RevPar may be the hotel industry's favorite KPI (see: What’s RevPar?) but ADR (average daily rate) is a close second! And the truth is that they are closely intertwined. So, even if you are still confused about the jumbled terminology of hotel revenue management, we're here to sort you out! By the end of this article, you'll understand how to calculate ADR and how to interpret and influence it in your hotel’s revenue management strategy. Average daily rate metrics aim to help business owners understand the average price rooms are being sold for in isolation. By pulling metrics apart we are better able to identify problems and opportunities to forge stronger revenue strategies. What is ADR? (Average Daily Rate) ADR stands for average daily rate and is widely used in the lodging industry as the best indicator for hotel room rate quality since total revenue metrics can be obscured by other factors like ancillaries or food and beverage. For real estate businesses and specifically hotel operators with perishable inventory, pricing strategies can make or break profitability. The formula for ADR is simple - just divide the total rooms revenue at your hotel by the total occupied rooms. So if you have $10,000 in rooms revenue and 100 rooms sold, your ADR is $100. The "A" in ADR stands for "average" because you'll usually be looking at YTD (year to date) or TTM (trailing twelve months) averages. You can really use this metric for any given time period but you'll need to make sure key performance indicators are always being compared apples to apples for a time perspective. It's a common mistake to divide rooms revenue by total number of rooms - this methodology can lead to artificially deflated RevPAR since it accounts for unoccupied and complimentary rooms. ADR= Room Revenue/Occupied Rooms ADR shows hospitality industry revenue managers how well they are doing at maintaining the pricing strength of their properties. An ADR that's trending upwards or downwards can be a worrisome sign or it can be the result of a clear revenue management strategy. Evaluated on its own and out of context, ADR doesn't tell the full picture of a property’s performance. Context comes from using ADR as a performance benchmark for comparing one hotel against another. Hotel revenue manager will create a “competitive set,” made up of hotels that attract similar types of guests, and then track the performance of the individual property compared to the comp set. If your hotel’s ADR is higher than other properties in your compset, it may have resulted in fewer bookings (i.e. lower occupancy) because you are less price competitive than other hotels all else equal. In other words, when a traveler compares your hotel to similar hotels, the lower rate will entice them to book with a competitor. Generally, this is a bad thing; you want your hotel to be competitively priced so you don’t lose bookings! In general, lower rates will result in higher occupancy and higher rates will result in lower occupancy. However, this is a bit simplistic, as we’ll cover in the next section on tactics to influence ADR. Generally speaking there is no such thing as "good ADR" in isolation because you'll also need to consider and compare occupancy with historical results and the compset to see how your property is doing. ADR is a component of RevPar Alongside occupancy rate, a property's ADR impacts RevPar (or revenue per available room), a key industry metric that tracks interactions between a hotel’s ADR and its occupancy rate. Hoteliers love RevPar because it shows how well they’re doing relative to similar hotels when adjusting for the number of available rooms. It's also a helpful revenue management signpost, showing how well a hotel generates revenue from its rooms. To boost RevPAR, you can increase ADR and/or occupancy; a higher ADR and occupancy rate means more revenue per available room. However, as we mentioned already, there’s a breaking point where a higher rate reduces demand. In general, you increase your rates too much, your occupancy will go down. This can actually be a net positive for revenue, as long as you’re increasing your rate enough to account for the lost occupancy. But it can also cause a dip in occupancy that can’t be made up with higher rates. For example, let’s say you decide to push your RevPar up by increasing ADR from $120 to $140. The occupancy at your 100-room hotel goes from 60% to 50%, which means your RevPar goes from $75 to $70. But now you are servicing 10 fewer rooms, which can save you money on the operations side. And, you can then target guests at that $140 rate and rebuild your occupancy. If the initiative succeeds, your RevPar ends up at $84 ($140 ADR*60% occupancy). Win! The effect of increasing or lowering prices on reducing or increasing demand is known as the price elasticity of demand. Thankfully, price isn’t the only thing that affects hotel revenue. Factors such as geography, traveler demographics (income, etc), hotel category and macroeconomic trends also affect the relationship between rate changes and occupancy. Sometimes, a higher ADR results in more bookings and a higher RevPAR. Like during periods of high demand, when inventory is constrained in the local market and consumers are far less price-sensitive. Or, as we saw in our example, a hotel can take steps to position itself as a more premium brand to increase ADR without necessarily decreasing occupancy. The complex dynamics and interplay between pricing and demand is the cornerstone of revenue management. Tactics: How to Influence Hotel ADR ADR is a fairly straightforward hotel performance metric: to increase it, raise your rates! However, as we saw above it's important to consider the impact of rate increases on your hotel’s overall revenue potential. Blindly increasing rates to boost your ADR can reduce occupancy and thus revenues. On the other hand, strategically increasing rates can actually lead to more revenue! It's a bit counterintuitive but it's true. Tactic #1: Brand Marketing Thus the top tactic to influence your hotel’s ADR is to focus on brand marketing. There are three reasons why investing in premium brand positioning can be the most rewarding tactic in the long-term: You can command higher rates. If your brand is perceived as premium, You can set your right tire without risking occupancy dips. In some cases, higher rates of loan can make your brand seem more premium! Pricing psychology is a funny thing! Loyalty is more profitable. If your brand fosters strong loyalty with past guests, you’ll rely less on public discounting and promotions. Rather, you can market directly to past guests and offer exclusive discounts and promotions that don't require you to pay commissions. You'll also notice that strong loyalty supports strong price position, as you won't have to publicly discount rates to generate business. Self-reinforcing cycle. As you build your book of higher-end guests, your premium positioning will build on itself. A strong brand also acts as a buffer to any downward pressures. That way, if you have had ones, your brand is already well-positioned in the eyes of consumers and won't necessarily have to resort quickly to blanket discounts. Tactic #2: Segmentation Another way to influence ADR is to segment your marketing so that you are better matching message to each audience. By segmenting in this way, you’ll be able to yield higher rates because you’ll speak more directly to each guest segment. The best example of this is with targeting past guests with loyalty marketing. These guests already know you’re property -- and hopefully love it! That means they are not just more likely to book direct but also less price-sensitive overall. These guests aren’t just looking for deals, they’re looking for predictable and familiar experiences that fulfill their expectations. In general, capturing more revenue from past guests also lowers your distribution costs and increases your net ADR (see next tactic). Since segmentation allows you to have different messages for different audiences, you can also section off certain cohorts for a more premium offer while keeping discounts focused elsewhere. One lever to achieve this price-based segmentation is to leverage the power of package promotions. The benefit of packages is that you’re able to hide the actual rate of the room within the broader package. This is a fantastic tool to boost ADR, as you can create “value-added” packages that don’t actually cost you much more to deliver, such as a complimentary welcome drink or meals included. Once you subtract the true cost of delivering these add-ons, you’ll be left with a healthier ADR. Tactic #3: Distribution Costs All revenue is not created equal. Each channel that sells your hotel rooms has its own associated costs. So one approach is to focus on Net ADR, or the amount of money that your hotel keeps after paying all distribution costs for each booking. While this won’t be a metric you can use for benchmarking against your compset, its great for internal tracking of how profitable your distribution strategy is. By optimizing your channels, you reduce commission costs and increase net revenue. This will have a direct impact on profitability. And it will also make you more competitive in the marketplace; since you are securing bookings more profitably, you’ll have more pricing power when it comes to setting your rates against your competitors! Tactic #4: Upsells and Rate Restrictions Another path to higher ADR is to sell more to upcoming reservations and current guests. By convincing guests to upgrade to a higher category of room, you’ll increase your ADR without having to increase the public rates. This avoids the occupancy issues of increasing your public rates and keeps your hotel competitive in the marketplace. When setting up your automated upselling initiative, consider doing more than just upgrades to bigger rooms. Can you create a package that offers exclusive access to amenities or some sort of upgraded experience beyond a bigger room? These are often seen as more valuable by guests, who then are willing to pay a bigger price premium than you may get from category upgrades alone. Rate restrictions are also a powerful tool, especially non-cancellable rates. Since guests aren’t able to cancel the booking, you can offer a better rate. This appeals to value-minded guests and reduces annoying last-minute cancellations, which can wreak havoc on yields. Length of stay is also another rate restriction to experiment with. Try different LOS requirements, such as a Friday/Saturday night stay, to better yield longer stays. While encouraging longer stays may not necessarily increase ADR (last-minute and weekend bookings are usually more expensive), it can help you maintain occupancy and keep supply low enough to merit higher ADRs.
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What would the hotel industry be without chain hotels? Can you imagine a world without online travel agencies like Expedia? Or what about a world without Airbnb? A few exceptional individuals made contributions to the lodging industry which revolutionized not only our industry, but the world. Thanks to the ideas, leadership, and drive of the 7 titans of the hotel industry, we can travel better today. In this article, we’ll introduce you to seven of the most important figures in the hotel business: Conrad Hilton, J. Willard Marriott, Isadore Sharp, Jay Pritzker, Barry Sternlicht, Brian Chesky, and Rich Barton. You’ll learn about their backgrounds, their career paths, the companies they founded, and how they fit into the evolution of the hotel industry. And you might find the inspiration you need to bring your ideas to life or to start your own company! The Early Days of the Hotel Industry The concept of a hotel is hardly a new one; boarding houses, inns, caravanserais, and other early lodging types have been in existence for thousands of years. These simple accommodations offered travelers a place to sleep, a hot meal, and stables for their horses. Early “hotels” were family-run and often located in the same building where the family lived. As travel became more common, starting in the 1400s, a few European countries mandated that hotels document their guests. These new laws signaled the beginning of the hotel industry - hoteliers were now running legitimate businesses in the eyes of the local governments. By the 1700s, every city had at least several hotels operating in the center of town to meet the demand for overnight stays. Many hotels became attractions in their own right, like the Le Grand Hôtel Paris and Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, which were famous for beautiful architecture and glamorous clientele. The Hotel Industry Boom in the United States Until the mid-1900s, nearly all hotels were independently owned and operated. There was also a clear distinction between the stylish, cosmopolitan hotels in city centers and the simple roadside motels in rural areas. Two entrepreneurs on opposite sides of the country saw opportunities to bring a high standard of service to the hotel industry and created the eponymous names that we all know today: Conrad Hilton and J. Willard Marriott. Conrad Hilton entered the hotel industry somewhat accidentally when his plan to purchase a bank fell through; instead, he ended up buying the Mobley Hotel in Cisco, Texas in 1919. Seeing that he could run a hotel successfully, Hilton scouted out promising hotel deals and continued growing his portfolio over the next few decades. Landmark hotels like New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria and the Plaza Hotel became Hilton properties, and the company acquired the Statler Hotel Company in what was the largest real estate transaction of its time. Hilton is not only credited with building a global hotel empire, but also with popularizing the star rating system and combining hotels, restaurants, and casinos. Like Hilton, J. Willard Marriott didn’t plan on becoming a hotel magnate. He got his start in the hospitality business by running A&W Root Beer shops in the Washington, D.C. area, and built a sizable restaurant and foodservice business. When it came time for his next venture, Marriott opened a motel in Arlington, Virginia with great results. Marriott became known for his hands-on leadership style and perfectionist mindset, and as the Marriott company grew, he continued to stay in the middle of the action. In fact, he never retired from Marriott, even after his son Bill took over as CEO. Under their leadership, Marriott became the largest hotel company in the world with over 30 brands under its umbrella. In addition to Hilton and Marriott, numerous hotel brands popped up in the mid-20th century, like Holiday Inn and Motel 6. These brands could offer quality and consistency to travelers who didn’t want to risk a sub-par experience at an independent property. Remember, back then, there was no Tripadvisor, so brands offered an appealing solution. The Rise of Hotel Brands Speaking of brands, Marriott and Hilton are only two of the great hotel brands that shaped the industry. While Hilton and Marriott were building their companies, another entrepreneur saw an opportunity to create a new type of hotel: Jay Pritzker. Already an established businessman, Pritzker was on a business trip to Los Angeles in 1957 when he noticed a lack of high-quality hotels located near airports. He didn’t think travelers should have to choose between nice downtown hotels and seedy airport motels, so he launched the Hyatt brand, which focused on upscale hotels near airports. Hyatt Hotels eventually branched out to urban hotels, notably when the company launched the Hyatt Regency brand, which is known for its signature atrium design. But Pritzker wasn’t the only one to realize that architecture can be an asset to a hotel brand; as a trained builder, Isadore Sharp knew architecture would always be a pillar of his Four Seasons hotel brand. He opened the first Four Seasons hotel in Toronto in 1961, and guests appreciated the innovative courtyard design that allowed them some relief from city sights and noise. Sharp grew the Four Seasons brand to become a globally known icon of service and luxury, and the company now manages over 100 hotels in cities like Paris and far-flung destinations like Bora Bora. Sharp wasn’t alone in grabbing an opportunity to appeal to affluent travelers. Barry Sternlicht, the founder of Starwood Capital and Starwood Hotels and Resorts, also noticed a gap in the luxury hotel market when he launched the W brand in 1998. In contrast to the pretentious, stuffy luxury hotels that were the norm, W hotels offered a playful, youthful version of luxury. The W brand is considered the first “lifestyle” hotel brand, a trend which is still popular today. Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ portfolio also included brands like Westin and Sheraton, and in 2016 Marriott purchased Starwood and formed the largest hotel company in the world. Lodging in the Digital Age By the 1990s, hotels had taken over the world. You could book a Marriott or Four Seasons on six continents and dozens of countries. But how would you actually make that booking? Most travelers relied on travel agents to secure reservations, or you could call the 1-800 number for a chain line Hilton or Hyatt. That all changed when Rich Barton, a product manager at Microsoft, came up with the idea for Expedia in 1994. He saw how the power of the internet could put travel booking into the travelers hands - he just had to create a platform to house all the data. By the time Expedia went public in 1999, it was far from the only digital booking platform, or online travel agency. Competitors like Booking.com, Priceline, Orbitz, and Travelocity gave consumers access to good rates and information about hotels around the globe. The popularity of brick-and-mortar travel agencies declined as online travel agencies took off. Two decades later, the OTA space is dominated by two big players who now own the majority of brands: Expedia Group and Booking Holdings. But Expedia and Booking.com aren’t the only sites where you can book a place to stay. In fact, hotels are no longer your only option. Just as Uber disrupted the taxi industry, Airbnb offers a new type of accommodation for travelers seeing local experiences or apartment-style short-term rentals. Founded by Brian Chesky in 2009, Airbnb has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Chesky and his two roommates had the idea to rent out a few air mattresses in their apartment during a busy conference in San Francisco, and a few years later their company became a Silicon Valley “unicorn” with a valuation over $1B. Airbnb has grown to over six million listings and is planning an IPO in late 2020. What can we expect for the future of the hotel industry? The industry’s pioneers are probably already hard at work building something that will further change how we travel and experience hospitality. -- Brian Chesky illustration by mikenudelman.com
Curious about how walkie-talkies can add value to your hospitality business? Roger that! Communication can make or break the guest experience, so your hotel or restaurant must have good communication tools in order to delight guests. While new, high-tech devices and apps might grab your attention, this article will explain how an old-school technology, the humble walkie-talkie or two-way radio, might actually be the best solution for your business. In fact, 60% of hospitality businesses surveyed by Motorola said that two-way radios were their primary method of internal voice communication. With a seamless communication protocol in place, your hotel and restaurant can focus on delivering a great guest experience. In this article, we’ll explore when and why hospitality businesses use walkie-talkies, and we’ll introduce you to several of the most popular models - and some unique alternatives. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to make more educated decisions about your hotel or restaurant’s communication technology needs. What Are the Main Use Cases for Walkie Talkies in Hospitality? Compared to more modern technology like cell phones, two-way radios present several key advantages. For one, all the walkie-talkies connected to a certain channel will hear all the communication on that channel, so it’s easy to send a message to a group of staff. Also, they’re always “on,” so you don’t need to “answer” incoming messages, which means busy employees can stay informed without interrupting the task at hand. Walkie-talkies are lightweight, user-friendly, and energy-efficient too. In what situations do these functions deliver real value? In the hospitality world, you’ll find countless scenarios where two-way radios make communication easier: Housekeeping: A housekeeping manager can easily communicate via walkie-talkie to housekeeping staff located throughout the hotel. If a guest calls the main housekeeping line to request more towels, the housekeeping manager can radio their team to request that the closest housekeeper deliver the towels. Restaurants: When restaurant staff is equipped with walkie-talkies, key information can be disseminated quickly and efficiently. For example, a host can alert servers that a VIP has just arrived. Kitchen staff can tell servers that the fish of the day is sold out. Servers can quickly ask for a manager’s assistance to handle a complaint. Maintenance: You’ll rarely find maintenance staff sitting behind a desk, so when a maintenance issue arises, it’s much more efficient for the front desk or housekeeping manager to radio the maintenance staff to inform them about an issue. For example, a guest might inform the front desk that the air conditioning in their room is not working. The front desk agent can radio maintenance to request that someone stop by the room to resolve the issue. Security: Whether in a hotel, restaurant, event venue, or nightclub, security staff relies on walkie-talkie communication to keep the premises secure. Thanks to discreet earpieces, security staff can share information, request assistance, or pass details on to other departments without needing to leave their posts. Events: During a conference or a wedding, many different departments collaborate to pull off the big event - and often across thousands of square feet of space. Efficient communication is crucial! During setup, event staff can request additional chairs without needing to walk away from the task at hand. Servers can alert kitchen staff that the buffet is running low without walking several minutes to the kitchen. When the event concludes, event staff can radio the front desk to let them know to expect a rush in the lobby. Front desk and valet: A guest’s arrival or departure presents a crucial handoff between the valet or bell staff and the front desk. When these departments are connected via walkie-talkies, the valet staff can inform the front desk about a guest who has just arrived, and the front desk can let the valet know that a guest needs their car to be pulled around. While walkie-talkies certainly meet a crucial communication need, it’s important to remember that these devices do have a few downsides. Using them without headphones or earpieces can result in noise that might be disruptive for guests, and, for that reason, they’re not meant to be used to relay sensitive information. What are the Best Walkie-Talkie Models (Most Popular for Hospitality)? Are you considering implementing two-way radios at your hotel or restaurant? Get a head start on the process by choosing one of the most popular devices. Motorola CLP Series This discreet walkie-talkie doesn’t look much like a typical two-way radio, which means it’s discreet enough to be suitable for front-of-house staff, like restaurant servers, valets, security staff, or event staff. The CLP line includes one-, four-, and six-channel models, so you can choose the device that works best for your business. The entry-level CLP1010 costs about $200 per device, while the six-channel CLP1060 costs closer to $300 per device. Motorola CLS Series These handheld radios offer coverage across up to 200,000 sq. ft. or a 15-story building. The CLS1110 comes with one channel setting, while the CLS1410 model has four channels. The device doesn’t have many features or settings, so it’s easy to use with little training needed. Since the CLS series is handheld, it’s best for back-of-house staff like housekeeping or maintenance. The CLS1110 costs approximately $160 each, though you can find discounted rates when purchasing several devices. Motorola DLR Need a little more phone-like functionality? Motorola’s DLR series includes several call functions and the ability to respond in a private “chat.” The DLR series has two models: the two-channel DLR1020 and the six-channel DLR1060. The DLR1020 costs roughly $200, and the six-channel DLR1060 costs $220. Kenwood ProTalk® TK-3230DX This lightweight walkie-talkie weighs only about five ounces, so it’s a great choice for staff who need to carry it for an entire shift. The battery lasts up to 18 hours, and you can communicate across six channels. The device also has coverage across up to 225,000 sq. ft. of space, so it’s ideal for event staff. The TK-3230DX costs about $165. Motorola WAVE TLK 100 The Motorola WAVE combines the coverage of a cell phone with the simple usability of a walkie-talkie. In fact, rather than radio channels, the WAVE uses the 4G LTE cell network, so these devices have coverage in areas that walkie-talkies don’t. The devices also have WiFi connectivity and location tracking features. The WAVE costs approximately $300 per device, and a centralized dispatch plan is required, which costs around $30 per month. What's the Difference Between GMRS vs. FRS 2-Way Radios? What’s the difference between Family Radio Service (FRS) band or the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)? As walkie talkies gained in popularity for consumers, FRS was developed to keep consumers off of CB Radio frequencies. It's a standard protocol that puts consumers at 462 and 467 megahertz so that they don't pick up CB Radio chatter like police dispatchers or FM radio stations. "GMRS radios sound a little louder and clearer than FRS radios. For those who plan to use two way radios only infrequently, in close range, or in outdoor scenarios that aren’t particularly technical, an FRS radio is just fine. FRS two way radios are powerful enough to have a range of a mile or two (depending on the terrain) and will keep you in touch with your party in case of emergency. If you plan to use your two-way radio more frequently, over a broader area, or in areas with more competition for a signal, you might want the greater flexibility and power a GMRS radio provides. If you want the greatest number of options for how to use your radio and at what distance and with the most clarity, a GMRS will give you extra peace of mind. A casual or new two-way radio user, however, will do just fine with a quality FRS." Midland USA What are the most important 2-way radio features for hotels to look for? Long battery life Rechargeable batteries and fast charger Wide headsets compatibility Waterproof (or at least water-resistant) Backlit LCD display Long range High sound quality LED flashlight Lightweight and portable What are the main factors I should consider when buying walkie talkies for my hotel? You'll want to think about who's using the walkie talkies. If you plan to have multiple teams operating them you'll need to make sure that you've got a model that can support multiple channels. You'll also want to think about the property you'll be using them at. For smaller hotels you're likely fine with small lightweight consumer grade radios but for larger hotels (10+ floors) you'll need 2 watts or greater with the largest hotels needinig four watt repeater capable radios. For massive properties with hundreds of staff members it's advisable to speak with a hospitality consultant prior to purchasing.
Payment processing is a significant expense for hotels. And it often feels like more of a tax rather than a payment paid for a service. This dynamic is the most visible when it comes to chargebacks, which are when a consumer disputes a transaction as invalid, inaccurate or fraudulent. Given the contentious nature of these types of disputes, they're unpleasant for both travelers, who may harbor negative sentiment around “shady” payment practices, and hotels, who must invest time and attention to fight fraudulent chargebacks. The cost of chargebacks is real: merchants lost 4.4% of revenue to chargebacks in 2019, due to chargeback fees ranging from $20 to $100. And that doesn’t even include the time you spent managing the dispute! Here’s what you need to consider when reducing chargeback pain at your hotel. What's a Chargeback? Chargebacks are a part of the payment processing process that generally happens after a traveler has checked out of your property and sees an unknown or inaccurate charge appear on the bill. A chargeback occurs when a traveler disputes a charge with their card issuer or bank, which then triggers an investigation into the validity of the charge. Chargebacks can also happen due to processing errors (such as charging a card twice) or fraudulent activity identified by credit card processors. Typically, a chargeback occurs when a customer sees what they believe is a fraudulent transaction on their credit card statement. They then open customer disputes on those credit card transactions. The acquiring bank or issuing bank (i.e. credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express) then opens an investigation into the transaction as a consumer protection for members of their card network given rampant credit card fraud. The customer then provides compelling evidence such as identity theft, incorrect amounts and charges, etc. The chargeback process is initiated by the cardholder, who disputes a transaction. [Source] Since chargebacks are seen as a protective layer against sketchy merchants, customer-initiated chargebacks are usually approved pending further investigation. This puts the onus on your hotel’s finance team to prove that the charge is legitimate. If the charge is proven legit, the funds will be reversed and sent back to your hotel. So you'll be made whole -- but it will not compensate for the amount of time spent fighting the potentially fraudulent charges. If the chargeback is valid, then the customer keeps the money and you’ll pay a chargeback fee to compensate the bank for its dispute management costs. The actual amount of this fee varies; it depends heavily on your chargeback ratio, or how many chargebacks your hotel receives in comparison to revenue. The higher your ratio, the higher the fees. You’ll pay more simply because you’ll be a higher risk merchant. The rise of virtual cards has also impacted chargebacks for hotels. Virtual cards are meant to be used for a specific amount, trip, or timeframe, or only for a single use. In travel, Virtual cards have become the primary means of payment for travel booked through corporate travel agents and even OTAs, like Expedia. There are also several consumer services, such as Privacy.com, that enable consumers to use virtual cards online purchases. Virtual cards complicate chargebacks, as the cards are not directly tied to a specific person. Rather, the issuing entity must be the one to manage the chargeback. This can lead to chargeback costs that are even greater than standard credit cards, sometimes up to 2% more. So, even though virtual cards are nearly fraud proof, they can still increase costs. The Most Common Reasons for Chargebacks Most chargebacks aren’t legitimate because consumers often misuse the chargeback process. The reason? They don’t want to confront the merchant directly. And, since it’s simple to do online without having to talk to somebody, it’s easy and avoids confrontation. This is called “friendly fraud” and it makes up the bulk of chargebacks. In one survey, 81% of customers said they contacted the bank before dealing directly with the seller.” Another estimated that 86% of chargebacks are actually friendly. This adds up to a significant burden on merchants, with 34% of merchants saying they had experienced friendly fraud, costing anywhere from $20 billion to $31 billion. And, with friendly fraud increasing at 41% every two years, hotels need a proactive strategy to keep a lid on chargeback costs. Analysis showing the real impact of chargebacks on merchants like hotels. Thankfully for hotels, it's much easier to prove that a service has been delivered when compared to ecommerce businesses. There are no damaged packages or delayed deliveries, and most people using a stolen credit card are hesitant to show up for a hotel stay. However, chargebacks can still be a significant cost per day -- and a giant headache -- for hotels. How to Reduce Chargebacks at Your Hotel The more chargebacks you have, the higher your processing fees. So it's in your best interest to take a strong stance against fraudulent chargebacks and prevent artificial inflation of your property’s processing costs. And it’s not always a sureshot at winning a chargeback dispute; in fact, only 18% reported winning at least 60% of their chargeback disputes -- pretty terrible odds for the average merchant. Here are a few tactics for reducing valid (and fraudulent) chargebacks. Provide itemized invoices. Whether it's a printout at the front desk, sliding an invoice under the guest’s door, or sending an email right at checkout, have a clear process to share itemized invoices with your guests.The best time to fix any overcharges is while the guest’s still on property. Once home, it’s much easier for them to initiate a dispute -- and reduce your profit margin from that booking! Match payment to ID. One of the simplest ways ro reduce fraud is to verify that a government-issued ID matches the payment card. Even if a reservation was paid for online, there’s value to verification when it comes to potentially documentation for a future chargeback. Monitor your chargeback ratio. A higher-than-average ratio signals to processors that you may be a high-risk merchant. The higher the risk, the higher the fees. For example, Visa has an acceptable ratio of 0.9% and 100 disputes per month. A rising chargeback ratio could indicate that there’s something failing in your billing operations -- or that your hotel is being targeted by bad actors. Be thorough and prepared. You never know which transaction may trigger a chargeback, so keep good records. You need to have clear proof to respond to any disputes. Save a copy of the sales draft, folio, or rental agreement -- especially one that has been initiated or signed by the customer in question. All folios/receipts should be itemized, with the date and transaction amount. Keep records for 3 years. Most card issuers require a 13-month retention timeframe, at the minimum. Discover requires two years and American Express requires three. Make sure to keep your records at least this long. Digital copies may be accessible, But be sure to check your agreements to be sure. Respond quickly. Chargebacks are an unpleasant chore. But don’t avoid them because there’s a time limit for responses. Each issuer has its own process, so get familiar and stay on top of it. You automatically forfeit the revenue if you don't respond on time -- even if you have the documentation to prove validity! Train your staff. Incorrectly entered payments or inaccurate bills can cause costly chargebacks. Make sure that you train new staff well and periodically refresh the team’s awareness of proper payment processing procedures. Know your chargeback codes. Each issuer has codes for specific chargeback reasons. Make sure that you (or someone on your finance team) is familiar with each of these codes; that way, you can be sure to orient your dispute documentation around the specific reason for the chargeback. Each chargeback diverts staff labor that could go to more productive uses and can also reduce your revenue. These are two undesirable outcomes that should be avoided at all costs. Instead, protect your hotel with strong operations and clear procedures, tackling chargebacks with a standardized, thoughtful approach to reducing chargebacks.
There’s no question that the coronavirus has deeply impacted the tourism industry. As the pandemic continues to evolve, however, what’s difficult to discern is the breadth and depth of its impact in both the short and long term. We’re still facing the repercussions of intermittent lockdowns, border closings, and economic stress, but these 50 statistics show the initial and ongoing impact of coronavirus on the tourism industry. We’ve broken these data points out into the following areas: Global Impact: 2020 and Beyond Air Travel and Transportation Hotels and Accommodation Food and Beverage Tours and Attractions Business Travel The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global travel is not black and white. Some tourism business' like smaller California wine country hotels and hotels adjacent to national parks have achieved record numbers despite a near complete shutdown of inbound tourism and international travel. Domestic tourism has been far from safe in the global pandemic with economic development initiatives supporting hotels, tour operators and other travel companies support their workers via aid programs like America's PPP (paycheck protection program). Global tourism will rebound from this the same way it did from the 9/11 terrorist attacks but experts uninanimously agree that it will take longer. The hotel industry has been devastated by low levels of international visitors as tourism demand dropped to all time lows with tourism destinations even turning potential travelers away. Read on for some of the most remarkable numbers showing the widespread impact of COVID-19. Global Impact: 2020 and Beyond The tourism industry worldwide is impacted by coronavirus – so much so that global GDP is expected to shrink dramatically and unemployment to skyrocket. Here are a few stats that show how tourism worldwide has been decimated. 1. Global revenue for travel and tourism is estimated to decrease by 34.7% to an estimated $447.4 billion. The original 2020 forecast was $712 billion in revenue. 2. European tourism is expected to take the biggest hit from COVID-19: revenue for the travel and tourism industry in Europe will decrease from $211.97 billion in 2019 to roughly $124 billion in 2020. 3. The tourism industry lost 1.5% of global gross domestic product after four months of being shut down, reported the UN Conference on Trade and Development. 4. If international tourism remains shut down over 12 months, the UN predicts a loss of 4.2% global GDP ($3.3 trillion). 5. The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that 121 million of the 330 million jobs tied to tourism around the world will be lost in 2020. 6. Tourism is going to take a while to recover, says McKinsey. The consulting firm predicts that international tourist arrivals will decrease 60 - 80% in 2020, and tourism spending is not likely to return to pre-crisis levels until 2024. 7. Not only are consumers traveling less, but they’re also dining out less. Statista reports that the “year-over-year decline of seated diners in restaurants worldwide was a staggering 41.36% on August 23, 2020.” Tourism in the US In the US, the economic effects of a slowdown in tourism are expected to be on par with many so-called “developing countries.” In addition, the impact of a decline in tourism will have wide-reaching effects on many other parts of the economy. 8. The travel industry says it accounts for 15.8 million American jobs—that’s employment for one in every 10 Americans. That means the economic impact of coronavirus could have a major impact on the US unemployment rate. 9. Some reports predicted that the loss in travel-related jobs caused the U.S. unemployment rate to double from 3.5% in February to 7.1% in March/April. 10. Based on current trends, experts predict that the United States will lose far more than any other country in dollar terms and nearly double that of China. (Source) 11. In April, when many states encouraged or mandated that residents stay home, tourist arrivals in Hawaii fell 99.5%. Tourism accounts for 21% of Hawaii’s economy. 12. Florida also faced a drop in tourism, with their tourism sector declining 10.7% in the first quarter of 2020. The state reports that tourism has an economic impact of $67 billion on Florida's economy 13. On April 11, 2020, only 3% of hotels in Austin, Texas were occupied: 342 rooms were booked, compared to 10,777 in 2019. 14. Statista predicts a drop in spending of $355 billion in 2020 in the US, a decrease of 31%. Air Travel Consumers are not interested in boarding an airplane anytime soon, due partially to border closures as well as safety concerns and high ticket prices. Air travel is predicted to be depressed for a long time. 15. Travel restrictions at borders impacted air travel and other forms of transportation. There were four categories of restrictions impacting a total of 217 destinations: 16. 45% of destinations (97 countries) implemented total or partial border closures; 17. 30% of destinations (65 countries) suspended flights totally or partially; 18. 18% of destinations (39 countries) enforced border closures aimed at a specific group of destinations; 19. 7% of destinations (16 countries) required visitors to quarantine or implemented similar measures. (Source) 20. Data from Flightradar24 showed that the average number of commercial flights per day fell from 100,000+ in January and February 2020 to around 78,500 in March and 29,400 in April. 21. Despite many governments providing aid to the airline industry, passenger revenue is estimated to drop by $314 billion in 2020 — a 55% decrease from 2019, according to the International Air Transport Association. 22. As of May 4, 2020, international flights had decreased by 80% as compared to 2019. Many airports were closed and flights banned due to border closings. 23. IATA, the International Air Transport Association, reported in June, 2020 that coronavirus would account for a net loss of $84.3 billion for all airlines, worse than the $30 billion loss in 2008. Income is projected to remain negative through 2021. (Source) 24. IATA also predicts that plane ticket prices will increase, especially if airlines are mandated to comply with social distancing measures. Ticket prices may rise by as much as 50%, according to Alexandre de Juniac, the head of IATA. 25. One company tracking ticket prices during the height of COVID-19 found that fares through April 13 and May 4 rose 13.7% and 10.9% year over year, respectively. Hotels & Accomodations Sector Travelers are unlikely to feel comfortable staying at hotels in the near future, meaning low-occupancy rates will impact the hospitality industry for years to come. 26. Since mid-February, hotels in the US have lost more than $46 billion in room revenue, according to the AHLA. The industry expert expects hotels to lose up to $400 million in room revenue per day based on current occupancy rates and revenue trends. 27. In the US, AHLA found that individual hotels and major operators are projecting occupancies below 20%. For many occupancies, a rate of 35% or lower makes it impossible to stay open – and many accommodations are closing altogether. (Source) 28. McKinsey predicts that COVID-19 is likely to accelerate the shift to digital. Travelers will be looking for flexibility and be willing to make last-minute bookings as the situation evolves. Case-in-point: more than 90% of recent trips in China were booked within seven days of the trip itself. 29. The consulting firm also ran a few different scenarios to see how hotel RevPAR would be impacted: 30. In the worst-case scenario, RevPAR will be down 20% by 2023. 31. RevPAR of luxury rooms is the slowest to recover due to their higher variable and semi-fixed costs. (Source) 32. A July 2020 Ipsos survey found that 51% of Americans are willing to stay at a hotel, the same percentage as the month before. Attitudes toward frequenting hotels seem to be improving or staying the same. 33. US travelers have certain expectations of the tourism industry. The Tourism Crisis Management Initiative at the University of Florida found that airports, accomodations, and attractions must take the following initiatives to communicate safety protocols: (Source) 34. Airbnb is not faring any better than traditional accommodation options. The platform, which relies on hosts, have seen 64% of guests cancelling or planning to cancel their bookings since the pandemic began. In addition: 35. 47% of hosts don't feel safe renting to guests 36. 70% of guests are fearful to stay at an Airbnb 37. Hosts anticipate a 44% decrease in revenue for June through August 38. Daily rates have dropped as much as $90 (on average). 39. Hyatt reported a $236 million second-quarter loss, a 376% drop in income since the same quarter in 2019. RevPAR was down nearly 90%. Food & Beverage Many restaurants and bars all over the world have had to close due to coronavirus and social distancing measures. 40. In the US, full-service restaurant reservations dropped starting in March – visits were down by 41% across the country. (Source) 41. The scheduling tool Homebase reported that the number of hours worked at local restaurants and bars dropped 40% by March 17, while the number of hourly workers overall declined 45%. 42. Restaurant workers have been hit hard by the pandemic. The National Restaurant Association reports that two out of three restaurant employees have lost their jobs. 43. Industry advocacy group James Beard Foundation found that restaurants, on average, laid off 91% of their hourly workforce and 70% of salaried employees due to COVID-19 and closures resulting from the pandemic. 44. The National Restaurant Association expects that the dining industry will lose up to $240 billion by the end of 2020. 45. What will it take for restaurants to reopen? A lot, according to the James Beard Foundation. Restaurant owners report that these are the biggest obstacles to reopening again successfully: 41% say the slow return of customers, 35% say they need cash to pay vendors, 16% would need to rehire staff, 3% would need to retrain staff, 2% are worried about health inspections. 46. In-person dining may be off limits, but in one survey, 33% of consumers said they’re getting more takeout than before the pandemic. Tours & Attractions Historic sites, theme parks, cruises and museums were shut down for the majority of this year. Here’s how the tour and attraction sector fared during COVID-19. 47. UNESCO reported on International Museum Day that nearly 90% of cultural institutions had to close their doors during the pandemic; almost 13% may never reopen. 48. The New York Metropolitan Opera had to cancel its season by the end of March, and expects to lose $60 million in revenue. 49. Safari bookings, according to one survey, are down by 75% or more, jeopardizing the tourism industry in countries that need internationla visitors badly to support their economy. (Source) 51. The CDC issued a no-sail order for cruise ships, finding in their study that 80% of ships within U.S. jurisdiction had cases of COVID-19 on board during March - July. 52. Mastercard recorded a 45% drop in travel-related transactions as compared to the same period last year. The credit card company looked at cross-border transaction volume processed in three months ending June 30. 53. In March, 77% of members of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), an organization for travel agencies, predicted they would be out of business in six months or less. 54. The Walt Disney Co. lost nearly $5 billion in April, May and June, due to its theme parks being closed: Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, plus the brand’s resorts and cruise operations Business Travel 55. The pandemic has deeply impacted business travel: this sector is predicted to lose $810.7 billion in revenue this year. 56. China is expected to see the biggest loss in business travel from COVID-19, where spending is expected to decrease by a total of $404.1 billion. 57. Experts are predicting that 5 - 10% of business travel will be permanently lost, due in part to remote working tools that enable virtual meetings. 58. Business travel declined 89% as a result of COVID-19, more than the Great Recession and 9/11 losses combined. PwC reports that almost half of all businesses canceled corporate travel during this pandemic. (Source)
Percent occupancy is a key concept and KPI used in real estate businesses as a that shows how much available space there is in a building relative to space that is leased or rented. Simple, right? Wrong. Occupancy rate has a ton of nuance and is massively important to real estate businesses so the broader concept requires a fundamental understanding of what occupancy says about a property, how to compare it to other businesses and how it ties to other metrics like length of stay, RevPAR, ADR, NOI (net operating income) and cash flows. In this article we'll dive into hotels occupancy rate but the concepts we cover are very similar across other real estate businesses like apartments, vacation rental units, retail and office buildings. Occupancy is one of the most important metrics for revenue management teams to track. Many travelers have been shocked to see that despite up to 90% drops in occupancy due to the coronavirus pandemic, rates haven't fallen nearly as much. In this article we'll start to explore why that might be and more. If you’re new to the hotel industry or looking for a refresher on some common metrics, you may be wondering: what is an occupancy rate? Why is occupancy rate important to hotels? In this article, we’ll explain exactly what the occupancy rate represents, how to calculate it, and why it’s a crucial part of measuring hotel performance. By the end of the article, you’ll be able to calculate occupancy rates (and RevPAR!) and think about the ideal occupancy rate for your hotel. What is the Definition of Occupancy Rate? (+Formula) In the hotel industry, the occupancy rate represents the share of occupied rooms during a certain time period. Occupancy Rate is usually expressed as a percentage. Occupancy Rate (%) = Number of Booked Rooms / Total Number of Rooms Let’s look at an example: If Hotel A has 83 rooms, and 70 of them are booked tonight, then tonight’s occupancy rate is 84%. Hotel A’s Occupancy Rate = 70 / 83 = 0.84337, or 83% You can calculate occupancy rate for any time period by dividing the total number of booked rooms in that period by the total number of available rooms in that period. If some rooms at your hotel are out of order (for maintenance, renovation, etc.), it’s customary to subtract those rooms from the “total number of rooms” to maintain a more favorable occupancy rate. Fun fact: In the airline industry, the “occupancy rate” of an airplane is called “load factor.” What is a Good Occupancy Rate for Hotels? If you think about a good occupancy rate for hotels, the logical answer is 100%. Of course, you would think every hotelier wants their hotel to be completely full every night. But a 100% occupancy rate may in fact not be the most profitable way to run your hotel. For many hotels, an ideal occupancy rate is between 70% and 95% - though the sweet spot depends on the number of rooms, location, type of hotel, target guests, and more. If you’ve booked every room, you might have left money on the table by not selling higher rates, and your costs can increase when every room is booked. The ideal occupancy rate for your hotel is one that allows you to maximize revenues and minimize costs. Luxury hotels will also want to deliver exceptional service to every guest, a task which becomes more difficult as the number of guests rises. For example, if your hotel is selling out every day - with reservations booked well in advance - there’s probably an opportunity to increase your rates. Of course, you’ll likely have a few sold-out nights here and there, like during holiday periods or special events, but if your hotel has 100% occupancy every night, then there is enough demand to support a rate increase. Besides the revenue component, a 100% occupancy rate can mean an increase in costs. If you have 95 rooms, for example, and each housekeeper can clean 10 rooms per day, it may be in your best interest to book up to 90 rooms each night so you don’t need to hire an additional housekeeper. Or perhaps a guest isn’t happy with their room; with a full house, you would have no alternate room to offer the guest, so you might need to offer a discount or another type of service recovery. How Do Hotels Increase Occupancy Rate? Many hotels, however, don’t struggle with a 100% occupancy rate every night. Many hotels actively try to increase occupancy, since a high occupancy rate comes with many benefits - compared to a low occupancy rate, that is. When your hotel has higher occupancy, you have more guests in-house, which means potential for higher revenues at your F&B outlets, spa, shops, or other outlets, plus a greater opportunity to spread awareness of your brand and build guest loyalty. In order to increase your occupancy rate, your hotel needs to book more reservations and room nights. A hotel can increase the number of reservations - and therefore, occupancy - through several tactics: Selling lower rates (especially through promotions and discounts) Offering incentives for longer stays Running marketing campaigns Partnering with online travel agencies (OTAs) and travel agents Targeting specific types of guests who stay longer Discouraging cancellations by selling non-refundable rates If your hotel is trying to increase occupancy but still not hitting the 90% range, remember that globally, the average occupancy rates for hotels range from 65% to 80%. Why Do Hotels Track Occupancy Rate? Occupancy is a great benchmark to assess a hotel’s position against its competitors and its own historical data. Knowing how your hotel is doing compared to other hotels in the market and previous years can help you set rates, predict stay patterns, schedule staff, and plan renovations or maintenance. If you know a certain weekend will have high occupancy, based on your historical data, then you can schedule enough staff and not plan a renovation over those dates. Hotel owners and operators often set occupancy rate, ADR, and RevPAR goals, so occupancy rate is a major component in measuring the hotel’s overall performance. Occupancy rates can therefore impact future capital expenditures, employee salaries and bonuses and brand relationships. Occupancy rates vary dramatically by market segment based on number of units or chainscale and even for different types of hotel rooms within the same hotel. What is the Relationship Between Occupancy Rate and RevPAR? RevPAR, or Revenue Per Available Room, is a metric that takes into account both occupancy rate and ADR (Average Daily Rate). RevPAR is like a weighted version of ADR; it distributes the ADR equally across all available rooms - not just the booked ones. Like occupancy rate itself, RevPAR is used as a performance metric to determine how a hotel is performing. RevPAR is expressed in currency units, just like ADR. RevPAR is calculated by multiplying ADR by the occupancy rate. ADR is simply the average room rate booked for a given date or time period. RevPAR = ADR x Occupancy Rate Let’s say Hotel A’s ADR was $98 on the night when occupancy was 84%. Hotel A’s RevPAR is then $82.32. Hotel A’s RevPAR = $98 x 0.84 = $82.32 Overall, occupancy rate is a key indicator of a hotel’s historical, real-time, and future performance. Many stakeholders - from owners to housekeeping staff - use occupancy rate to shape their decisions. Did we miss any tips or tricks related to occupancy rate? Let us know!
How do you get the word out about your hotel in a hotel industry that's more complex and complicated by the day? Between online travel agencies, SEO, CRM, and more, it’s easy for hotel marketers to feel overwhelmed. But you know that without a solid hotel marketing strategy, your hotel will have significant difficulty reaching its revenue and occupancy goals. Wondering where to begin? The challenge that most local businesses face is driving foot traffic. The old saying "location, location, location" helps them drive business but hotels need to be much more strategic in the way they market hotel rooms because the amount of passers by willing to purchase a room are far lower for a hotel than for other small businesses like a bakery or shoe store. So how do hotels get strategic and take control - online marketing. In this article we’ll introduce a plethora of hotel marketing concepts and strategies. Even if you’re brand new to hotel marketing, you’ll have a good understanding of the various hotel marketing avenues once you’re finished reading. Whether you’re a student, a professional seeking a career change, or a seasoned hotelier, you’ll want to bookmark our Ultimate Guide to Hotel Marketing as a reference you’ll return to again and again. Marketing on Third-Party Channels We all talk about the elusive guest experience but few understand that the guest experience starts long before check-in. Hotel guests may even start their journey on a channel you can't control. Perhaps they saw your property on an influencer's Instagram then searched Google and landed on an OTA. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, third-party channels are an essential part of the hotel marketing landscape. While some hoteliers begrudge third-party channels for charging commissions and eating away at potential direct bookings, there’s no denying that these channels bring massive marketing power and a global user base. It would be nearly impossible for an individual hotel to get the same reach alone, so mastering marketing on third-party channels, like the OTAs, metasearch, and the GDS, is a necessity. OTAs If you’ve ever booked travel online, chances are you’ve used one of the big OTAs, or online travel agencies. Popular OTAs like Expedia and Booking.com are marketplaces, just like Amazon, which you can leverage to put your hotel in front of millions of potential guests. In addition to the big players, the web is home to dozens - if not hundreds - more hotel booking sites that range from broad to niche. Diversifying your distribution strategy to include multiple channels, especially regional sites, is a great way to gain more online visibility. Of course, no third-party channel is perfect, and dealing with the OTAs’ problems is part of daily life for many hoteliers. However, their marketing power is their redeeming quality, and many hoteliers continue to use OTAs despite their challenges. The OTA market is changing rapidly especially with Airbnb's entry so it's critical that you keep up with the latest evolutionin this channel. Metasearch & Paid Advertising Besides the OTAs, hoteliers can use various digital advertising strategies and channels, like metasearch, to attract potential guests and drive direct bookings. What is metasearch, anyway? Metasearch sites like Kayak and Trivago aggregate the search results of other OTAs so travelers can easily compare rates across Expedia, Booking.com, and direct sites. Potential guests click through dozens of windows on their path to purchase, which means having a strong retargeting strategy is essential to capturing direct bookings. If a traveler clicked on your website once, your retargeting ads can remind them to return to your site to complete the booking process. GDS (Global Distribution System) While the OTAs, metasearch, and retargeting put your hotel directly in front of travelers, the GDS is one of the industry’s most popular B2B platforms. Travel agencies, airlines, and tour operators use the GDS to book rooms for their clients and partners, so hotels seeking to expand their reach or reduce reliance on the OTAs can find success by selling rooms on the GDS. Reputation Management No matter where your reservations come from, guests need to trust that your hotel will deliver a good value and experience. Reputation management is the practice of actively building up that trust - whether by displaying your hotel star ratings or by responding to guest reviews on sites like Tripadvisor and Google. Improving Performance of Owned Channels Though third-party channels play an important role in the hotel marketing space, let’s not forget about your own direct channels. Your hotel’s website and email communication are both excellent ways to spread brand awareness, gain loyalty, and potentially even raise your RevPAR by increasing direct bookings. What do you need to know to boost your hotel’s owned channels? Hotel Website Design, SEO & Content Marketing Driving your hotel website’s performance is possible when you focus on four key categories: Website design: If your hotel’s website isn’t attractive and user-friendly, potential guests are going to click off your site quickly! We’ve gathered some resources to help you promote your property with a modern, competitive website. If you’re building your site for the first time or upgrading an old one, our inspiring list of hotel website designs is a great place to start. These eye-catching designs will get the creative juices flowing. No matter which stage of website design you’re at, you’ll want to read up on 6 hotel website design lessons from leading ecommerce companies like Amazon and Zappos. Tips include adding a FAQ section to the booking page and organizing your room types in a grid layout. For websites with a lot of content, a content management system can eliminate stress and disorganization related to uploading text, images, and videos. Many content management systems are also easy enough to use that hoteliers and marketers with limited technical know-how can use them - no expensive web developers needed! Conversion optimization: Once you’ve invested in a beautiful website, make sure your website is effectively and efficiently converting guests. Conversion measures the rate of website visitors who complete the booking process. One of the best ways to improve your conversion rate is to implement a streamlined, user-friendly booking engine. But booking engine selection is no easy task; you’ll want to consider whether it’s optimized for mobile devices, compatible with your PMS and other systems, and within your budget. Hoteliers who want to grow their share of direct bookings must practice CRO. What is CRO? Add this one to your little book of hotel acronyms: conversion rate optimization. Simply put, it’s the act of making continuous improvements to your website with the goal of turning more “lookers” into bookers. SEO: Many potential guests will find your hotel’s website through a search engine like Google or Bing. That’s why it’s a good idea to continuously work on your website’s SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO includes countless strategies for ranking higher in the search results, appearing in searches for popular keywords, and ensuring your website’s search results listing looks enticing. A key component of SEO involves the content and formatting of your own website. On-page SEO helps search engines “read” your website so that they know in which search results your site should appear. On-page SEO strategies include using headings, adding links, and eliminating glitches. Some hoteliers use paid advertising to snag website visitors, but you can certainly increase website traffic free of charge - if you put in a little extra effort. Publishing high-quality blog articles, posting on social media, and engaging with review sites are all great ways to get direct website traffic for free. "Google has added a section in search engine results that appears above organic listings when consumers ask questions directly to Google. This feature is called a "Quick Answer,” and it takes a snippet of content from any page that is deemed to be the best answer to the question. To increase chances of appearing in Quick Answers, content should be structured and written in a conversational way that answers specific questions. Popular questions can also be included in sub-headings on the page, with answers below," NextGuest Digital Content marketing: Content is one of your most powerful tools in the digital marketing ecosystem. Popular blog posts or informative local guides are great ways to showcase your property to potential guests. Have writers’ block? Check out some hotel blogging strategies that you can try today. Email Marketing & Hotel CRM But your hotel website isn’t the only to engage with your guests; email marketing can deliver fantastic results, especially among your most loyal guests. Before diving into email marketing, you’ll want to have a hotel CRM (customer relationship management) system in place to store and track data about your guests. These systems help you gain insight into who your guests are and what matters to them so you can craft relevant email marketing strategies. Every email you send should contain an engaging update or offer, and it should always comply with the Data Protection Act. Before hitting “send,” make sure you understand the rules and regulations that apply to digital data and marketing. Email marketing for hotels can sound like a daunting task if your only tool is Gmail or Outlook. For more email functions, settings, and formatting options, you’ll want to use an email marketing tool like Mailchimp. General Hotel Marketing Strategy Although hotel marketing has plenty of industry-specific nuances, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of general marking principles. Ready for some Marketing 101? Let’s go. The first step to any type of success is to set goals. But all goals are not created equal. SMART Goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, will add clarity to your marketing plan. Speaking of relevancy, your marketing goals and strategies should adapt based on the types of travelers you want to target. For example, if you’re targeting business travelers, families, or Generation Z, your marketing strategies for each group should be unique. A key component of your overall marketing strategy is your content marketing strategy, which includes your blog articles, social media posts, Youtube videos, Pinterest pins, and more. Employing some creative content strategies can transform your hotel’s online presence. As you’re setting up your strategies, you’ll want to form good hotel marketing habits. Like brushing your teeth, it’s a good idea to make researching market trends, collaborating with other hotel departments, and learning about local events part of your daily routine. Want to brush up on your marketer skills? That’s a trick question; you should be constantly sharpening your marketing skills, especially considering that the marketing space is evolving rapidly. One such example of timely marketing trends is the BookDirect movement, which promotes the practice of making reservations directly with the hotel. This movement has influenced software functionality, marketing strategy, and promotional offers that encourage guests to book direct. Struggling to get potential guests to click onto your website? Consider hotel marketing with visuals that catch the eyes of travelers coming to your destination. If you need some inspiration as you think about your overall marketing strategy, you can learn a lot by studying your competitors (and scrutinizing your own hotel!) through a SWOT analysis. Haven’t done one of these before? Check out our SWOT analysis example for small business. With so many facets of hotel marketing, it’s impossible to become an expert on all of them while maintaining your day job! Working closely with a hotel marketing agency can bring to the table the expertise you need. Read our tips on how to select a hospitality marketing agency to ensure you choose the right partner. Maybe you’ve already read all of our articles above. So you’ve got a great hotel website, now what? The marketing landscape is constantly evolving, so there’s always room for more improvement. Have you run out of ideas? Read through our hotel marketing ideas list, which contains more than 100 suggestions. -- Do you still have any burning questions about hotel marketing? Let us know what we missed so we can improve our guide!
Hotels, apartments, and vacation rentals each have their unique characteristics but what about their software? The property management system is the core of the tech stack at any accommodation business, but, as we’ll discuss in this article, not all property management systems are the same. If you’re considering implementing a PMS or switching from your current vendor, this article will help you understand the intricacies of systems designed for specific types of properties. With the right software partnership, you can run your hospitality business more efficiently and focus on delighting your guests (or tenants). Very Different Guest Journeys Based on Length of Stay The apartment "guest journey" is relatively straightforward. Prospective tenants view an apartment they like with a leasing agent, decides to rent and then moves in. Prior to move in they complete a credit check and setup payment through an online payment portal that gets drawn upon in monthly increments. The next most complex guest journey exists in vacation rentals where prospective guests find a rental unit via an online travel agency like Booking.com or Airbnb. They'll often communicate with the owner via the platform they booked on and use a mobile check-in method like keyless entry upon arrival. Rooms aren't cleaned until the guest checks out and there are no on site outlets or amenities. Hotels offer the most complexity in guest journey with ultra high touch amenities delivered by often large teams of hotel staff. The hotel industry is all about guest service. Guests usually make direct bookings on a hotel website or via an OTA. They'll receive email or text message communication prior to arrival. Upon check-in, guests are greeted by a front desk agent and taken to their room by a bellman. Their room gets cleaned each night and they enjoy hotel amenities like room service, on-site restaurant and spa outlets and more. What is PMS Software? Let’s start at the beginning: what is a property management system anyway? A PMS houses all the organizational and administrative tools you need to run a multi-family business, hotel or short-term rental in real-time and automate core functions like booking and reservation management. Key functionality in hotels and vacation rentals includes a calendar where you can manage reservations, a booking engine for your website, a dashboard for housekeeping to mark clean and dirty rooms, a guest information database, and various financial reporting. Some PMSs have an integrated channel manager which handles connections to third-party booking sites. Many PMSs are cloud-based and offer mobile apps so you can manage your property from anywhere at any time. It's important to understand each of these journeys before diving into the core operating system of each, a cloud PMS, because each PMS is designed for both the complexity and jobs to be done of both staff and guest journeys. Where hotel property management software requires functionality like connecting to major international payment gateways an apartment reservation system might only require local payment processing since tenants are by definition locals. Hotels, Apartments and Vacation Rentals Are Converging We're seeing a major convergence in the real estate and hospitality industry where the guest experience in certain segments of the hotel market is looking more like vacation rentals and vice versa. Adding to that, companies like Sonder and Why Hotels are turning apartments into short term rentals and hotel rooms while Airbnb is now a major distributor of hotel inventory. It's not hard to understand why. The hotel business is all about delivering high guest satisfaction and incredible guest experiences - it's ultimately doing the same thing as the vacation rental business and even apartments. Hotel operations tend to be the most complex given the focus on guest experience and presence of front office teams. Generally speaking, the longer the duration of the rental, the easier the business is to manage meaning that apartments are the least operationally complex to run. The key difference between short term vs. long term accommodation software lies in the fact that apartment management systems generally focus on tenant functionality like community portals and subscription rent payments. For shorter term accommodations, hotel and vacation rental PMS software focuses on credit card and payment functionality, facilitating online bookings and rate management. Key differences in PMS software for Hotels vs. Vacation Rentals The daily operations of hotels and short-term rentals can be quite different, so it makes sense that property management systems would have unique functionality for different property types. But what are the biggest differences? Key points of differentiation include the room or unit type setup, the connections available in the channel manager, tools for daily operations, and integrations with third-party software. Room Types vs. Separate Units When we think about the physical layouts of a hotel, short-term rental apartments, and vacation homes, several differences come to mind. At a hotel, you’ll find a lot of rooms, but those rooms usually fall into a few distinct room types. Short-term rental operators might manage many apartments, but each of those apartments might be unique and located in a few different buildings. Vacation homes can have their own addresses and often have different sizes, amenities, and policies. In order for hoteliers and property managers to get the most utility out of their software, property management systems must account for these differences. Hotel-specific software like Hoteltime will be set up for room types in the same building, while vacation rental-specific software is built for unique individual units often at different addresses. While hoteliers probably don’t add new room types on a regular basis, short-term rental operators expand their portfolios regularly, so it’s important that their software allows for easy addition of new units. Daily Operations The who, what, and where for daily operations is another major point of differentiation between hotels and short-term rental properties - and their software. At a hotel, many employees from various departments will use the PMS on a daily basis. Front desk agents, housekeeping staff, back-office employees, and the leadership team might all use the PMS at the same time. Tasks range from checking in guests, tracking housekeeping status, upselling rooms, entering reservations taken over the phone, and running reports for leadership meetings. It’s important for a hotel PMS like Hoteltime to allow multiple user accounts and levels of access rights. A vacation rental PMS, on the other hand, is used by fewer people and for fewer manual tasks. Vacation rental reservations are rarely taken over the phone, and, usually, a smaller team of staff interacts with the system. Since short-term rentals often don’t have a front desk, it’s crucial that property managers can access the PMS on the go, like via a mobile app. Most short-term rentals do not offer housekeeping mid-stay, so that functionality is less important. However, it’s crucial that a PMS can support automated check-in instructions and other communications that allow the guest to complete a self-service check-in. Smaller hotels (under 20 rooms) generally require all-in-one affordable hotel management software but may be able to use vacation rental software to manage their properties. Check out our list of best hotel software for smaller properties. Channel Connections Not only do daily operations differ based on property type, but so do distribution strategies. If a PMS offers channel management functionality, you’ll notice that the supported channels vary with property type. Hotel-specific software will focus on connections to the big OTAs, like Expedia, Booking.com, and Agoda, plus to the GDS and travel agents. Most vacation rental-specific software also connects to Booking.com and Expedia, but connections to vacation rental booking sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Tripadvisor Rentals are essential. Hotel-specific software likely does not support connections to Airbnb, Vrbo, or Tripadvisor Rentals. Integrations Channel connections aren’t the only links between a PMS and other systems; property management software can connect to third-party apps that bring additional value to your operations. Hotel-specific PMSs will offer integrations with other hotel systems that usually happen via API, such as revenue management systems (IDeaS, for example), work order software (HotSOS), upsell software and point of sale systems (Micros). Vacation rental-specific PMSs integrate with a slew of vacation rental-specific software and apps, including dynamic pricing tools (PriceLabs), property-level security and monitoring systems (NoiseAware), keyless entry solutions (RemoteLock), guest communication tools (Hostfully), and more. Have we missed any major differences between property management systems? Let us know!
There are few things that no traveler should leave home without: a passport, a few essentials, and a phone equipped with the best apps to help you make the most out of your trip. Whether you’re looking for the best dim-sum in a new city or trying to find your way from the airport to a business meeting, these apps are critical to traveling in style and ease. The following 100 apps can help you navigate a new transportation system, meet fellow travelers, translate a menu, and everything in between. This guide breaks down the most essential apps into five key categories: Apps for meeting people Apps for learning about the local area Apps for finding bars and restaurants Apps for translation and learning a language Apps for getting around Apps for Hotels and Accommodation Read on for the most essential apps for traveling in 2020. Apps for Meeting People Sometime in the 90s the concept of pen pals went from cute to creepy. In our hyper connected world it's hard to meet honest people online at a distance which can lead to loneliness when travelling solo. Adventuring with people from other parts of the world is still totally doable and arguably easier than ever with apps that let you connect with locals in real-time. AirBnB famously launched its experiences platform to do just that without doing more than pulling out your smartphone. Here are a few apps that connect travelers and locals through eating, touring, hosting, and more. 1. EatWith: Share a meal with a local. EatWith offers a way to meet people through food. From cooking classes to home-cooked meals hosted in people’s homes, EatWith is connecting travelers while showcasing the culinary delights of a destination. Get EatWith for iOS and Android. 2. Backpackr: Meet like-minded travelers all over the globe. Backpackr is a social networking app for travelers that operates kind of like one big group chat. You can find people or social events using hashtags, checking out different channels, or posting a question in the Common Room. Get Backpackr for iOS and Android. 3. Tinder: Yes, it’s more than just a hookup site – Tinder is a great way to meet people while traveling! Tinder is infamous as a dating app, but it’s also a good way to meet people in a new city. Just specify in your bio what you’re looking for and the app does the heavy lifting to find people near you. 4. Couchsurfing: Find a local host and stay for cheap. The Couchsurfing app connects travelers with people who have free space in their house and are willing to let you stay. Couchsurfing has grown to be a large community, and even if you prefer to stay in a hotel, there are plenty of free events to try. Get Couchsurfing for iOS and Android. 5. Meetup: RSVP to events all over the world. Meetup is an events hosting platform that helps you find social events where you can meet like-minded people. Explore groups and make new friends based on shared hobbies or professional networking events. Get Meetup for iOS and Android. 6. Withlocals: Private tours and more hosted the local experts. Withlocals offers an easy way to meet someone from the area and have a private tour customized to your preferences. The app designs experiences that take you off the beaten path and show you an insider’s view of the city. Get Withlocals for iOS and Android. 7. Showaround: Learn about a destination on a local tour. Showaround is very similar to Withlocals. Browse listings of people in the area who will charge a small fee to show you their favorite side of the city. Get Showaround for iOS and Android. 8. FlipTheTrip: Search for a travel companion by destination. FlipTheTrip reconsiders how to connect with locals and other travelers: instead of waiting to arrive to meet people, search for fellow travelers and locals ahead of time so you can meet people as soon as you land. Learn more on their website. 9. SoloTraveller: Traveling alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. SoloTraveller connects people traveling on their own to share a meal, meet up for an event, or just head out to explore the city. For business travelers constantly on the road, this can be a good way to connect with others during your downtime. Get SoloTraveller for iOS and Android. 10. BonAppetour: Similar to EatWith, this app connects travelers over a shared food experience. BonAppetour can help you meet others over one of the best parts of traveling – the food! Find a friend around a shared culinary event, such as a dinner party, cooking class, barbeque, or picnic. Get BonAppeTour for iOS. 11. Travello: An app for all types of travelers to connect. Travello is a social network built for all different types of travelers: digital nomads, backpackers, solo travelers, and even locals seeking to connect with people from all over. Travel deals that pop-up in the app further incentivize users to stay active. Get Travello for iOS and Android. 12. Tourlina: A social travel app built for women. Tourlina is an app for women travelers who want to meet others – but might feel concerned for their safety. Members can enter their trip information, including the destination and dates, and find other women who are traveling at the same time. Get Tourlina for iOS and Android. 13. Patook: Strictly friends-only swiping. Patook is a social network that may look a whole lot like a dating app – but it’s strictly platonic. Login to find friends near you without the risk of getting creepy DMs or sending mixed messages while traveling. Get Patook for iOS and Android. 14. Bumble BFF: Expand your social circle with a new feature of this popular dating app. BumbleBFF makes it easy to meet people in your area by capturing the platform’s technology to connect friends, not dates. Swipe based on what you’re looking for: a workout friend, travel buddy, or sports team, for instance. Bumble also has a business feature if you’re looking to network professionally while you travel. Get Bumble for iOS and Android. Local Area Information Apps These apps help you get around, find cultural attractions, and learn local customs fast. 15. XE Currency Converter: The gold standard in currency conversion. The XE Currency Converter app offers live currency rates, which you can save for even when you’re offline. All figures are mid-market rates that you can use to compare with exchange places nearby to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Get XE Currency Converter for iOS and Android. 16. GlobeTips: Tip appropriately in 200+ countries. The GlobeTips app is simple but crucial. Figure out what tip you should leave based on a local culture and traditions. Not only that, it will also help you split a check, round up the calculation results, and exclude sales tax for you. Get GlobeTips for iOS. 17. Google Maps: One app that does almost everything. Google Maps is absolutely essential for visiting a new city. Not only will it give you directions (including walking, driving, public transportation, ride-hailing services and more), but it will also tell you how crowded the subway might be, peak hours at a museum, help you make restaurant reservations, let you save your favorite spots, and write reviews for other travelers. Get the Google Maps app for iOS and Android. 18. Culture Trip: Search for nearby attractions, shopping, hidden gems, and more. The Culture Trip app curates collections of attractions, restaurants, and more for destinations all over the world. Whether you’re looking for a list of the best workspaces in Budapest or a guide to ordering sushi in Osaka, this app has everything you need to navigate like a pro. Get the Culture Trip app for iOS and Android. 19. Triposo: 50,000 destinations in your pocket. Triposo’s app delivers downloadable city guides and offline maps so you can explore a city without data or Wifi. Use the app to research what to see and do, read about the city’s history, review safety tips, and check the current weather forecast. Get Triposo for iOS and Android. 20. Smart Traveler: A safety app for US travelers. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that you can never be too prepared. Smart Traveler is an app by the US State Department that tells you safety information for wherever you are going: what visas and vaccines you will need, as well as where the local embassy or consulate is located. Get Smart Traveler for iOS and Android. 21. AllTrails: Get maps for over 100,000 hiking trails. The AllTrails app takes exploration to a new level. The app shows bike, hike, ride and running trails that you can filter by length, rating, and difficulty. It will even tell you if a trail is dog or kid-friendly. Get AllTrails for iOS and Android. 22. Flush: Find your nearest public bathroom and avoid emergencies. The Flush Toilet Finder app is great for when you’re exploring a new city and need to find your nearest public restroom. When you’re traveling with kids or planning a full day out, this app can come in handy. Get Flush for iOS and Android. 23. Citymapper: Live mass transit information. The Citymapper app can route you through the fastest way to get from point A to point B using public transportation, with routes updated live throughout the day. Find the fastest, easiest way to get around major cities in the U.S., Canada, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America. Get Citymapper for iOS and Android. 24. Dayuse: Use a hotel’s amenities for the day. The Dayuse app shows you hotels that offer rooms to use by the day. Book for a short layover or book a room and make use of the hotel's pool, spa, gym or sauna during your abbreviated stay. Rooms are marked down by as much as 75% for a one to 10 hour stay. Get the Dayuse app for iOS and Android. 25. Rick Steves Audio Europe: Listen to audio tours of Europe’s most historic sites. These apps offer a digital library of Rick Steves’ extensive walking tours. This history expert will tell you all about Europe’s popular attractions and include his recommendations for where to eat and what to see off the beaten path. Get Rick Steves Audio Europe for iOS and Android. 26. Viator: Find tours and day trips with this app. Some destinations aren’t intuitive, which is where Viator can help. Explore a new city on a day trip or tour – Viator recommends all kinds of experiences, from kayaking trips to week-long treks. Read traveller reviews before you book so you know what you’re getting. Get Viator for iOS and Android. 27. RunGo: Sightsee and get fit at the same time. The RunGo app lets runners share their favorite routes for others to follow. It’s a great way to explore a new city while getting your heart rate up. It also tracks your run stats, like heart rate, elevation change, pace, and more. Get RunGo for iOS and Android. 28. Nearify: Find local events and shows nearby. The Nearify all lets you browse what’s going on around you: concerts, comedy shows, drinking experiences, open mic nights and more. Browse what’s happening to learn more about a city, or head to your nearest event to meet other people. Get Nearify for Android and iOS. 29. Musement: Book tickets to attractions in 350 destinations worldwide. Musement is your guide to neighborhoods, restaurants, local attractions and more in 350 destinations and 25 of the world’s biggest cities. Use the Musement app to book tickets to museums and big attractions and skip the line when you get there. Get Musement for Android and iOS. 30. Spotted by Locals: Know what to see based on recommendations from locals. Spotted by Locals is curated attractions suggested by those who know the city best: the residents who live nearby. Use the app to browse city guides made up of insider tips by locals in 81 cities. Get Spotted by Locals for Android and iOS. 31. Bike Citizens: Explore the city on your own two wheels. The Bike Citizens app, like RunGo, is a way for bikers to explore the city with different routes mapped out. Select the fastest route from A to B, or the most scenic route, depending on your travel plans. The app will highlight points of interest along the way: restaurants, ATMs, museums, and more, using voice guidance to keep you safe. Get Bike Citizens for iOS and Android. 32. Lonely Planet: Reliable travel advice from the experts. Lonely Planet offers guides to more than 38 cities, complete with vetted recommendations and advice for getting around. Recommendations are easy to filter and backed by Lonely Planet’s expertise. Get Lonely Planet for iOS and Android. Translation Apps Travelling before the iPhone was a pain in the you know what. Figuring out how much to pay, where to go and even where to stay was insanely difficult. Layer on top of that the challenge of not being able to ask for help without a private translator in many regions. Translating apps like Duolingo have made travelers and locals more fluent in each others languages with dozens of other super cool mobile apps filling in everything else to make sure nothing gets lost in translation. These translation apps can help you navigate a new city, read a menu, speak to a stranger, and start learning a new language while on-the-go. 33. iTranslate: One of the top-rated translation apps in the world. iTranslate has more than 350,000 ratings on iTunes and Google Play, many of which give this translation app four stars and up. The free, basic app offers a phrasebook with predefined, useful phrases in more than 100 languages. Get iTranslate for iOS or Android. 34. Google Translate: Free, flexible, and full of cool features. The Google Translate app offers 108 languages (59 with offline access). There are lots of variations for how you can translate through the app: draw text or characters, type, scan a page, or speak into the app for instant translation. Get Google Translate for iOS and Android. 35. TripLingo: Pick up phrases that make you sound like a local. TripLingo goes beyond simple translation to offer a phrase book, tips on local customs, a wifi dialer, culture notes, travel tools, and more. The app’s voice translator instantly translates your voice into another language; it will also translate a response back into English. Get TripLingo for iOS or Android. 36. SayHi: Translate your voice into 90 languages. SayHi is a translation app owned by Amazon that aims to make having a conversation in another language as straightforward as possible. The simple interface makes it easy to record your voice in one language, and play it back in another. It also includes dialects if you’re traveling far afield. Get it for iOS and Android. 37. Papago: An app that specializes in translating Asian languages. Papago is especially useful for trips to Asia, as it is able to translate between English and Korean, Japanese, Chinese (simplified/traditional), Indonesian, Vietnamese and Thai, as well as Russian, German, Italian and Spanish. Translations are available for voice and text. Get it for iOS and Android. 38. Microsoft Translator: A great translation app for business travelers. Microsoft’s Translator app is well equipped for business meetings, as it can translate multi-person conversations with as many as 100 people at a time speaking in different languages. A split-screen feature allows you to read a phrase that someone sitting across from you has spoken aloud. Get the Microsoft Translator app for iOS or Android. 39. Waygo: Translate to and from English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. The Waygo app specializes in translating between just four languages, but it is able to do so entirely offline – a huge help if you’re traveling without data. It’s an award-winning app that also uses minimal disk space to translate from menus, signs, and more. Get the Waygo app for iOS and Android. 40. iTranslate Voice: An Editor’s Choice app that translates audio into more than 40 languages. iTranslate Voice gets rave reviews for being easy to use. The app, like SayHi, records your voice in one language and plays it back in another. You can also connect two devices for an easy back-and-forth conversation with someone in another language. Get the iTranslate Voice app for iOS. 41. Speak and Translate: A paid app that gives you access to less common languages. The Speak and Translate app offers access to a ton of different languages – 117 languages for text and 54 languages for voice. It’s only available for Apple devices, but as a result will sync across your devices and save your translation history no matter what you’re using. Get it for iOS. 42. SpanishDict Translator: Spanish to English (and back) with grammar tips included. SpanishDict Translator is, as the name suggests, an app that translates between English and Spanish. It also offers grammatical rules and best practices, helping users know when to use ser v. estar, for instance. It can also conjugate some verbs and find the right idiom for you. Get the SpanishDict Translator app for iOS and Android. 43. Arabic Dictionary and Translator: A combination dictionary/translator app that provides a range of English/Arabic tools. The Arabic Dictionary and Translator app is a great hybrid learning and instant translation tool. The translation feature uses Google, Microsoft, Yandex Translate, Baidu Translate, and others to suggest how to say a phrase. The dictionary feature looks up certain words, lets you save them for the future, create flashcards, and make headway in learning Arabic. Get the Arabic Dictionary and Translator app for iOS and Android 44. Pleco: A handy app for translating Mandarin and Cantonese. Pleco specializes in translating Mandarin and Cantonese. Look up unknown Chinese words using your device’s camera, or tap-lookup words in a still image. The app will also read handwriting and can translate audio recordings. Get the Pleco app for iOS and Android. 45. Duolingo: Learn a language while on-the-go. Duolingo is a crowd-favorite for learning and practicing a language. Exercises are designed for speakers of all levels, from total beginners to advanced learners. It also offers lessons in some more niche languages, like Norwegian, Swahili, and Klingon. Get the Duolingo app for iOS and Android. 46. Babbel: An app that gamifies learning a language. Babbel’s free version offers 40 classes featuring native speakers saying words to help you say the words properly. Take lessons in 13 different languages by going through exercises designed to help you learn a phrase – and remember it. Get the Babbel app for iOS and Android. 47. Busuu: Learn a language with help from a social network of native speakers. Busuu is an app that adds a community component to the experience of learning a language. Travelers can connect with native speakers listed on the app to get feedback on their pronunciation, grammar, and more. Get Busuu for iOS and Android. 48. Memrise: Visual learners will love this app’s UX. Memrise is a great way to learn a language for travelers who are visual learners. Videos, images, and memes show language learners how to speak conversationally in14+ different languages. There are also courses in history, art, science, trivia, and more. Get the Memrise app for iOS and Android. 49. MosaLingua: “Flashcards on steroids.” MosaLingua offers different language learning apps for each language, including Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Russian. Their approach is designed to activate both audio and visual memory. Browse MosaLingua apps for Android and iOS. 50. (How to) Pronounce: Learn how to pronounce foreign words like a pro. (How to) Pronounce is an app that does exactly what it sounds like: tells you how to pronounce words in a different language. If you’re trying to order at a restaurant, and can’t speak the language, simply type in the words you want to say and hear them spoken back to you. Get (How to) Pronounce for iOS. 51. Drops: Habit-building to help you learn a language. The Drops app gives you five minutes of learning a language everyday. These short lessons are meant to help you focus and develop a language habit over time. Word games are available in over 40 languages. Get the Drops app for iOS and Android. 52. Pimsleur: Tested and proven over decades of teaching. If you want a really deep dive into learning a language, Pimsleur is a great app to try. The Pimsleur method of learning a language has been around since the 1960s. There are tons of online courses in addition to the app; the app simply asks that users commit 30 minutes a day to listening to audio and practicing on-the-go. Get Pimsleur for iOS and Android. Apps for Finding Food & Beverage One of the best parts of travel? Experiencing the culture through an amazing meal or once-in-a-lifetime night out at a bar. Here are some ways to find that perfect dish or cocktail. 53. OpenRice: Yelp, for Asia. The OpenRice app has been called “the Yelp of Asia.” It offers restaurant listings with ratings, menus, booking numbers, and more in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. Get OpenRice for Android and iOS. 54. TheFork: Restaurant reservations at your fingertips. TheFork makes restaurant recommendations in 4,000 cities within 11 countries, mostly in Europe. The app’s popularity comes through its discounts: sometimes up to 50% off your meal just for making a reservation through TheFork. Get TheFork for iOS and Android. 55. Happy Cow: Vegan and vegetarian eating made easy. For those with dietary restrictions, the Happy Cow is a godsend app. The app lists over 100,000 restaurants in nearly 200 countries to find vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free offerings. There are reviews as well as recipes using local ingredients. Get Happy Cow for iOS and Android. 56. TripAdvisor: Harness the power of the crowd. TripAdvisor is a reliably good source of recommendations from fellow travelers. The app covers more than restaurants – hotels, attractions, tours, and more are all rated – but restaurant reviews often include up-to-date menus, hours, and more. Get TripAdvisor for iOS and Android. 57. Yelp: Use the dollar sign ratings to stick to your budget. Like TripAdvisor, Yelp is for more than restaurant recommendations. Travelers can use this app to scan restaurants based on budget, location, cuisine, and area. Get Yelp for iOS and Android. 58. Zomato: Yelp alternative outside the U.S. Zomato is a very popular restaurant review platform outside of the US. Reviewers make an extra effort to include photos of menus and dishes. Zomato sometimes partners with delivery services, so if you’re hanging out at the hotel, you can get takeaway or delivery. Get Zomato for iOS and Android. 59. Eatigo: Search restaurants in themed categories Eatigo offers restaurant listings in Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Sort by categories like “Date Night,” “Hotel Buffets,” “Sushi Mania,” or “Wine Bars.” Take advantage of timed discounts to find a meal that fits your budget. Get Eatigo for iOS and Android. 60. Seafood Watch: Vet the sustainability of your seafood. For those traveling in the US, check if a restaurant is ocean-friendly with Seafood Watch. You can search for a particular type of seafood, view sushi listing, and learn more about sustainable seafood. Get Seafood Watch for iOS and Android. 61. LocalEats: No chains allowed. Support local while you travel with LocalEats’ list of best restaurants owned by residents of the city. You can filter by cuisine, price, and use GPS to find one near you while supporting the local economy. Get LocalEats for iOS and Android. 62. Drizly: Alcohol delivery to your accommodation. Drizly offers alcohol delivery throughout the US. If you’re at the perfect restaurant – but it’s BYOB – Drizly can drop off some wine. Or, if you’re lounging at the pool and the hotel doesn’t have a bar, just tap Drizly and have all the ingredients you need sent over. Get Drizly for iOS and Android. 63. Chefs Feed: Dining recommendations from professional chefs ChefsFeed asks for professional chefs, like Marcus Samuelsson and Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi to curate their favorite dining destinations in popular cities. Find out where to eat the very best meals all over the US, as well as what dishes to order. Get ChefsFeed for iOS and Android. 64. OpenTable: Reservations only. OpenTable is for booking restaurant reservations with ease. Choose the size of your party, a date, and a time and see what’s available nearby or at your favorite restaurant. Get OpenTable for iOS and Android. 65. Untappd: A home for beer lovers. Untappd lets you log the bars and breweries you’ve visited and rate beers you drink so that when you get home, you can find that perfect craft beer at your local bottle store. Get Untappd for iOS and Android. 66. DrinkAdvisor: Tripadvisor for party animals. DrinkAdvisor offers peer reviews for local bars and clubs, helping travelers figure out where to spend a night out by searching by criteria like “wine bar” or “dance floor.” Create wishlists and see cocktail recipes to start the night out right. Get DrinkAdvisor for Android. 67. Zagat: The gold standard in restaurant reviews Zagat is one of the biggest names in the restaurant review biz. Its app is continually updated with reviews of more than 30,000 restaurants around the world. Reviews are reliable and come from trusted experts. Get the Zagat app for iOS and Android. 68. The Infatuation: Most innovative restaurant finder app. The Infatuation is newer to the scene than Zagat or even Yelp but it's taken the restaurant industry by storm. The app is by far one of the most intuitive and reliable but does offer less coverage than its competitors as it's more focused on creating content and proprietary rankings. If you're in a major city like New York or Los Angeles, look no further than the Infatuation. Get The Infatuation app for iOS and Android. 69. The Happiest Hour: Find food and drink special in Aus and New Zealand The Happiest Hour works across New Zealand and Australia to find you food and drink specials while you travel. Get The Happiest Hour for iOS. Transportation Apps Get around by plane, train, and automobile with these handy transportation apps. 70. Hopper: Great deals on flights. Hopper finds the best deals on flights (and hotels). Put in flight route and the app will tell you when to expect a price drop or spike to help you get the best deal possible. The app claims to predict prices with 95% accuracy up to one year in advance. Get Hopper on iOS and Android. 71. LoungeBuddy: Get access to airport lounges without a first-class ticket. LoungeBuddy offers a way to find and pay for time in an airport lounge without flying premium. Put in your credit card information and find the rates and availability of lounges nearby. The app will alert you if there are free lounges and also let you pay through their system. Get LoungeBuddy for iOS. 72. AirHelp: Compensation for delayed or cancelled flights. US and EU laws provide compensation in some instances when flights are delayed or canceled – but the process is complicated. That’s where the AirHelp app comes in. Enter your flight information and details about the problem, and the company takes care of the rest. Get AirHelp for iOS and Android. 73. Skyscanner: Search millions of flights from over 1,200 sources Budget-conscious travelers will love Skyscanner – find cheap flights with one of the most powerful search tools out there. See the cheapest days or months to fly to your destination and get notifications if the price changes. Get Skyscanner for iOS and Android. 74. TripIt: Organize your travel plans in one place. TripIt puts your itinerary together for you. Just forward your hotel, restaurant, flight, and car rental confirmation emails to the service, and the app will display your master itinerary in one place. Get TripIt for iOS and Android. 75. Kiwi: More than just booking flights. Kiwi is known for booking flights, but the app does more – book a hotel, car rental, and activities and tours. You can also see helpful information about airports, such as lounge locations, ATMs, and luggage storage. Get Kiwi for iOS and Android. 76. Roadtrippers: Map out your next roadtrip. Roadtrippers is perfect for COVID-19 era travel. The app plans a driving route for you with hotels and activities along the way. Find interesting attractions and can’t-miss landmarks that you can stop off and see as you go. Get Roadtrippers for iOS and Android. 77. Priority Pass: Access 1300+ airport lounges Become a member of the Priority Pass program and the app will give you access to lounges at airports around the world. Just enter the airport name or code and see what lounges or restaurants that you have access to, including photos, hours, amenities and more. Get Priority Pass for iOS and Android. 78. FlightAware: Keep track of your tight connection. Travelers can use the FlightAware app to get live updates on flights – delays, cancellations, gate changes, and more. It’s worth downloading for any trips where you have a tight connection or if you’re traveling through a region experiencing difficult weather. Get FlightAware for iOS and Android. 79. Timeshifter: Adjust to time zones and avoid jet lag. The Timeshifter uses neuroscience research to help you start adjusting to a different time zone while you’re still in-flight. The app considers your age, gender, and sleep patterns as well as you trip plans to start providing steps you can take to adjust your body to a new time zone. Get Timeshifter for iOS and Android. 80. SkyGuru: Prepare for turbulence with weather predictions. The SkyGuru app was designed by pilots to help nervous fliers know what to expect before getting on the plane. The app offers weather and turbulence forecasts for your specific flight route. Of course, anything can happen, but it’s nice to have a little warning. Get SkyGuru for iOS and Android. 81. Uber: Ride-hailing around the world. Uber is in more than 80 countries, and it’s a great app to have if you don’t speak the language, aren’t carrying cash, or don’t know where you’re going. Not into Uber, or traveling in a country where Uber doesn’t operate? Try Lyft, Grab, Cabify, Bolt, Careem, or Gett instead. Get Uber for iOS and Android. 82. Drive Weather: Know the road condition before you drive. Many of us will be traveling by car or by train for the holidays this year, in lieu of taking a flight. Drive Weather is an app that helps road travelers avoid the worst weather. Get radar views and routes with rain, freezing rain, ice, and snow icons that tell you when there are slippery roads ahead. Get DriveWeather for iOS and Android. 83. Waze: Crowdsourced traffic so you get the best route. The Waze map app lets users submit data to alert other drivers of traffic jams, roadblocks, police, accidents and more. It’s a great app for finding the best route throughout your travel – and find you the lowest price on gas along the way. Get Waze for iOS and Android. 84. Rome2rio: Find the best way to get between cities. The Rome2rio app lets you compare different transportation costs: train, plane, bus, ferry and car. Figure out what is the cheapest or fastest way to get between different destinations and book tickets through the app. Get Rome2rio for iOS and Android. 85. App in the Air: A virtual personal travel assistant. This app ranked on Apple’s best app’s list and also gets Oprah’s seal of approval. App in the Air will store your itinerary, boarding pass, and frequent flier programs, and also keep track of boarding and landing times and airport wait times for check-in, security, and customs. Get App in the Air for iOS and Android. 86. GasBuddy: Save on petrol. GasBuddy searches for the best gas prices near you. In addition to finding you cheap gas, the app will also offer an outage tracker during natural disasters, a trip cost calculator, and search filters like brand, location, available restrooms, and more. Get GasBuddy for iOS and Android. 87. SOAR: For nervous fliers. SOAR is a course developed by therapist and former pilot Captain Tom Bunn. The SOAR app offers tips and resources to help nervous fliers get through a flight, with fact-based plane info to help you calm down. Get SOAR for iOS and Android. 88. RV Parks and Campgrounds: 40,000 stop-offs on the open road. RV Parks and Campgrounds offers great camping spots for those hitting the road. You can view RV parks and campgrounds based on ratings, with amenities listed. Photos show you what to expect ahead of time. Get RV Parks & Campgrounds for iOS and Android. Apps for Hotels and Accomodations Book a last minute stay, browse by neighborhood, and find great deals on these hotel and accommodation apps. 89. Airbnb: Stay with local hosts. Airbnb is one of the most popular platforms for booking accommodation. “Hosts” – sometimes small or boutique hotels – offer rooms or entire places for rent. The app also offers “Experiences” to help you explore a different side of a destination. Get Airbnb for iOS and Android. 90: Expedia: Discounts on hotels, car rentals, and packages. Expedia’s app gives you the entire Expedia booking experience, plus rewards. Earn double Expedia Rewards points each time you book a hotel, car rental, flight or package through the app. Get Expedia for iOS and Android. 91. Booking.com: The highest-rated travel app. Booking.com offers an all-in-one app experience. Explore the 27 million hotels, vacation rentals, homes, apartments, and other unique places to stay on the app, read guest reviews, and filter listings by price, review score, amenities, and more. Get the Booking.com app for iOS and Android. 92. Hotels.com: Great discounts and filters to find the right room for you. Hotels.com’s app has easy-to-use filters to help you find exactly what it is you’re looking for ina hotel room. People love the "Deals for Tonight" feature that offers big discounts on last-minute bookings. Another feature, "Your Secret Price" can offer savings up to 50%. Get the Hotels.com app for iOS and Android. 93. Kayak: Metasearching all other travel apps in seconds. Kayak is mostly known for flight deals, but the platform is owned by Booking.com, making the app a great place to turn when you need a deal on a hotel. Participate in Booking.com’s membership program through the Kayak app and use it to manage every aspect of your trip. Get the Kayak app for iOS and Android. 94. Hotel Tonight: Last-minute hotel deals. Hotel Tonight does what the name implies: shows you short-term deals on top hotels in a certain city so you can book something last minute. Find deals for a hotel tonight, next week, or up to 100 days in advance. Get Hotel Tonight for iOS and Android. 95. Marriott Bonvoy: Use Marriott’s mobile check-in and earn points. Marriott Bonvoy offers the lowest rate on the brand’s properties worldwide, as well as the ability to earn points through their rewards program. The app also has a mobile check-in feature and Mobile Key, plus chat and messaging features that allow you to coordinate room service and more with the on-site hotel team. Get the Marriott app for iOS and Android. 96. Hilton Honors: An easier way to travel. Like Marriott Bonvoy, the Hilton Honors app offers nifty features to make your stay better. Choose your own room from those available on the hotel’s floor plan. Keyless entry uses your device to unlock the door. And, you can skip the lines at check-in by using the app’s mobile check-in process. Get Hilton Honors for iOS and Android. 97. World of Hyatt: Member-centric features to elevate your stay. The World of Hyatt app has been recently redesigned to make the Hyatt experience that much better. The app offers mobile check-in and keyless entry, as well as access to meditation and mindfulness curated from Headspace. Keep track of rewards and manage amenities – like access to a room’s Chromecast – from one easy dashboard. Get World of Hyatt for iOS and Android. 98. AccorHotels Accor All: A range of hospitality brands in one app. Accor All gives you access to the Accor brand’s thousands of properties. Through this app, you can book a hotel, a boutique hotel, a 7-star establishment, a youth hostel or even a villa or apartment in over 111 countries. Get Accor All for iOS and Android. 99. HotelsCombined: A powerful search tool that aggregates the best rates. The HotelsCombined app lets you compare rates and find hotel deals from Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Agoda and other travel sites in one simple search. See what properties are trending and find the best rates for vacation rentals, apartments, resorts, and hotels. Get HotelsCombined for iOS and Android. 100. IHG: Book from 10 IHG brands in one app. IHG’s ten brands – including Holiday Inn and Intercontinental – all offer rooms on the app. Sign up through the loyalty program and the app will give you member-specific rates and discounts. Get the IHG app for iOS and Android. 101. Splitty Travel: Smart technology to get you the best deal. Splitty Travel is an app that offers hotel deals by combining several rate plans to a single reservation. Choose your destination and Splitty’s technology combines different reservation types to build the cheapest deal for the hotel you want. Get Splitty Travel for Android. 102. DayPass: Book a day at a luxury property and enjoy its amenities. The DayPass app offers day passes to hotel & resorts, health clubs and spas. Enjoy luxury pools, all-inclusive resorts, beach clubs, gyms, and spas for the day. You can book and pay through the app. Get DayPass for iOS and Android. The travel landscape is always changing, and we’re excited to see what new apps are in development. Today’s travelers are more tech-savvy than ever, and apps like Splitty and Timeshifter show that technology is adapting to keep up. What are your favorite travel apps? Are there any that we missed?
There are two paths to improving your hotel’s profitability: increase revenue and/or cut costs. All things equal, it's best to focus on increasing revenue because it's additive; more revenue means that your business is growing. However, when there's a downturn, and revenue is harder to come by, controlling costs becomes even more important for the bottom line. With hotel maintenance technicians earning around $42,000 (or $15 to $20 per hour according to data from Hcareers) in the US -- and that’s before any outsourced repair costs -- property maintenance can be a significant cost for hotels. While it's tempting to reduce budgets and defer maintenance, the shortsightedness may leave a financial burden in the not-too-distant future. Here's what you need to know about preventive maintenance, its role in your hotel’s overall profitability and how to successfully implement it at your hotel. What is Preventive Maintenance? As a long-term cost control measure, preventive maintenance is the proactive scheduling of maintenance before things go wrong, rather than reactively respond with repairs as needed. One research study of hotels in Hong Kong found that hotels spent 48% more on corrective maintenance than preventive maintenance, a reactive reality that often results in overspending on maintenance. To achieve the right level of spending, hotels must determine the optimal maintenance zone. This is where the financial and reputational benefit of fixing it before it breaks (preventive) outweighs the financial and reputational costs of fixing it after the fact (corrective). Preventive maintenance programs help asset owners avoid downtime by systematically scheduling work orders and checks before equipment failures occur. Preventative maintenance ultimately increases the life of any piece of equipment or critical assets relative to reactive maintenance which occurs after equipment already has issues that need to be fixed. Preventive maintenance plans are mostly developed and executed by maintenance teams in any organization and help to reduce maintenance costs in the same way that preventive healthcare saves on long term medical expenses. For certain assets like a hotel air conditioning unit in peak summer, unplanned downtime can lead to lost revenue. Throughout the lifecycle of critical equipment, engineering and maintenance personnel must perform condition monitoring checks. Preventive Maintenance Examples Much of the most valuable preventive maintenance centers around electrical and mechanical systems, which have a relatively high cost for replacement compared with its ongoing maintenance. But there are plenty of areas in your property that could benefit from regular preventive maintenance, some of which have a direct impact on the guest experience should they stop functioning. Some other examples of preventive maintenance in properties with high traffic, such as hotel properties, retail establishments, transportation hubs and office buildings, include: Plumbing and sewer systems Hot water heaters Pool pumps Electrical systems On-premise computers and software Refrigeration in your kitchen, restaurant and bar Espresso machines in your lobby cafe Grease traps and floor drains Carpets in hallways and guest rooms Pest control Trimming branches and other potentially damaging landscaping Changing filters on water systems and drinking fountains Cleaning gutters Inspecting roofs Emergency sprinkler systems Each of these items has a useful life that spans a range of years. By scheduling regular inspections and streamlining your hotel’s maintenance, you’ll get more out of your investments and keep using these assets towards the upper range of their usefulness. Preventive Maintenance Checklist There are four types of actions on any preventive maintenance checklist: inspection, detection, correction, and protection. Inspection detects any potential emerging issues so they can be corrected as soon as necessary. Prevention prevents problems in the first place, such as cleaning laundry lint filters to prevent fire risk and reduce energy usage. Tasks on a preventive maintenance checklist can be time-based (eg. cleaning lint filters every Monday) or usage-based (cleaning the filters after 1,000 loads of laundry). For hotels, it's often much easier to do calendar-based inspections, which reduces confusion and increases consistency. Otherwise, staff may not really know where they are on a usage-based checklist and thus feel less urgency without a time-based deadline. A few notable exceptions are any vehicles or equipment with built-in usage tracking. High-traffic properties share some common items that absolutely must be on the preventive maintenance checklist. Here's a sample checklist for your hotel, broken down by focus area and including some overlap between major “deep cleaning” tasks that also function as preventive maintenance. GUEST ROOMS [MONTHLY] Bathroom Inspect faucets and showerheads for leaks and water pressure Inspect toilet and toilet tank Inspect walls and shower curtain for mold Check ventilation fan HVAC Change filters Check thermostat Check blower Clean ducts Other Check door locks Check sprinklers Check baseboards for pest intrusion Replace light bulbs Test iron, TV, coffee maker, etc Test all electrical outlets and light switches Check remote control and replace battery Test all smart room functions (curtains, tablet controls, etc) PROPERTY-WIDE HVAC [2x per year] Change filters Check coolant levels Clean ducts Check heat pumps Inspect rooftop condensers Plumbing [2x per year] Check water heaters Verify water pressure to identify potential issues Video inspection as needed Common areas [1x per year] Repaint walls Repair furniture Clean carpets Replace light bulbs Clean outside storm drains Inspect parking lot Check all outdoor lighting Amenities [MONTHLY] Inspect/test gym equipment Check business center computers/printer Check water fountains FOOD & BEVERAGE Clean grease traps [monthly] Check refrigeration for proper cooling to legally-mandated temps [quarterly] Maintain espresso and other drink machines [quarterly] Clean ventilation hood filters [weekly] Check and clean floor drains [weekly] BACK-OF-THE-HOUSE Maintain laundry equipment Clean lint traps Inspect electrical mains Every property is unique. So, in addition to these standard preventive maintenance items, grab your management team and walk the property. Carefully document anything that you see that could benefit from ongoing maintenance. Look not just for the obvious but also for things that have a direct impact on the guest experience. Regardless of whether these things are visible to the average guest, Your goal should be to develop a comprehensive list of everything that must be maintained property-wide. Next, take that list and combine it with the recommended maintenance windows for all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. Finally, develop your preventive maintenance schedule based on both the recommended maintenance schedule and guest visibility. Items that could potentially jeopardize your reputation should be prioritized over others that are less visible and/or less impactful to normal operations. What is CMMS Software? Preventive maintenance activities and PM programs are nearly impossible to carry out without software in complex assets like hotels. Who could possibly remember all of the different checks necessary to ensure healthy equipment? CMMS stands for 'computerized maintenance management system' and while the term is a bit dated since all systems are computerized today - the term has stuck in many industries with CMMS software rising in popularity in businesses ranging from apartments to hotels and even factories. Maintenance planning team members use software to get a real-time view into asset health without all the time-consuming tasks needed to do so. For example, previously a hotel engineer would need to keep a detailed log of HVAC unit purchase dates and issues. Today, software does all that for them where they load each new unit into the system and software then monitors average health to give automated alerts. Effective asset management and preventing asset failure / equipment downtime can be huge drivers of profitability so investments in CMMS and preventive maintenance software tend to provide very strong ROIs. There's nothing worse than having critical equipment breakdown when it's needed most. Best Preventive Maintenance Software for Hotels At this point, you'll have quite a long list of things to maintain. In most cases, it's actually quite surprising how many things need to be taken care of. Once you add in each item’s recommended maintenance frequency, it can get impossibly complicated to manage. While you could certainly put everything into a calendar and manage manually, that makes it much easier t get off track. Even the smallest amount of slippage can lead to outsized consequences. One day here, a few days there…and eventually, your preventive maintenance schedule no longer reflects maintenance best practices or recommended time frames. Since your schedule is no longer accurate, then you stop using it. And all of that work goes to waste! To prevent slippage and stay on track, many hotels use preventive maintenance software. As the GM or lead engineer, you can stay on track thanks to this software that makes sure everyone is on the same page with both the schedule and the sub-tasks required for each maintenance item. The software will automatically assign scheduled tasks (and sub-task checklists) based on your chosen time intervals and then track progress towards completion in a centralized dashboard. An automated preventive maintenance workflow from Upkeep These automated workflows can be enhanced with what's called prescriptive maintenance. This is where the system analyzes usage and surfaces potential maintenance issues before they occur. Prescriptive maintenance is especially powerful in peak season, with higher-than-usual traffic. As hotel managers, we know what happens when things get busy: maintenance schedules don't always adjust and systems break -- inevitably at the worst time! The best maintenance management software leverages smart analysis to prevent these nightmare scenarios. Two other help features to look for are integration with your guest messaging platform so urgent repairs are quickly routed to the right person and an asset library that centralizes manuals and training associated with your property systems. Here are the top five software tools for hotel preventive maintenance, as rated by verified HTR users: Hotelkit Facility Management ALICE Maintenance Quore Engineering Lodgistics Preventive Maintenance Flexkeeping Maintenance