While for most people Christmas is a time to kick back with a glass of bubbly and enjoy themselves, for anyone working in hospitality this is likely to be the busiest time of year.
For hotels, comprehensive preparation and seamless organisation are essential to ensure a profitable stress-free festive period which is vital to your business success.
An efficient and reliable property management system (PMS) such as Hotel Executive, with its supplementary functions such as the EPOS system and event management tool, is vital in facilitating such smooth organisation.
Here’s how it can help you make the most of the festive period, with your guests and staff still smiling:
1) Maximise bookings
With Avon Data’s channel manager you can control all your online sales channels from one place and know that any online reservations will automatically flow back into your hotel management system. If you make a change on your hotel system, it will instantly be reflected across all your online channels. If someone books anywhere on your online channels, the room availability will be instantly updated everywhere, so there’s no risk of overbooking or underselling.
You can use this to expand your distribution network through a variety of online travel agents without it becoming unmanageable. Bigger distribution means reaching a wider pool and is likely to lead to more bookings. With Avon Data’s channel management partners, your hotel has two-way connectivity to more than 200 online travel agencies including Booking.com, Laterooms, Lastminute.com, Expedia and AirBnB.
To drive more direct bookings, ensure you incentivise guests with special deals, exclusive packages and add-ons. Make the most out of Hotel Executive’s guest engagement tools which enable you to automatically send out branded friendly emails highlighting the benefits of direct bookings as well as advertising the perks of your hotel.
2) Maximise revenue
Use Hotel Executive’s dynamic pricing module to set up ‘real time’ pricing which fluctuates according to occupancy and demand to ensure you maximise revenue where possible. Hotel owners and managers can set-up sophisticated occupancy and revenue rules to vary prices automatically.
Given the varying degrees of occupancy experienced throughout the course of just one week, this can be a hugely effective way of driving bookings during quieter periods and filling rooms at the most profitable price when demand is high.
Upselling is all about absolutely top-notch customer service and engagement. When a customer asks a question or wants some advice, think about what else you can offer them that may be of help. Sometimes there may be a price tag attached to the additional support and services they want.
This is easily done in person during the guests’ stay, when skilled and charming hotel staff can engage with and respond to different guests’ wishes. But with most hotel interactions now taking place online, it is also vital hotels capitalise on upselling opportunities through their PMS and booking systems.
The guest engagement tool can be set to automatically send out branded and tailored emails before, during and after a guests’ stay. An initial confirmation email can be sent out immediately after booking checking the specifics of the reservation but also highlighting any extras they may wish to pre-book such as dinner or a spa treatment. Follow-up emails incentivising guests to return soon and highlighting special deals or services they may be interested in are another opportunity that should not be missed.
4) Manage events
Christmas parties and meals are a great way to bring in extra revenue as well as boosting overnight stays but events, whether big or small, require detailed management. This is where specialist event management software such as Events, which integrates seamlessly with your hotel PMS system, can be a huge help. Through Events you can handle scheduling, monitoring, reminders and billing in one powerful, user-friendly system ensuring important details do not get overlooked.
Alongside this the EPOS system can help staff to monitor stock levels so there are no awkward moments of a bar run dry. The EPOS automatically sends orders through to the kitchen and integrates with the PMS and Events, so restaurant or bar bills can be automatically added to a guests’ room bill with no room for error.
5) Make things easy for guests
Make your booking system quick and easy to use. The more pages someone has to click through to book, the more likely you are to lose them before they confirm. Similarly, if people are presented with so many price, product and package options that they’d need three hours to work out the best deal, they will be put off. More than half – 55% – of web page views get less than 15 seconds of attention, according to Chartbeat. So, do not overwhelm people with options – keep your pricing and booking system as simple as possible.
6) Make things easy for staff
Effective hotel management software creates huge staff time savings by automating many processes. Hotel Executive enables staff to manage, monitor and update all aspects of the business through one system which records bookings, bedroom status, special requests and more. It also provides all the back office and reporting functions necessary to keep abreast of accounts and analyse business performance.
Additional features support many enhanced sales and marketing tools while HE Secure Plus allows hotels to securely take payments while storing guests’ payment details securely off-site, helping hotels achieve PCI compliance.
By simplifying and automating all the hotel processes within a single system, a good hotel management system can save vast amounts of time. We estimate that just by implementing HE-Secure Plus and Guest Engagement, a 20-bedroom hotel could save at least five hours’ work every day.
The time saved can then free up staff to get away from their computer screens and focus on providing unrivalled levels of customer service so that every guest leaves your hotel wanting to return soon.