Category Archives: Technology Trend

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!

Features Guide for a Property Management System

Property Management Systems help hotels to manage their day to day operations with higher efficiency and heighten quality of service they offer to the guests. A good property management system simplifies the diverse operations via features which the staff performs on a steady base.

We are going to cover key features which a hotelier should look for in any good Property Management System.

Front Desk Operations

The very basic of the operations in any property, regardless of its type or size is the Front Desk Operations. A good system will allow easy check-in and checkout process for the staff. Just like any other operations, the front desk staff may have to make changes to reservations such as room change, change dates, assign rooms, and so forth. This should be relatively easy to carry out in a secure system, the modifications should take immediate effect and should make the process easy and not hinder it.

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Booking & Reservations Management

Booking and reservations are important functionality of a hotel management system. Traditionally, hotels received bookings from limited sources such as travel agents and direct bookings. Today, the story is very different as bookings come from diverse range of sources such as hotel’s website, travel websites, business source like a corporate clients and airlines, travel agents, etc. The system should be able to handle walk-ins, bookings from online travel agents, traditional agents, business sources and from corporate website with ease. An efficient system will easily distinguish between the different sources and update the records for future reference.

Billing and Payments

Stability is of the utmost importance when it comes to billing and settling payments with guests. Guests today use multitude methods of settling payments, the system should accommodate multiple payment methods per reservation including cash, credit cards, check and online payment gateways. In addition, it should have the ability to post adjustments, advance deposits, split receipts, extra charges, settlements, folio printing and taxes. The staff must be able to check and modify tasks related to billing and payment at any time according to changing requirements.

Housekeeping

Housekeeping is another central characteristic which a hotelier should look for in a PMS. The important thing a hotelier should look for in housekeeping is the flow of real time information. The housekeeping module should highlight the status of rooms and provide the ability to delegate chores to the housekeeping staff.In addition, built in inventory management for cleaning supplies and linens is always a plus.

Reports

A good system should offer the different departments the ability to generate a diverse set of reports. Given the diverse set of hotel operations and different departments working together, it is imperative that every department is able to generate reports according to their need. These reports can help management to make sound decisions and also help them build better sales and marketing strategies.

Third Party Interfaces

A good hotel management system needs to integrate and work successfully with a multitude of third party hardware and software. The interfaces for your hotel will depend on factors such as size of hotel, facilities offered and operational style. A standard hotel today usually have PABX, Door Lock, ID scanners, cash drawers, payment gateways and financial accounting software. It is always beneficial to go over before hand how compatible the PMS is with third party or they are exposed to new ones.

Conclusion

Traditionally, the hotel software came with features that covered basic hotel operations. Today, choosing the right solution for your hotel is more complex than it has ever been as the processes have become more complex. At the final stage, a good Property Management System should provide solid features that satisfy the requisites of the hotel and should be easy to adjust and carry out. Another key factor is the software provider, the provider should possess the industry expertise and experience and provide high quality post-sales support.

A good Property Management Software is the key to your hotel’s success.

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.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web DesignThere is enough said and written about importance of mobile presence for businesses for the hospitality industry. As the sheer amount of mobile devices and tablets to connect the web is increasing daily. A Responsive Web Design (RWD) becomes more important, as businesses have to deliver their end users a uniform experience across various kinds of devices of all screen sizes.

Responsive Web Design is basically a technique to build web pages by using CSS3 media queries. It has a single URL and HTML code for the page which works uniformly across all the devices regardless of their screen size and type.

RWD provides whole range of benefits for businesses especially in the hospitality industry and perfect tool to drive traffic to hotel websites.

Superior User Experience

Imagine your website adjusting itself on different devices according to the screen size; the layout will automatically realign, the font size will change, and the images will resize. That is the main benefit of responsive web design, offering users a superior experience regardless of the device they use.

Easy Maintenance

Traditionally, the practice was to build a different website for mobile devices and desktop, then came the tablets, now you have to worry about 3 different websites. So when you have to update content on your website, you have to triple your efforts which is time consuming and hard on your pockets. RWD solves that issue right off the bat, you have a single HTML code to worry about, and you update that and that all it takes. This allows you to update content and keep making changes to the website according to changing requirements without much effort and keeping it relevant for a longer period of time.

Recommended by Google

Google recommends responsive web design when it comes to websites for desktop and smart phones. Reason being, it is more efficient for Google Bot to crawl the website, index and organize the content that is available online. It makes it easy for Google to locate your business as there is a single URL and HTML code. Responsive Web Design will not only give your business a higher visibility in searches but you can just maintain a single SEO campaign for your website without having to worry about users using different devices.

Conclusion

Responsive Web Design will have a great impact on overall impression of your website’s functionality and user experience. It will greatly improve the satisfaction of end users and generate higher traffic for your website across all devices. It provides the perfect unified approach to maintain a competitive edge and making your website more relevant over longer period of time.

Custom Hotel Applications will be the Key in Engaging with Customers in 2014

2013 was the year when people using internet on their mobile phone outnumbered the people using internet on personal computers. Connecting with customers will be easier and faster that it has ever been.

Hospitality industry has already been experiencing the trend for last couple of years with rise of mobile booking engine, mobile websites and custom hotel apps. In 2014, custom hotel apps and other travel apps will be leading charge when it comes to researching, planning, and booking a holiday.

With majority of the travelers now using smart phones, it has become imperative for the hotel to have a mobile app. Travelers have become so accustomed to variety of travel apps on their smart phones that they naturally expect hotels to have one as well. This is a great opportunity for the hotels where they can have total control over their content as well as engagement with guests is more personalized. Mobile App makes it very easy for the customers to do bookings, connect with the hotel, find out directions with Geo tagging and continually keep in touch with their favorite hotel.

Hotels can control and transfer huge amounts of data directly to their guests via video sections showing events and updating gallery showing new amenities in the hotel. Such features not only help hotels to connect with customers but also promote the location tourist friendly.

Hotels can collect huge amount of data when it comes to understanding their guest’s behavior without having to do major campaigns and not to mention the long term loyalty it could build among the customers. This is crucial as the new generations of users offer a new behavioral pattern which is constantly evolving and Application can be the main tool through which a hotel can understand that change.

Mobile App will become a major tool for hotels in their marketing strategy and reaching out to global audience in 2014.