Top management tips for small hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs
January 17, 2021
Thanks for stopping by! You must be ready to run your property better than ever.
One way to improve your day to day business management is to be efficient with time, so we won’t waste any of yours. This blog will dot-point plenty of ideas you can use to run your property better, with more confidence and peace of mind. We hope it helps you solve for a better way of working.
Here are all the tips:
Table of contents
Back end (administration) hotel management tips
Seek out what you don’t know
No one knows everything but we can all learn! Because property management covers every facet of your hotel or B&B, constant adjustments need to be made. Make sure you’re staying informed about the travel/hotel industries and if you don’t find what you’re looking for on this article today, sign-up to Little Hotelier’s blog to receive regular content.
Upgrade your tools
We all know that using better tools equals a better result. Managing your admin tasks can get extremely time consuming and running a business from a notebook or excel spreadsheet is very exposed to error. Nowadays there are software tools, like all-in-one property management systems, you can use to significantly reduce your workload by automating and speeding up many of your tasks, such as managing reservations and check-in/out.
In short, hotel management software is technology that allows hotel operators and owners to simplify their administrative tasks while also increasing their bookings. The best products can be used anywhere on any device, as long as you have an internet connection, and are designed with small properties in mind. Here’s a little more about it.
Connect to more online booking agents
When it comes to getting your property noticed by travellers, more online connections is often better. If you aren’t selling online at all or are just getting by with Airbnb, consider expanding to sites such as Booking.com and Expedia. These online agents have huge marketing power and are the go-to option for many travellers booking trips. This process is made much easier with a channel manager.
Connect to the RIGHT channels
‘But you just said more…’ Yep, we know, but quality is important too. Every property is an individual so for your particular business you may need to look beyond the popular big players for channels that suit your niche market. For instance, some channels cater more to adventure travellers or romantic couples. Examples include Mr and Mrs Smith or Intrepid Travel.
List your property on TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor is yet another valuable resource that travellers use when going on a trip. Think of it as an online tourist information board. This social site is dedicated entirely to sharing information and reviews about travel businesses, including B&Bs and other small accommodations providers. Listing here will ensure you reach more people and provide potential guests with the information they need about your property. The more detail and photos you include the better! Once set up, you can start earning reviews to boost the strength of your profile and send more travellers to your website.
Keep track of performance
Maintaining a record of data around how well your hotel has been performing is essential to understanding how to make things better. It also helps you identify trends that may aid you in forecasting and knowing what packages and promotions to build. Ensure you keep a close eye on channel performance (which channels are bringing you the most bookings vs which ones are actually the most profitable?), website visitors and conversions, monthly occupancy, RevPAR (revenue per available room), and ADR (average daily rate). If you need help calculating some of these metrics, check out this blog.
Never forget that seasonality matters
The price people are prepared to pay for their hotel room will depend on the supply and demand trends over time. You’ll have to change rates a number of times during the year to reflect buying behavior and market conditions. This, together with the date and timing release of packages and promotions should form a major part of your business plans.
Stay on top of housekeeping
When times are busy and you have most of your rooms booked, hotel housekeeping software can really help you stick to a schedule. Keeping a routine schedule for cleaning and housekeeping will go a long way to helping you stay organised and prepared at your property, and also ensure you keep guests happy. One of the most common complaints from guests is about dirty rooms or general uncleanliness of a property.
Front end (guest facing) hotel management tips
Stay engaged with email and social media
Marketing your property is necessary (unless you’re lucky enough to have repeat guests every week) to keep your occupancy rate and incoming revenue healthy. This means making sure you’re never out of sight or mind. Email and social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, are very effective and affordable ways to reach and influence travellers. Use social media to maintain your brand presence, engage with an audience, and even book guests (an online booking engine makes this simple). You can also pay for advertising on Facebook and Instagram, choosing which demographic you want to target. Emails can be used to communicate seasonal promotions, last-minute deals, or to keep in touch with previous guests. For even better results, get to know your guests and tailor personalised messages!
Some of your guests may be coming from far away, even overseas, so the more information you give them the happier they’ll be. Keep in touch (via email or a mobile app) before, during, and after their stay to ensure you’ve done everything you can to help them enjoy their stay. A sunny disposition is always welcomed when interacting with guests too. Communication is also vital for you and any staff or partners you have to keep the property running smoothly.
Keep your website friendly, not scary
We get that you are not a website expert but there’s a few things that are important for you to know when it comes to your website presence. Loud autoplay videos or flashing pop-ups are a big no. Since travellers tend to book trips during office hours, it’s the last thing they want. Another annoyance for them is the need to download elements such as menus to view them. Try to make these accessible on your website pages. Thirdly, high quality photography goes a long way to securing a booking. Guests want to picture themselves at the property so make sure the image is a sweet one. If you think your website needs a facelift, there are simple solutions for that too.
Use the local area to your advantage
Guests aren’t simply buying a hotel room when they come to stay at your hotel. For them, they’re paying for an experience delivered by the destination. It would be a missed opportunity not to take advantage of this. Make sure you partner with local businesses and run promotions and packages around local events and attractions. Back on the topic of photography, make sure you have some spaces in or around your property that are ‘selfie’ worthy. Travellers love to share their snaps on social media so it’s great when they do your marketing for you.
Treat feedback seriously
Depending where your hotel is located, reviews can make or break you. Customer satisfaction is vital to the continued flood of bookings. The worst thing you can do is ignore the feedback guests leave on social media or sites like TripAdvisor. Both negative and positive reviews need to be responded to diligently to prevent any bad blood. If you do receive bad feedback during or after a stay, do your best to remain calm, acknowledge the issue, and come to a mutually beneficial resolution. Make sure the guest feels listened to and that they are important to you. Sometimes, resolving an issue can lead to even better feedback than if nothing had gone wrong in the first place. The more you can automate manual processes at your property, the more time you can spend on guest experience.
- Seek what you don’t already know
- Upgrade your tools
- Connect to more channels
- Connect to the right channels
- List your property on TripAdvisor
- Keep track of performance
- Maintain quality housekeeping
- Remember to react to seasonality
- Stay engaged on social media and email
- Communicate effectively
- Build a friendly website
- Market your location
- Don’t ignore feedback