what triggers hoteliers anxiety

What Triggers Hotelier's Anxiety?

Rahul Das
Rahul Das

Hotels never sleep, and at times neither do hoteliers.

And it's not just the 24/7 nature of the job that keeps them up.

So what does keep a hotelier up at night?

What induces anxiety and ennui in those who manage such businesses?

Well, we asked this question to hundreds of hoteliers in the past few months and came up with this word cloud that you see below.

Note: the more frequently a word/phrase comes up, the larger its representation.

problems faced by every hotelier

As ex-hoteliers, my team and I have crossed paths with these demons at some point in our careers and today we strive to help exorcize them.

We speak to hoteliers every day, and the best way I feel to go about this blog is to bring those conversations, their stories, struggles, and victories to you as succinctly as possible.

Depending on where a hotelier is in their business journey, a particular set of pain points seems to take precedence over others. For instance, a business that has just started is focused on making money immediately whereas a more established hotel business with steady revenues would concentrate on its reputation.

It seems the more a hotelier focuses on a certain problem, they tend to lose sight of something else which escalates into something bigger. It's like fighting the mythical multi-headed Hydra, chop off one of its heads and two grow back with a vengeance!

But this need not be the case.

Adopting the right methodology in tandem with the right technology can help vanquish this beast once and for all!

Sales is usually the first and foremost concern of many. A common trend with novice hotels and hoteliers is to sign up with as many OTAs - Online Travel Agents (like booking.com, Expedia, etc) as possible. This is a fine strategy to start at, however, the problem is managing the hotel on all these OTAs.

One hotelier in Tanzania (now a client), would log into every OTA and update his room inventory whenever there was a booking or a cancellation. For his twelve-room property, on average, he would receive nine bookings and about two cancellations per day, and his business was listed on eight OTAs.

So lets do the math: (9 bookings + 3 cancellations) X 8 OTAs = 96

Ninety-six was the number of times he would log into OTAs to update his inventory!!

Overwhelming and a colossal waste of time…not to mention he frequently missed updating the OTAs, which led to overbooking.

And what can one expect from guests who have confirmed reservations and yet been denied a room? Well, a vitriolic review is inevitable, is it not?

The genesis of this double-whammy was overbooking of course and a hotel channel manager was the right technology he needed at the time.

We used it to automate this rigmarole of updating inventories on OTAs.

A task that took most of his day now takes none of it, not to mention it stamped out the problem of overbooking once and for all.

Speaking of the right technology at the right time, a channel manager is undoubtedly momentous at the start, but what happens once we move past that?

What new nightmares are expected once hoteliers start getting an influx of guests?

Well, here is Hotelogix we jokingly refer to them as a hotelier’s ‘Darth Vader’ (lots of Star Wars enthusiasts in the office😁).

Darth Vader is a redoubtable enemy.

The ‘Force’ is strong with him. He is merciless & relentless, but not invincible.

Operational inefficiencies seem to be the bane of most hoteliers and are usually a mishmash of pain points they encounter running their business.

Poorly coordinated departments a commonplace in our interactions with hoteliers.

Departments such as front desk and housekeeping, kitchen, and service, need to clearly and effectively communicate with each other at all times.

Failing to do so causes duplication of efforts and unmitigated faux-pax like (real cases scenarios with hoteliers), checking-in a guest into a dirty room, missing out on charging them for the minibar during checkout, room service orders getting missed and the list goes on.

At this stage of business, hotels need to automate their operations, and the right technology at this time is a Property Management System (PMS).

In the overtly competitive market today, managing, maintaining, and scaling a hospitality business without technology could prove to be a counterintuitive approach.

A property management system, like Hotelogix, automates the daily operations of all departments and ensures the departments are in constant communication without ever having any of its members physically communicate to get things done.

Reports and dashboards form an integral part of scaling business. You can never know where or how fast you are going if you are blindfolded, can you?

A Hotel PMS tracks all activities and every transaction which is transcribed into comprehensive formats. With Hotelogix, there are over 100+ such formats and reports to choose from along with intuitive dashboards that help drive business decisions.

Long story short, Anakin Skywalker didn’t defeat Darth Vader because he was “The One”.

He bested him because he had Yoda by his side to help him be “The One”.

With the right technology by your side, the force will be with you….always. 😄

Now, you might not be a Star Wars fan, but you are definitely a fan of ‘Stars’

Yes, those five stars, some hollowed and some yellowed, that show up when anyone keys in your hotel's name in the browser. Your online ratings and reviews!

In most conversations with Hoteliers on this, usually veer towards how they plan to ensure ‘little’ to ‘no’ negative reviews. Although a very healthy conversation, yet an unrealistic one.

Dodging negative reviews are like walking through a field of goose grass, they will stick to you no matter how much you try to avoid them. It’s imperative to take the right steps to avoid negative reviews, but more importantly to actively garner positive reviews to offset the damage of the negative ones.

Most of our patrons have improved their online reputation and revenues have seen about a 37% spike on average. Activities that were common with these hoteliers were:

Know the Pulse of your Guest

They would try and gauge the guest's sentiment during their stay. Hotelogix helped automate guest feedback which let hoteliers address grievances sooner rather than later. Most guests whose problems were heard and addressed during their stay had shared positive reviews online.

The Right Push

A ‘happy’ guest, is someone who had a good stay and whose expectations were met, many at times would forget to post a review (despite agreeing to do so while checking out). These happy guests are ‘nudged’ with the help of Hotelogix. It helps send a friendly automated e-mail, that acts as a gentle reminder to post an online review. Seems simple enough but is surprisingly effective!

The Art of Delight

A happy guest needs to be nudged for a review, but an elated guest would do so themselves.

Guest delight is the foundation of great hospitality and our patrons leverage automation to deliver it. Remembering a guest, not just their names but their food allergies as well goes a long way in making them feel special!

A PMS will always have your guest information handy whenever you may need it.

Additionally, with Hotelogix, guest requests can be internally tracked (and escalated if SLA is breached) always ensuring a delay-free guest service experience.

If I were to chronicle every anxiety-inducing, sleep-depriving pain point a hotelier encountered and how technology solved it, there is no way to do so with brevity…definitely not in a blog, maybe in a book, someday 😄

At the end of the day, although technology will help with reputation, operations, and revenue, it can never replace the warmth of hospitality.

Talk to your guests, get to know them, and make human connections with them like you would do with someone visiting you at home. Technology frees you up from everything else and lets you invest your time in what matters most….your guest.