Author: srihari

3.22
Aug11

The rise of millennial travelers has seen sweeping changes envelop hospitality. Guests today enjoy unprecedented levels of convenience – with almost everything they need available via their smartphone. The industry has dutifully kept pace with developments in the mobile environment, with OTAs, hotels and travel agencies launching apps and optimizing their websites for all devices.

Recently, mobile apps for managing back-end operations have also begun appearing in the market. Android and iOS versions of property management systems (PMS), channel managers and other similar tools have been growing in popularity, enabling hoteliers to control operations on the go. And while these apps are more attuned to the hotel’s needs, they inevitably contribute to improving the guest experience as well.

A great guest experience stems from a good hotel management
When core processes within a property are optimized to run efficiently, productivity is enhanced and subsequently, all other departments run smoothly. This is apparent in the way a cloud-based PMS transforms the running of a hotel – automation and better organization of tasks free up the hotel’s staff, enabling them to attend to guests more effectively. With a PMS app, hoteliers have the added edge of being able to carry out such tasks from anywhere, within or outside the property.

This also lowers their dependence on additional infrastructure such as traditional workstations. With such limitations eliminated, guests can expect even quicker service. Agents can create new reservations for walk-ins or unexpected arrivals, add room preferences and even check them into the property even if the front office is full. Similarly, at the end of the stay, hoteliers can check-out guests, consolidate folios and even accept payments – right there from their smartphone.

Apps equipped with scanning features, such as Hotelogix’s mobile PMS, have the added functionality of recognizing guest IDs such as the passport or driving license from over 80 countries. This saves the staff from manual entry, allowing them to complete a reservation faster.

Bookings can also be made specifically for groups, corporates or travel agents with previously assigned rates for partners. Even the pricing plan can be adjusted at any time, enabling revenue managers to implement their strategies and change pricing optimally. In an industry where dynamic rates change every hour, having the capability to make such modifications to pricing via mobile can be a significant advantage.

As we approach the end of the year, hotels gearing up for the festive season will witness first-hand the advantages of having a mobile management facility. When pushed to the limit and operating during periods of peak occupancy, anything that can be streamlined or done faster makes a difference!

3.11
Aug11

As a hotelier, you may know that retaining guest loyalty is not an easy job. You need to not only focus on getting new customers, but also being the preferred choice for the past and present guests.

So how can your hotel be the preferred choice for the guest?

Easy to use websites/mobile sites:

A guest wants their booking experience to be swift, intuitive and without any problems. Ensure your websites and mobile booking options are fast and bookings can be made via any of the pages. 65% of all same day reservations are made via a smartphone (according to Statisticbrain). You must ensure that your hotel websites are mobile-friendly.

Understand your guest’s needs:

Hotels should listen to their guests/gather feedback, interact with them and anticipate their needs. While the guests are at the hotel, create a rapport with them and interact. Understand whether the guest prefers to be left alone or enjoys the extra attention that the hotel can give them. It is very important that hotels have a Property Management System (PMS) in place that automates operations, leaving the staff with more time to interact with the guests.

Keep in touch:

Your hotel’s job is not over once the guest leaves their property. Your hotel should reach out to the guests, ask for their feedback, thank them for their stay and regularly send updates to them. This helps increase the recall value of your hotel – either for them, and for them to recommend your hotel to their friends. Send out holiday options to your guests keeping their needs in mind. For a business traveller you can offer free Wi-Fi or complimentary access to the business centre. For couples the hotel can create special spa packages and so on.

Loyalty points program and exclusive deals for loyal customers:

A loyalty program offering points or miles to guests when they stay with you can be a huge incentive and encourage guests to come back. If you’re a small hotel, and not part of a big chain, then instead of having your own loyalty program, you can tie-up with airlines or credit card institutions as one of your partners. You can also categorize exclusive guests and entice them to come back and stay, on an all inclusive package, or offer special local activities and excursions.

Ask for feedback:

Mail your guests post their stay and ask them for their feedback directly and also request them to post their feedback on sites. Even if the feedback is negative, reach out to the guest, apologize to them and tell them that their criticism shall be looked into and rectified. Guests need to feel that their opinions matter and are taken seriously, even with a bad experience a guest may still come back if the hotel takes the time to reach out to them and apologize.

Remember your guests:

Keep a note of your repeat guests, remember their names, preferences and any special requirements. These small things matter a lot, a guest would love to revisit hotels with staff that remembers him by his name, allocates their favourite room and remembers any special occasions.

Train the staff regularly:

A guest’s fifth stay should be as impressive as the first one. Change of staff, cooks, etc is no excuse for a dip in service. Your hotel should regularly train the staff on the kind of service your guests expect.

image23
Feb20

However, having a website is simply not enough. If a potential guest visits your site and cannot easily find the information they’re looking for, there is an immediate action to book elsewhere. To avoid the loss of a potential guest there are 6 cardinal rules every small hotel, Bed and Breakfast, guesthouse or motel must follow to ensure maximum occupancy all year round.

1. Online Booking Button

This may seem simple enough but many hoteliers are missing out on bookings when there is no option to book in real-time. A booking engine tool makes it possible to check the availability and rate of your room/s for a specific date. It’s usually included in all-in-one booking software solutions. Giving travel customers the ability to book instantaneously is an essential part of any hotel website.

2. Rates and Availability

There are many small hotel websites that actually turn direct website bookings away because the price they advertise on their own website is more expensive than advertised elsewhere.

With limited resources and only a select number of hours in a day it is near impossible to manually keep across all of your rates and availability if you are advertising across multiple booking channels. This is where smart hoteliers will integrate their website to an all-in-one system that will manage their channels.

3. Mobile Compatibility

Did you know that 52% of all travel consumers are using mobile devices exclusively to conduct all online travel research [1].

Generate more room bookings and convert potential customers into paying customers by:

  • Creating a site that auto-adjusts based on the size of a smartphone or tablet (mobile optimised).
  • Cleverly placing information such as ‘click-to-book’ buttons in locations that can be easily found and clicked.
  • Adding links to maps or directions.
  • And ensuring the complete online experience is mobile responsive from research through to booking.

4. Confidence and Security

Savvy consumers are becoming more vigilant about Internet security, especially when it comes to their credit card usage. If your hotel’s website does not partner with a PCI (Payment Cards Industry) compliant booking engine, guests could feel uncomfortable sharing their credit card details and in turn a large proportion will not follow through with the booking process.

5. Website quality and the user-experience

It is a smart idea to invest in a quality photographer to take photos of your hotel, rooms and facilities. People like to know what they are getting and, especially for small hotels, who they are getting it from.

A few specific points you could use to make your site even better from a user-experience perspective:

  1. If the user wants to navigate to other key pages on your hotel website, make it easy and make navigation choices obvious.
  2. Place all the best elements of your hotel website, including a booking engine button to book, at the top of the page so that a guest is motivated to make a reservation from the word go.

6. Guiding customers through booking process

Many hotel websites don’t tell guests how to actually book. This is a fundamental principal of effective e-Commerce and must be taken into consideration. There are a number of ways you can show potential customers how to create a reservation. For one, you can create a page on your site that explains the booking process. No matter how simple the page may be, for some less savvy users, this will give them the confidence to go through the booking process with ease.

7. Monitoring and adjusting your website

Why not check how effective your booking engine is by asking a few friends and professional contacts to make a booking on your website. If this friend can easily book without asking you questions, then you know that your direct booking engine is really easy to use and the likelihood of you getting booked online is now substantially higher.

 

image22
Feb20

The right pricing strategy can help you increase your market share against other properties in the area (or prevent new competitors from entering the market), while the wrong pricing strategy can do just the opposite.

These clever pricing techniques can help you get more bookings (and market share) for your bed and breakfast, inn, guesthouse, or small hotel.

1. Price match your competitors

If there’s an accommodation provider near you who you consider to be a competitor, set one room rate at the same price point, and set another room at a slightly higher rate.

Why? It gives you the best of both worlds. Your small hotel to gets to win over deal-seeking guests without losing the opportunity to make a little bit more than your competitors.

2. Psychological pricing

Set your rates at an unrounded price – for example, $99 instead of $100. The odd pricing technique is simple, but effective, making it one of the most common pricing strategies used around the world. We’re just wired to be more attracted to the odd price.

Why? Some say that it’s because of the digital places – for example, if 9 gets rounded up to 10, 10 itself has two unit places, therefore the amount will be psychologically perceived as a lot higher despites its real difference. This technique is psychologically proven to work, so use it to boost room sales.

3. Surround your middle market

Set the price of your most basic room to the cheapest price in the market and price your other rooms close to your competitors’ basic room prices.

Why? Essentially, this allows you to capture the middle market – as well as the lower and higher markets – all in one go.

4. Be better than the rest

Set your small hotel’s room rates higher than your competitors. Consider throwing in some extras to justify the increase in price, such as complimentary Melaleuca essential oils for aromatherapy and relaxation.

Why? By doing so, you will set a standard that your property is of higher value and therefore worth paying more. If you pursue this strategy, be sure to deliver on your value promises.

5. Penetrate the market

Offer your rooms at the lowest price possible to draw in a crowd of guests to your small hotel.

Why? Most guests are familiar with the idea of running promotional discounts to raise awareness, so this strategy is great to get the word out about your property. However, it should not be long term – do it in short bursts or your guests may start thinking you’re of low value, and your profit margins will drop over time.

Work out what’s right for your small hotel

Each property is different, so measuring your success and tweaking your pricing to suit is instrumental to your success. How else will you know whether it has increased your occupancy rate and your revenue?

As a small hotel owner, you will have to make the final call on what you want to achieve most with your pricing and then put your chosen strategy in place.

 

image13
Feb20
  1. The 1-800 reservations number will probably send you to a central office with set rates. If you call the hotel directly instead, you can negotiate.
  2. Hotels can pay a commission of up to 30 percent to online booking sites. So offer me 20 percent less than the online price, and we both come out ahead.
  3. Independently owned hotels are far more likely to give you a discount. Some chains balk at dropping the rate.
  4. If you show up at 11 a.m. and check-in time is 2 p.m., please don’t be upset if your room isn’t ready. I can’t make the housekeepers go any faster. And you don’t want them to rush.
  5. Don’t ask me for an upgrade when other guests are within earshot. Want a more spacious room without paying more? Request a corner room or a handicapped one.
  6. Some concierges get kickbacks for sending you to pricey tourist traps. If you want an unbiased recommendation, ask me.
  7. Sometimes my boss makes me lie, like when the elevator’s not working and I tell you someone is coming to fix it soon. I know it won’t be fixed until Monday, because the manager doesn’t want to pay the repairman’s weekend rate.
  8. Don’t call between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. with a special request. Chances are I’ll have a long line of guests waiting to check out or in and will just want to get you off the phone.
  9. My official job description: errand runner, toilet plunger, bow-tie tier, towel deliverer, and chef (that free continental breakfast doesn’t appear from above). I’ve also sprinkled rooms with rose petals and dealt with dead bodies. All for about $10 an hour.
  10. We love it when you steal the soap, shampoo, and lotion. That’s why we put our logo on them. But pillows, bedspreads, and irons? We’re billing your credit card.
  11. Keep it down. Even the best hotels aren’t totally soundproof, and I’m the one who has to send the security guard up to knock on your door when someone complains.
  12. It’s a lot easier for me to remove Wi-Fi charges from your bill at checkout than to agree to waive them in advance.
  13. No, we don’t have an hourly rate. You don’t want to be at a hotel like that anyway.
  14. Most of us are happy to help. If you ask us to, we’ll tell callers you’re not registered at the hotel, or tell you where to park so you can’t see your car from the interstate. But we’re also talking behind your back about what you might be hiding.
  15. Always request clean linens when you check in. We wash the sheets every day, but blankets often only get washed once a week. And the bedspreads? If there’s no visible stain, it’s maybe once a month.
image12
Feb20

Hotel bookings have largely become ubiquitous in the 21st century working professional’s lifestyle. Whether for business or leisure, chances are you’ll find yourself in that situation where you need to book a temporary crib more often than not. Competitive as it is, the hospitality industry has left some loopholes for the smart traveler to reap rich dividends.

So, how to make your hotel stay extraordinary? Well, it always starts from the booking – that moment of choice when you’re surfing websites and apps to find a suitable place to call home for a while. Let’s take you through the 5 tips to having a great hotel stay.

Using Credit Cards

Okay, so this is a common refrain nowadays: “I’m not getting a credit card.” We understand. Those shiny plastic things are just way too much temptation. Who cares about no added charges or cashback deals? It’s just another potent tool of capitalism!

Well, by all means, stick with your debit card or the good ole’ cash. But hear me out: when it comes to hotel stays, restaurant offers and airline tickets – credit cards are worth their weight (and then some) in gold. From free night stays to cash-back bonuses, there’s a lot your credit card can do for you, especially if you’ve got the right one. Take some time out to discuss your credit card options with your bank, and get an optimal mix of maximum benefits and minimum buyer’s remorse.

Checked Itinerary? Now Double Check!

This is one major – and totally avoidable – booking mistake made by people, especially when it comes to international travel. So, your flight leaves on the 14th, huh? A lot of times, carelessness or hurry (or both) makes you book a hotel stay for that one day when you’ll be parked in a flight seat (presumably next to a bawling toddler, although my prayers are with you there). The excess – and usually non-refundable – cost of that one extra night charge is totally avoidable.

Also bear in mind the time difference if you’re travelling international. 12:30 PM your time may be 2:30 AM in your destination – which could mean a world of difference. Keep the calculations in mind, and make a calm decision.

Keep it Flexible

A lot of hotels and travel booking sites are very rewarding to customers who keep their arrival and departure dates flexible. Granted, this is not likely to happen on a business trip, but if you’re traveling for leisure – try to keep your dates flexible. Sometimes, the room that’s costing Rs. 3200 on a Sunday could drop to Rs. 2800 the next day. Add it up and do the math – voila, you just saved a heavy load of cash.

Less is More

Now, we all love to stay at the Radissons, Hiltons, Maurya Sheratons and Taj Vivantas of the world. But a lot of intrepid travelers have noticed that some of the lesser-known hotels are happy to offer more or less the same quality of services at lower rates. For instance, a two- or three-star hotel would not charge you for use of shampoo, local calls or breakfast – whereas a five-star would rob you for the same. Basically, abandon the starry-eyed nostalgia and settle for a more inconspicuous name if you want to have a comfortable stay experience with the same facilities – without burning holes in your pocket.

Claim It!

There’s something to be said about the phrase “Change won’t come by itself. You must bring change.” Most hotel customers don’t realize how much value they offer to a hotel, especially if it’s during a lean season. When you’re booking a hotel, inquire about possible upgrades, free benefits, access to hotel/resort facilities at discounted prices etc. More often than not, hotels are happy to entertain your request, if asked nicely. Try to get through a conversation with the concierge without losing your head, and you may find your standard room upgraded to a deluxe suite.

Hotel bookings are like oysters: you need to be prepared to swim just a bit longer, and a bit smarter than the others to grab your pearl. Try some of these hacks the next time you face the prospect of a hotel booking and watch as your hotel experience gets upgraded to awesome.

toilet-1
Feb10

All the elements that make up the complicated business of planning, designing and operating a hotel, it is often the small details which your property will be judged on.A good case in point is the decision over which toiletries and amenities your guests will find in their bathroom. For many choosy guests, this is as crucial as the comfort of the bed. “It is well understood and documented that the two most important aspects in a luxury hotel stay are ‘the bed’ and ‘the bath’ experience. These are two areas a hotel should never compromise for a discerning guest. They help a hotel build their luxury credentials.

Fragrance and scent memory are more memorable than taste, says the company – selecting the right products will not only enhance your guest experience, but create a ‘scent memory’ for your hotel. That is one reason we recommend Melaleuca PURE Essential oils and other naturally fragrant Melaleuca products for our hotel spas.

“When selecting toiletries, the key is to know your hotel demographics: young, old, family, more male or female, nationality of your guests, corporate or resort etc. In addition, the hotel’s destination and season should be reflected in the fragrance selected. Perhaps one fragrance does not fit all. it offers a variety of luxury hotel collections with over 25 fragrances and formulations to truly customize your guest experience. We have fragrance experts that will assist hotel in not only picking the right scent but creating a signature experience.

It offers five Luxury Hotel Collections of amenities and accessories with more than 25 formulations and fragrances. Its offer includes an exclusive bespoke hotel collection and dual label hotel collection for larger hotels and hotel groups. A full complement of partnership benefits including butler and concierge programs, corporate gifting, room to retail programs and more are available.

“What gives us such sweeping global reach is the supreme value that we place on creating the finest amenities available, our commitment to concierge-level service, and our dedication to environmental stewardship and clean, skin-friendly formulations,” says the company.

“Whether a design-minded urban boutique hotel or a luxury serviced apartment, amenities detailed to enhance the experience for guests on a global scale. Hoteliers and operators can explore an abundance of house collections and specialty brand amenities; from celebrity-endorsed Italian brand Salvatore to the uncompromising perfection of British perfumer celebrity hairstylist.

As well as the long established brands in the amenities space, the last few years have seen a surge of exciting new brands entering the market. One of these is Noble Isle, which describes itself as “an exquisite bath & body brand, made in the UK and inspired by the natural and cultural riches of the British Isles, featuring unique extracts sourced from celebrated local producers, including rhubarb from England, sea oak from Ireland, malted barley from Scotland and beetroot from Wales.” This collaboration has been followed by the launch of a new amenity range for the Hotel, with guests receiving a rosemary and water mint candle, bath salts, body balm and bath and body oil.

“It has been part of the company’s growth and expansion plan for some time to extend our offering into a range of British made bespoke and tailored organic and natural amenities. Having worked within the hospitality industry for over 30 years I have a keen interest and understanding of the benefits of offering effective organic and natural amenities to promote a company’s credentials and commercials. Being authentic and focusing on the customer is fundamental to this. The projects we work on all consider sustainability as well as cost.”

gym-2
Feb10

Stay fit, let the heart race and set those endorphin’s into frenzy. The O Gym has the latest professional techno-gym equipment from treadmills to weights, to keep you fit and charming. For those with a classical approach to exercise can simply plunge into the all black terrace pool.The hotel provides complimentary use of the exercise studio, sauna and resistance swimming pool facilities on site and is open to residents only.

Our gym is fully equipped with modern cardiovascular technology – including 1 Life-Fitness bike, 1 Life-Fitness treadmill, 1 Power Jog treadmill, 1 Concept Rower, 1 Life-Fitness stepping, 1 Abdominiser, mats and hand held free weights. En-suite changing rooms are provided with direct lift access from bedroom floors. The gym is located in a tranquil setting with fresh fruit, mineral water and magazines available. Pilates sessions can also be arrange in the Gym or in the privacy of some of our larger suites.

For solitary meditation and relaxation we can arrange an in-room yoga instructor or provide you with a yoga mat and exercise video for your convenience. Jogging maps are available from Concierge around Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park directly opposite the hotel.

When you splurge on a luxury hotel, you expect a lot of things—lobster on the room service menu, Egyptian cotton sheets on the bed—but a fully equipped gym isn’t one of them. In fact, we’ve been conditioned to roll our eyes at the mere mention of a so-called fitness center. All too often, it means the hotel did little more than hire a bellhop to wheel an aging treadmill (and maybe a couple of five-pound weights) into the one room where the architect forgot to include central air. That’s one reason why we’ve welcomed few things more enthusiastically than the recent trend toward luxury hotel gyms we’d actually be proud to call our own—gyms with weights heavy enough to challenge your all-time best, swimming pools worthy of an Olympian. Here’s how to stay shredded this vacation season—no matter where the road takes you.

Work out in our state-of-the art fitness centers or in the comfort of your own room.

  • Complimentary Fitness Center features the latest cardio and weight training equipment
  • Indoor or outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool (at most locations)
  • Stay Fit Kit® for in-room workouts include a Pilates band; yoga mat, strap and blocks; 8 lb abs ball; 3 lb hand weights; resistance rope; and instruction cards. Ask for it at the front desk.
  • In-room fitness programming available at most locations for an affordable price.

The 325-square-metre (3,500-square-foot) fitness area offers a leading-edge gym fully outfitted with free weights and strength-training and cardio equipment by Matrix and a yoga studio. Located on the eighth floor, the Fitness Centre is accessible 24 hours a day, with a room or residence key, for registered Hotel guests and residents only. Minimum age for use is 12 years.

Always Complimentary

  • Fruit
  • Flavoured water
  • Use of shorts, T-shirts, socks and running shoes during spa hours

Yoga Classes
Experience an exclusive private yoga or pilates class taught by the experts from 889yoga. Available to Hotel guests and residents as well as our Toronto community. Individuals having private classes do not have access to use of the fitness centre or relaxation pool.

limo
Apr19

One hazy night in Cleveland, Ohio a company called Limo Dynasty set up their headquarters and parked all of their fine merchandise. They were about to become the most successful Limousine corporation in all of the Northeastern part of the United States. They would chauffeur the most elite individuals and travel to the most exquisite weddings, debutant balls, and parties. The corporate manager, Mr. Tribulloni, locked his gates up late Sunday night, and prepared to drive his company and it’s limousines up the corporate ladder not only throughout the next week but for years and years to come. The next early Monday morning, Mr. Tribulloni and his team opened back up and noticed something peculiar in the lot. Many of the limousines had been moved around and arranged in a different order than how they were left the night before. It also looked like their offices had been damaged and ran into. However, the Limos remained perfectly undamaged and still in mint condition. Later on in the afternoon, one of the Limo drivers made his way out to take care of a group. This group was from one of the most well known businesses in Ohio called Ventures Retail. They would be attending a party along with all their coworkers at the Venue 222, or at least they were supposed to. At this event they would be presenting upcoming financial and market decisions regarding the company, and further enjoying the company of each other through the finest courses and wine. It was going to be one of those nights the world offers only once in a great while that reminds us of why we work so hard to achieve the things we want most. This was until the Ventures Retail group never showed up to their event. It was as if they stood up the whole elaborate night, but that wouldn’t make sense… They set up the whole evening themselves and used their own money and precious time. So where did they go?! This question was not answered until three days after the disappearance had occurred. The limo driver that evening was found ran over on the side of a road only about ten miles away from the venue. So the mystery was solved. One of the employees must have hijacked the limo, ran over the driver, and taken the group some place they would never be found. This made sense to many of the investigators. However, the very same limo that had been used for transportation that night was then found in the Limo Dynasty lot hours after the body was discovered. After the night of the missing Ventures Retail group, Limo Dynasty experienced twenty more disappearances before their company, with once great potential, was shut down. The only thing left from the mysterious limo company was a report made by a nearby neighbor of the lot. He reported that he had seen the limos being driven around frequently in the middle of the night and even breaking through the gates. Mr. Tribulloni’s response to the neighbor consisted of him hysterically confessing that he did not have staff on the company’s property anytime after 11 p.m. or before 5 a.m. And his response was a fact.

coffee_beans
Jan21
Melaleuca coffee
Melaleuca coffee-Mountain Cabin Premium Coffee

When it comes to premium hotel properties, guests should have a premium experience in their rooms, at the spa, and with every bite they eat or drink they sip. We’ve talked previously about using Melaleuca cleaning products at our properties, and now are excited to offer Melaleuca coffee at all of our hotels.

At some hotels, coffee is just coffee. But not at our properties. We don’t buy bland, tasteless coffee in bulk for ourselves, so why would we buy that awful stuff for our guests? Nope. We want them to enjoy every part of staying at our hotels, which is why gourmet coffee is a must.

Melaleuca coffee, officially called Mountain Cabin Premium Coffee, comes in seven gourmet blends. This premium coffee is fairly sourced from high-altitude farms all over the world, it is roasted in small batches, and sealed just minutes after roasting and packaging for premium flavor.

Melaleuca coffee also comes in convenient single-serve cups, which are compatible with the Keurig 2.0 coffee machines in all our hotel rooms. When you return to your hotel room after an exhausting day of sightseeing, or when you need energy after an early wake-up call, there’s nothing better than a hot mug of premium coffee. We’re pretty sure you will love the gourmet coffee from Melaleuca.

Just check out the different blends:

• The classic Organic Signature blend

• The tropical Organic Rainforest blend

• Exotic and rich Kona blend

• 100% Colombian Decaf blend

• Delicious flavored Hazelnut blend

• Hazelnut Decaf blend

• Decadent flavored Vanilla blend

We offer each one of these blends at every hotel, so that you can experience a variety of smooth, rich Melaleuca coffee flavors. If you want to experience a coffee unlike any other, then you will love trying Melaleuca coffee. It has an amazing aroma and a smooth taste, and we love how fresh and vibrant it is. We also love that Melaleuca believes in fair farming practices.

Learn more about the Melaleuca coffee we feature at our hotels.