Category Archives: Marketing

How to save hotel business from closing down: Turnaround tips

If it is a business, it has got risks involved.

Here the word risk holds true in every sense. When you fail in risk management, your business fails. Same goes for hotel business plan. Hospitality is all about relationship between a guest and a host, wherein host receives guest with goodwill, including reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. (That’s what Wikipedia says) This very nature of hospitality business makes it inherently competitive, volatile and thereby subjected to go downhill.

Hotelier worrying about his failing hotel business plan

The industry is at a touch-point where hardly one-third of hospitality business start-ups sustain and make it longer than a decade. Evidently, most of the properties that are opening up now won’t be around in next couple of years. With low overall profit, hotel businesses might struggle to outlast an average business lifespan.

Hospitality industry as a business

When it comes to running a hotel business, there is a lot more than just people checking in and out. Hotels operate 24/7.

Hotel management covers diversified operations and departments such as customer service, staff management, inventory and assets management, hiring, training, marketing, accounting. Therefore, it takes immense expertise to sustain the business and last long in industry.

My business is working very well. Why should I read this?

Because precaution is better than cure. Simple!

It is better to safeguard your business from a set of events and situation leading to close-down than trying to fix when the ship starts sinking. Send this research to your fellow hoteliers for them to stay mindful of these key practices. Nevertheless, this guide shall give a slight hint of what can cause a turmoil in your smoothly running business and how to overcome it.

Reaching to the root of the subject under consideration, Customer Success Team at eZee approached some businesses to figure out why a hotel business plan would collapse. Here’s what they found:

What do hotel businesses do wrong?

Businesses don’t fail just like that; at times, they simply fail to reach their full potential. Economy, guests influx, places, expenses, wage and goods costs and management can be hard.

Not all reasons are responsible to collapse a hotel business plan, but these are factors that could erode your profit. Presented below is just a collection of how-and-why-it-happened. You can mitigate risk of damage by keeping in mind these strategies in order to radically elevate business performance index.

Stay prepared and take insights from this compilation and you’ll learn what to do and what not to do. Let’s explore!

Bad reviews by guests speak a lot about you!

Bad reviews are never healthy for any organization, let alone hotels. Poor customer satisfaction renders negative reviews. When a guest is not happy with services they often take it to internet and it can be hazardous to your business.

Unfortunately, one such bad review can attract plenty of other bad reviews too. Impact of testimony is so severe that it can influence many other potential guests. Ripple effect is you might end up losing existing guests for life. Displeased guests can spread the word about your not-so-good services like anything. And online review websites allow them to speak aloud about their experience with you.

The best way to deal with negative reviews is to RESPOND to them, quickly and politely. Justify their pain points and restore their faith in you again.

Mind well, your response to a negative review helps other guests decide whether to visit you again or not.

Solid burns: Unfavorable market conditions

The neighbourhood your hotel is standing in changes with each passing moment. The market you operate in is no different. When economy is at the downturn, value fluctuations of assets and business; and subsequently revenue; can be dead expensive. Poor market timing, declination in year-over-year, resulting in compact RevPAR, all these are signals that you are falling through cracks.

If only you have ample capital/refinancing resources and workforce, you can pull through the distressed downturn environment and possibly recoup your CapEx. Otherwise, it may bring about foreclosure or bankruptcy.

If you don’t have comprehensive knowledge of conventional operations in industry, market behaviors; then all that you need is a concrete advice.

Incompetent staff leading to amateurish performance

Hiring inexpensive readily available staff can cost loads to your business. When a hotel project is administered by amateur hands, it would eventually lead to subpar results and probably a complete disaster too. The incompetent people in operations create impedance for an organization to operate in full swing. When your staff is not adequately skilled, it increases cost contingency.

However, recruiting right people can prove to be a difficult job. The right people with a solid track record have diligence to directly impact business performance to the bottom line.

Employee dissatisfaction

The properties that do not have a defined ‘people culture’ always face a hard time in business. How would a discontent staff create a pleasant ambiance for guests? When your hotel is resolute to serve guests in the best manner, you need a victorious team.

You cannot build a winning team if people keep coming and going.

Educate your staff, provide them with growth and advancement, cultivate the harmonious mindset among them and reap the reward.

Huge debts, non-payment of loans, cost overrun

When cash flow reaches the bottom, your last resort would be reserved assets or liquidation. But when even this fails, you default and simply lose the property. Incidentally, higher leverage typically renders a hefty interest rate. Simply put, as capital cost and debts go higher, so does risk to reward ratio.

When you borrow money (for renovations, maintenance, property extensions, or for any sane reason) and accrue huge debts, you put your hotel business plan at stake. In case if you fail in repayment, then you have no choice but to close down.

Not to forget, upon failing to abide by loan agreements, lenders can legally recover the loan amount by liquidating hotel assets.

When your reserved capital is insufficient, it results in reduced profit and thereby quality; brand erosion, and eventually lifespan of business – something that took years to build.

The remedy is a disciplined approach to managing cash flow and CapEx. You should stress test entire business plan in order to safeguard from potential downswings of seasonal impacts and industry cycles.

Rule of thumb
Always set aside a contingency amount that you can sustain on for at least 6-12 months for repayments or operational essentials. Keep a check on expenditures, Because, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Old school business model: Non-adaptability to market changes

Some businesses still operate as if they are in stone age. Is yours one of them?

  • Are you relying solely on past guest referrals and walk-in guests?
  • No additional efforts to escalate growth rate?
  • Have boring old-world menus and services?
  • Are you miles away from creativity and contemporary swag?

If you have these symptoms then you are suffering from ‘non-adaptability issue’ and you are prone to definite eventual business failure.

Only treatment is to implement new dynamics of hospitality technology to take business to a new level, and those are,

  • Staying updated with new industry trends and tools,
  • Technology: Installing a Hotel Management System,
  • Booking Engine and Channel Manager to capture online bookings (70% of travellers book a room online! Did you know that?)
  • Adapting practices and systems that bring in higher productivity and effective returns.

Lack or absence of Marketing/Internet presence

If you are still not able to let go of those obsolete marketing methods, matter-of-factly death bells are ringing for you.

There was a time when just putting a neon sign for vacancy outside hotel entrance, you could bring in guests looking for accommodation. But times have changed! A neon sign does not work anymore.

Today, marketing has grown to be deeply sophisticated and systematic. You can target guests you are looking for. There are segments of audience, channels to approach them, and all tools to get global: Online travel agents, distribution systems, software to capture bookings, and websites; everything to help you showcase your services right from your desk.

Then you have emails, mobile apps, and social media to connect with your guests in each and every corner of world. Travellers have gone digital!

Get yourself enrolled in an online marketing class to learn nooks and crannies and to master all those modern marketing and advertising strategies and tools. However, before jumping in unpredictable results, all you need is right systems and right strategies to achieve long term growth.

Bottom line is, you should be able to attract right guests in right season, utilize complete inventory, drive more profits and manage business like a boss!

Lastly, perspective matters. Take time to analyze what your guests seek from you. And channelize your efforts and resources accordingly to deliver what is expected.

Bad location

Your location can be quite weak to expect reasonable guest influx or it can weaken over time due to changing landscapes of a location.

How easily your guests can find you? Is parking available? Are you close to popular entertainment or sports venues attracting high footfalls? These factors signify right location as well as property valuation.

Sometimes, property is located at a wrong or marginal location, hence wrongfully calculating potential business variables might lead to downfall. Once infrastructure is built, it becomes a permanent address of your hotel till it running, it cannot be moved. Nevertheless, market condition would always change, in your favor or against you.

In a Nutshell
The location based factors such as cash flow, ROI, asset valuation, exit value, and everything that you can imagine; always speculate them as early as you can to withstand varying location dynamics.

Shortcomings in management

When management thinks they can do away with business, that is when downfall starts. If there are,

  • Disparate views in managerial body,
  • End of contract or lease for property,
  • Discontinued investment,
  • Underwriting and liability risk,
  • Groundless assumptions made in hotel business plan,
  • Disputes with landowner,
  • Or, Real Estate issues.

Then, the governing body might show inflexibility, leading to foreclosure.

Low occupancy rates

When room occupancy rate in market hits low, you have no choice but to wait.

Increase in accommodation facilities in your area or (comparatively!) higher prices of your rooms in market; can lead to lower occupancy rate.

Have you heard about Revenue Management Services? They have expert methods to optimize occupancy and thereby revenue. Give it a try. At last, breaking even is better than operating in losses.

Absent or poorly structured business plan

Your hotel business plan must be structured so as to define marketing and development strategies, budget and expenditure speculations and more.

You need a plan to know your target. Wondering why you have no control over your business? Because you don’t have a plan.

Increasing competition

If your competitors are doing better than you, then definitely they have a better shot at business than you. Strongly positioned competitor, be it new or renovated; can nudge you out of market.

Competition is inevitable. you cannot escape it. Only way out is to develop a “Warrior Mindset”.

Thus, values plunge with increasing competition, making it difficult for you to survive. Then, only time and rise in demand would decide recovery duration.

Little or no understanding of Business Metrics

As a business owner, it is imperative for you to understand key elements and performance indicators that determine and control business course. Identifying break even points, contingency, known-unknown-fixed-variable costs, contribution margins, wages, asset values, gross profits, and suchlike ascertain how your business is doing at any point in time.

Build systems and standards along with KPIs in order to measure business performance without having to be present at property.

Technologically challenged

Lack of integrated business systems can lead to poor administration and execution in recent times. Using pen and paper or, excel sheets and old computer in name of technology simply will pin you down.

Try using advanced hospitality technology that gives you

  • Power of operation automation,
  • One touch information,
  • On the go access,
  • Single dashboard administration.

There are plenty of services and solutions that suit your hotel business plan and property type, implement and make the most of it. You will be rewarded with more efficient staff, quick services, and giant reduction in operational costs.

Other reasons include,

  • Poor property maintenance
  • Wrong business model
  • Demolition of the building, new infrastructure to replace it
  • Business disconnected with local community
  • Failure to control theft and nuisance activities around property
  • Tax policies of local government and business regulations.

Coming to a conclusion, we can believe that success and failure of hotel businesses are driven by several factors. Troubles materializing from both, internal and external sources make the industry challenging. Additionally, modern travellers laden with all the information at fingertips will make it no less challenging. Only tactically dealing with those troubles helps a business sustain.

To make it easier, here is a checklist for you. While you go out and strategize for a perfect hotel business plan, don’t forget to check this up!

The Master Checklist

A detailed review of the market
Analysis and understanding of demand driving factors and future changes
Understanding competition and its impact on business
Detailed study of periodic performance reports and stats
Trying and implementing new hotel management technologies
Timely review of contracts, agreements and licenses
Creating and keeping in check the back up systems

Final Thoughts

If you learn and assimilate in advance every nuance of how to avoid such mistakes, you would soon become a seasoned hotelier. Way to go!

Hospitality is a service industry, unlike other businesses. It needs to be actively managed consistently day after day. You need to have systems, processes, policies, plan and a purely analytical mindset to survive and succeed.

However, when you get vibes that it is falling apart, take quick and wise actions. Don’t just sit back and hope for it to get better eventually. So now that you have read this guide, you are all set to dive in hotel business and rock it! Thank me later.

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

How to Increase Bookings with TripAdvisor

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Everyone knows and most likely have heard of TripAdvisor at this point in time. For the uninitiated, TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site with up to 280 million unique visitors each month, 32 million members and over 150 millions reviews and opinions available online.

It is traveler’s first stop to learn about a hotel they are looking into and see what other people have to say about it. And it is only growing with 90 user generated reviews per minute allowing travelers around the world to be make more informed decisions.

TripAdvisor with its Business Listing service give options to hoteliers around the world to take complete advantage of the exposure they can receive. With a Business Listing you can share your hotel’s contact information, special offers, website link, and directly connect with your guests. In addition, your contact information will be displayed on your mobile listing page as well.

Business Listings will give hotels access to :

Direct Contact Information:

Add up-to-date contact details to your hotel’s profile page making it easy for your travelers to book directly.

Special Offers:

Perfect place to highlight special promotions and offers attracting more travelers.

TripConnect:

This service will allow hotel subscribers to appear in Hotel Price Comparison search showing rate and availability to users.

Property Dashboard:

As a Business Listings subscriber, you get exclusive access to Property Dashboard which lets you access important analysis such as competitor metrics, local market trends, visitor details and overall performance of hotel on TripAdvisor.

Sideshow and Announcements:

This will let you post important updates and news for the readers. In addition, the photos uploaded will automatically be converted into a slideshow for your travelers viewing pleasure.

So now you got your hotel in Business Listings, So how can you make the best use of the tools provided? Read on to find out:

Reply To Reviews:

Probably the single most important thing you can do is to reply the reviews posted by users, after all that’s what people read the most on TripAdvisor. Regardless if your hotel has received a positive or negative review, it is very important that you reply to it no matter what. Just a simple a reply can put big impressions on travelers. If possible, have a dedicated person who looks after reviews online and establish the practice for managing online reviews.

Update Information:

It is more common than you think that many times hotels might have the wrong number listed or the page has not been updated. This is probably the worst thing you could do, the traveler will most likely avoid your hotel if the information is wrong or is not up to date.

Write Proper Descriptions:

Spend quality time on the description which potential guests are going to read. It is very important write a proper and detailed description of your hotel, as you are the best person to do so. Description should Speak the strengths of your location and services you provide, setting yourself apart from the competition.

Right Photos:

The best way to showcase your hotel is to have the right combination of high quality photos of your property. Have a diverse collection of pictures that not only show your rooms and lobby but also other facilities. Get creative with your pictures, take pictures of art and decor in your lobby, show case rooms with different view points, pictures of views from your hotel rooms etc.

Showcase Awards:

TripAdvisor regularly rewards hotels with their Travelers’ Choice Awards which cover various categories. If your hotel has received one, make sure to highlight that on your hotel website and TripAdvisor page.

TripAdvisor with various options available for hoteliers, allow them to maximize their online presence. Hoteliers with the right practice in place can have the same exposure like big brands and increase their bookings.

Survey: What Travelers Are Looking For In Online Reviews

Online reviews play an important role when travelers are choosing a place to stay for their travel. The rise of travel sites, review websites, and social media has made it easy and convenient for travelers to look at others travel experiences and opinions. In one of the latest survey conducted by Software Advice, some of the results were obvious and some very surprising. This information can help hotels to understand customer behavior and changing trends among travelers.

In the latest survey conducted by Software Advice in which they chose 2,500 travelers to find out exactly what they look for in hotel reviews when booking a hotel. Staggering 79% of respondents said that they trust online reviews by other travelers on various travel and review websites as much as they trust recommendations coming from close family and friends.

One of the main objectives of the survey was to find out exactly how and why travelers use online reviews and what other aspects of these reviews they find most convincing when booking a hotel. You can read about the findings with important aspects with a corresponding charts highlighted below.

Large Number of Young Consumers Use Reviews Before Booking

When the survey asked travelers how often they checked online reviews of a hotel before booking a room, 46 percent of them used online reviews “sometimes,” “most of the time” or “always”.

How often do you check online customer reviews for a hotel before booking a room?
How often do you check online customer reviews for a hotel before booking a room?

Among the respondents, the largest group said they never checked online customer reviews and those who did use online reviews skewed younger: 30 percent of them belong to age group of 25 to 34 years old who used reviews most of the time, and 28 percent in the age bracket of 18-24 always use reviews.

Demographics: Online Review Usage by Age
Demographics: Online Review Usage by Age

Taylor Short of Software Advice, a company that evaluates hotel booking software had to say this regarding the trend among young travelers, “ Younger age groups between 18 to 34 are the most frequent users of online hotel reviews, most often to initially identify hotels to consider booking.”

These trends are a result of increasing internet access and mobile use, specifically among young travelers. The rise of review websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp is due to in large part to the increased use of Travel Apps and mobile browsing.

Majority of Reviews Are Used to Identity Possibilities

Next, the survey asked respondents on what exactly they were looking for when looking at online reviews before booking a hotel. 35 percent of them use to identity hotels to consider, while 28 percent use them to narrow down their choices to selected few.

What is your most common reason for checking online customer reviews of hotels?
What is your most common reason for checking online customer reviews of hotels?

19 percent of respondents use reviews to find the best price for their choice of hotels and rest 18 percent to confirm their final choice of hotel.

Internet is the first place to look for hotel and travel information for majority of the travelers today. The popularity of review websites providing all the information and photos can be easily accessed today via various devices easily. Today’s traveler directly search for for hotels on a review site instead of directly checking the website of the hotel or even calling the property.

Expedia is the Most Popular Online Hotel Review Website

Expedia came on top as the most popular online hotel review website when travelers were asked which site they use most often, with 38%. Popular travel review site TripAdvisor came in second with 28 percent and third was Hotels.com, at 25 percent.

When viewing online customer reviews of hotels, what website do you use most often?
When viewing online customer reviews of hotels, what website do you use most often?

Among other options, Booking.com, received 6 percent. Two percent of the travelers chose none of the above and entered their own choice of website, including Hotewire.com, Kayak.com or just a Google search.

TripAdvisor and Expedia generate traffic of 260 million and 60 million visitors per monthly respectively, both of the websites offer different services to the travelers, which accounts for these numbers.

TripAdvisor offers reviews and hotel information for travelers and directing them offsite to complete a booking. Expedia on other hand operates as a full-service travel site, selling multiple types of travel arrangements such as flights, car rentals and hotels from a single point, in addition to offering reviews.

TripAdvisor and Expedia Are the Most Trusted Review Websites

Now we know which websites were used by travelers, next was the question of which websites were the most trustworthy? Surprisingly even though most of the respondents used Expedia more than TripAdvisor, both websites were equally trusted, at 34 percent.

When viewing online customer reviews of hotels, what website do you consider most trustworthy?
When viewing online customer reviews of hotels, what website do you consider most trustworthy?

The rest of the results were pretty much the same as last set: 24 percent trusted Hotels.com, and 6 percent predominantly trust Booking.com

TripAdvisor was one of the first travel websites to embrace and promote user-generated content back in 2000, it is evident from their growth that majority of the travelers may prefer unfiltered reviews. In case of Expedia, it might not receive the same level of engagement but it does verify reviews with hotels by checking sales record ensuring that reviews are real. However, at the end the type of reviews come down to personal preference.

Taylor Short further adds “Travelers say they most often use Expedia over TripAdvisor to check online hotel reviews, but results show they trust both equally. This may be a result of each website offering different types of reviews.”

Most Important Review Information Is The Hotel Price

When travelers are looking at these online reviews, what is the most important information that they’re looking for? 58 percent responded say that the price of the room is important to them.

When reading reviews of hotels online, what’s the most important type of information you’re looking for?
When reading reviews of hotels online, what’s the most important type of information you’re looking for?

Other important information travelers look for in reviews includes proximity to local attractions (16 percent) and aesthetic features, such as the size of the room or the view (15 percent). Description of on-site amenities, such as a gym or restaurant received 10 percent of the vote.

In “Other” category, respondents were given a chance to enter their own answer, and everyone stated that information about room cleanliness was a big factor for them. Among rest of the comments mentioned “Safety,” “Quality” and “Overall Experience.”

There is, however, a significant difference when looking at how each gender answered the question. Out of 15 percent travelers for whom aesthetic features was important, 63 percent were female and rest 37 percent male. Conversely, of those who said on-site amenities were most important, 59 percent were male, versus 41 percent female.

Demographics: Most Important Hotel Review Information by Gender
Demographics: Most Important Hotel Review Information by Gender

Guest-Submitted Comments Most Enticing Review Element

We know price is an important factor to consumer looking at online hotel reviews, but we wanted to know other factors convinces them to book a room. We asked travelers what element would most entice them to book, and 40 percent say specific, guest-submitted comments in the reviews are most effective at driving their decision to purchase.

Which element of an online hotel review would be most likely to entice you to book a room?
Which element of an online hotel review would be most likely to entice you to book a room?

The next most enticing feature was the hotel’s percent or star rating according to 29 percent of the respondents and 18 percent sighting guest-submitted photos of the rooms. The least enticing element of a review, according to the results is the hotel’s ranking relative to other hotels in the area for 13 percent of the travelers.

While the last question revealed that price is a huge factor, this data shows that, with the amount of information available online, travelers are looking at the bigger picture to make decisions.

Nearly Half Wouldn’t Pay More for a Well-Reviewed Hotel

As much as travelers claim they value online reviews, our findings show they might not necessarily want to pay more for a room just because of positive reviews. 47 percent replied that they wouldn’t any more for a hotel with positive reviews over one without positive reviews.

How much more might you be willing to pay for a hotel with positive online guest reviews over one without?
How much more might you be willing to pay for a hotel with positive online guest reviews over one without?

30 percent of respondents say they would pay a “a little more” and other 17 percent said they would “moderately more” for rooms with positive reviews. Very few of the travelers said they would pay “much more” or “twice as much or more”.

As we can tell from the survey that online comments can entice consumers to book a room, it seems like they do not feel like paying much more for one with positive reviews. Many consumers tend to for the overall value which could be a result consumer behavior changing from the recent economic slump.

Conclusion

The survey results clearly show that 18 – 34 year-olds tend to use online reviews to find potential places to stay. TripAdvisor or Expedia generally used by this age group for looking at the price and user reviews. But they won’t spend much more for a hotel with positive reviews over one with without.

Majority of hospitality professionals today realize the impact of authentic guest reviews, and their primary target is the younger age groups, who are willing to spend more of their disposable income on travel.

Taylor Short stats “Many hotel brands have discovered the fact that using reputation management software helps them keep an eye for negative reviews across the Web. Having that information quicker means hotels can respond sooner and have more proactive presence online.”

As the survey concludes that knowing the most important aspects of your hotel’s online reviews and how consumers use them can really help your hotel’s marketing campaigns more efficiently. The marketing team can perform reputation management more effectively and entice the travelers to book with your hotel.

Importance of Hotel Software for Small & Mid-Size Hotels

The importance of Hotel Management Software or Property Management System for hotels cannot be stressed enough anymore. It is one of the most important factors which contribute significantly to the long-term success of a hotel.

In recent years, there has been a rise of budget travelers around the world which has led to rise in number of small to mid-size hotels in the industry. This has drastically changed the landscape of the Hospitality industry in general and also directly affected the Hospitality IT industry.

Hotel Management Software (HMS) BuyerView 2014, a survey conducted by HMS research firm Software Advice, who surveyed 385 randomly selected buyers in 2013. The survey was conducted in order to discover what exactly buyers expect or want when they are choosing software for their property.

According to the report, 54% of hotel management software purchasers in the industry are independent small to mid-size hotels. The report also states that majority of the buyers are adapting to the latest software in order to leave behind the manual management of their property and buyers who are specifically looking for a software which offer reservation and online booking facilities.

Majority of Purchaser are small to Mid-size Hotels

Majority of the owners or managers, who are looking for a software solution represent (57%) properties which have 10 to 50 rooms. A combined 11 percent of buyers are from very small properties such as B&B’s, Inns, chain hotels, or large hotels with 500 plus rooms.

Majority of Purchaser are small to Mid-size Hotels

Independent Hotels, Resorts and Inns are the Primary Customer

When consulted with various managers and owners of different property types, the report found that around 1 percent is looking for software for a large hotel or a chain hotel. This is not surprising as the big brands usually have to go for in-house or corporate-mandated software. The rise of independent properties is very evident from the fact that majority of the buyers (54 percent combined) comprised of independent hotels, inns, and resorts.

HMS buyerview images.002

As the travelers are also opting more for independent hotels, inns and resorts, the properties have to adapt to new technology and advancements to keep up with the growing demand.

Majority of the buyers want to upgrade to a better system

When questioned about what method they currently use to manage their properties, 34 percent respondents are already using a property management system. The next 28 percent use manual methods consisting of spreadsheets or paper, on other hand 15 percent had no method in place.

HMS buyerview images.003

The “Other” categories (10 percent) use independent booking system or have stopped using a property management system. 7 percent of buyers use management software with reservation facility to meet their requirement, and last 4 percent use software built specifically for them.

Buyers want feature-rich and faster software

The report also highlights the diverse set of reasons which buyers have provided. Approximately 18 percent are looking for speed and efficiency in software which is also compatible with the latest hardware in the market. 16 percent of respondents said they go for a new product because the current one being used lack the necessary features, such internet bookings and channel management, other 15 percent just wants to improve efficiency.

HMS buyerview images.004

The rise of Global Distribution System (GDS) channels over last few years is no surprise as online bookings have become a standard norm in the industry today and since 2011 bookings from GDS has grown by 14 percent. Making it a surprise to no one that one of the most frequently request feature is the feature to connect to the (GDS) and system with ability to manage real-time rates and inventory.

Among others looking for an upgrade towards new software is bad experience with support service (15 percent), lack of satisfaction with user interface or GUI for other 9 percent and unsound technical software for the 7 percent of the respondents and remaining 6 percent are looking for a solution which requires minimum investment.

First timers expect higher efficiency

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72 percent of first-time buyers for hotel software make it clear that they want to achieve higher efficiency in their day-to-day operations and get away from the traditional methods. Property Management System can automate daily operations and bring a higher level of efficiency.

Majority of Buyers Need Reservation and Guest Management

28 percent of total respondents, the highest in this survey said they would like the ability to enter and edit reservations, which is a central function of a property management system. The next 22 percent buyers want an online booking capability giving them a competitive advantage, which does not surprise as 65% of hotel bookings now are made online.

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Approximately 11 percent would use guest management feature which will help them maintain information about their guests in order to understand them better and provide better service in the future.

Housekeeping management was important for 9 percent of respondents and another 9 percent expect advanced accounting and reporting feature. Lastly 6 percent of hoteliers want a distribution management and marketing functions part of their hotel management software.

Implementation in less than three months

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Staggering 85 of buyers expect the new hotel software to be implemented in less than 3 months; given the nature of the industry and how fast things are evolving it comes as no surprise. 14 percent want system to be implemented in three to six months, and remaining 2 percent in 6 to 12 months ahead of time.

Conclusion

Analysis by Software Advice Team, reflected in the report clearly shows the diversity and rapid expansion of independent hotels and how they are demanding higher-performing systems with latest features. As the competition is heating up across the industry, first-time buyers or buyers who are upgrading are looking for a solid property management system with specific features, real-time reservation, online bookings, channel management and guest management as it is the key to constantly grow and stay ahead of the competition.