selecting hotel management technology for your property, you should consider the many benefits that this system will offer you, including:

1. Reduce time spent on administrative tasks
You can minimise the amount of time spent on administrative tasks. The right hotel management system will do a lot of the work for you, allowing you to focus your efforts and your energy on the big picture. The technology should also provide you with valuable data on how your employees perform their duties and how this affects employee retention, satisfaction and productivity.

In today’s fast-paced travel environment, it’s critical that you automate as many tasks as possible. A property management system can help you tremendously with that.

2. Increase your online presence
You can increase your brand presence online. Management software that is integrated with your website builder will allow you to accept direct online bookings and develop a user-friendly website. Naturally, this will increase your relevance in the search engine results and allow more travellers to discover your property during their online booking journey.

3. Build relationships with guests
You will develop a better rapport with your target market segment, while also identifying new markets to tap into. The types of travellers who have always loved staying at your property will appreciate the improved experience. In addition, your new technology will allow you to reach out to new markets that would not have otherwise discovered your brand.

4. Manage your distribution
You will improve your reach throughout the industry. With a property management system in place that integrates with a channel manager, you will be able to advertise across many channels whilst maintaining rate parity. From the large OTAs and GDSs to individual retail travel agents, you can provide real-time booking information to your agents that will drive bookings.

5. Manage your revenue
You can implement a beneficial revenue management strategy. Using innovative pricing tools that allow you to create a flexible room pricing strategy, you can maximise the revenue that you generate per room at any given moment.

Pricing your rooms right is the key to succeeding in this competitive industry, and having these tools available can help you significantly.

6. Increase bookings
You will ultimately increase your bookings. At the end of the day, the point of every feature within your hotel management business solution is to boost the bookings that you get at your hotel.

Whether you want to increase your off-season bookings or you want to expand your offerings to new market segments, you will be successful if you select the right hotel management software for your property.

Hotel property management: Maintaining your reputation

Managing a hotel isn’t all about managing the physical property, it’s also about managing intangible things like reputation.

It’s very simple. Hospitality businesses such as hotels are at risk if they don’t focus attention on their online reviews and take control of their reputation management.

As more and more guests turn to one another for advice on where to stay in cities around the world, the effectiveness of traditional hotel advertising is declining – while the impact of online hotel reviews is on the rise.

Failure to monitor, manage and respond to feedback will skew your hotel management strategy to issues that are unimportant to customers, as well as provide unhappy customers with ammunition for negative feedback on travel and social media sites.

Ultimately, we live in a social age.
It can be difficult for an individual to get through their lives without significant episodes being recorded on social media channels, let alone a hotel to exist without the blemish of social media complaints.

As the impact of online bookings and digital feedback continues to rise, the importance of reputation management rises with it.

Yet while online reputation management is a trend across the hospitality sector, it is still considered an indulgence by some independent hoteliers. Part of this rationale is driven by the confusion around how to deal with both positive and negative feedback online.

So here are some standard ways hoteliers can deal with online reviews – regardless of sentiment:

The most feared of all feedback online is a negative review
However, audiences are particularly savvy in determining the value of feedback, not just because the “voice” of the author is on display, but because audiences often apply a filter to their reading of any review.

Consciously or subconsciously, they consider the value of any commentary, as well as the relevance of a comment to their own experiences and preferences.

So a comment on the convenience of a hotel location to an equestrian events venue will be of potential importance to horse-lovers, yet entirely irrelevant to many other potential guests.

Where a rational negative comment is posted, hotels do have options on how to respond.

Acknowledge and Action
For a genuine, reasoned negative comment on customer experience, it is best for hotels to respond in a timely manner (within 72 hours of posting), acknowledging the issue and describing how it will be addressed. Ideally, a follow up post will occur after actioning the issue, and showing how the experience will not be repeated.

This is by far the best possible response to negative feedback, because online audiences are far more willing to value action and positive changes in behaviour, than think poorly of the initial negative experience.

Apologise and Compensate
For a negative comment which illustrates an experience that was difficult or impossible to avoid, an appropriate response is to apologise for the poor experience and to privately offer either monetary compensation, or discounts on future bookings.

While this is unlikely to totally satisfy the customer with the stated poor experience, it will indicate to other customers, the prioritisation of customer experiences at the hotel. It’s important to take compensation offline where possible to avoid inviting those like to complain for free stuff.

Apologise and Thank
For negative comments that focus on pedantic details, the most appropriate response is an apology for the experience and an acknowledgement that this feedback will help shape your hotel’s future guest experience strategy.

This is far more useful than a response which states that the comment will be passed to a customer service team, because the customer already believes that service is the problem at the property.

How to thank hotel guests for their positive feedback
While most organisations are thrilled with the prospect of positive reviews, an abundance of rave reviews can be just as suspicious to audiences as a series of negative reviews.

Therefore, positive reviews also need a response.

Be Humble
Where a positive review is excessive and perhaps gushing, it is wise for firms to thank the guest for their enthusiasm, but to also acknowledge areas where you are attempting to improve. This reinforces commitment to customer service.

Be Delighted
Where positive feedback is sincere and reasoned, the best response for hotels is to express delight and appreciation for the feedback and the desire to serve again in future. This is the easiest response to deliver, but is often the least fulfilled.

Be Appreciative
Where feedback is predominantly neutral, but some aspects are highlighted as being of particular value, it is advisable for hotel managers to express thanks for the feedback and to request further advice on how the organisation could improve in specific areas.

Again, try to take this conversation offline with an email or personal phone call. This enables more considered feedback to follow the initial post.

Reputation management is often considered difficult or time-consuming. Yet the results of research into the importance of reputation management are unarguable: the value of reputation management is substantial and growing.

Understanding how to respond to feedback is not just a competitive advantage, but potentially a means of ensuring your hotel stays in business.

You can easily turn complaints around and win hotel guests back – and these basic reputation management responses are your first line of defence.

Hotel property management software: Questions you should ask providers

Selecting the right hotel software is critical, particularly in a world where consumers are relying more heavily on their devices with each passing day. An investment this important to your overall success as a hotel operator requires you to do some research.

These are seven questions that you should ask your hotel tech provider as soon as possible:

1. How does your product maintain its relevance in the hospitality industry?
While the core of a technology system may remain the same over time, the reality is that any product geared specifically towards the hospitality industry will need to adapt to changing trends and preferences from travellers. You need to ask this question so you have an understanding of how your technology will help you grow along with the industry.

2. How often can I expect upgrades for your platform?
No piece of technology is perfect, and the best hotel technology providers will make sure that regular updates and upgrades are available for their clients. It’s important to have an understanding of how often these upgrades will be available, and how you will be able to successfully implement the upgrades.

3. What level of customer service will I receive from your company?
Unfortunately, far too many hotel technology providers focus on hard sales tactics without much support after the purchase is complete. You will want to verify with your provider that there will be ways to contact and work with staff after the technology has been installed at your hotel.

4. Is your hotel platform secure?
Security should be a top priority of your hotel technology provider. You will want to ask about the details regarding their security features, as it’s imperative that both your data and your guests’ data is secure.

5. How easily can I personalise your systems?
Hotel technology providers need to offer you a versatile system that includes not only the generic features that are necessary for any hotel, but also the adaptable features that allow you to personalise the platform for your particular brand. Ultimately, your investment in technology needs to result in a system that works specifically for your hotel.

6. What reporting features are available?
When you begin your search for the right hotel technology, you will likely focus first on the property management system. However, you will want to discuss additional features that also are available, with some of the most important being the reporting features. Verify that you’ll be able to run detailed reports using live data, as this is the only way to ensure that you can grow your brand.

7. How can I access the hotel technology system once implemented?
Be sure that you are investing in a system that allows you to run your hotel from anywhere. You need hotel technology that is optimised for all devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Hotel management system

Benefits of a hotel management system
When you are selecting hotel management systems for your property, you should consider the many benefits they’ll offer you, including:

1. Reduce time spent on administrative tasks
You can minimise the amount of time spent on administrative tasks. The right hotel management system will do a lot of the work for you, allowing you to focus your efforts and your energy on the big picture. The technology should also provide you with valuable data on how your employees perform their duties and how this affects employee retention, satisfaction and productivity.

In today’s fast-paced travel environment, it’s critical that you automate as many tasks as possible. A property management system can help you tremendously with that.

2. Increase your online presence
You can increase your brand presence online. Management software that is integrated with your website builder will allow you to accept direct online bookings and develop a user-friendly website. Naturally, this will increase your relevance in the search engine results and allow more travellers to discover your property during their online booking journey.

3. Build relationships with guests
You will develop a better rapport with your target market segment, while also identifying new markets to tap into. The types of travellers who have always loved staying at your property will appreciate the improved experience. In addition, your new technology will allow you to reach out to new markets that would not have otherwise discovered your brand.

4. Manage your distribution
You will improve your reach throughout the industry. With a property management system in place that integrates with a channel manager, you will be able to advertise across many channels whilst maintaining rate parity. From the large OTAs and GDSs to individual retail travel agents, you can provide real-time booking information to your agents that will drive bookings.

5. Manage your revenue
You can implement a beneficial revenue management strategy. Using innovative pricing tools that allow you to create a flexible room pricing strategy, you can maximise the revenue that you generate per room at any given moment.

Pricing your rooms right is the key to succeeding in this competitive industry, and having these tools available can help you significantly.

6. Increase bookings
You will ultimately increase your bookings. At the end of the day, the point of every feature within your hotel management business solution is to boost the bookings that you get at your hotel.

Hotel property management system

All hotels need some variation of a property management system (PMS). However they come in many different forms and are not all created equal.

There are still properties trying to manage their business in a traditional way with books and ledgers, others are using server-based systems, while many used web-based systems.

One of the most valuable things to a hotel manager is time, and money of course. The first two systems listed are a drain on both time and finances, while the latter has obviously become the optimal way to manage hotel operations.

Cloud-based PMSs are a superior way to automate and accelerate all the important processes at your hotel such as taking and confirming bookings, managing reservations, generating bills and reports, check-in/out, room transfers, checking/editing availability, guest communication, the list goes in.

Cloud-based technology can handle all these tasks with ease because of its ability to deeply integrate with channel managers, booking engines, and revenue management systems.

Despite this, there are still concerns over the validity and cost effectiveness of cloud-based PMSs.

Here are five common property management system myths and why we think they’re unfounded…

1. You think cloud-based technology is confusing or hard to use
Because it’s intangible and seemingly floating in the air, some hotel managers believe using cloud technology will be hard to learn and too confusing to keep track of. The opposite is true. A PMS allows you to keep everything in one place and it can never be lost. You can access your data from any location so long as you have the Internet.

The many tasks that you perform using multiple programs or books can be done from one central location with a fully integrated PMS. This also means you can collaborate better with other staff who need access to the same information.

2. You worry that sensitive data is insecure and vulnerable
While the information in your cloud PMS isn’t kept under lock and key it is encrypted and backed-up. Nothing is stored ‘onsite’ so even if your computer breaks or your laptop is lost, your data will remain accessible to you.

With data in the cloud you don’t have to worry about viruses or bugs, and hacking is much less likely to succeed thanks to firewalls and authentication gateways.

3. Your current software works just as well as cloud-based technology
It’s unlikely this is true and even if it is, it won’t be for long. Cloud software is constantly being updated and evolved meaning users automatically get the benefits included in their monthly fee.

If your current server isn’t updated, it becomes slow and vulnerable, while updating it requires extra time and greater cost that has to be done too regularly.

4. You believe a web PMS is only suitable for large hotels
The reality is that smaller or independent hoteliers are often stretched thinner than anyone. With less staff and more responsibility, the time and hassle saved by using a cloud-based PMS is vital and could be the difference between getting the bookings needed for maximum occupancy or losing revenue on empty rooms.

5. You think hotel technology is too expensive
Cloud-based systems are actually very cost effective. You never require any additional hardware, backup solutions, licensing, updates, fixes. There’s also no lengthy setup process and with the time you save using it, more resources can be directed towards increasing guest experience and revenue streams.

Overall a cloud-based PMS will give you more control over your hotel business, with:

  • An extra degree of customisation
  • Reporting and data analysis capabilities
  • Integration with other third-party systems like OTAs and booking systems
  • Ease of access through any location and device
  • It’s a key feature of any successful hotel management strategy.

List of hotel property management systems

There are literally hundreds of property management systems on the market. The most important aspect when choosing one is to ensure it’s easy to use, has all the functions you need, and that it is able to integrate with your other important systems, such as your channel manager.

Some popular examples you might come across include:

  • Little Hotelier
  • Mews
  • Sirvoy
  • CloudBeds
  • Frontdesk Anywhere
  • eZee Frontdesk
  • Hotelogix
  • Maestro
  • OPERA
  • Avvio

The list goes on. Finding a PMS if you don’t already have one will require some research and evaluation.

Hotel management system software: Direct bookings websites

Direct booking technology is imperative if you want to run a successful hotel. This means making sure your website and online booking engine are working seamlessly together.

Online booking engine
Essential if you want to capture direct bookings and reduce the commission you pay to online travel agents (OTAs). The majority of travellers will visit your hotel website even if they discover your property on an OTA.

But if you’re looking to capitalise on this traffic, your booking engine needs certain features beyond booking as a minimum including:

  • Seamless online experience for your guests via a customised, two-step booking process.
  • Multi-language and currency capabilities to convert guests from around the globe.
  • Mobile-friendly and Facebook-compatible to reach travellers on-the-go.
  • Upselling capability so you can offer a more personalised stay for your guests.
  • However your booking engine can be a much more powerful tool that you can customise to suit any marketing strategy, allowing your business to maximise its revenue.

Ensure you get as much value as possible out of your booking engine by following these tips.

1. Prioritise booking engine and website integration
Seamless integration between booking engine and website will make a guests booking experience so much easier. It will be more responsive to mobile, put less pressure on you to design the look of your booking engine, and will maintain your branding throughout the entire booking process. All of this will enhance the trust your customers have in your hotel.

2. Create a strong foundation for search engine optimisation
While not directly related to your booking engine, SEO is vital. If your website isn’t optimised for SEO it won’t matter how amazing your booking engine is, you won’t be attracting sufficient traffic to drive bookings.

3. Implement urgency messages
Urgency messages do exactly what they imply; invoke urgency in the shopper. By drawing attention to rates through urgency messages you can make your guests think they are in danger of missing out, or else getting something other customers aren’t. They’re a great way of speeding up the booking process and increasing conversions. Examples include ‘Book now, pay later!’ or ‘Only two rooms left!’.

4. Use promo code banners
If you’re running a promotion, you want guests to notice it. Display a prominent promo banner on your website using your booking engine so guests can easily view and select applicable dates and benefit from the promotion.

5. Set up an early-bird rate
By selling discounted early-bird rates you can improve your short-term cash flow by collecting full prepayment from the booker. You can control when to flag an early-bird rate via your booking engine extranet.

6. Introduce last-minute rates
Setting attractive last minute rates are good for increasing your short-term occupancy or filling any remaining rooms. Offset the rate by taking a high deposit to limit the amount of cancelled bookings or no-shows. Clearly display these and use them in conjunction with urgency messages.

7. Entice guests with a stay pay deal
Maintain your occupancy by increasing the length of your guests stay. Offer them a discount for one or more of their dates, clearly indicating the price difference and encourage them to book additional nights. Make sure you have control over what night is to be discounted; first, last, cheapest etc.

8. Interest guests in package deals
Packaging up extras like entry to events, attractions, or restaurants gives guests a one-stop shopping experience that they enjoy. Offer options guests can’t find on OTAs and again entice them to stay longer.

If used intelligently a booking engine can be a hotel marketing and branding tool that will incentivise guests to become loyal to your hotel, further increasing your direct bookings and revenue in the future.

Hotel room management software: Channel managers

Here’s a complete definition of a channel manager for your hotel:

A channel manager is a tool that will allow you to sell all your rooms on all your connected booking sites at the same time. It will automatically update your availability in real-time on all sites when a booking is made, when you close a room to sale, or when you want to make bulk changes to your inventory.

There’s a lot more to a channel manager than simply making life easier for when updating your rates and availability.

You can use it to perform many tasks when managing your hotel and its benefits are two-fold in how it can increase bookings and revenue, and enable long term business planning.

Take a look at this comprehensive list of how a channel manager can be used to benefit a hotel.

1. Increase online bookings
With telephone and walk-in bookings on the decline and online bookings on the rise, a channel manager places you in the best position to take advantage of this new traveller booking habit. Connect to more online channels, where more travellers than ever are locking in their stays.

2. Increase hotel revenue
Given a channel manager displays live rates and availability across all your channels at the same time, and updates automatically you can accept bookings faster and almost eliminate the chance of double bookings. In addition, the data you can analyse from your channel manager can ensure your rates are always optimised and you’re using the most lucrative channels.

3. Reduce the risk of overbookings
Without a channel manager, you’re forced to split your inventory between channels and risk double-bookings or failing to reach full occupancy. Pooled inventory and automated updates of availability and rates in real time means guests can only ever book a room that is actually available.

4. Improve brand recognition
A powerful channel manager will provide two-way unrestricted access to hundreds of booking channels where travellers who would never hear of you can now make reservations at your property. It also makes OTAs more likely to accept your listing because they can be sure your inventory will always be accurate.

5. Boost direct bookings
It may seem illogical but it’s true! Many travellers will discover your property first on an OTA, but they want to learn more about you before they book. Often they will visit your website and then make the decision to book their stay. So you get a direct sale, but it was born on the OTA site – resulting in greater profit for your hotel. This is known as the billboard effect.

6. Remove manual processes
Manual data entry is time-consuming and frustrating, we all know that. If you were to use a channel manager and remove this friction, you’d realise just how much more productive you can be. Anything that has to be put on hold can now be prioritised to improve your business.

7. Create a seamless, integrated tech stack
Instead of being required to update information in multiple extranets, a channel manager can integrate with your property management system, central reservation system, or revenue management system as well as your booking engine to create a central control system for the entirety of your hotel’s operations.

Some channel managers, like SiteMinder, also have a unique connection to Airbnb. Although boutique hotels have already been using Airbnb for some time, there hasn’t been a solution for them to manage this channel in conjunction with other partners such as online travel agents – until SiteMinder’s partnership.

8. Transform into a powerful business platform
A good channel allows complete transparency of data across all systems and channels, meaning you can use the received information to see which channels or rooms are performing the best. This means you can constantly update your business strategy. Look at reports such as channel yield and channel analysis and your reservation trends to see where things are going right – or wrong!

9. Reduce reliance on traditional booking channels
There’s certainly no suggestion that you should leave behind traditional methods such as taking reservations over the phone or via walk-ins. It can be very profitable to save some of your inventory for these methods. However, using a channel manager will ensure you don’t have to worry about filling your rooms in this manner. Connecting to a significant number of online booking sites will ensure your occupancy always remains steady.

10. Keep everyone on the same page
Quality channel managers are very easy to use and hotels will regularly have multiple staff members using the system. If the main user is going away or won’t be available to make updates they can easily mark important dates in the system so everyone is aware if they need to change a rate or a close a room etc. For example, they may mark school holiday periods so rates can be increased during these peak times.

Click here to read a full guide on channel managers.

Hotel management apps

In order to enhance productivity at your hotel, you must first ensure you and your team are as organised as possible. This may be easier said than done when you have emails arriving non-stop, content to post and people to manage – all at the same time!

Fortunately, technology has evolved to solve almost any problem. There are many apps in the market to help with everyday challenges. Organised teams get more done and having everything under control also gives you a better grip on the overall success of the business.

Here are five hotel apps to help stay on top of hotel management:

1. Pocket
Have you ever come across interesting articles, videos or websites and ended up forgetting about them? If so, Pocket is for you!

Whenever you find something you want to view later, you can add it to your Pocket – an application and web service for managing reading lists.

You can save content directly from your browser or from apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse and Zite. Once saved to Pocket, the list of content is visible on any device (phone, tablet or computer) with access to your account – online and offline helping you share interesting articles with your hotel’s team.

2. Astro
If a large part of your day-to-day duties includes sending and receiving emails, Astro will help you focus on what is most important.

Astro brings along email and calendar features, powered by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistant, which will prioritise your emails, tell you what to follow up on, and help you clean up your inbox.

Astro also adds reminders, snoozed emails, and scheduled emails to your calendar, so you can get a complete view of your day. You can also customise the emails you send with Open Tracking, Send Later, Custom Signatures, and much more.

3. Google Calendar
One of the most important parts of management is time management and having your calendar with you on the go can be crucial.

Stay on track with your appointments and tasks with Google Calendar. Your events or any meeting requests received via Gmail can be automatically added to your calendar and you’ll spend less time managing your schedule. Add images and maps to your appointments, and access your schedule for the day, week and month from any device at any time.

You can also gain visibility of your team’s work schedule and share your calendar view with them so you can make the most of your day.

4. Trello
Stay up to speed with your team projects using Trello – an easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage and organise workflow.

Trello is divided in boards, with lists representing the workflow. For example, you can have your Social Media Marketing board and inside the lists: To Do, Doing and Done.

Every list has cards, representing tasks containing relevant information. For example, the New Years 7 Nights Promotion card will contain the specification of this promotion, such as due date, hotel team members that need to follow the task, checklists and more. As tasks progress along the way, the card will navigate to the next list.

With Trello you have a clear and real-time view of the stage your project is at and you’ll never lose track of them.

5. Evernote
If sometimes you feel the need for a second brain, meet Evernote – an app designed for note taking, organising tasks lists, and archiving.

You can collect everything that matters in one place and find it when you need it, fast. Capture, organise, and share notes from any device and always keep your best ideas in sync and only a click away.

Evernote is not a simple note taking app, you can enhance your notes with links, checklists, tables, attachments, and audio recordings. Even handwritten notes are searchable. From initial brainstorm to finished project, Evernote will give you productivity bliss.

Apps the key to establishing self-service experiences

It’s no secret modern-day travellers are becoming more accustomed to hyper-personalised and streamlined service from their hotels. In fact, if the hotel is going to deliver on its promise of quality, your guests expect a personalised and convenient experience.

Hotels can adapt to this growing need by prioritising data, technology, and connectivity. It’s important to know what guests want, and also how to provide the appropriate services through hotel systems and applications. The tradition of limiting service and interaction to just your hotel staff and physical property is being outgrown by the ability of technology to automate and make many processes easier for guests.

Where travellers once expected to be greeted by a front desk operator, they might now prefer the self-service experience that mobile check-in offers. Given the average person wastes an hour each week waiting in line, it’s no surprise that self-service is catching on.

The self-service approach allows staff to be less transactional and focus on establishing genuine connections with guests. With technology in place, hotel employees will no longer be confined to stationary positions within the lobby or left to guess what guest expectations might be.

For a better idea of the trends in this area and the enabling power of technology and connectivity, we spoke to four hotel applications to get their perspective. They are:

Oaky
A tool that drives incremental revenue and enhances the guest experience through targeted pre-arrival upselling.

OpenKey
A company that specialises in mobile and keyless hotel access.

GuestJoy
An easy-to-use solution that allows hotels to promote offers, gather feedback, and personalise guest experience.

HotelFlex
An automation service to produce more revenue for each hotel room by allowing guests to check-in early and check-out late for set fees.

Here are their thoughts on the current hotel guest service landscape….

What are some noticeable hotel service trends in the industry right now?

  • Oaky believes that adaptation is key:
    “Travellers of today are diverse and want to stay in a place which lets them live out their individuality. They want a hotel which adapts to them, not the other way around. The quest for individualised experiences sets them apart from older generations and has created a challenge for many hoteliers.”
  • OpenKey urges hotels to pay attention to delays:
    “Guests expect convenience, simplicity and the same instant gratification they enjoy in other areas of their lives. However, hotel and resort staff face the daunting task of handling an endless array of guest issues with a limited team. No matter how well trained front desk staff might be, there are always occasions where long lines form and waiting guests become frustrated. Even a five-minute wait in a check-in line can result in a 50% reduction in guest satisfaction scores.”
  • GuestJoy suggests that increased flexibility is important:
    “Guests have become accustomed to the Airbnbs of the world where everything offered to them is extremely relevant and guest has the option to tweak the experience themselves. A similar trend is seen among major hotel chains, where they are using loyalty solutions to promote offers and services based on the guests’ preferences and guests have the ability to check-in using mobile. Independent hotels are slowly but steadily starting to embrace such solutions.”
  • HotelFlex says a personal service is no longer a nice-to-have option:
    “Personalisation of guest service is no longer a trend, but an obligation for hotels. For example, traditional check-in times were designed for a guest that no longer exists. With long haul travel now very much mainstream, 40% of guests are either arriving on flights before 7am or leaving on flights that take off after 6pm. Tailoring check-in/check out times to your guest’s travel plans is the next battleground of personalisation.”

What’s the power of automation for hotels and guests?

  • Oaky advises that hotels pay close attention to segmentation:
    “By combining powerful segmentation with a high-conversion platform, upselling can really help deliver the five R’s of revenue management: Selling the right room on the right channel to the right customer at the right time at the right price.

“Using segmentation properly allows you to target and market to a variety of potential buyers with varying needs, behaviors and budgets. Doing this well will provide you data needed to understand the success of your current revenue strategies and adjust them to maximise your topline in the future.

“Software providers can take most of that work off your hands. Setting up your segments is done in a matter of minutes, and the software handles the rest, like making sure the segments you choose are offered attractive deals in automatically sent emails.”

  • OpenKey says hotels shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with AI:
    “Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms or chatbots can be used to answer simple guest questions and requests freeing up hotel staff to focus on the most complicated guest issues. With mobile keys, bluetooth technology allows mobile devices to communicate directly with the door lock on a guest room.

“Automation technology can also be leveraged to enhance communication between the hotel staff and guest. Platforms like ours at OpenKey also gives hotels the ability to offer mobile dining, valet requests, concierge, and other guest services – in addition to a digital key – from a mobile app.”

  • GuestJoy recommends using hotel tech to boost your brand perception:
    “Automating guest communication opens up a tremendous potential for the hotel. Typically pre-arrival or confirmation emails have been seen as just a system-generated message verifying that a reservation has been made. But this is the first time guest hears about you. “Wouldn’t it be nice, if you could delight the guest with a warm greeting, in their own language, with offers that are specific to their profile or segment? With proper tools, this can be easily achieved.

“If a guest booked a standard room, the system may automatically offer the deluxe room. Or if the airport is far away, offer them a fully arranged taxi service. If targeted properly, upsell and cross-sell efforts can significantly improve guest satisfaction as offers are more relevant.”

  • HotelFlex says the key to using automation is timing and targeting:
    “When should you send the offer and who should you send it to? Hotels often send their upsell offers too early when the pain point the hotel is looking to solve is not front of mind for the guest. How should you change your offer depending on the nature of the guest? We’ll change how we target and what we offer guests depending on nationality and travel time.”

How are hoteliers reacting to the pivotal role of technology?

  • OpenKey says its technology is helping hotels to be more efficient:
    From the perspective of our customers, like The Clarendon Hotel and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona, it’s a real positive. The hotel’s general manager, Charles Morman, said: “As we look to elevate our service, mobile technology will help us deliver a simplified and efficient guest experience. Today’s traveller wants to save time and enjoy their travel, not wait in check-in lines. We couldn’t be happier about adding a tech solution that will ultimately benefit our guests.”
  • GuestJoy says hotels are striving for a balance between human and tech:
    “Hoteliers are slowly beginning to understand that technology is not here to replace the human touch but to complement it. Historically guest-facing technology was seen as a toy they can live without. But more and more guests expect these types of convenience services and hotels are realising, this is the new norm. Most guests are not overly expressive about their wants and needs. This means, without tech, it will become extremely difficult to deliver superior guest experience.”

How important is connectivity for hoteliers and the platforms they use?

  • Oaky says integration is always important:
    “As a minimum we need the reservation data from hotel guests, which can be gleaned from the PMS, channel manager, or OTA. So it’s important these systems are able to integrate easily with each other.”
  • HotelFlex goes even further to say integration is everything:
    “Connectivity is our holy grail. Without it we can’t automate our services for our clients, which means adding manual work to the hotel’s front desk, which simply doesn’t work. The ability for technology to continue to help hotels run their businesses, hinges on the providers ability to connect into the hotel’s tech stack.

“Hoteliers completely understand the pivotal role of tech, but their hands have been tied by the lack of connectivity offered by their incumbent technology systems.”

Key Takeaways

  • Being able to adapt, meet challenges, and place yourself on a scale of personal growth is vital for a hotel manager.
  • Hotel management is about overseeing every operation of the property. This requires knowledge of distribution strategy, finance, customer service, staff management, marketing, and more.
  • Effective inventory management for hotels involves both creating and managing demand, and maximising returns.
  • Revenue management is another huge part of managing your hotel. How do you get more money coming in and achieve business goals?
  • In the hospitality industry almost everything revolves around the customer, and they’re the quickest party to point out any flaws. Good management eliminates as many mistakes as possible.
  • Hotel management sometimes also requires the management of a restaurant.
  • Turn your restaurant into a premium dining experience that focuses on the whole package including the food, lighting, music, decor, and wine lists. This way, your restaurant won’t only be the bait to bring new customers in, but also an incentive for current guests to return when they revisit the area.
  • Similar to search engines such as Google, OTAs have their own algorithms for how your property will rank, meaning you need to pay close attention to how you build your profile on them.
  • Fighting food waste at your hotel goes beyond feeding people and helping the environment – it also improves your property’s bottom line.
  • Reporting on performance is essential to hotel management. You need to collect and analyse accurate data regularly to see where things are working, and what you need to improve on.
  • Hotel management software is technology that allows hotel operators and owners to streamline their administrative tasks while also increasing their bookings in both the short- and long-term.
  • Managing a hotel isn’t all about managing the physical property, it’s also about managing intangible things like reputation.
  • There are many apps in the market to help with everyday challenges. Organised teams get more done and having everything under control also gives you a better grip on the overall success of the business.

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