Feeds:
Posts
Comments

The significance of a customer’s journey has, in a way, been diluted in today’s digital age. With the landscape diversifying and the consumers inquisitiveness at its peak, searching for the most beneficial option out of the now more numerous options, boils down to a matter of preference.

Take the hotel industry for example. On the one hand, we have the OTAs which burst into existence for the purpose of having a directory of hotels for customers to sift through and make a well thought out decision. On the other hand, we have hotels pulling in guests from sources like corporate bookings and tour agencies apart from the occasional walk-ins. With the scales tipping in favour of the OTAs more than direct bookings from the hotels, the analysis clearly points out a change in the customer journey.

customer journey in hospitality industry

Let me break it up for you and take a look at the stages a customer goes through before making a purchase decision. Following this journey will surely give you some insights into how you can work towards tipping the scales in your favour instead of losing out to the OTAs.

1. The Awareness stage – I need a Holiday:

Most often what triggers the average consumer is the social realm. Seeing a friend holidaying in Spain or an acquaintance from work visiting Paris. It could also be a weekend getaway. Think about it, the first thing that comes to mind when you’re browsing through your social feeds and you come across something like this. You picture yourself on a vacation, breaking away from routine life. Here are some stats that will cement this statement:

  1. 52% of people reported that the inspiration to travel comes from a friend/acquaintances FB photo
  2. Booking coming from offline travel agents
  3. 52% of people reported that the inspiration to travel comes from a friend/acquaintances FB photo

This is most often the stage where a consumer decides his/her travel destination.

2. The Research Stage – I’m definitely going on Holiday:

So once the bug has bitten, and a holiday is on the calendars, we see the research phase commencing. Most often than not, peer-recommendations play an important role in influencing the decision. Reviews, social media images and prices are all a part of this extensive checklist. A study found that exposure to user generated content has had increased conversion rates for hotels. This is the stage where OTAs tend to provide an edge to the customers and hotels lose out on chances of a direct booking. Having a directory of Hotels simultaneously with the reviews of several travellers and an option to book as you browse is definitely a win-win for a traveler.

  1. 77% of people read reviews before choosing a hotel
  2. 53% of them will not book a hotel without reviews
  3. 50% say that reviews have the greatest influence on their bookings
  4. 125% higher conversion rates have been recorded due to customer reviews

3. The book and stay stage – I’m on vacation:

This is the most anticipated stage for the both the traveller and the hotel. Having travelled through the whole screening process your guest is finally at the Hotel and this is where a lasting impression goes a long way. This stage is crucial as it could determine how active your guest will be at uploading photos and boasting about their vacation. It could also determine how vocal your guest will be about his holiday, be it is singing your praises or complaining about a disappointing experience. As a hotel owner, this is the stage where you’d probably want to engage them with a loyalty program or turn them into one of those peers, who will act as a brand ambassador as long as the experience is fresh in the head.

4. The Post-stay stage – I should probably tell people:

The Holiday is done and your guest is back home. The vacation is fresh in their head and the time is right to sneak in that review form. This usually counts as a follow up stage that has become crucial in today’s time. Who knows, those few words of appreciation and an experience to remember might be what tips the scale in your favour for the future.

These 4 stages are the most prominent stages in a travellers hunt for a hotel. Throw in the OTAs and hotels competing for the rights of attracting a guest and we have a field that’s plagued by mist. Rightly called as the Direct Booking Bermuda Triangle by Kristian Valk the co-founder of Hotelchamp.

If this piques your interest, and you would like to dive deeper into the intricacies of where your customers are getting lost in this journey, keep an eye out for ITB Asia 2018. Kristian Valk will be speaking about ‘Why your guests are lost in the customer Journey’. Stay tuned to our social media handles for a deeper understanding about this intriguing topic.

This article was originally published on Hotelogix Blog.

Advertisements

The hospitality industry is heavily season-dependent and there is only so much one can do that will change this. This makes corporate travelers even more attractive to hotels as they can bring you business round the year. This being the case, how can hotels increase corporate bookings?What are some of the definite ways to appeal to the corporates and win them over?

Increase corporate hotel bookings

You might be tempted to think about how a hotel can tailor-create an experience for corporates that will get the job done. And you aren’t wrong. Corporate travelers are almost always on a tight schedule, possibly hopping in and out of meetings. Making their stay a pleasant and convenient one, of course, make a difference. But in today’s world, offering free Wi-Fi, a workstation, etc in the room is basic! Even the smallest of hotels offer free Wi-Fi and a desk and a chair. If your goal is to create a lifetime customer out of corporates, then basic will not cut it. You need to address a problem that is deeper than that.

You need to fix pre-arrival and post-departure issues, as well. And this is only possible with the right cloud-based Property Management System in place.

Let’s consider a corporate’s typical journey with a hotel on a timeline. When there is the need for Mr. A to visit Singapore on a work-related trip, the facilities team gets cracking on planning the trip. Air tickets, hotel stays, logistics, etc need to be sorted. Typically, the facilities manager would email a hotel asking them about availability, requesting them to reserve a room for the specified dates, negotiate a price, etc. And this would take a few email exchanges before the final reservation is made. These exchanges could range anywhere between a day to a week. And this is certainly not the most efficient way of going about things.

Here’s how a right Hotel PMS will make everyone’s life easier.

1. Corporate login:

With a PMS like Hotelogix in place, you can assign separate and unique login credentials to your corporate clients. Like, a corporate booking console for hotels. This login gives them access to real-time inventory of your hotel, from where they can themselves select rooms, dates and make a reservation for their employees. A confirmation email gets sent automatically to the registered email id. Reservation is so much more simplified this way. This arrangement works perfectly for the hotel as well as the corporates, since there is no dependency on emails. No more waiting, no more fear of losing out on a booking due to negligence, etc.

2. Corporate Profile:

Hotelogix PMS allows corporates to create their own corporate profile or (contractor trait). This profile will contain all details of the arrangement that the corporate has with the hotel. This includes discounting details, billing details, billing address, payment details, etc. Every time you get a corporate traveler, the front desk staff just needs to key in the name of the corporate and voila! All the details relating to the billing get auto-filled.

3. Guest History

Apart from company profile, there is also the feature of guest history which immensely simplifies the check-in process. Once the company profile is selected, the front desk staff will then have to quiz the corporate traveler by name, the type of id they are carrying and other details which again can get very tiresome. With the guest profile feature, if the corporate traveler is a return guest, this data gets picked automatically upon typing out the guest’s name. As simple as that.

4. Billing

Often, corporate travelers are in a hurry. Minimizing formality and doing away with unnecessary processes can go a long way in improving their experience. Checkout is one such process which needn’t always be as hectic. With Hotelogix in place, a corporate traveler can just present his corporate id at the front desk to check out. The invoice can get emailed to the company directly, automatically. ‘Billed to Company’ if you will.

5. Allocated inventory:

Apart from all these features which are from the traveler or the corporate’s perspective, here is one other PMS feature that helps hotels. While the option of allocating a certain amount of your inventory to your corporates is handy, the hotel still has the convenience to entertain walk-ins with the rest of their available rooms. This way, not only does the hotel serve the corporates but also has scope for other bookings. This is important because one needs to diversify the sources of bookings for maximum occupancy.

Hotelogix is an extremely well-thought out cloud PMS which not only takes into account short-term requirements of the hotel, but also the long-term ones. Loyalty is not going to happen overnight. It comes after repeated positive experiences and the only way to do it is to put yourself in your guest’s shoes. With a PMS like Hotelogix in place, you set the tone right with corporates, communicating to them that you care about simplifying their experience- be it booking, check-in, stay or check-out.

This article originally published on Hotelogix Blog.

Independent hotel owners have a huge set of responsibilities to manage their hotel on a daily basis. Additionally, the increasing levels of competition only add to the worries. There are enormous challenges pertaining to an independent hotel’s digital marketing plan. Reason – travelers are getting tech-savvy and sometimes, hoteliers lack the urgency to adopt technology. Marketing your hotel rooms online is more than merely updating on OTA sites. To promote a hotel online, you require a combination of skills, strategies and of course, the right use of smart technologies.

Here are 4 challenges in hotel marketing faced by most independent hotel owners.

challenges in hotel digital marketing

Making the move towards a cloud-based property management system will resolve all the challenges in hotel marketing. It’s easy to bring down costs, reduce dependency on manpower, sell rooms faster and do much more with a hotel PMS.

This article originally published on Hotelogix Blog.

The dawn of the 80’s saw the rise of videos and the slow demise of the radio, which led to one of the greatest hits of that era, “Video killed the radio star”, by the Buggles. The song doesn’t welcome the change that motion pictures brought into the entertainment industry and is, in a sense, a sort of farewell to the radio, that was present in every home at the time. However, the takeaway from this is that some 30 years later, today, video has become the most popular medium of entertainment and information.

cloud hotel management system

A decade ago, Hotelogix set out on mission to revamp the way the hospitality industry used technology. Hotelogix was born on the cloud as a purpose-built system, aimed at assisting hoteliers conquer this ever-changing hospitality landscape. As we’ve seen over the last decade, the rivalry that was created between the on-premise systems and Hotelogix cloud has been a major topic of discussion. Most frequently, the debate ends in a deadlock which translates to a difference in opinion and a matter of an individual’s perception.

To avoid falling into this monotonous tone of comparison and barely doing justice to the article, I’ll attempt to illustrate the real power of Hotelogix.

What sets Hotelogix apart from other PMS systems is the seamless flow of data. Cloud enables collecting data from multiple sources in real-time, giving you the ability to analyse this data in the moment. Let me start by showcasing the power of a cloud system and then tie it to how Hotelogix shows its strength.

Speed boat racing, as a sport, takes place simultaneously in several different geographic locations and involves broadcasting data to the team, with a video feed for the spectators. Add to that, the commentary required for broadcasting the event on television. The cloud funnels upwards of a 100 contrasting datasets at once, for analytical purposes.

Now, Hotelogix is built on primarily the same platform we are talking about here. Think of it as a machine that’s constantly pulling in and interpreting data, tirelessly. The data could be from your channel manager, POS outlets, website and any other systems that your PMS may be connected to. Hotelogix has around 200K system users currently and this single platform supports all of these users without breaking a sweat. This not only speaks about the storage capabilities but the quality of engineering that goes into building a system like Hotelogix.

Hotelogix supports an average of 16K concurrent users, at any given time. These 16k users suffer no loss of performance with a desktop application-like experience. An on-premise PMS was not built to cater to more than 50 concurrent users.
So, no, it hasn’t been built keeping in mind smaller hotels or properties. In fact, it is an enterprise-grade system, built to withstand much more than what we are handing out to it. But that’s not to say that smaller hotels and accommodations cannot run their daily operations on it, or use it as a part of their expansion strategy.

Another facet of Hotelogix cloud PMS is its ability to access data in real time. Take a look at on-premise systems and you’ll see that they enable the access of data in batches and barely close to real-time.

Now, you might wonder how a cloud system is capable of achieving such feats? The answer is that the cloud replicates data. And how does that help? Well, Hotelogix system is constantly pushing data back and forth from the cloud and also simultaneously saving this data in several locations. What this translates to is that, irrespective of hardware maintenance or software upgrades, Hotelogix’s systems don’t see any downtime. This lets us boast of an uptime of 99.98%. What’s more is that even if any of the data centres should collapse or cease functioning, your data will still remain safe. That’s definitely something an on-premise system can’t boast of.

Hotelogix backs up data on a daily basis and depending on the number of customers, more than 1600 backups take place every single day. Even with the most effective IT environments within hotels, you will see that the data is only backed up once a month.

Here’s something I’ve been told a lot about cloud systems – that they’re just not safe enough. Well, I beg to differ. And no, my opinion doesn’t emerge from the fact that I work with Hotelogix. I have research backing me up. It is true that an on-premise system gives the user more control when it comes to the security measures being set up. Any mishaps that happen will probably land the hotel’s IT team in a soup.

Hotelogix, however, has a different approach towards security. Unlike the on-premise system, it is not a reactionary one. Let me elaborate. Unlike most systems that focus their security measures on the entry points, cloud focuses on the overall application. This is possible due to the visibility that cloud enables on every level, which ensures that the IT manager can view exactly who is accessing the data, at what time and the purpose of doing so. Thereby, regulating access based on the role of the personnel. What’s more is that one can also analyse patterns of attackers and provide more proactive measures to reduce instances of data phishing and phone fraud. Overall, it acts as a deterrent for attackers.

Another home run for Hotelogix is the possibility of integrations. Think of it as a custom-built ecosystem, tailor-made for a hotel. Be it the budget that’s the decisive factor or the features that you are looking for, you can design the ecosystem based on your priorities. Application Programming Interface or API, as we call it, is what enables the cloud to be so versatile. Take an on-premise system, for example. The features and applications have to be built into the system and is not an add-on that will make life simple. Now, the downside to this is that you pay for a bundle of features, which may or may not be of use to you. Hotelogix, on the other hand, integrates with leaders in the space– For example, a finance tool, a booking engine, a reputation manager and the likes. So not only do you pay for what you choose but also integrate with best tech that will definitely give you an edge over the competition.

Hotelogix uniquely offers APIs for hotel brands to develop their own apps and this has led to the development of an ecosystem around the PMS. Hotelogix receives more than 3 million API calls/day. It gives rise to the possibility of mobile apps centered around the staff-facing aspect in order to smoothen operations. It also enables hotels to plug in Hotelogix into your existing MIS system, exchanging feeds in real time, for brands to take strategic decisions with agility. On-premise systems are built on platforms that are not capable of such feats.

10 years in the game and we’ve watched the landscape change drastically. The interesting thing is that even the on-premise players have started to build their own cloud platforms. I’ll leave it to you on what to decipher out of this, but to me, it seems like the cloud has cemented itself as the future of hospitality technology.

In these 10 years that we’ve been in this space, we’ve seen the market evolve and change immensely. Watched the millennials become a major customer to hotels and have seen the struggles that hoteliers have faced trying to adopt to this new category of customers. Just like video killed the radio star, the cloud will replace these on-premise systems in time. Hotelogix has evolved into this machine that is capable of computing on an enterprise level. We are one system functioning across a 100+ countries, with more than 1600 customers and over 200K system users. 16K concurrent users on the platform and still providing a desktop application like experience with zero down time. Hotelogix has evolved into a stellar product that comes at a great price, without compromising on the quality of the features that it provides.

What’s interesting is the road that lies ahead of us. An ecosystem built for hotels with tools integrated into it, that will make managing hotel operations a breeze. Customizations, based on needs and scalable as per the times to come. We aren’t here to  fix something that’s broken, just around to make things better.

This article was originally published on Hotelogix Blog.

 

If you are still using Excel sheets to manage your hotel operations, you might want to sit back and take a serious look at all that you stand to lose out on. No, we don’t intend to sound sensational nor is this a hyperbole. But in the age of the cloud, where everything you need as a hotelier is available to you on a cloud based hotel PMS, subscribing to obsolete technology can be detrimental.

Some of the major risks awaiting you are loss of data, breach of data security, wastage of time, etc. And these are not issues you can overlook. So, in the best interest of your hotel operations, it is about time you considered switching to a cloud-based hotel software.

No, don’t blindly take our word for it. You need to be aware of the benefits of a cloud PMS over Excel, so you can take an informed decision and our bet is, you will. Here’s a great article if you want to know more about the advantages of switching to a cloud hotel reservation system.In this article, we will focus on the top five indicators that you need to move from Excel to a cloud-based reservation system.

1. The volume of operations

The volume of your hotel’s operations goes a long way in determining if or not excel is the right option for you. Take into account the number of rooms in your hotel, all the amenities and offerings guests can avail at your hotel, etc. If you are a small-scale B&B or a motel offering no more than a night’s stay for travelers, it is still possible for you to run the show with Excel. But no other type of property can afford to use Excel to run its operations. So, whether you are an independent hotel, a boutique property, a hostel.

2. The number of POSs – resto, gym, spa, activity center

The other important factor that you need to consider if you are still using excel to run your hotel is the number of POS at your property. If your hotel has a restaurant, a gym, a spa, an activity centre, travel desk, or any other source of revenue which is not coming in from your rooms, we strongly urge you to move to a cloud-based Property Management System.

There are several interactions that take place between the front desk and a POS, in a hotel. Without a PMS in place, keeping track of all the transactions made by a guest can prove to be a task. A PMS helps you stay connected and have a single point of reference as it links POSs and front desk. The moment your guest has a meal at the restaurant, the transaction is recorded in the POS. And if the guest has chosen to transfer the restaurant bill to his room, it gets added to the invoice. And it is the same with every POS. You can simplify so many otherwise complicated tasks, by investing in a cloud hotel PMS.

3. Your target audience

You cannot run a business without defining your target audience. Especially in the hospitality business, every property type caters to a particular segment of the consumer base- for example, do you cater to millenials, business travelers, leisure travelers, families, domestic or foreign travelers, etc. Depending on who your target audience is, you will have to define your online messaging, roll out targeted marketing campaigns, etc. And in the digital world, it is impossible to please everyone. You will have to define your niche.

Simply waiting for the “perfect guest” to choose you amidst an ocean of competitors is a huge mistake. You need to get out there and make sure your target audience finds you effortlessly. This is only possible via the internet. Connect with them on social media, run campaigns on Facebook or Instagram and also make sure your reputation online is impeccable. Negative reviews are never good, but you can acknowledge and respond to the reviewer that you would love to invite them again to prove that you’ve worked on their feedback. This builds confidence in prospective guests.

No. Excel cannot help you with any of these activities, which frankly are very basic ways to attract guests in today’s world. You need a PMS, and a well-rounded one in that. One that allows you to integrate with the best channel manager & a reputation management tool, automates emailers, and so on. You need Hotelogix.

4. Dependency on OTAs

Doing things traditionally and not exploring the benefits of technology isn’t going to help you thrive in this dog-eat-dog world. In order to appeal to the global masses, one cannot function without OTAs. As cumbersome as it may be to pay commissions to them, they also connect you to an audience which you otherwise can never get to by yourself. Find out which OTA caters to which geo and sign up with them, so your hotel is easily visible to your international target audience. Stay relevant to your audiences and be present where they are.

If OTAs make an appearance in your “sources of reservation” list, then relying on Excel is impossible. You need a system that updates your inventory and rate across OTAs in real-time lest you fall prey to overbooking. You need a system which alerts you in real-time when a booking is made on an OTA. This two-way sync has to be extremely efficient and this is only possible when you have a channel manager in place. Without a cloud-based hotel software in place, managing all of this manually can be a nightmare. An easily avoidable nightmare, I should add!

5. Competitor analysis

Let me ask you this. If you are still sticking to Excel sheets to run your hotel business, how do you work on your revenue projections? How do you get your accounting in place and how frequently do you generate reports? How many types of reports do you spend time on? What about competitive pricing and business intelligence? Do you have a dedicated staff for all this or do you do this by yourself? Oh, and what’s your strategy for revenue management?

We also work with some of the best-in-class third party tools which you can integrate with, depending on your requirement- business intelligence, revenue management, reputation management, channel managers, etc. Stop living in the past if you wish to succeed in the long-term as a hotelier. You need a cloud PMS to manage your hotel operations and you need it now.

 

This article was originally published on Hotelogix Blog.

cloud hotel pms,cloud hotel reservation system,cloud based hotel software,excel for hotel operations,benefits of cloud pms over excel,cloud pms to manage hotel operations

cloud based pms

There has been a lot of talk about the pros and cons of on-premise and cloud-based Property Management Systems and have turned out to be the debate of the decade in the hospitality space. With even the leaders in on-premise systems slowly shifting their focus on developing their own cloud-based platforms, it’s safe to say that cloud has captured the industry due to the utility it brings in and the ability to grow in the space.

Just for the record, we are not here to light a match and pick a side to set fire to. Any reference of an on-premise system that I might use in the course of this blog will be only for reference purposes. A majority of chain properties are still stuck on the traditional PMS, AKA the on-premise systems, and to highlight how effective a cloud-based property management system can be, we will cover a few aspects in which the cloud-based system excels.

Better control on group operation:

If you have been looking at cloud systems as incompetent when it comes to managing bigger properties, chances are that you have surveyed systems that were built for smaller hotels, or you’ve been grossly misinformed.

Having a cloud system ensures that you can manage several properties from anywhere in the world. Meaning, you do not have to be in the property to access the data that you need. Centralized control, as we call it, will help you manage any of your properties from any location, provided you have the required access rights.

Modify room rates, keep an eye on inventory or access reports of any of your properties centrally. Cloud systems give you a bird’s eye view of all your properties and give you the freedom to customize operations based on your needs.

Doubles up as a stellar Management Information System (MIS):

Waiting on reports from the individual properties under your group should be a thing of the past. Be it a single property or the group, a cloud-based system enables you to generate reports remotely. It gives your clear picture on property-wise or group-wise performance.

Guest Profiling:

It is another feature to help offer your guests the hospitality they crave for. Personalise your guests’ experience based on their spending patterns and preferences. Engage with repeat guests on a more personal level to win their side and have them visit your hotel as a preference. Upgrade their stay packages and nurture them, so they become loyal guests who keep coming back for more.

Customizable as per your needs:

Cloud-based systems bring in a wide range of integrations to help you better in every aspect of your business.

  1. Revenue Management: Integrate with the best revenue management systems that will give you insights on how to price your rooms and the allocation of inventory, giving you an edge over the competition.
  2. Reputation: In today’s age, a major differentiator between a good hotel and a great one is the way in which a hotel maintains its reputation. What’s visible to the outside world is what customers will think of your hotel. Integrate with reputation management systems to drive up your online reputation and score.
  3. Loyalty Programs: Having a chain of hotels and not having a loyalty program in place for your guests to take advantage of, simply means that you are losing out on a lot of business. Loyalty programs integrated with your PMS to drive these benefits and manage it centrally could be your first step to take maximum advantage of the situation.

Cost Saving:

For a chain of hotels, when it comes to a cloud-based system, there is a lot of money to be saved. For starters, with an on-premise system, you’re looking at it as a capital expenditure. The need for servers in your hotel and the licensing cost involved in using this system will be a major chunk of your expenses. Moreover, a dedicated IT department and the additional cost for every other module, is just going to drive that price through the roof.

On the other hand, the cloud system gives you a pricing model more on the lines of operational expenditure. There is no need to spend on a server and on additional licensing fees. The pricing is subscription-based and the system can be accessed with a PC/ laptop and a stable internet connection. The advantage here is that you only pay for the features you use and not for the additional add-ons that come with an on-premise system that might not be of any use to you.

Unlimited POS:

Setting up unlimited Points of Sale is another advantage of a cloud-based system. Be it your restaurant, spa or your gift shop, set up any number of POS outlets to increase non-room revenue your hotel is earning. What would otherwise cost you per POS module, on a cloud system comes at the fraction of the cost.

Security:

Now, this could be a most debated point, but just because your data is hosted on a cloud server, it does not compromise your hotel’s data security. On the other hand, a cloud system backs up your data on a minute-to-minute basis, ensuring none of your data is lost in case there is any downtime. With dedicated teams working on securing your data, chances are that these cloud systems are likely to be more equipped in detecting data breaches and thereby, tackling the problems with better efficiency than your internal IT department.

Accessibility:

This should be one of the biggest advantages of owning a cloud system- it is accessible from anywhere in the world on any device that has an internet connection. The real advantage is that all the data is accessible in real-time. Though some on-premise systems claim to give you data in real-time, they will never really be in real-time because of the time taken to upload the data from any one system to finally reach your hands.

Here are just a few of the benefits that a cloud-based system has for chain properties. The fact is that cloud systems are growing in popularity purely because of the level of customizability they cater to hotels and all the additional features they offer.

Have more questions on the hows and whys of a cloud-based system? Drop a comment or get in touch with us and we’d be glad to help you out with it.

Interested to know how a cloud-based PMS can technologically help an independent hotel? Read more here.

This article was originally published on Hotelogix Blog.