Category Archives: Web

[Infographic] Year in Review 2016

The year 2016 has flown by and we have been striving to spread our wings far and wide. From endeavors to uplift, 2016 was a mixed bag of efforts and achievements for eZee squad. Looking back, we analyzed and built this success review story especially for you.

We are here with flashback for the year 2016 with product innovation, new product releases and business endeavor, and accolades of praise. Read on and feel proud, because we live and work only for true-hearted users like you.

Year in Review

 

We are ready to rock 2017, with a promise that we’ll deliver solutions and services better than the best.

 

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.

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.

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.