Three Key Success Factors for an Independent Hotel's Website

By Pedro Colaco President & CEO, GuestCentric Systems | April 22, 2012

The Hidden Reality: most hotel websites do not generate enough business.

GuestCentric recently conducted a survey of over 300 hoteliers in North America, and the results were quite telling: while 84% of all hoteliers ranked their online strategy as important or very important, and 86% stated that they were happy or very happy with their official website, their main concern was that almost all hotel managers felt that their website did not generate enough business. This should come as no surprise, as only a staggering 14% pursued a structured online strategy!

This article tackles the issue of how independent hotels should create a structured online strategy to ensure e-commerce success for their official websites.

The online opportunity for Independents

Many industry studies show that the overwhelming majority of travelers (up to 80%) make their hotel selections and over 50% end up booking online and that 82% of those would prefer to book directly at the website of the hotel if they can get the best price and a trustworthy experience. If you tie these results with the fact that online bookings are the only growth market in hospitality in 2009/10, then it is clear that Independent hotels that provide their guests with a sub-standard online experience need to quickly upgrade their offerings to capitalize on the online opportunity. A strong e-commerce offering will enable Independent hotels to maintain their occupancy rates and decrease distribution costs through direct online bookings.

What is a successful hotel website?

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.