Hotel Matters

The Changing Face of Hotel Reservation Booking

Time was when hotel bookings were made by telephone. But that was somewhere just this side of the stone age. The rise of the internet meant that hotels were obliged to build websites and offer online booking facilities. Booking became easier. And then came channel management.

Today, the internet has revolutionised the way independent hoteliers can market their hotels, whether by providing real time internet bookings on their own sites, or by using GDS engines, or by a combination of both.

In the last year, 148.3 milliontravel bookings were made online.So, as an independent hotelier, what best practices have you already developed – or do you need yet to develop – in order to take advantage of the increasing trend towards web reservations?

At the heart of that requirement lies the need for a best-of-breed software solution. It’s why so many hoteliers use, or are turning to, roomMaster, not just for its hotel management abilities, but also for its integration with your own online booking engine, as well as all the top channel managers. This way you can be sure that your guests get the best value, whilst you maximise revenue for the right room, booked at the right time.

It’s this versatility that makes roomMaster a world-beating solution and explains why it is already installed in more than 5,500 hotels in 50 countries.

And now, with the very latest mobile technology, hotelierscan access important roomMaster functions on a tablet or smart phone any time, anywhere.

The Mobile Solutions

Two new mobile solutions are now available: iQ-Messenger and iQ-Anywhere.

IQ-Messenger is designed to keep you informed about your hotel’s performance from anywhere in the world. The solution works on all browsers, tablets and smart phones but the recommended device is the wi-fi version of the 16GB iPad Mini, ideal for both size and accessibility.

Here, briefly, are some of the functions and information instantly available for users of iQ-Messenger:

  • Room status
  • Room statistics including turnover, occupancy, arrivals and departures
  • Current in-house guest list
  • Folio detail display of in-house guests
  • Housekeeping with room status updates, lost and found and room holds
  • Maintenance needs
  • Weekly availability, including groups and group listing
  • Current snapshot with past revenue data
  • Guest profile
  • Guest history with folio detail display
  • Check-in, folio posting and check-out
  • Update of guest names and guest profile information

iQ-Anywhereintegrates with roomMaster’s user profiles and security features, so only users with the right profile can access it. iQ-Anywhere functions are available on a user-by-user basis. The solution also offers an XML Interface that can be used by custom and third-party applications and web services to access roomMasterdata instantly.

Click here for a free demo

Best Practices in Channel Reservations

When a potential guest uses an internet search to locate your hotel, it’s likely that your actual website will be lost amid a great many channel managers where you are also listed: Booking.com, Laterooms.com, Tripadviser.co.uk, Easy2reserve.com, Travelstay.com… the list goes on. These and more are each different in their own way and approach to attracting guests to your hotel. So what makes a good channel manager? Here are ten points that should be displayed on your behalf.

1. An overall impression that the site itself is persuasive and emotional, whilst conveying a sense of trust.

2. Star ratings, based on reviews from guests.(You should track reviews to make sure they are favourable.)

3. A short introductory paragraph of around 30 words only to sum up the key benefits of the hotel needs to include location, nearby attractions, description of bedrooms and restaurant, wi-fi facilities.

It’s this versatility that makes roomMastera world-beating solution and explains why it is already installed in more than 5,500 hotels in 50 countries.

And now, with the very latest mobile technology, hotelierscan access important roomMaster functions on a tablet or smart phone any time, anywhere.

4. Scores out of ten from previous guests, with one-word explanations of what the scores mean, and how many reviews have been left.

5. Details of when the hotel was last booked with the ability for the searcher to see specific details.

6. How many people are looking at your hotel right now.

7. Details of how many rooms at different prices are still available for specific dates.

8. Notificationthat a certain type of room has just been booked to demonstrate ongoing activity.

9. Details of savings with ‘before’ and ‘after’ prices.

10. Details of your cancelation policy and when it can be used for free.(You should track cancelations because too many could adversely affect your positioning on a channel manager’s site.)

Building a Better Hotel Website

Althoughguests might start by using a channel manager to find your hotel, they are equally likely to check out your own website before making a final decision on a booking. Or they might wish to go direct to your website for information and booking. On the surface, it is in your interests to make your website attractive, information fuelled and easy to navigate. Below the surface you need to make it easy to find on the internet, hospitable to search engines and easy to monitor. Here’s another the ten-point plan to help you do all that:

1. Provide enough copy for search engines to find and index.

2. Give thought to keywords that searchers might use to find your hotel.

3. Make sure page titles accurately describe the page contents.

4. Place internal links in the copy to aid both your readers and the search engines.

5. Show an attractive picture of the hotel on your home page and back it up with a gallery of other pictures that show bedrooms, reception, bar, grounds, etc.

6. Display the hotel name, address and telephone number in the same location close to the top of every page.

7. Place an availability query linked to the booking engine in the same location close to the top of every page. Keep availability and rates up to date.

8. Feature special offer pages.

9. Promote offline activities such as dining in your restaurant for non-residents, with details of the venue and regularly updated menus.

10. Regularly track booking engine traffic, whether it is your own, or from a channel manager.

What Our Customers Say

Lidos Hotel, London

Situated in a 150-year-oldbuilding not far fromVictoria overhead and underground railway stations, the Lidos Hotel is within walking distance of The Thames, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Tate gallery. It has proved itself as the budget choice for cost-conscious travellers that include families, students, business and leisure customers.

“We installed roomMaster, based on recommendations from neighbouring hotels who were very happy with the system,” says General Manager Mili Popat. “Since it was implemented it has reduced errors and improved accuracy.

“Its biggest advantage for us is its connection with our channel manager. We are pleased with the way bookings are now automatically populated, and we also like its detailed reports, and the way it assists with VAT.“

“With roomMaster on board, we are definitely looking forward to higher occupancy figures in the future.“

Fonab Castle Hotel, Perthshire

They call it ‘The Fonab Experience’ – one of Scotland’s most magnificent and mind-blowing places to stay. Opened in 2013, Fonab soon established itself as the premier hotel in the Pitlochry area. Fonab Castle Hotel describes itself as unique, luxurious and, above all, an experience.

roomMasterwas already up and running when Peter Sim was appointed as the hotel’s General Manager.He immediately found its ease of use a great advantage and was particularly impressed with its two-way link with the SynXis online hotel reservation system.

“One thing that about roomMaster that has made our business more efficient is the way the solution integrates the property management system (PMS) with electronic point of sale (EPOS),” says Peter. “Better package integration and channel management will definitely drive our business forward in the future.“

The support Peter has had from the roomMaster team has been reliable and quick. Now he is hoping they might look into what he sees as a feature that might be added.

“I would really like to see an integration of a virtual credit card terminal when taking reservations and credit card details,” he suggests. “In this way, prepayment could be more seamless.“

Renvyle House Hotel, Co. Galway

The award-winning Renvyle House, which is celebrating 130 years of hospitality this year, is an historic country house hotel, situated in Connemara on the shores of the Atlantic, where 150 acres include a private lake, nine-hole golf course, beach, woodlands, gardens and numerous activities on site.

“We started using roomMaster in 2002, upgraded in 2008 and will upgrade again soon,” says Front Office Manager Sabina Flaherty. “We chose the solution for its very user-friendly system. It’s flexibility for directly e-mailing customers is a particular favourite.“

“roomMaster’s wide range of reports is hugely important to us for marketing and for getting the most from setting our rates. We expect to see even greater things from the upgraded system, and have already had a sneak preview of it.“

“We highly rate both the quality of the product and its reliability. We also appreciate the 24/7 back-up and the confidence of knowing that we will always receive a call back within a matter of minutes. That kind of service is invaluable.”

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