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increase direct bookings

Increasing direct bookings would be one of the most rewarding (but just as challenging) tasks for any hotelier. Given the vast market size and share of third party booking sites, it is becoming in increasingly important for hotels to work towards maintain the right balance between OTA bookings and direct bookings.

There’s no denying the role of OTAs in getting you more bookings. However, increasing direct bookings is better for your hotel business simply because it helps you minimize the cost of OTA intermediation. After all, 20% saved is 20% earned! Keeping this simple fact in mind, here are some tips to boost your hotel’s direct bookings.

1. Optimize your website 

When we talk about how to increase direct bookings, your hotel’s website plays a crucial role. It must have a strong digital identity to attract maximum visitors. Your hotel website should be visually attractive, easy to navigate and above all it should be user-friendly.

It should be properly optimized for search engines. This makes your hotel website more visible on search engines, thus attracting increased visitors. You must consider using relevant content in your website to garner organic traffic to your website. Most importantly, your hotel website should be mobile responsive. Because, bookings coming from mobile devices is expected to shoot to around 35% in 2018. That’s a substantial jump considering that it was at 8% till as recent as 2017!

Your website should not take long time to load.

According to Tnooz, 32% of bookings on mobile devices are abandoned due to slow loading time.
Around 30% will abandon a transaction due to poor mobile responsiveness.
This could lead to around 10% reduction in direct booking conversion

Make your reservation phone number or mail id clickable on all the pages .It would help a guest to click and call or write a mail to your reservation department directly from his phone. You should have a clear call to action button, too.

2. Incorporate a booking engine into your website

Integrating a web booking engine into your brand website enables your website visitors to view the availability of rooms in real time. This real-time information made available to them is one of the easiest ways to increase direct hotel bookings. Guests would even receive instant confirmation against their bookings directly from your hotel PMS. This enhances a guest’s confidence that the hotel would definitely honour the booking.

3. Promote positive guest reviews on your website 

Almost 98% of travellers read hotel reviews and 80% of them consider them extremely important before making the final reservation. Good reviews can influence a traveller’s booking decision in a big way.  This is why it is paramount to strategically position and promote positive guest reviews on your website. It should be visible throughout all the pages till a visitor is done with the whole booking process.

Go a step further than just collecting reviews. Proactively follow up on reviews and respond to them; especially the bad ones. This communicates to prospective guests that you are a brand that cares for your guests and will definitely fetch you a brownie point. 

4. Entice your website visitor with offers or freebies 

Once visitors are on your website, you can give them compelling reasons to book directly with you. Clearly mention the kind of perks they are entitled to if they make direct bookings. Here are some of the examples – ‘Book with us directly & get 10% off on your F&B bill’, ‘Book with us directly to avail an easy room upgrade facility’ etc. Everybody wants more and hotel guests are no exception to this. According to Skift, around 45% of travellers consider offers and perks important to make booking.

5. Handle booking abandonment tactfully 

Are your prospective guests leaving your website at the search stage? They come all the way to the booking page by keying-in their mail id and phone number, but don’t hit the ‘Book Now’ or ‘Pay’ button? This is not good if you are looking to boost your hotel’s direct bookings.

Gather insights from their journey on your website. Take a close look at what kind of rooms they looked at before leaving your website. Write to them or call them, try to help them if they express their concern over the price of the room. Offer them best possible rate and tell them how booking directly with you can also get them a free breakfast during the stay. This type of personalized approach will bring them back to your property.

6. Offer loyalty programs 

Incentivize your guests with loyalty programs to book direct with you. Tell them that they can earn points that can be easily redeemed not only at your hotel, but also at outlets of their choice. This will not only a great hotel direct booking strategy, but also something that will help build a long-term association with your guests.

7. Enable booking via Facebook 

Offer an easier booking process to travellers via social media platforms like Facebook. Implement a booking engine that can be integrated with your brand’s Facebook page. It would help travellers to book direct with you from your hotel’s Facebook page.

8. Grow your presence on metasearch engines 

According to Trivago, around 50% of all online bookers use metasearch to find their ideal hoteland this trend is set to go up in coming years Metasearch engine helps travellers doing an informed hotel reservation by allowing them to compare a hotel’s price listed on several OTAs. It also shows the price mentioned on hotel website. This prompts a traveller to visit the hotel’s brand website, thus giving a boost to direct booking. 

Knowing how to increase direct bookings for your hotel is one of the easiest and most effective ways of building the credibility of your brand. All it takes is little of initial effort. These were eight tips to increase direct bookings for your hotel. Have you tried any of these strategies and witnessed an increase in your hotel’s direct bookings? We’d love to know. Leave us a comment here.

Struggling to increase your hotel’s direct bookings? Try Hotelogix PMS! 

Request a demo

This article was originally published on https://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article98562.html

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Management-Dashboard (1)

Hospitality industry is growing with a good pace and so is the competition within the industry. Today’s hoteliers need to have all the critical data on their business at place. It helps them view everything in one dashboard for quick consumption of information. They can save time, analyze current hotel performance, and can take data-driven decisions.

Well, the answer is DATA!, and that too everything in one place!

That’s the reason Hotelogix introduces Management Dashboard on both frontdesk and Mobile Hotel app.

Let’s dig deeper..

What is Management Dashboard?

This is a collection of all critical hotel data in an usable format, needed by a hotel to analyze the past and current hotel performance, predict future and formulate strategies.

This means that the key performance indicators of a hotel can now be tracked from a single dashboard without having to collect reports from multiple sources, and then compiling them.

Here’s the list of reports that can be accessed on Management Dashboard.

1) Before ARR – Average Room Revenue

2) RevPAR- Revenue Per Available Room

3) OCC – Occupancy (%)

4) House Status

5) Revenue Analysis [FTD/MTD/YTD]

6) BOB – Business on Books

7) Occupancy Analysis

8) Top OTA performance

9) Source Analysis

10) Market Segment Analysis

11) Availability Analysis

Here’s what the Management Dashboard looks like:

reports

What else?

  • You can restrict access of Management Dashboard for the users
  • Management Dashboard is print friendly, you can print it using standard browser print function
  • Is available with Mobile Hotel app

A hotel’s revenue always fluctuates throughout the year. The hoteliering business, like any other business, is dictated by many external factors and can get unpredictable for some. A hotel’s room revenue may see highs during the peak seasons as well as extreme lows during off seasons. Hoteliers looking for ways to boost hotel occupancy often end up reducing room rates. This however, does not guarantee full occupancy or increased revenue.

Looking for hotel revenue generating ideas when occupancy level is low? We’ll discuss different ways that can add value to your business and increase room selling as well.

How to increase hotel revenue when occupancy is low?

Before we proceed, you need to understand your room occupancy rate.

a) Note down your total number of rooms

b) Write how many are occupied

c) Divide the number of booked rooms with your total number of room

Your hotel’s revenue dictated by occupancy rate is also dependent upon your hotel type, the location as well as the guest experience provided at your property.

5 tips to increase hotel room revenue during the lean phase

Consider the following strategies to increase hotel revenue:

You can turn a low occupancy period into your favour by analysing details that give you many answers to use different hotel room sales techniques.

1) Evaluate the peak and off seasons

Why is this important for a hotel’s revenue? A lot rides on your hotel type, location and what it has to offer. Is your hotel in close proximity of a popular beach? You would need to evaluate your peak periods – whether the peak periods are at weekends or during the summer season. In this case, you might see a drop in room occupancy during the monsoons. Understanding this data will help you proceed further and find ways to boost hotel occupancy as we’ll see further in this blog.

2) Dig into your guest data

Use your property management system (PMS) to understand your guest history. Did you have a large number of family bookings, corporate crowd, or backpackers? You must know your customer’s behaviour to make data-driven and informed decisions for your hotel business. Using your guest data history, you can identify trends as well as define marketing strategies to increase revenue. Understanding the details in the patterns only simplifies the process of building a robust revenue model.

3) Create exclusive packages and deals

Now that you’ve had a firm grip on the information about your peak and off seasons, use the data to create exclusive packages. The research will allow you to talk about the benefits instead of focusing on the features. You can add a spa coupon for a “Couple Package” or add local destinations to explore for an all-inclusive package for families. You can also offer an additional night as complementary during your off-season months. Partner with local events such as music concerts to target the right audience accordingly. Keep a close watch on what’s happening in the city and how it will appeal to your guests.

Regular visitors to your hotel can be upgraded to a suite to score those additional brownie points and win guests over! Instead of heavy discounts that may not add up to your hotel revenue, offer add-ons to tempt the guest into making the final booking.

It’s your data here which will guide you to create packages and upsell your services even during those low booking phases to the right target group.

4) Market it right

Now that your basics are in place, you need to market your offers on the right platforms. Your hotel branding, websites, social media platforms and more need to be in sync with your marketing goals. Use emotions to connect with audiences on social media. The art of storytelling via images and videos will keep online users engaged. For e.g.: add a video that targets the monsoon period and what it has to offer for the offbeat traveler.

Speed up your website and add the right CTAs (call-to-actions) on your landing pages, add a booking engine, and ensure relevancy in your emailers is maintained. This should translate into more bookings. Compelling copy that attracts attention and holds interest is a must to deliver your message across to get more bookings. Distribute your rooms effectively on various online travel agency (OTA) platforms.

Quick tip – A property management system integrated with a channel manager will be extremely useful for you. This will help you to distribute rooms evenly, and update rates and packages quickly.

5) An eye on the competition

A drop in demand of rooms can also happen when you cannot price your room rate appropriately. So, how do you decide your room rentals? Should it be reduced for a particular season? Well, it’s necessary to keep a close watch on your competition. Price differentiation sometimes becomes unavoidable. To understand this better, study the hotels that have a similar offering such as yours. Know when their room sells as a higher rate or for slashed rates. While studying each property is a daunting task, the use of a hotel property management system that is integrated with a BI tool will help you keep an eye on competitors, get real-time data on dynamic pricing and make informed decisions.

A property management system integrated with a revenue management system empowers you to make decisions in real-time across various channels. Use technology to develop an effective pricing strategy using a methodical approach for different seasons. The automated revenue management system decides the price and lets you manage operations and room distribution easily. Sell the right product to the right customer at the right time for the right price and via the right channel!

These were some effective hotel revenue generating ideas you can use to increase room selling during low occupancy periods. If you’ve found this post helpful, don’t forget to like, share and comment.

 

 

Room pricing has always been a strategy that is debatable and only mastered by a few. Owing to the differences in each market, the competition and cost of operations, it becomes difficult to copy and replicate. For the sake of better understanding and for a more systematic approach towards pricing models, Hotelogix hosted a webinar, along with HMS Thailand, LodgIQ, and Vertical Booking.

The Panelists:

  • Bas Van Straten – HMS Thailand
  • Fabian Bartnick – Vice President of Asia Pacific & International Business LodgIQ
  • Siva Gangadharan – Senior VP Enterprise Business at Hotelogix

The Moderator:

  • Erik Muñoz – Chief Commercial Officer at Vertical Booking

WEBINAR

Bas speaks about pricing and revenue management in the hospitality sector and how important it is to take a deeper look at the data. He speaks about stepping away from calculating your competition’s success based on the 4 and 5 star rating that turn up on booking sites and delve into a more precise approach.

For the calculated approach he elaborates on the:

  • Average rate Index
  • Market penetration index
  • Revenue Generation index
  • REVPAR

And how they help you determine your room rates.

Fabian talks about harvesting data and then mining data precisely. He mentions that out of all of the data mined only 10% of that data makes real sense when it comes to revenue management and the decisions that assist it. He speaks about static and dynamic rates, what they are and how important setting them right is. He also speaks about BAR rates and how they are set and how they are influenced and the sources that affect them.

Siva talks about how the property management system (PMS) acts as a platform to capture data. The benefits of this data being on the cloud and its use in the recording:

  • Occupancy rates
  • Booking pace
  • Booking source
  • Segment wise data

He also speaks about using this data in a revenue management system to arrive at a conclusion about the room rates. He further adds the importance of rates and restrictions management and distribution.

Watch the webinar for a better understanding of how you can make changes in your approach towards room pricing to boost your revenue and stay ahead. With insights from some of the top revenue managers in the field, it will be an eye-opener with a few tricks of the trade to get you into the habit of strategically approaching your room prices.

Watch the Webinar video now!

 

A hotel management system or a property management system (PMS) is the most essential software used to run a hotel’s property. The tourism industry is booming and the world is shrinking with the Internet and technology taking over our lives. Travelers across the world are widely connected to their devices to look up for the best hotels for their family trip, corporate bookings, group travels, and more. Hoteliers of independent properties, mid-sized hotels, Bed and Breakfast or chain of hotels need to embrace the shift to online hotel management system. Technology plays a key role in one of the most important factors for the hospitality industry – guest satisfaction.

A streamlined management for a hotel ensures excellent service which in turn ensures happier guests and more customers. How does a web-based hotel management system help hoteliers to achieve this? How can a property management system increase revenue?  Let’s take a look.

What is a Hotel Management System? Why do I need one for my hotel?

Hotel management systems that run on the cloud are fast-evolving in the technology-driven world. These cloud-based hotel management systems are quick and easy to install, use, and lend a whole new dimension to the way hotel properties are run on a daily basis.

This is a software system that includes a host of functions to assist hoteliers. An online hotel management system is a must for every kind of hotelier, irrespective of the property they run. All it requires is a computer with a stable Internet connection.

How easy is it to implement a hotel management system?

As complicated as it may sound, this is fairly easy-to-use software that does not require lengthy training sessions with your hotel’s staff. This can be easily installed on multiple systems (depending upon the solution provider) and allows hoteliers to automate multiple tasks within no time. A smart hotel management system will be easy to plug into your existing infrastructure, without the need to maintain a support team or requirement for other investments. You, as a hotelier, would want your cloud-based system to be accessible to all without any added overheads. A hotel management system should also be able to connect to your website and facilitate direct bookings for hoteliers.

What should I look for in a Hotel Management System?

Property Management:

A hotel management system is useful to run the hotel’s property to manage the room rates, room availability, hotel reservations (check-in and check-out), guest history, billing, city ledgers and more.

Customer Relationship Management:

Cloud-based hotel management systems must be able to store customer data for your future use. Information such as preferred room numbers or favorite cuisine will help improve your guest service by preparing for a guest’s arrival well in advance. Hotel management systems help to improve guest communication and maximize the hotel reviews online.

3rd Party Integrations:

A simple installation of a hotel management system with 3rd party integrations such as Channel Managers, Global Distribution Systems (GDS), Snapshot, TripAdvisor connects and more are required to manage a hotel’s operations and sales.

In-Depth Reports

Hoteliers can easily save time using the flexible reporting system that comes with hotel management systems. It’s easy to export data directly and use integrated business tools to manage and use data appropriately. Hotel owners and managers can easily forecast trends and plan budgets according to the generation of reports.

There are various benefits of using a hotel management system. Let’s take a quick look at some of them.

Features of a Hotel Management System

Hoteliers can benefit from the features of a hotel management system in many ways.

Automates Operations

Whether you need to store guest details, book reservations, assign tasks, manage multiple Point of Sale (POS) systems and more – your hotel management system must be able to automate tasks. This saves time for busy hoteliers. Compare this to manual updates in the ledgers with constant reminders required for team members? That’s a thing of the past.

Ease-of-Use

Everyone on your hotel’s staff must be able to use the hotel management system with great ease. The software must have a clean interface with the simple task of streamlining your hotel’s operations without additional hassles. It should be easy and intuitive which lets a hotel’s staff learn at his/her own pace.

3rd Party Integration

As mentioned earlier, the PMS must integrate with various channel managers, review sites, booking platforms, accounting software, and more. For e.g. a channel manager will help you update room inventory and manage booking across all OTAs in real-time. This saves time spent on updating room inventory and rates manually on each OTA platform.

Strong Performance and Support

The chosen hotel management system must be adequately tested and reliable to use. The solution provider must have a strong support team to sort out your queries. You need the latest in technology to manage your hotel’s operations and the chosen vendor must be reliable and reputed in the market and should offer free upgrades.

Scalability and Pricing

The hotel management system must be beneficial to every kind of hotelier. You might be an owner of a small property with aims to scale up in the coming year. Does your hotel management system expand to meet your needs? Flexibility is the key as your cloud-based software model must be designed to accommodate growth of a hotel’s bookings or addition of another property. Property management systems that come with a flexible pricing model are best suited for hoteliers. Cost is one of the major deciding factors and a monthly service that expands as per requirement and allows unlimited users is best suited for hoteliers.

Data Security and Payment Gateway

Customers looking to book directly on a hotel’s website are most concerned about the security of payment. It’s essential to install a hotel management system that includes secure card payment options. The software must offer a choice of integrated payment gateways.

Other Features

Your cloud-based property management system must be flexible to use for any kind of hotel property. It should be customizable and must be able to adapt to the rapid changes in the hotel industry.  The chosen model must be able to help hoteliers manage multiple Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) as well integrate with the hotel’s own website. Access to multiple users for no additional charges is a very important feature. A currency convertor, multi-language support, unlimited POS for no extra charge must also be included in your hotel management system.

Mobile App

The chosen cloud-based hotel management system must be available as a mobile application to facilitate a hotel’s operations. With the availability of multiple terminals for various staff members, hoteliers as well as team members will find it easy to monitor operations while on the go. Hoteliers can access data in real-time, perform actions, download reports and do much more on a Smartphone.

Have you upgraded to an online hotel management system? Do let us know our feedback.

When independent hotels decide to move from on-premise or manual processes to modern cloud based Hotel Management System, there can be a lot of indecisiveness around this move. Small hotels feel the pinch since the move means investment in terms of money, time and effort. These hotels are already stretched and any change demands instant ROI to justify the move.

A common worry among small and mid-sized properties is that cloud based hotel management system mayn’t give instant returns and this may lead to a confused approach. It’s always recommended that you create your own checklist based on,

What is your budget limit?
Which features are important for your hotel?
Is the system simple or complex?

We bring you hits and misses that will help you arrive at the best Hotel Management System for your hotel,

The follow are definite hits that should feature in your check list:

Smooth integration: With almost every platform and tool moving to cloud, easy integration between your Hotel Management System and 3rd party tool is a must. This will save time and provide real time data for better decision making
Connect with Channel Managers: Channel Managers are perhaps the most popular online integration that hotels go in for. This helps update your room rate and inventory stay updated at all times and ensure zero bookings
Housekeeping & POS: Most Hotel Management System vendors provide basic functionalities like checkin, checkout and that’s it. Why not go for comprehensive PMS systems that come with Housekeeping and POS modules included
Reporting: Smart Hotel Management System have the ability to capture crucial data like occupancy, market trend, competitor pricing and more, which translates to informed business decisions
Support: This can be tricky since you are required to judge which Hotel Management System vendor will provide you timely service and support. Sites like Capterra and Software Suggest are great listing sites which include user reviews

Misses that you should steer clear of,

Opting for features than required: Evaluate features that make most sense for your hotel and then start your hunt. Keep a list of your hotel’s requirements ready and match it against the key features of a Hotel Management System.
Choosing by cost alone: Determine the ROI after you arrive at favorable options. Going in for for any low-cost solution would be a bad idea.
Obsolete systems: We cannot stress this enough. To best position your hotel business for the market trends in future, choose a modern system which will ensure a long and prosperous time ahead.

Running a hotel is difficult and you want to seek all the assistance that you can get. But with all right systems in place, it can be truly rewarding. Get the Hotel Management System to unlock new opportunities for your hotel.

Online Reservation Software are online tools that hotel businesses use to process reservations. Hotels relying on manual processes like pen and paper to run their operations, often feel the need to switch to an Online Reservation Software. Quick benefits like automated systems to reduce booking errors, implement online payments to increase cash flow, and create a more centralized approach to improve efficiency and save time is what hoteliers are looking to get out of Online Reservation Software.

 

Hotel businesses feel the need to optimize on the evolving technology and many, irrespective of size or location, are adopting them rapidly to increase revenue and occupancy. Be it a Bed and Breakfast, Motel, Service Apartment or a Full Service City Hotel, everyone can benefit from Online Reservation Software. Infact, its the small and mid sized properties who gain the most out of evolved hotel software. A lot of these properties usually run a tight ship when it comes to resources like staff and revenue.

 

Areas where hoteliers are benefiting from Online Reservation Software

 

Seamless check in

With no Online Reservation Software in place, booking may get lost or damaged. Your frontdesk staff may be attending to customers or assigning tasks to other department like housekeeping and can easily lose track of the bookings that have come in. This is a common scenario and can easily escalate to situations where guests arrive at your hotel and wait endlessly till you figure out which room are they reserved for.

If your hotel is connected to an Online Reservation Software, not only can you capture your walk-ins and call-ins, but also maintain a real time update of reservations that roll in through OTAs. This lets your staff to be on top of the complete reservation data, giving them the time and confidence to plan their schedule better.

 

Easier booking experience for guests

With guests getting more comfortable with online channels, OTAs dominate the market pretty much. Call-ins and walk-ins are few, with only corporate and travel agents making up for a fair share apart from OTAs. Online Reservation Software let hoteliers connect with online booking channels seamlessly. In fact, evolved cloud PMS’s like Hotelogix is popular for its seamless 2-way integration with Channel Managers which leads to real time room rate and inventory update. Double bookings, missed booking, etc are a thing of the past now.

 

Online Payment option

With popular online bookings come online payment requirement. Integrating your hotel with a software that supports online reservations but not payment gateways make for poor business decision. Also, creating a safe and secure environment for guests when they are booking online is crucial. Shopcart abandonment is a very common problem across businesses, major reason being lack of security. Empower your hotel with an Online Reservation Software that help your guests provide a safe, simple and flexible payment solution.

 

Connecting with Guests

Today’s guest expect a certain level of communication when they book with you. These can be booking confirmation mails, seasonal offer mails, thank you mails when they check out, request for review mails and so on. To carry out all of these manually would be a nightmare. Modern Online Reservation Software let you automate the entire process, saving time and effort for you. You don’t need to worry about which database to send it to and what time.

 

Analyzing hotel data

An evolved Online Reservation Software gives you the ability to optimize on your existing hotel data. Your marketing campaigns, pricing strategy, future plans, all of them depend on how you analyze and make of the data. Hotelogix PMS for instance gives you access to 100+ reports giving you better insights into your hotel. Accessibility of these reports play a major role because if it’s difficult to access, then it becomes a tedious and time consuming process.

 

We leave you with a checklist for choosing the best Online Reservation Software for your hotel,

-Features (Check for the one’s that your hotel requires, look out for features that may come at an additional expense)

-Cost (Are there any overhead expense involved in the system. Look out for extra fees and such)

-Support (Talk to existing clients for the kind of support that the Online Reservation Software vendor provides to them)