Author Archives: Kent Howard

Social Media for Hotels: 6 Tips to Maximize Your Facebook and Instagram Posts

Social Media for Hotels: 6 Tips to Maximize Your Facebook and Instagram Posts

Since the travel industry is mainly recognized by visual appearances, there are many ways to market your property (both inside and outside) on social media.

If you want your potential guests to take a second or third look at your property you must be able to evoke a response from them and what better way to do that than with stunning images and videos?

Here are some social media tips we picked up from some of the best hotels in the country.

Appeal to the millennials

Millennials believe that they can make a career out of bouncing from one location to another.

In a sense they can because they keep their eyes out for properties that allow them to kick back and relax, socialize and make new connections, and have great spaces where they can vlog, blog or promote their agendas.

Make sure to showcase the duality of your property by outlining the business and pleasure aspects through images.

If you got it – flaunt it

If your property is consistently scoring in the top 10 or top 100 don’t be afraid to do some social bragging!

Remember your guests want to know that your property is reputable and inviting.

What better way to let potential guests know that you’re serious about creating memories for your guests than to post about it? Share some awesome reviews or awards from review sites like TripAdvisor or Google. You can add a disclaimer on your surveys about responses being shared.

Encourage your guests to become social advocates for your property. You can offer rewards and discounts for the share or mention. There are even solutions that can help you automatically manage this like www.flip.to.

The truth is in the details

When creating images for your property think about the things that make it unique.

For example, if your property is themed around 1920s fashion, be sure to take images that outline that.

Guests may select your property based on the geographical proximity to their business or leisure plans, but they also want to know that your property suits their needs or tastes.

Highlight all the amenities your property has to offer from a continental breakfast and business center to a spa or tiki bar. Tell the story of your hotel through images.

What’s going on

When posting on social media, make sure to let your guests know of the events they can participate in while visiting.

By posting local events on your property’s social media page, you accomplish three things:

– You help your current guests plan activities while they’re on-site.

– You gain interest from potential guests, so they know what you and your town have to offer.

– You are immersed in the community becoming an expert on local events.

Lights, camera, action

If you close your eyes, you can likely imagine a million different places in your mind’s eye. However, when you want to paint a stunning picture for your guests, you must get creative.

Get creative with lighting, use different angles, and capture guests having fun.

If you have a rustic inn, be sure to capture images that outline the grounds surrounding your property to drive that point with your guests. Don’t skimp on the images/video. Invest either in professional photography or use a skilled team member with the right equipment and software to give your imagery an edge.

Think about your own social media habits here. What makes you stop and want to engage with a post. Is it an attention-grabbing headline or an image that evokes an emotional response?

Whether it makes you laugh, wonder, inquire or just daydream a little a good quality image or video is the key.

Magic Bullet?

There is no magic bullet to growing your social presence, but there are some basic tenants you should follow to get started.

Be consistent: most of your followers won’t follow you just for your past posts. Your guests/audience wants to know what they will get when they hit that follow button. From frequency to theme, it is important to create consistency to attract guests that understand your story.

Use the right hashtags: the goal is to engage your current audience and win new followers. Make sure you use tags that are relevant to the post. Do not add tags that could be seen as deceiving to your audience. This does more harm than good.

Timing: make sure you consider the timing of your posts. Analyze what has worked and has not worked in the past. On Instagram for instance, use the Insights under the followers section (free) to garner key data about when your followers are active on your account. This will help you make the right decision on what works best for your target audience.

Wrapping up

Growing your social media presence may seem like a daunting task at first. However, if you follow these tips, it is a task you can conquer. Just keep in mind that growth on social media takes a lot of time, dedication, and effort. You’ll need to be patient and keep modifying your social media strategy to win the day!

___

InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMS, Channel Manager, Hotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

The Value of Having a Hotel Blog

The Value of Having a Hotel Blog

If your hotel website features a blog section, which has remained dormant after an initial flurry of posts, then you’re not alone. Maintaining and adding new posts regularly to a blog is hard work – particularly when you’re the owner, manager or marketing head honcho for a busy hotel.

Blogging remains, however, one of the most cost-effective methods to reach a wide audience – some of whom may eventually become paying guests. If these past 18 months have taught us anything, it’s that it’s important to keep your brand’s voice out there and stay connected to your clientele, even when things slow down. A blog is an excellent way to build and maintain your brand’s presence and stay in people’s minds.

The key lies in maintaining a consistent approach to this form of content marketing. You might need some convincing, however, so we’ve listed a few reasons here why a blog will provide your hotel with tremendous value.

It’ll enable you to tell your story

Hotels are fascinating environments in which to work and, therefore, often have equally compelling histories.

Telling stories is an excellent type of content for any business or hotel blog, and, no doubt, your hotel has plenty. It could be a story about the property itself, the staff, your highly popular restaurant or your meaningful contribution to the local economy.

Remember – you don’t have to be the only person who contributes to the hotel blog. Ask other staff members to write an occasional post; it’s a great opportunity to generate as much value from it as possible and be a consistent source of fresh new content. You can also ask  the owners and/or managers of any local attractions with whom you have partnerships and even guests to contribute guest posts.

It’ll demonstrate you’re on the pulse

Hotel and traveler trends change like the wind, but with a blog you can show that you react quickly to the most interesting trends by simply writing about them.

The brilliance of this approach is that you don’t necessarily have to buy into the trends to offer your opinion on them.

Let’s consider the growing trend of the wellness traveler, for instance. You may not be able to cater fully to that market at the moment, but by penning a few thoughts on how you might in the future, you could put yourself in front of a much bigger audience.

Trends are a hot online search topic, and you’ll want your hotel blog to appear in those Google search results if you’re to be seen as contemporary.

It’ll supplement your overall marketing strategy

Has your social media presence been similarly dormant as your blog since you first created those Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles?

That’s little surprise when the two are so intrinsically linked.

Blogging will always supplement your overall marketing strategy by feeding content to your various marketing channels, including social media. New posts can be distributed on social platforms, via email and even repurposed as podcasts or video marketing content.

By tightly integrating your hotel blogging effort with the rest of your marketing plan, you’ll be able to measure its return on investment. For instance, the blog you wrote about the wellness traveler may become a popular retweet on Twitter and result in someone booking a room for a couple of nights. What a return (particularly when the only investment was your time)!

Great – but do I need to worry about SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is vitally important if you want your Website to be found on Google, and it’s a big factor for blogging, too.

By using smart placements of keywords (a keyword density of between 1.5% and 3% is considered good practice) and synonyms of the keywords, you’ll create content Google will love. Quality and quantity are of equal importance as Google loves fresh, relevant content. We suggest a well-written, unique blog published on your Website at least once a week is a very good habit to start.

Whatever you do, don’t view blogging as wasted time – this is one of the most important hotel marketing efforts you’ll undertake and will result in Google recognizing your brand as an authority within relevant searches.

___

InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

Advantages of Cloud Computing for the Hotel Industry

Advantages of Cloud Computing for the Hotel Industry

You’ve probably already heard you’ll benefit significantly from cloud computing as an independent hotelier.

This past year shed even more light on just how advantageous the cloud is over storing data on-premise. In 2019, just 24% of hotels in the U.S. were using a cloud PMS system. However, that number is growing by the day.

What are the advantages of cloud computing for the hotel industry?

Let’s answer the burning questions you might have on your mind:

Is cloud computing secure?

If you invest in a cloud Hotel Property Management System (PMS), then you won’t need to store any data onsite; it simply resides on a server elsewhere (it could even be in another country). It’s understandable this might cause you to experience some insecurities.

In reality, the opposite is true, because if you choose the right cloud-based Hotel PMS, then your operations will benefit from some of the best cybersecurity in the business. You’re unlikely to have enterprise-level security and firewalls, intrusion detection and industry-standard SSL encryption in-house, but the cloud PMS delivers all those protections for a fraction of the cost.

Is cloud computing reliable?

Definitely, and times are changing. Older, on-premise hotel PMS solutions are now being shifted to take advantage of cloud computing, helping improve basic, but important, common hotel operations situations, such as a line of people waiting to check in or out.

Cloud computing relies on a robust Internet connection and a device of your choosing. Even if your main Internet connection is interrupted, the flexibility of cloud applications means you can simply use your cellular-enabled tablet and continue to run your reception desk from the palm of your hand. Cloud computing allows you to work anywhere, anytime, securely, and reduces IT infrastructure and ongoing IT costs. In today’s connected world, cloud computing is fantastically reliable.

InnQuest considers these to be the top three advantages of cloud computing for the hotel industry:

  1. Lower operational costs
    There was once a time when every hotel PMS required a big server and hard-wired internal network to operate efficiently. With that level of complexity, a hefty support package from the vendor was usually a must, too. One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing, as well as a tremendous benefit, is on-premise hardware requirements are substantially reduced, and you only need an Internet connection to access the app. Consequently, you won’t have to invest in unnecessary computing power and networking, nor will you be saddled with an expensive support contract.
  2. Improved guest experience thanks to mobility
    It’s easy to forget that your hotel PMS has two jobs. Firstly, it must provide the best suite of management tools for all members of your hotel staff; and, secondly, it must help you provide the best guest experience possible. Another advantage of cloud computing is it enables your staff members to work more efficiently by freeing them from fixed terminals. Check-ins aren’t limited to the reception desk, but can be managed from portable tablets; and the speed with which information can be accessed enables hotel staff to spend more time with guests to deliver great service.
  3. Remote working
    Hotel managers and back-office staff must occasionally work from home or leave the premises to complete specific tasks. With cloud computing, you can truly work from anywhere – a capability the hospitality industry has now shown it can accomplish. When your PMS can fit in the palm of your hand, however, or be accessed securely via your laptop at home, the world becomes your office and you’ll probably be much more productive as a result.

Concerned about switching? Don’t be!

Migrating to a cloud PMS is easier than you might think. Depending on the system from which you’re moving, a complete import of your data might be possible, and the ease with which such systems can be learned means staff adoption is unlikely to cause any problems or service interruptions.

Lastly, and, perhaps, most importantly, one of the greatest advantages of cloud computing is significantly less time is required for updates to be applied. Almost 100% uptime isn’t uncommon, and that enables you to enjoy the best capabilities and benefits your PMS provider offers without lengthy, disruptive update routines.

___

InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMS, Channel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

How to Embrace Online Travel Agency Partnerships as a Hotelier

How to Embrace Online Travel Agency Partnerships as a Hotelier

Research suggests that anywhere between 50% to 72% of an independent hotel’s bookings will come from an online travel agency. That is a strong statistic that cannot be ignored. As a hotelier battling big chains, the increasingly complex guest journeys and rising commission bills, you won’t find this article to be easy reading, but it’s a fact that must be explored and understood.

The reason is simple: by embracing your online travel agency partnerships and combining them with direct booking strategies, your hotel can remain competitive and deliver the best booking experiences for guests.

Costly re-admission: it doesn’t have to be like this!

If you accept a booking via an online travel agency, then you’ll pay a commission for that business. This negatively impacts your RevPAR and affects your bottom line, but it does result in a new customer.

But, what if that customer re-books via the same OTA?

In that case, you’re paying for re-admission, and that’s when the real problems begin to mount. This doesn’t have to happen, however. The change will only occur if hotel operators take control, and the key lies in optimizing their OTA strategy and learning from their strategies to enhance direct bookings from your own website.

Learning from the big boys

There are three key insights hoteliers can learn from OTAs when it comes to creating a direct booking experience that attracts more guests and reduces the possibility of them choosing a commissionable route:

1. Personalization

Your hotel PMS should enable you to collect a wide variety of data about each guest, but are you doing anything with that data?

Knowing their previous room selection, method of booking, extras chosen and any previous discounts applied will enable you to personalize their experience and attract them to your brand. Experiment by browsing an OTA you’ve previously used to determine how it personalizes the booking experience and then apply what you’ve learned to your booking processes.

Whatever makes you feel good about booking via an OTA, replicate that feeling on your website!

2. Segment and use your email list

How often do you receive an email from an Online travel agency with hotel offers that appear to match your preferences and past booking behavior?

As a hotelier, you can do this too by combining the personalization techniques suggested above and segmenting the list of email addresses within your database. Your hotel PMS should enable you to do this by filtering specific guest types, sources of business and demographic data. Segment your database by those types of guest, their locations and stay habits, and then send regular emails to your past guests, making the call-to-action your online booking page.

3. Make it as easy as possible to book

When was the last time you tried the online booking process on your Website? It might seem like an odd action, but by understanding the experience you’re offering guests, you’ll start to identify their challenges or frustrations.

Your booking process should contain as few steps as possible, be ultra-clear and work flawlessly on mobile devices. If it doesn’t, then it might be a barrier to entry for otherwise direct bookers.

How to embrace your OTA relationships

It’s easy to view OTAs as the enemy, but if instead you consider them a provider of new guests, and work on building direct relationships via the methods above, they’ll become much more valuable. When compared to actual ad dollars spent to attract new guests, the OTA’s do this rather economically. To maximize your online travel agency relationships, try the following:

  • Align your online and offline marketing efforts. Remember, not every customer will book via an OTA if he or she finds you there; they may instead use the phone, and it’s vital they encounter the same brand, pricing and packages they found online.
  • Fine-tune your OTA listing. Was it rushed? Have you included enough original images that accurately show the best your property has to offer? Most OTAs offer a wealth of tools designed to help you create a listing potential guests can’t ignore.
  • Be smart with availability and rates. You can use OTA rate flexing and closeout features to maximize their use during your slower seasons. Don’t just “set and forget” your rates and availability.
  • Extend the service beyond accommodation. If an OTA offers the ability to combine flight and car rental with your accommodation, then let it do so – it may attract guests who haven’t booked independently.

Experiment with several OTAs and look for niche websites which appear to target your ideal guest; there are no rules to how many OTAs you should use and for how long you should remain on their websites.

Wrapping up

You hold the key to your online travel agency relationships and only you can influence how they work for your hotel. That’s a satisfying amount of power one can wield.

To make sure you are leveraging your OTA partnerships as best as you can, you need a powerful hotel channel manager. With this at your disposal, your property can distribute more inventory online instantly extending your reach worldwide to increase bookings.

The takeaway today is a simple and encouraging one: if an OTA sends you a booking, then you have a golden opportunity to ensure that person books directly in the future and to build a profitable relationship with your hospitality marking tool using post-stay engagement forms and special offers from that point forward.

___

InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMS, Channel Manager, Hotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

What a CRM system can bring to your hotel

What a CRM system can bring to your hotel

How many times has your front desk staff checked in the Jones family from Idaho? The Jones’ have visited your property for the past five years, their children have grown up on the ski slopes, and yet your staff (who have been at the property since it opened in 2014) don’t call them by their first names or welcome them back. Perhaps your staff is overwhelmed; perhaps you have a high turnover of employees, or perhaps the Jones’ have all had reconstructive surgery and no one recognizes them.  Whatever the case may be, why didn’t your staff treat the Jones family as the VIPs they are? What do you think it would to the Jones’ loyalty if the staff called them by name, knew they were vegan, and had their ski lift tickets ready to go upon check-in? Successful properties build loyalty in their guests, and the most successful properties build guest loyalty with a strong Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy.

True Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the way your property uses its resources like technology, people, procedures, and data to manage guest relations. CRM can (and should) be used at all stages of the guest life-cycle. For hoteliers, the focus of a CRM system turns toward the data collected from the guest to enhance their future stays. A robust hotel CRM system in place has the potential to increase your business exponentially, so are you ready to procure a CRM to use at your property?  Let’s look at some recommendations from industry experts on how to select a CRM tool that’s right for your property’s brand.

What do you want to accomplish?

Are you trying to increase repeat bookings? Improve the property’s overall image? Let’s face it, the reason to obtain a robust CRM system is not to accomplish all your property’s goals, but it does help!  When composing a list of your property’s goals, consider what items you’ll be focusing on to start: Guest behaviors, booking patterns, guest engagement, and satisfaction surveys can help you determine immediate actionable goals.

Which CRM system should you use?

When hoteliers are looking for solutions, they seek a lot of advice, look at their budgets, and attempt to find a suitable solution that meets their specific needs. Perhaps they watch some software demos, or maybe they decide based solely on recommendations from other industry professionals.  While solicited advice is useful, the key to selecting a CRM that’s right for your property is to think about how you will be using it to accomplish your goals.  Are you planning to add concierge features that interact with your guests while onsite? Do you want to create targeted email marketing campaigns?  Be honest when answering these questions, as they will ultimately lead you to the right CRM for your property.

Ready, set, measure!

As with any newly implemented system, you will want to be sure to set some realistic expectations when measuring the CRM’s performance. And just like anything new; it takes time to work. So, don’t expect a 100% response rate with your first campaign.  Realistically speaking, you want to start with small goals like a 5% increase in repeat bookings, or 15% lift in guest satisfaction.  Make sure to record your results, but don’t stop there! After recording real-time results, it’s time to get to work. You may find that your original goal of increasing direct bookings isn’t the only item your property needs to work on. In fact, there may be some additional goals added to your improvement plan during this stage.  Just remember, you purchased the CRM tool to help you build loyalty in your guests; but learning more about what your property is doing right (or wrong) is the best way to increase your overall brand image.

Wrapping up:

Hoteliers are often intimidated by CRM systems, possibly even thinking they don’t really need one.  However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  The CRM brings all your guest information together in a pretty package allowing you to enhance guest experiences and increasing your bottom line. If you have been considering a CRM system, connect with our sales team to discuss how we can help you reach your property goals.

___

InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMS, Channel Manager, Hotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

What is EMV?

What is EMV?

Developed by American Express, Discover, JCB, Mastercard, UnionPay, and Visa, EMV is a global standard for credit cards which use chips to process transactions.

If you’re running a hospitality business, guests will present EMV cards on a daily basis. And that probably means you’ve got lots of questions.

So, let’s get them answered, shall we?

How will EMV affect my business?

Banks are now issuing most of their credit and debit cards with EMV chips. It’s a move that’s designed to reduce credit card fraud and make payments as efficient as possible.
That means, as a business which accepts card payments, you may need new processing devices to read the information on EMV cards.

Since October 2015, businesses without EMV-enabled processing devices have been at risk of fraudulent chip card transactions, leading to something called the ‘liability shift’, which we’ll get to later.

The good news is that the move to EMV is pretty straightforward and cost-effective for most businesses.

But, why are we shifting to EMV?

It’s thought that nearly half of the world’s credit card fraud takes place in the United States.

Take that in for a moment. It’s a serious problem, and one which EMV is designed to reduce considerably.

The reason there’s so much credit card fraud in the United States is because magnetic-stripe cards are still widely in use. Unfortunately, they feature outdated technology and are very easy to counterfeit if you know what you’re doing.

By comparison, chip cards are far more secure. The chip is actually a miniature computer which is incredibly difficult to counterfeit, because all of the data it transmits during transactions is encrypted. Therefore, if someone intercepts the transaction, they can’t do anything with it.

The United States is switching to EMV chips, and for very good reason.

How much will an EMV reader cost?

EMV readers aren’t cheap when bought outright. They typically range between $500 and $1,000.

However, some suppliers enable you to spread this cost over the lifetime of your contract or bundle it in with their service fees.

Make sure you shop around – there are some great deals to be had, because EMV is a national imperative and credit card companies want businesses to switch as quickly as possible. This is why you may be able to obtain EMV devices with no hardware cost up front with some merchant service providers.

So, what’s this ‘liability shift’?

We mentioned this earlier, and it’s a vital consideration if you’re yet to jump into the world of EMV.

Before October 2015, if someone paid with a fraudulent chip card at your venue, there was a very good chance the bank would be liable and take the hit.

Now, the liability lies with you. Let’s say a fraudster pays an $80 restaurant bill with a counterfeit EMV chip card. If you’re not set up with an EMV card reader at that point in time, you could be liable for the $80.

Is EMV a legal requirement?

No – there’s no law that requires businesses to be EMV compliant.

It’s entirely up to you whether or not you invest in EMV-ready gear, but the liability shift is one of the key reasons you’ll probably be tempted to do so. This change in policy by the banks represents a significant risk for businesses; most merchant service providers are charging extra fees to merchants who are not EMV compliant.

However, despite the absence of any laws relating to EMV, it’s a really good idea to protect your business and customers by moving to EMV technology.

Is EMV the same as NFC?

No – this is a common misconception.

EMV and NFC both represent the future of payments, but they’re entirely different technologies.

Near field communication (NFC) is what’s used to enable contactless payments. It can be found both in credit cards and devices like smartphones. EMV, on the other hand, relates to the technology within the chip that’s now present on nearly all new credit and debit cards.

With NFC, payments are authenticated by simply placing the device or card near the reader (there doesn’t need to be any contact). An EMV transaction requires the consumer to insert the card (usually vertically) into a reader which processes the transaction and confirms its success or failure to the checkout clerk.

Most EMV readers are also capable of contactless transactions, but you’ll need to check your PMS for compatibility.

Want to know more?

The roomMaster PMS is fully compatible with a range of EMV solutions. They’ll help you reduce queues, protect your business from fraud and give guests full peace of mind.

How much more efficient can you be with EMV payments set up? You can find out by discovering Exceed, our hospitality pos solution. You can also get in touch with our team here.

___

InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today on +44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@innquestemea.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

For US, please call +1 813 288 4900 or email sales@innquest.com.

How Future-Proof is Your Hotel Property Management System?

How Future-Proof is Your Hotel Property Management System?

The Hotel Property Management System (PMS) is essential for guest satisfaction and business success. If, however, you’re operating a PMS that isn’t ready for the new breed of hotel guest or doesn’t embrace new hospitality technology, then it’ll quickly show its age and leave you trailing the competition.

The technology available to modern hoteliers is exciting and continues to evolve every day. Your hotel Property Management System should do the same, which is why the following checklist is vital to assess how future-proof it is:

Is it cloud-based and mobile-ready?

If you can’t access your PMS with a mobile device, such as a tablet, or a laptop computer with a WiFi Internet connection, then it’s missing, perhaps, the most important piece of future-proofing required. The days are long past when the hotel Property Management System was only installed on and accessible from large, expensive servers within hotel premises. Now, they’re lightweight and completely portable, thanks to cloud technology. Guests and your staff want to remain connected to your business 24/7. A cloud PMS enables the housekeeping & maintenance staff, for example, to receive room cleanings and maintenance requests in real-time with powerful desktop and mobile tools.

Does it have a proven PCI-compliant and GDPR-ready track record?

To process guest credit cards securely and in a manner that makes your hotel compliant, you’ll need a hotel Property Management System which has embraced the PCI standard. Similarly, and with the EU’s stringent new data laws, which went into effect May 25th, you must ensure your PMS is GDPR-ready. A hotel PMS that is not GDPR-compliant can cause a hotelier to face potential legal and liability issues. Hotels must obtain, store and process personal data to provide the best possible guest services. You’ll need complete support from your hotel Property Management System provider, however, so you can use a platform that enables you to do so securely and in accordance with the latest regulations. If your current provider seems uncomfortable divulging information about either its PCI compliance or preparations for the GDPR, then it might be time to look for a replacement.

Are third-party interfaces made readily available?

Your Property Management System software is the heart of the hotel’s technical operations, but it will benefit significantly from integrations with third-party systems. With new hospitality industry technologies being introduced regularly, you’ll need a system that’s integration-friendly. Link a PMS to the right external systems, and you’ll reduce duplicate workload, all but eradicate human error and be able to provide new guest services in high demand. From integrations with credit card processing platforms to links with phone systems and two-way OTA interfaces, the modern hotel Property Management System is far more effective when it’s connected.

How secure is it?

Cybercrime generates almost a constant stream of news stories and articles, which is why you need a hotel Property Management System built to counter the latest types of attack. When the provider monitors your hotel PMS 24/7 and it is cloud-based, you’ll lessen your hotel’s IT security burden because you’ll only need a Web browser and Internet connection to access the PMS. This also allows you to benefit from the latest server security updates to deter attackers.

Is it more than a booking system?

There was a time when a hotel Property Management System was nothing more than a replacement for a booking diary and back-office accounting system. Now, it’s much more, and offers hoteliers tools that enable them to flourish in an increasingly complex, digital economy. To be as future-proof as possible, your PMS most also offer revenue management capabilities. It should also include staff scheduling, guest loyalty features and a channel manager that provides you with access to a world of potential booking sources.

Deep-down, you’ll know if your hotel PMS isn’t ready for what’s to come. It’s important you act now to ensure its inability to future-proof itself doesn’t impact your hotel’s ambitions for growth. Start your free trial now.

___

InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMS, Channel Manager, Hotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

The Social Media Engagement Guide for Hoteliers

The Social Media Engagement Guide for Hoteliers

In today’s digital world, social media is a part of nearly everyone’s everyday life. The same is true in the hospitality world.

Four in ten global travel marketers believe Facebook and Instagram are among the platforms which will disrupt the travel industry in the next few years. Tellingly, both of those social media services are identified by the same people as being the most effective for targeting new audiences.

And that’s not just one group’s opinion. A report by Criton revealed that 62% of guests want to use their smartphone to check-in and out of hotels. And it’s believed that half of all internet traffic now originates from mobile devices (a number that continues to climb each year) – meaning more and more guests are using mobile alone to make their decisions. So you as a hospitality owner, executive or manager need to be on top of mobile trends, like social media.

Given these facts about the importance of social media, how do you use it properly? How do you increase engagement, gain positive reviews and drive guests to your Facebook and Instagram platforms?

 

Read More »

Why Loyalty Isn’t Just for Hotel Guests

Why Loyalty Isn’t Just for Hotel Guests

In 2019, Wyndham Rewards reported a 69% increase in revenue during 2018 to $527 million. It’s considered one of the best loyalty programs on the market and their numbers seem to support that position.

Wyndham Rewards is one of many loyalty programs on the market, showing the trend in the industry towards valuing customer retention. Programs like these are critical to building and maintain a trustworthy brand in the eyes of both existing and potential hotel guests.

But have you considered this trend also applies to your staff?

What do hotel staff really want?

According to research, nearly half of hospitality workers identify a lack of recognition as one of the main barriers to getting ahead. When it comes to loyalty, staff must also feel as though they are a part of your guest membership programs or those programs won’t be nearly as successful as they could be.

Your entire organization must believe in the membership you are providing; all employees at every level must play a role in making your enterprise great, and they must believe in that role. They must know they are contributors and important players in the overall health and success of your company.

If they know they are valued they will take pride in their jobs, and a sense of collaboration will be fostered on all levels. This in turn translates to a positive environment for the rest of your staff and for your members.

Your members and guests will take notice of this; they can tell when your staff is just there to do their jobs or when they are coming from a place of service and connection. Every single person who works in your hotel must be on board; they must feel they are valued and they matter. In turn, they will be sure your members feel they are valued and they matter.

Employee Benefits: Going Beyond The Basics

A few years ago, IHG began offering an employee benefit program called Room To Be Yourself.  The program was designed to give people the opportunity for career growth, achievement recognition. It allowed employees to take “an active role in their development”.

Although the program has since ceased, it’s legacy remains, with plenty of references to ‘room to be yourself’ threaded throughout the IHG website. 

First Hospitality Group (FHG) also joined in with their People First program, which began back in 2003. It’s an employee incentive program designed to retain their best and brightest. In an article on Lodging Magazine’s web site, Robert Habeeb and Steve Schwartz of FHG both discussed how beneficial this program has been for their staffing, overall.

Every year the company holds an awards dinner and the grand prize winner is announced. The winner receives a year of paid living expenses or a free vehicle. There’s also an “Inner Circle” program for managers. The top 10 performers are given luxurious trips to various global destinations, like England and Portugal.

Habeeb goes on to share the impressive results of this program: their employee retention rate is 12.5%, a number that is far outpacing the rest of the industry.

It’s apparent FHG is doing something right to attract and retain their staff at a much higher percentage than their industry competition. Let’s look at some reasons why people are leaving, and what you can do about it, aside from giving people a car or trips around the world!

High Turnover Rates: What To Do And How to Keep Your Staff Happy

The topic of employee satisfaction leads directly into the high turnover rates in the hospitality world. In fact, the annual staff turnover rate for the hotel and motel industry in the US reportedly stands at a huge 73.8%.

Those numbers lead to the questions: why is the percentage so high and what can you do about it in your own workplace?

In 2016, Hotel News Now asked several hotel operators to weigh in on this topic. Shawn Gracey, EVP of hospitality for Key International, touched on a few options for keeping your turnover low. He cited things like a flexible work schedule and a company commitment to each person’s career track and personal growth.

He found that people today want to be valued for who they are, and what they bring to the table. They value having opportunities to explore how they can contribute on a bigger scale; they want to be recognized as a person, not just a “cog in a machine”.

Flexible Work Schedule

We’ve already talked about FHG’s People First program and IHG’s Room To Be You program as programs to recognize individuals for their contributions. Both programs are examples of how to help your staff contribute in meaningful ways while allowing them to grow as people, key factors in retaining great people.

Which leaves us with the flexible work schedule. Adam Peterson, the Food & Beverage Manager at Holiday Inn, has found a way to address the flexible work schedule in such a way that it has become an exceptional employee benefit. He uses a tool he calls “accommodating scheduling”.

Essentially it works like this: employees fill out an entire month’s calendar with the shifts they are available for, and when they must have off. Every person does this and then all their requests are entered into one spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet then works out who is available and when during that particular month. A schedule is created from that information. Adam reviews it for any gaps and then asks his staff to fill in those remaining shifts. He lets them take ownership – which is key.

By giving his team ownership he creates a deeper bond – much more so than if he was the one telling them when they should work. Adam has found this type of scheduling to be truly valuable to attracting and retaining the best people.

Does it work?

The proof is in his results: his town has an unemployment rate of 3% and yet he consistently recruits and retains the best staff, on the rare occasion he has an opening on his team.

Clearly there are themes throughout all the current workplace trends: engaging your employees on an individual level and providing flexibility to accommodate their needs. IHG and FHG employee benefit programs. Doing these things are just a few of the current hospitality trends that will help keep your staff happy, and turnover low.

___

InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management softwareroomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.