Small hotels have a unique challenge: how can they compete with well-known, corporate chains? One of the most comprehensive and successful ways to achieve this goal is through distribution methods like hotel reservations software and online booking capabilities. Considering that nearly half — 49%, in fact — of travelers get inspired by just the reviews they see online, it’s important to have room booking capabilities online, as well as an established web presence. When your smaller establishment embraces hotel technology, you’ll be in a much better position to compete and will stand out to travelers for all the right reasons.
Of course, when it comes to using hospitality management software systems and utilizing online distribution for your business, there are certain dos and don’ts you should follow. Here are just a few that independently owned hotels need to keep in mind:
- Implement online bookings
Hotel management systems allow you to keep track of your bookings internally and allow travelers to book their stay online. When you have hotel or bed and breakfast reservation software, guests can book their stay at a time that’s convenient for them. You don’t have to even be open to receive these bookings! It’s a much faster and more effective way to operate; without this option, you’ll find it hard to compete.
- Pay attention to details
Hotel reservations software allows you to streamline the entire booking process. Because this process is done online and is so visual by nature, you need to make sure that every detail is in its proper place. You’ll have to put more effort into photographs you use, descriptions you write, and any pertinent information you need to include. You need to do everything you can to appeal to travelers. Send out pre- and post-stay emails to guests and pay attention to what’s working (and what isn’t).
- Establish an online presence
Having an established web presence will signal to guests that you are trustworthy and well-respected within your industry. You need to make sure your own site is impeccable and user-friendly. You should also utilize social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for check-ins, shareable content, and to answer questions that guests may have. If you aren’t visible and accessible online, your hotel may as well not even exist.
- Update rates manually
Whether you work with third party booking sites or just use hotel reservations software through your own site for bookings, you shouldn’t have to manually change rates or inventory. If you forget or aren’t fast enough, you could end up with double-booked rooms or charging incorrect rates. Hotel reservations software allows you to manage everything instantly, which cuts down on staffing needs, frustration, and costs. KP Patel, a general manager at the Stanton Inn and Suites in California highlights the ease of management software: “I don’t need to change the rates manually anymore, I just need to click one button … I don’t need a lot of technical support to do it. Rate management is awesome and really fast for increasing revenue.” When you don’t have to waste time or risk making a mistake, your small hotel will be ahead of the curve.
- Ignore reviews
You should encourage satisfied guests to leave positive reviews on reputable and popular sites, but you should not ignore those who weren’t so happy with their experience. If guests make a complaint, you should do everything you can to make it right. By taking the time to reach out and legitimizing their concerns, you’re showing guests you care. Provide guests opportunities to give feedback on their booking experience and on their overall stay. Then, you can take these into consideration and continue to grow as a company.
- Forget to diversify strategy
In this day and age, no company can rely on just one tactic for business. Most small hotels work with third party websites, offer booking on their own site, and make good use of every other opportunity out there. If your hotel is already pretty successful, you should be supplementing your current strategy instead of replacing it. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; the key to success is diversification.
Want to find out more about how our hotel reservations software can help your independent hotel grow? Contact us today!