Shoulder season is upon us; it’s time to wash the windows, shine up the silver and do all those other little things you don’t have time for during high season. It is also time to evaluate your hotel and make changes so you attract more guests all times of the year. The time is now to implement improvements. You don’t want to be a candidate for Hotel Hell!
1. Streamline Reservation Procedures
The busiest time of the year for us here at WebRezPro is autumn, after the summer high season. After a flurry of reservations, many lodging operators are looking at a better way to manage their bookings and operational procedures. A cloud property management system is the future for hotels, hostels, vacation rental property management, bed and breakfasts and inns. With the agility to manage all aspects of your business, from bookings through to accounting, you can greatly simplify your business operations, giving you more time for the other things on this list.
2. Manage Your Rates and Promotions
Are you managing your rates effectively to retain a competitive edge with other accommodations in your area? This could entail offering specials, discounted rates at shoulder seasons and lower weekly rates. Managing rate changes can be a hassle, especially if you throw in GDS and OTA bookings. If you go with a cloud PMS, ensure it has capabilities for unlimited rate changes, “day-of-week” pricing, daily overrides, and a variety of rate setup options. WebRezPro offers direct integration with leading revenue management systems that can automatically determine the highest room rate on all nights to maximize your hotel’s occupancy. Offering value-added packages can also boost occupancy, especially during shoulder seasons.
3. Personalize the Hotel Experience
We recently blogged about offering personalized hotel experiences for your guests as a way to attract repeat stays. It’s all about making your guests feel valued and establishing an emotional connection by offering personalized touches, whether it is hand delivering a fresh cup of coffee in the morning or knowing that a certain customer only likes green apples in their in-room fruit basket. Keep notes on customer preferences in WebRezPro’s guest folios and offer further personalization with system integrations that allow for guests to customize their own experience, such as with a PMS Entertainment System interface. If your property offers activities, you can provide tailor-made itineraries with one booking system using Activity Engine.
4. Harness the Power of the Internet
Harnessing the power of the Internet is involves more than just offering free WiFi, but in fact, the Internet access you offer guests is incredibly important. In our blog post on the importance of hotels providing fast and reliable Wi-Fi access to guests, we noted that 34 percent of business travelers will not stay at a hotel without. Evaluate your Internet speed with websites like hotelwifitest.com and if you have a poor rating, check in with your provider or find a new one.
In the Internet age, it’s essential to have a website as 80% of travelers turn to the Internet to plan their trip. A website is also a vehicle for your online booking engine, making you available to take reservations night or day from anywhere in the world.
If you have a website, does it need updating for SEO as well as for look and feel? Your website is your store window to the world so take advantage to present your best self and attract customers. Is your website mobile optimized? More and more travelers are planning itineraries on hand-held devices so ensure your site is usable on any system. We offer responsive web design services if you need help optimizing your website for success.
5. Up Your Social Media Ante
Related to harnessing the power of the Internet (above), increasing your social media presence demands its own point. Along with having a website, social media – like Twitter and Facebook – are channels for increasing your online presence. But take note: the operative word here is “social,” meaning social media is a platform for engaging with past, present and future guests. Make sure you connect with guests and promote your hotel by following these tips for doing social customer service right.
You’ll also want to follow what is being said about your hotel by using social media listening tools. Don’t miss your opportunity to reply to negative reviews (as if you have any!) in an appropriate way to turn a negative into a positive.
6. Check in With Your Guests
As you take time to Gordon Ramsay your hotel, get some perspective. Don’t wait to get a negative review to find out how your guests think you should improve. Find out from your guests directly by checking in with them during their stay, and encourage them to share their experiences online. You can also integrate your PMS with systems like Revinate and Guestfolio to send post-stay emails and surveys.
7. Evaluate Rooms
When was the last time you stayed at your own hotel? It may not be so easy to overlook a television that isn’t working properly or a stain on a curtain when you’re the guest. Go room to room with fresh eyes to see what may need updating or extra cleaning. Throughout the year, make use of WebRezPro’s mobile housekeeping reports to resolve maintenance issues timely and efficiently, ultimately boosting productivity – and providing the best possible room for each guest.
8. Go Green
Set yourself apart from your competitors by promoting your hotel’s green practices and implementing new measures if you can. Guests also consider green initiatives attractive; TripAdvisor says 62 percent of US travelers prefer staying at green hotels and consider it a factor when choosing their accommodation. Here’s how you can go greener with a cloud PMS.
9. Group Bookings
We just blogged about WebRezPro for group bookings as a way to drum up extra business in your shoulder and low seasons by marketing your hotel as event space available for conferences, seminars, team-building, weddings and other special events to get guests coming in groups to fill those rooms. WebRezPro’s group folios make group bookings easy to manage.
10. Hotel Loyalty Programs
When it comes to guest retention, hotel loyalty programs are designed for just that. Loyalty programs are not just for chains. Our post on loyalty programs goes into how independent properties can benefit. WebRezPro offers a reward module with the flexibility to set conversion rates, and can also interface to Stash Hotel Rewards.
Editorial note: we have published a new, updated article about this topic.