Advices for guests

April 26, 2007 at 11:51 am | Posted in employees, guests, hotels, tips | 3 Comments

Crazy Hotel Workers have listed great, funny, interesting, useful and definitely true advices for hotel guests how to handle problems when in hotel:

-Deal with problems as they happen. That’s why there’s usually someone on staff at all times, to deal with things as they occur. If you have a problem with your room at check in, whatever it may be, do NOT wait until checkout the next morning to let us know. It’s quite likely we would’ve been able to fix the issue, whatever it may be. In my opinion, if you take away our chance to fix your problem, why should you be compensated for it?

-Don’t book through internet sites that offer you dirt cheap fares. You really do get what you pay for. If you must book through the internet, use a hotel’s brand website. They are much more reliable. Not all problems with these reservations are the fault of the front desk, believe it or not. The discount websites are very misleading. They would sell you a cot in the basement of the hotel if they could.

-Many hotels strive to be something like your home away from home… but we are still a business. It is our job to sell rooms. You do not get to dictate who goes where, what rooms well sell, etc. If for some reason you have special needs, make them known up front. Perhaps you are a light sleeper? If you let us know in advance, we can try to accommodate you. A room off in the corner somewhere is going to be more quiet than one smack in the middle of the hotel. If you prefer not to be around groups.. make that known as well. I know not all travelers (if any) know when something is going to be going on at the hotel, so it doesn’t hurt to ask. We won’t point and laugh at you, we promise. We really do try to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

For more go here. I wish guests would read and use those advices. Life would be easier both for hotel workers and guests.

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Just a short note: website design

April 19, 2007 at 7:46 am | Posted in hotels, internet, marketing, tips | 8 Comments

Last week I discussed hotel website optimization. Today I want to note another article at eHotelier.com. This time it`s about website design, written by Keith Paulin (leading online marketer in the hotel industry). Keith gives simple and in depth advice on creating good hotel website design. Read Keith`s article here, but I`ll give just key thoughts:

However, once you have prepared a brief, it is important to let your designers…well…design. Don’t restrict their creativity because that is really what you are paying for. You should expect at least two and maybe three alternatives to review, refining these through a series of iterations until you have a design that is both visually appealing as well as Search Engine-friendly. 

And as a final hint, use your common sense…you hotel website must be easy to build, easy to maintain or add to and compelling to visitors.

Nowadays, they should be providing you with a website based on a Content Management System which will allow you to edit or add pages in-house quickly and easily…this will also reduce your ongoing costs. Finally, your website should indeed look smart and stylish…simple, fresh and not too busy…enough to capture visitors imagination without trying to do too much. 

I can completely agree with those advices.

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Easy to say, but hard to do…

April 13, 2007 at 10:07 am | Posted in hotels, internet, marketing, tips | 4 Comments

At least seems so, because there are lots of publications on Internet and in printed press about hotel website development and marketing, even courses and seminars, but there are still thousands of poor hotel sites. Latest article Five ways to promote your hotel website repeats once more how important it is to optimise and make the site search engine friendly:

  1. 1. Get website analysis to know what`s good and what`s bad about your site from the point of design and search ability. Better if its done by competent website designer, not by yourself. Most trickiest part is to get competent designer, because there are lots of designers that just tell that they are good….And then you have to believe him and do what he says. I think it`s hard for hotelier to get through this step without knowledge about Internet marketing and website design do`s and don`ts. I have learned about this subject on my MA studies, have gone to several seminars and read information in Internet, so at least I can ask web designer about this or that and know what he is talking about. One of the biggest mistakes that hoteliers do is tell “I have seen some hotel sites and I like site X, so make my site look like X” or make design project themselves and don`t listen to designer. Second biggest mistake is to hire IT student to do the job, because it doesn`t cost so much….I`m not telling that student can`t do it, maybe he really knows a lot and is talented, but after some months or year he may be gone and hotelier is left without website support.
  2. 2. Make a plan of search engine and directory continued submission and add data engine to your site. Better leave this job to person skilled in working with search engines. I advice to think first what kind and how detailed information you want to know about your site performance and then choose carefully most appropriate data engine. For example, if it`s important for you to know from which countries you got visitors, look for engine that supports gathering of such information.
  3. 3. Pay-per-click can stimulate popularity results for your site. I won`t suggest using this advertising method unless you can manage those clicks to buy your services. I had a talk with some tourism and IT professionals and they said that some hotels in Riga have choosen pay-per-click advertising, but after a month or two closed the campaign, because they got loads of clicks (you have to pay for every single click you know), but only few of them turned out in real reservations. So they paid a lot of money for this advertising but gained almost nothing. It`s more useful to put hotel on hotel directories or booking sites (they use pay-per-click too).
  4. 4. Link to and from your site, but don`t put outgoing links on your home page. I don`t know how exactly it works, but search engines are supposed to like linking. For example, make page with local travel information, add links to tourism objects, city site etc. and you`ll make your site more useful to your clients as well. Besides, you may link to a business that might be useful to your clients and ask that business to link to you on its site.
  5. 5. If your site contains photo gallery (and it should), don`t be lazy and add text definition to your photos. Search engines don`t see photos unless you add text to them. There are lots of people who use Image search in search engines instead of usual search.

I can suggest three other simple things to make your site also more sales-ready:

  1. 1. Make it reader-friendly: normal size fonts, no harsh colours and easy to navigate, don`t write too long, use more photos.
  2. 2. Keep it simple and remember about 3-step rule. Simple means quick loading page, easy to find information. 3-step rule means that visitor must be able to find everything he needs or make booking in three clicks.
  3. 3. Don`t hide away reservation page. It must be visible: either straight away on home page (many hotel chains do so) or one click away (“Reservation” button on home page).

That`s my opinion and things I have learned. Your suggestions and advices are welcomed.

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How to motivate employees?

March 29, 2007 at 9:45 am | Posted in hotels, Latvia, management, tips | Leave a comment

Probably the toughest question for a manager…

 UPDATE! Further reading [via eHotelier.com]:

Yesterday I went to seminar “Employees` motivation”. It`s always easier in theory than in practice. Manager has to have good theoretical background as well as good knowledge about communication and psychology and be able to understand and feel employees. That`s what lecturers (professionals in human management) agreed about as well. We were taught about motivation, employees selection, carrier and training.  

Main thoughts: Continue Reading How to motivate employees?…

Here is your key and here is your painter`s tape…

March 19, 2007 at 12:34 pm | Posted in guests, hotels, tips | Leave a comment

Such sentence you might hear from receptionist in a hotel where little babies aren`t frequent guests. OK, it`s more like joke, but who knows… Might be usefull. Especially if You read post from ParentHacks, which gives advice to parents how to babyproof their hotel room (mentioned in Lifehacker).

[….] we realized too late that our trip to China to pick up our son would have been much less stressful if it had included a roll of blue painter’s tape to childproof hotel electrical outlets and “lock” dresser drawers. It works just like duct tape, but is easy on hotel walls, furniture, and anything else you’d rather not leave permanently sticky.

Should I go and buy couple of blue painter`s tapes?

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Do guests lie about service and what can hotelier do?

March 9, 2007 at 9:18 am | Posted in guests, hotels, tips | Leave a comment

Do guests lie about hotel service? Yes, yes, yes.

What can hotelier do? Be creative.

I`ll tell You what I did with lying guest. We have one regular guest. At the beginning everything was fine. Then at 5th or 6th stay he started to complain at reception in mornings that he had problems with his room: sink was blocked up and he could smell cigarette smoke in the air (we have no smoking policy). OK, may happen. Maids aren`t always perfect. We checked his room and everything was as he said. We found cigarette leftovers in sink, they caused jam. The same complain second time. Strange. Maids said, that room was OK. The same complain third time with additional broken TV…. We had quick discussion with housekeeper, checked TV – working! – and went to conclusion that guest is lying, even if he says that he doesn`t smoke.

What to do? Can`t tell the guest that he lies, he will deny it. So I gave instructions to housekeeper and reception manager to personally check his room before arrival and receptionist to tell the guest, that we have checked his room and that everything is all right.

Guest checked-in yesterday. We worked out our little liar catcher game. Was he complaining this morning? No. Guest only said that we could buy shoes cleaning machine (it`s definitely not enough with shoe cleaning wipes for him…) Was everything OK in the room when he left? Yes. Verdict – this guest is from “love to complain” category.

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5 tips and info for feeling safe with your hotel keycard

February 24, 2007 at 11:44 am | Posted in hotels, list, tips | Leave a comment

An old mass e-mail in USA has made a myth, that hotels put guests personal information (including credit card number) on hotel keycards. It`s a myth! It doesn`t happen. Neither in USA nor in Europe. Hotel keycards are more safe than ordinary keys, because it`s not easy to open doors with electronic key system and keycard doesn`t have a room number on it.

What information keycards hold? Room number and check-in/check-out date (not visible). Sometimes also your name. That`s all.

How the keycard system works? Hotel can put information on keycard in two ways:

1) Hotel has reservation system with integrated key system. In such case, information to key goes automatically. As well as hotel employees may see when someone enters or leaves the room, if they have additional modul for such programm.

2) Hotel has separate key system. In such case, key is made with no connection to reservation system. Usually only check-in/check-out and room number is put on the card.

As I said keycards are more safe than usual keys, but You can make them more safe with these 5 tips:

1. Don`t keep the keycard in your wallet. I know, often keys are as small as credit cards and easy to put in wallet, but wallet can be stollen. There is small possibility than thief may try to open hotel rooms with your key and get lucky.

2. If possible, when leaving hotel, leave your keycard at reception, so You won`t loose it in crazy dance 🙂

3. Be accurate with your keycard. They do breake, they aren`t from metal.

4. At check-in ask receptionist what to do, if you loose or breake keycard to escape unpleasant moments afterwards.

5. And don`t leave your keycard outside the door (not all hotels have all in one hotel management system where you put your card in holder to switch on the light, so you might forget it in door locker.

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