booking-engineAs many seasoned hoteliers would agree, operating an independent hotel is a rewarding, yet challenging, endeavor.  One of the more difficult tasks for operators is developing strong brand recognition.  Independents do not have large marketing budgets like major brands, such as Hilton and Marriott, so they must maximize every opportunity to market and position their hotel in front of potential guests.  For independent hotels, their website is their most important marketing tool.

While social media and email are helpful pieces of an online marketing strategy, a hotel’s website will always be its strongest asset. Websites do not require you to register or login before viewing, so they are the easiest way for people to find information.  Travelers can view countless lodging options with just a few clicks, so it’s critical to convert their curiosity into a reservation while you have their attention.  With innRoad’s powerful Booking Engine software, operators can enhance their website to capture reservations from audiences across the globe.

A key feature of our fully integrated, cloud-based hotel management system, our booking engine software transforms your website into a destination for travelers looking to book their next business or leisure stay.  Here are some key advantages hoteliers can expect with innRoad:

Leverage an Existing Asset
innRoad’s booking engine software integrates into your existing website, eliminating a lengthy and expensive website development project.  With our customizable interface, we can easily match the look and feel of your website and brand.  And our easy-to-use functionality allows you to publish rich content that will showcase your property and capture the attention of curious travelers.

Enhance the Guest Experience
With our booking engine software integrated into your website, potential guests can seamlessly navigate the reservation process without clicking away from your site.  For travelers’ on-the-go, our Mobile Booking Engine allows guests to easily book rooms from a mobile device without compromising the user experience.  And once reservations are booked, you can deliver confirmation emails enhanced with customized rich text and images to provide guests with a preview of their experience before arriving.

Access Real-Time Information
innRoad’s booking engine software provides real-time information to both operators and guests.  When rooms are removed from inventory or rates are changed, updated information is automatically published, so guests are able to view rates, special offers and availability that are accurate and up-to-date.  For hoteliers, innRoad provides comprehensive reports so you can monitor reservation activities and remain in total control of your hotel’s performance.

Increase Revenue
Most importantly, innRoad’s booking engine positions your hotel to generate stronger revenues.  Every reservation booked through your website is commission-free, so more hard-earned dollars stay in your pocket.  Our software’s built-in flexibility allows you to create revenue enhancing up-sell opportunities with room bundles that include retail items or special experience packages.  And to protect your bottom line during special events and busy periods, operators can activate a dynamic deposit and cancellation policy, based on room type and stay dates, so last-minute cancelations do not leave you with vacant rooms and empty pockets.

In addition to our booking engine software, operators receive a full complement of tools to enhance their hotel and the guest experience, including our Property Management System, Global Distribution Services and Hotel Revenue Manager.  Contact us today to schedule a demo of innRoad’s powerful booking engine software and experience first-hand how our cloud-based, fully integrated hotel management system can get your hotel on its path to profits.

online-hotel-reputationAs more and more guests book online, reviews that people post online are an important part of increasing bookings and improving revenue. To help you manage your online hotel reputation, we put together a checklist of things to do to help you manage your online reputation. We call it the MAAC method. Monitor, Analyze, Address and Change.

  1. Monitor/Listen
  2. Analyze/Review
  3. Address
  4. Change

Monitor
The opinions of your guests matter more than ever. By regularly monitoring comments and feedback from your guests on OTAs and other review websites, you can remain in-tune with their needs and proactively manage their experience.

Knowledge sharing among travelers has long been a routine practice. But today, there is tangible value in the collective opinions of hotel guests. In addition to OTAs, websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are designed specifically to harness the influence of user reviews. In maintaining the health of their business, hotel operators should not view these sites as threats but as opportunities to gain perspective and insight.

Analyze/Review
Hotel managers should regularly read what guests have to say about their experience in their hotel and competing properties. To analyze this feedback, operators should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Do their opinions match my perception of my hotel?
  • Do their opinions match my perception of my competitors?
  • Where are my opportunities for improvement?
  • What are my competitors doing that I should also consider?
  • How do I ensure the best possible experience for my future guests?

Guests tend to be very honest on OTAs and review sites, so this is a great opportunity to gather unsolicited feedback and use it to improve your operations. At times guests will post comments that are negative and seem unfair, but remember that consumers lead the online conversation. However, by actively monitoring their feedback, you will stay informed and aware of any opportunities that can be implemented to improve the guest experience.

Address
When you do find a negative post that you want to address, do so. Sign in as yourself- the hotel owner or manager- and reply to the comment honestly. Apologize to the guest and let them know that they have been heard and changes will be made. You can take this time to remind them that the next time they are on site, you welcome feedback like this in person so it can be addressed immediately so the remainder of their stay is not impacted. And, you can offer a discount code or appreciation gift in the hopes of getting them to return.

Addressing guest concerns online shows your future guests that you have taken measures to improve, and you are aware of the problem. Let’s say someone writes a bad review of your property online. First you need to identify where it is written. In this case, it is on Orbitz. Now that you have identified where the review is, you will address the review publicly. Then you may decide to offer a special discount to Orbitz customers via the GDS. This not only offsets the bad review, but it also entices potential future guests to book at your property.

Change
Bring these reviews to your employees. Make sure that they understand that every interaction with a guest is now public, and it needs to be the best experience possible. Give employees the power to rectify problems on the spot. For example, give employees coupons for $5 off per night that they can hand out, that guests can redeem upon check-out. This is a great way to quickly address any complaints. If the guest is still unhappy, there needs to be a manager available at all times to deal with guest needs or problems. Make sure that employees know where this manager is and how to get a hold of them.

We understand that the exercises mentioned above require an investment of time and effort that many independent hotel operators will find difficult to squeeze into the work day. However, ignoring the influence of OTAs has the potential to be a very expensive mistake. This is why we designed innRoad with the needs of busy independent hotel operators in mind. With our cloud-based hotel property management software, you can save time completing routine, but essential, daily tasks so that you can focus on managing more complex responsibilities, such as monitoring and leveraging OTAs to generate future business. Our goal is to help you better operate your hotel and position it for greater success.

Contact us today to schedule a personalized demo and get your hotel on its path to profits.

hotel- revenue-goalsWith the summer travel season in full swing, it’s easy to overlook that we’ve reached the midpoint of 2014. We know the summer months are busy for many independent hoteliers, but this is the perfect time to examine your annual progress to date so you can dissect any shortcomings and recalibrate expectations. Developing an annual plan and regularly monitoring your progress is important for staying on the path to long-term growth and success.

Whether you set 2014 business goals or not, it is never too late to develop a framework for improving your hotel’s performance. Below are questions that will help hoteliers evaluate their business and determine if they are on-track for a successful year. And for hoteliers who identify opportunities for improvement, we will explain how innRoad’s hotel management software can help your hotel maximize its potential for performance and profitability.

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hotel otaA common hallmark among many popular independent hotel properties is an established identity and reputation.  Rather than maximizing their autonomy, many of these hotels have developed operating standards that set a level of expectation to ensure consistent guest experiences.  As a result, these hotels are rewarded with a strong and positive reputation among travelers.  Today, due to the importance of Online Travel Agents (OTAs) and guest feedback websites, a hotel’s online reputation plays a key factor in its ability to generate revenue, grow profits and position itself for future success.

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HITEC 2014Two weeks ago our team got to spend three days at HITEC 2014, the world’s largest hospitality technology show. Put on by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), this show is the forefront of hotel technology. Serving more than 5500 attendees, HITEC serves as a vehicle for encouraging the dissemination of the most current applications to the industry worldwide. What we love about the show is that it highlights areas in which the industry is evolving while staying focused on the most important thing- the guest.

The two themes that we thought were most interesting about the show were:
1.    Guest Services Innovations
2.    Cloud is the standard

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Selecting a new (software) tool to manage a property is an important process that shouldn’t be rushed. Much like hiring the wrong key employee, selecting the wrong system for you can be tremendously costly in terms of time and money. Understanding the importance of this decision and the breadth of systems available today, this guide will help you make the right choice for your business.5-tips-select-Hotel-Management-system

A great hotel management system should do three things:

  1. Make your life easier
  2. Provide a positive ROI
  3. Help you grow your business

But, where do you find such a system? The variety of systems provides a multitude of options for property owners and managers. Understanding that every property is different, this guide will help you select a system or tool that fits your individual needs. Consider these five areas when selecting a new (software) tool to manage your property:

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innroad-global-distribution“Global Distribution” is a phrase used to describe the network of online sales channels that allow hotels to showcase their available inventory, rates, rules and restrictions on various Online Travel Agent (OTA) websites, like Expedia and Travelocity.  Through OTAs, guests use specific search criteria, such as location, room type, arrival and departure dates, to find hotels and book reservations.

On the surface, global distribution is a fairly straightforward concept.  However, when you “peek behind the curtain” to closely examine the network of systems working together to provide hotels access to global distribution management services and connect them to potential guests, you realize the process is more complex than it appears.

To highlight the important role global distribution plays in unlocking new revenue streams and increasing profits for independent hotels, we will take a look at the key stakeholders responsible for hotel distribution management.  Additionally, we will share how independent hoteliers can leverage innRoad to both manage their properties and connect with new global travelers in a simple and cost-efficient way.

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upgrade-hotel-PMSWhen we speak with potential customers who are considering upgrading their current property management system (PMS), many have already researched the benefits of innRoad’s cloud-based PMS software, but are still reluctant to switch to a new system. Though their current PMS may run slowly or not have all the functions needed to efficiently operate their hotel, concerns of facing a difficult transition from one system to another hinder operators from making a decision that will ultimately improve their hotel’s performance.

To address the worries of independent hotel owners and operators who are upgrading their hotel management systems, we would like to explain the simple process of transitioning to innRoad, as well as the immediate benefits hoteliers receive from our cloud-based, all-inclusive hotel PMS. With innRoad, our goal is to help hotel property managers save time and enhance their front desk and back office operations, so they can focus their energy on providing wonderful experiences for their guests.

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HITEC-2014-logoinnRoad will exhibit its all-inclusive, cloud-based hotel property management software at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference – HITEC 2014 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on June 23 – 26.  Stationed in booth #1360, HITEC attendees will have an opportunity to experience live demonstrations of our fully-integrated hotel property management solution while attending the world’s largest hospitality technology exposition and conference.

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cloud-based-property-management-systemIn a previous blog post titled, “Understanding innRoad Technology: What is “the cloud?,” we provided an overview of how cloud technology works and how innRoad utilizes the cloud to help independent hoteliers improve their operational performance.  We also touched upon some of the features and benefits of operating in the cloud, such as top-tier data security and significant cost savings.  In continuing this dialogue, we will take a closer look at the advantages of using our cloud-based hotel property management system (PMS) and why independent hotel operators are relying on innRoad to help them stand out in the marketplace.

To briefly recap, technology blog Mashable defines the cloud as, “A network of servers, and each server has a different function. Some servers use computing power to run applications or “deliver a service.”  innRoad uses the cloud to complete the later.  Through the cloud, we securely deliver our all-inclusive hotel property management system to independent hotels.

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