Category Archives: Tips and guidelines

The time when a misguided client became our favourite success story

A chapter out of our life- eZee Success Story

SUMMARY

Many a times, if taken positively, complaints provide businesses with some real good opportunities. We all know how important it is to answer to negative reviews. The real task comes when treating an unhappy customer. If done in a systematic way, it may well increase the probability to aggravate satisfaction and loyalty, and sometimes, even repeated business for the organization, thereby resulting in increased revenue and profitability.

Something similar happened with us as well. One of our esteemed clients using our channel manager, Mr. Samuel T. Rajan, the Resort Manager at Grande Bay Resort and Spa Mamallapuram  was unhappy with the report he received. This was a little unusual episode for us as we generally enjoy a great client satisfaction ratio and as a customer-centric company, we took up the matter seriously to provide a fulfilling solution to the vexed customer.

Grand Bay Resort

THE ISSUE

Grande Bay Resort and Spa Mamallapuram had been using our channel manager for quite some time, Mr. Samuel there was mislead by a consultant working for hotel industry who subsequently happened to be a Channel Manager supplier as well. Our client was presented a deluding ‘Audit Report’ just to shake his faith in our product that contained statistics related to online presence of the resort in terms of various parameters like TripAdvisor rating, content of resort website, online booking functionality, registration with various OTAs as well as difference in rates on the resort website as well as rate of the resort on various OTA websites. The client, though having enough credence in our us, thought of getting in touch with us to clear his doubts regarding the ‘Audit Report’ he received. For a while, it seemed he was feeling a little apprehensive!

THE SOLUTION

If we analyze the situation minutely here, we can observe that the subjects covered in the report were related more to hoteliers’ capability to maintain online presence from their end rather than our role as a solution provider to help them in doing that. For example – the ratings on TripAdvisor is solely dependent on the hotel’s proficiency to serve the guests. In today’s era, it is beyond doubts that content is the king, but once again, it is something that has to be finalized by hoteliers for their website and hospitality solution provider has no role in it. A good channel manager will provide the property with all the best available distribution channels like if we talk about eZee Centrix, it has more than 100 OTAs and Vacation Rental Portal connections and the company is constantly expanding interfaces with the new ones. The registration (sign-up) part with these OTAs after purchasing the Channel Manager is once again hotel dependent.

In this case, to optimize the effectiveness of our channel manager, corrective measures were suggested to the client and certain amendments in their property’s website were recommended in order to make the bookings easier for the guests. Though informed earlier, we reminded him to sign up for maximum possible OTAs so that they start receiving bookings from all ends. We once again provided him the comprehensive list of our  top Indian and international connect travel booking channels they could use to substantially exceed their online presence.

THE RESULT

Soon, he realized that the email they received from the consultant was nothing more than a mere marketing gimmick to mislead them and the data in the‘Audit Report’ was pertaining to their own capabilities in terms of escalating their online presence. They accepted the suggestions from our end on how to proliferate throughout the net and also amended content on their website to make the entire booking process easier for their guests. Within few days of implementing our solutions, they witnessed a rise in the number of bookings they received.

Through this incident, eZee was also able to foster an open, continuing dialogue with the disgruntled client using email and telephonic conversations as well as different social media platforms and today, the relationship with that client has got stronger than ever. The end result was – our esteemed client had a bright smile once again on his face and satisfied with our query handling ability, he ordered our hospitality solutions for one of his sister concern hotel too!

This is just one of the many, there are many more client stories that you can relate to, check it out here.

Read Their Stories

Exploring TripAdvisor Programs: TripConnect Instant Booking and TripConnect CPC

Connecting the world of travellers with prospective hotels, inns and B&Bs to formulate their upcoming travel plans, TripAdvisor TripConnect introduced 2 powerful programs of TripConnect CPC (cost per click) and TripConnect Instant Booking. Launched in 2014, both programs quickly became a market favourite for accommodation providers as well as travellers all around the world. TripAdvisor truly believes that both programs will significantly increase monetization, as the travellers all around the world establish a direct relation with the hotel through the trusted medium of TripAdvisor.

However, understanding the difference between both the services can be a little bewildering. Nonetheless, I will help you differentiate between TripConnect CPC (cost per click) and TripConnect Instant Booking and get a hang of both the services.

Explore the TripAdvisor programs to increase hotel revenue

TripConnect Instant Booking

Being one the largest review platform, TripAdvisor enjoys more than 10 million unique visitors on daily basis. Travellers from all over the globe rate, review and now even book travels with the online review giant. The unique feature of Instant Booking allows hoteliers to take advantage of their ‘pay-per-booking commission’ model and enrich their online bookings. Instant Booking offers the traveller opportunity to immediately confirm the booking at your hotel without even leaving the metasearch site of TripAdvisor.

Functions of TripConnect Instant Booking

Along with hotel reviews, the metasearch engine also allows the traveller to compare the real-time rates and availability of your property. Furthermore, the Instant Booking model offers the booker to instantly confirm the hotel booking by clicking on ‘Book on TripAdvisor’ button. Adding to the advantage, TripAdvisors delivers all the guest information to you from the first point on, and you are directly in contact with your guest without any interference of the middle agent.

As the entire concept works around the ‘pay-per-booking model , you only pay commission for the confirmed booking. Additionally, the travel giant offers you 2 different commission rates to choose from, 15% commission per booking ensures that you receive half of the bookings received on TripAdvisor. On the other hand, the commission rate of 12% brings in the hotel on 1/4th of the booking through Instant Booking. The remaining booking which are not claimed by your hotels is passed on to the OTAs connected to your hotel with you ultimately paying the OTA commission.

Moreover, the simple yet innovative service of Instant Booking requires no bidding, no deposits and the commission to the company is only paid after the guest stay.

Click here to enrol your property with TripConnect Instant Booking. 

TripConnect Cost-Per-Click

Another program introduced by TripAdvisor is the TripConnect Cost-Per-Click (CPC). Similar to Instant Booking, this program also allows travellers to view real time rate and inventory of the property. However, instead of offering the traveller option to book from TripAdvdisor platform, TripConnect CPC offers direct booking to the hotel by redirecting the booker to your hotel’s website.

Functions of TripConnect CPC

Contradicting the Instant Booking plan, the TripConnect CPC program works on ‘cost per click ’ programme which requires you to bid the amount you pay per person, visiting your website through TripAdvisor. The hindrance here is that the place of your hotel on the price comparison search bar is determined by the price of your bidding. Thus, the bidding structure gets a little complex here, as the highest bidder is placed on the top of the price comparison search bar as you are once again competing with the might OTAs ( you are connected with) for direct bookings. The CPC model ranks your hotel’s position according to your bidding, and higher your ranking more you get noticed. As soon as the booker clicks on your property’s website link, he is redirected to your hotel’s website to further confirm the booking. In this policy, your hotel is charged for the click regardless if the traveller actually completes the booking or not.

You can refer to TripConnect CPC user guide

You can enroll your property for TripConnect CPC programme from TripConnect website

Which program is better for your property-TripConnect Instant Booking or Cost-Per-Click?

Through both the programs, TripAdvisor is offering hoteliers a power and low costing platform for gaining a tremendous online exposure. Identifying on you requirements and expectations you can choose either of the programs to increase your online sales or you can benefit immensely by strategizing a combination of both.

image 2 - Explore the TripAdvisor programs to increase hotel revenue

The eZee Connection

eZee is a Premium Partner of TripAdvisor TripConnect and has established a s

Which way to go while selecting hotel software?

Legacy Hotel Software v/s Cloud PMS

The hospitality industry is ever evolving, replacing the manual management with various automated software technology is one of the most predominant change in the market. Particularly, for efficient property management,the developing technology has contributed two types of hotel management solutions. The foremost is the widely accepted and locally installed desktop based hotel management solution, while the other explores the power of SaaS and cloud computing and is a web based PMS. Thus, hoteliers are no longer bound to one type of management system, they are given an opportunity to analyze their own requirements and select the most appropriate for their property. 

Even though, both solutions have demonstrated their efficiency and benefits, not all of them are right for all hotel type and choosing the most beneficial PMS for the business can be a daunting task. To aid hoteliers select the accurate software, eZee has researched few foremost requirements from hotel point of view to explore the pros and cons of both server based and online property management software.

Desktop Vs Web PMS

Maintenance and specific requirements

 System-computer-icon  A desktop PMS requires a comprehensive and detailed infrastructure in terms of technological requirements like spectacular hardware, local servers and different license for each hardware. However, a legacy PMS is not dependent of internet connection and can be very useful in remote areas with low connectivity.

1439829229_icon-132-cloud One of the greatest advantage of an online PMS is that it requires no special installation or downloads. All it requires is a browser and a favorable internet connection. As a cloud PMS can be accessed from anywhere, hoteliers can run the front-desk functions even during power cut of with help of a laptop, tablet or even a smart phone. Moreover, as all the functions are run on cloud the software needs no specific hardware or even an IT personnel for maintenance.

Easy accessibility- any time, any where

System-computer-icon A legacy system has the advantage of being locally installed and doesn’t rely on remote server, thus all functions are robust even during downtime. Correspondingly, it ties the user to a particular machine and shuts down completely during electricity cut off.

1439829229_icon-132-cloud As discussed earlier a web based hotel management system requires no special downloads and can be accessed any time and any where, using any type of device be it desktop, tablet or mobile. As a result, you can use from remote location while traveling or in case of multiple properties, where you can retract reports and other data of any of your properties sitting far away.

Favorable financial estimate

System-computer-icon Majority of installed front-desk system a very heavy number of detailed and complex features making the solution significantly more expensive than a cloud solution. Moreover, the periodic maintenance, upgrades and requirement of IT staff members can further increase the expenses.

1439829229_icon-132-cloud A cloud PMS offers a significant reduction in capital investment, mainly due to its low costing technology and subscription based pricing strategy. Adding to the advantage, majority of online hotel systems are robust and require no download, no installation, no service and not even an IT personnel. However in the long run, the cost sometimes can be either equivalent or more when compare to the cost of a legacy system.

Feasibility and proficiency

System-computer-icon A desktop PMS is incredibly complex and exceptionally detailed, offering a myriad of integrated third party solutions. It is always available due to local installation, and can effortlessly manage any type of property including full service hotels.

1439829229_icon-132-cloud Alternatively, online property management solutions are easily up-gradable and are up to date with the latest market trends. As a result, they integrate effortlessly with variety of other solutions like a channel manager and booking engines leading to an enhanced online exposure.

When it comes to choosing the correct PMS for your hotel, it all depends on type of operations you run. Cloud technology has come a long way in automating various time consuming manual tasks. The introduction of this revolutionary technology transformed the face of hotel management and a lot of properties are migrating from a legacy PMS to cloud PMS. If you own a small, independent hotel or a small B&B, a cloud hotel software should be perfect for you. Nevertheless, if your property is large and requires more detailed functions, the complex yet sophisticated technological infrastructure of the locally installed hotel management solution is a tried and tested way to go as well.

Parameters to select the best hotel software for your property

In this digital age, where the exponential advancement in technology has completely revolutionized hospitality industry. Now more than ever, hoteliers need to stay abreast with the latest trends and technology to administer a successful hotel business. Additionally, investing in an all inclusive hotel management software could be a principle point for hotelier to enhance profitability.

A Property Management System is extremely useful when automating day to day operations while ensuring that the guest experiences a delightful stay at the hotel. A smart hotel management solution can aid the hotelier to easily manage booking and reservation trends, room occupancy patterns and expedite hotel operations like housekeeping and reporting. In addition, an all in one PMS will be able to provide hotelier with a complete analysis of these information and help you strategize hotel operations to increase bookings and further expand the business. Although, finding the most accurate hotel software for your hotel can be tricky, if you are looking at the right place and asking the correct questions the task can be made easier. Below is a list of few questions to ask and scrutinize the hospitality solutions provider.

Select the perfect PMS for your hotel

Stage One: Self Analyzation

Investing in property management software is important to enhance work quality and increase business. Hence, it is vital to fathom the needs and requirements of your hotel and identifying what kind of software you need before purchasing the solution. Asking the below questions to yourself will help you to identify your hotel needs, and help you choose the most appropriate solution.   

rrqqb2vlppy_3 How will the system help in automating day to day operations?

Installing a PMS can help you automate numerous manual operations, making them smoother and faster. Check the features of the software carefully and understand how and which operations will be made easier by installing the system at your property.

rrqqb2vlppy_3 What will be your financial estimate?

Keeping in mind the capital needs and hotel expenditure, formulate a budget and think out how much you should invest in a property management system and calculate the quick return of investment  

rrqqb2vlppy_3 What are the goals you want to accomplish with the help of an automated PMS?

Defining you expectations with the new PMS will help you acknowledge what sort of PMS do you need- a web based  PMS or a desktop based one. Also this will help you strategize a quick ROI as well as your future business plan.

Stage Two: What to expect from the vendor

By this stage, you have already decided what kind of solution you will require at your property. The next step is to source the best vendor for you solutions and once again you need to ask the right set of questions to the solutions provider/ vendor. Below are the list of questions that will help you select the right solution as well as help you acknowledge where to source it from.  

rrqqb2vlppy_3 Does the PMS fulfill all your requirements or not?

Make sure that the system you are purchasing actually includes and automates all the operations you require at your hotel. Don’t get confused with the jargon of the industry, verify that the services you are paying for are actually required for your property management.

rrqqb2vlppy_3 How will the PMS help resolve the hotel challenges and boost the revenue?

An all inclusive PMS will reduce the cost of operations, decrease the consumed time and increase Revenue per Availabl (RevPAR). More over, the automated and detailed reports along with overall data analysis will further aid you to strategize future business plans.  

rrqqb2vlppy_3 How many modules and features does the software include?

Generally, hotel software are crammed with attractive yet not practical features, which do very little for your property but somehow blow up your budget way out of proportions. To avoid this, research appropriately if the software offers modular pricing. In this type of solution you pay only for the features and modules your property actually needs and uses.  

rrqqb2vlppy_3 Who will be responsible for the security of your hotel data?

The security of the data is one of the most important function you need to know about the solution you choose. Generally, desktop based property management solution store the database on a local server while a web best server store the hotel data on a dedicated online server provided by the solution provider.

rrqqb2vlppy_3 Does the HMS support third-party integration? If yes, which?

No solution is self-sufficed, to expedite day – to day operations it is essential for your PMS to be able to interface with third party application like accounting software and key card locks. Make sure the solution you are adapting to, offers third party integration or are willing to establish an interface with the service you require.

rrqqb2vlppy_3 Is the software user friendly and will the hotel staff be able to understand the advanced system?

A front desk hotel management system is detailed and comprehensive, and using it for the first time can be stressful. Check the training program of the solutions provider and inquire if the they offer on-site software training for the staff or free online training whenever required.  

rrqqb2vlppy_3 How effective is the after sale support of the solution provider/ vendor?

Your hotel is running 24×7, and you may require support at any time. Make sure the solution you choose offers 24×7 online and offline after sale support. You can even check the reviews of their existing client, this will help you understand the market position of the solution as well.  

In conclusion, make sure you acquire a software that serves all your needs and purposes. The queries raised above are few common inquiries to be cleared before obtaining the software. However, every hotel has their own set of needs and requirements; you can add your own questions based on your own experience and your hotel expectations.

Select wisely!

Do’s and Don’ts for enhancing online hotel booking conversions

Over the past few years, hoteliers have adapted to various sources to receive maximum hotel bookings. Although various studies suggest that more than 20% of hotel’s revenue is sourced from OTA’s (Online Travel Agents), bookings can come from any where, it could be from online travel giants such as Expedia, TripAdvisor, InstantBooking, hotel’s own website or even the hotel’s Facebook page. Thus, eZee has accumulated few guidelines of do’s and don’t that will help hoteliers receive more booking from the online world.

ezee-tips

Below are a few of thing to ‘do’ which will enhance hotel’s online reputation:-

blue-check-mark-th  Dazzle your guest with lucrative Visual Content:

To enhance online visibility and increase bookings, let the visitors view exactly what they are booking. With various high definition images and instant gratification of a descriptive video displaying the best features of the property, the guest will be able to easily view the type of room they require. Additionally, visual content will enhance hotel’s visual appeal which will further draw the guest in.

blue-check-mark-th  Accurate and Compelling Room Description:

It is essential that you provide a compelling room description, that will extensively describe the room and amenities offered by the hotel. The detailed room and hotel description will enable the guest to make quick and informed booking decision.

blue-check-mark-th  Optimize room rates and enticing booking packages:

The room rates is the most important information the traveler is looking for. In the very competitive hotel industry, the best way to attract more bookings is to offer the most optimized and competitive room rates and attractive booking packages. Additionally, while describing the packages, use appealing descriptions like best room with complementary breakfast instead of simply mentioning hotel room with continental package.

blue-check-mark-th  Decorate your services and add a little extra:

Appeal to the guest by offering a few complementary add-ons like free WiFi and airport pick up. At times, some travelers who are booking from OTA’s visit the hotel website for to get for information on the hotel. At this stage, you can even draw the guest in by providing enticing deals and packages on booking directly with the hotel.

blue-check-mark-th  Seamless connectivity with distribution channels:

Get a dynamic and robust channel manager that provides 2- way XML connectivity between the channels and hotel’s front-desk. The seamless connectivity will result in efficient distribution and diminish the risk of overbooking. The captivating and swift booking experience will enhance the guest interaction with hotel and build up guest relation.

blue-check-mark-th  Target your audience and provide them an exceptional booking experience:

Offer your guest a dynamic and efficient booking engine that is flexible yet simple to use. Every hotel has a specific target demographics, to get the maximum output select a booking engine that offers a variety in GUI, which is alluring to your target audience. Moreover, a smooth and efficient booking experience will further enhance guest loyalty because the guest may not remember the price he paid, but rest assured he will always remember the ease and efficiency he experienced while booking with you.

blue-check-mark-th  Responsive website and mobile friendly booking engine:

As a hotelier, you have to comprehend that the modern traveler is quite tech savvy, and demand the best service on their finger tips. Therefore it is essential that hotels provide a responsive website, which is compatible with all type of devices and a booking engine which is secure and mobile friendly.

While the above points are things hoteliers can do to boost revenue, there are few issues that can drive the traveler away from booking at your property. Avoiding these issues will ensure you make the most of the online resources and lead to increase in bookings.

Below are few arrangement to avoid to increase online bookings:-

avoid in hospitality  Broadcast correct data at right place:

Make sure the information you are publishing is appearing in the appropriate panel. Displaying room description under cancellation policy is not the correct way to go and will simply confuse the booker with chances of him starting to look for other options.

avoid in hospitality  Be direct and transparent about hotel policies:

One of the driving forces to book a room, is the easy availability of complete information such as nightly rates or hotel’s terms and conditions should be easily accessible. Transparency in hotel policies like cancellation and refund procedure helps the booker to have faith in the hotel and make the booking readily.

avoid in hospitality  Keep it simple and savvy:

Since travelers can be from any part of the world it is not necessary for all of them to comprehend English language. Avoid using a lot of jargon or abbreviation while publishing description or policies. (like CXL for cancel or PAX for number of people). keep the language brief and simple to understand.

avoid in hospitality  Shun away from using uncommon symbols and unnecessarily terminologies:

Avoid using infrequent symbols like (•) in the descriptions, rates or policies as they can make it difficult for the booker to understand your content. This can confuse or mislead the booker or may even head them towards abandoning the booking.

avoid in hospitality  Don’t ignore a negative review, instead start engaging with the guest:

According to many hotel industry experts, one should always respond to an online hotel review irrespective of it being positive or negative. This will minimize the damage and refurbish hotel’s reputation. Furthermore, hoteliers can even acquire recurring business by responding a review with supplementary discounts or packages for next stay.

Conclusion

While the do’s of the list are essential to attract guest, the don’ts of the list have a pretty critical implications as well. In midst of the competitive hotel industry, it is vital to stay abreast of the upcoming trends, prioritize strategy and work towards the methods that drive exponential bookings and upsurge hotel revenue.