5 Best Smartphone Practices For Independent Hoteliers
15 Nov, 2022
Smartphones have come to play a fundamental role in our lives. If you’re not Googling, reserving and shopping by tapping a glass rectangle it’s very possible you’re from the past. Or another planet. Or both.
The latest generation of adults is finding love and having pizza delivered with the help of a few taps and swipes on their smartphones. Actually, they just call them ‘phones’.
What does this mean for you, the independent hotelier?
Before anything else it means that your website better be legible on the average smartphone screen. Why? Because that’s where 63% of all bookings and 80% of last minute bookings were made in 2021. I learnt that over at The Hotel Club for free, by the way. There, you’ll find a five-week course – The Ododo Accelerator – of which one of the main aims is to boost direct bookings, no strings attached.
It’s as free and easy as an Amenitiz demo is to book.
Let’s go ahead and take all of that for granted for the moment though. Let’s assume – and make one of those of you and me – that you’ve got a sleek, functioning site. Let’s also assume that you know how to work it to get visitors.
Well with all that in mind you might well ask what more have I to teach you? How can you wield your technological sword in such a way that it slashes through obstacles rather than adding to them.
You can read on, for starters…
1. Make effective video testimonials at exactly the right moment
Is the effectiveness of video testimonials news to you? If that’s the case I’d recommend you scuttle on over to The Hotel Club right away and re-up your knowledge stash. Testimonials are a crucial checkpoint on your website’s – and every website’s – sales funnel. What’s more, they’re only as good as they are verifiable. There are ways to verify text testimonials but more importantly there is no easy way to fake a video one. Not only that – your public knows this just as well as anyone.
High production value testimonials certainly have their place in the world – for more on that check out these satisfied members of the Amenitiz family – but so too do homespun hand-held ones. The quality of picture and audio available to you at your fingertips in 2022 would embarrass a cinematographer working in 2012 to the point of career change. There are more uses for it than filming cats and concerts.
The next time you have a positive face-to-face with a guest I have a nice idea for a sign-off. Reach into your pocket or drawer and pull out your postcard-sized film studio. Ask them would they mind saying a few words about the hotel for the website. The worst that can happen is ‘no’ and the best that can happen is a guaranteed way to boost direct bookings.
2. Editing on your smartphone is easy in 2022
Even with an easy-to-use software solution like Amenitiz, uploading and integrating testimonial videos to your website can take a few minutes of sit-down brainpower. There are other sites to work on though. These sites are designed to be easily used by anyone and updated in seconds from anywhere. Even better, they are used by billions of people from all over the world every day.
If you’re unsure of what I’m talking about then once again – I hate to ask – are you another species or perhaps an alien? Either way, I’m talking about social media. You should learn more about how you can make them work for you and your hotel. You can, over at The Hotel Club, but finish up here first. Knowledge is power.
Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are all hopping in the hospitality world. Yours ought to be updated daily with quality content – namely photos, videos and text.
When it comes to the latter two, quality is key because the competition is fierce. Did I mention there are billions of users?
How then can you trim videos and polish photos without the help of a professional or some time set aside weekly at your desktop? Easy – the film studio in your pocket also contains a graphic designer and an editing suite.
Even the most rudimentary smartphone on the market these days has the option to put a magazine sheen on whatever you care to publish. Better again, they tend to be easy-to-use and free. Trimming, polishing and posting is the new Candy Crush it seems!
3. You can boost and maintain your online reputation
Sticking with social media – and, by extension, The Hotel Club – how you interact with these platforms is crucial to your success on them. The key is in the title – social.
There are a set of golden rules to abide by which you can learn all about in Week 4 of the Ododo Accelerator but I’ll give you the platinum one for free right now – reply, reply and reply again.
The temptation might be real to set notifications to zero and stroll through life free of pocket vibrations. The truth is that kind of online basket-casing just won’t do when it comes to your online reputation.
If you regularly update your social media your following will grow. When your following grows you’ll get more comments – you might even get some complaints.
The advantage of social media when it comes to complaints is that the autonomy is all yours. While we do recommend answering them in good faith you can simply delete them. The advantage when it comes to positive comments is that you can reply and interact. Then you have a positive interaction between you and a potential or past guest! We have a whole module about comment section best practices available for free over at The Hotel Club, which you’d do well to sink your teeth into.
In both cases though – time is of the essence! In the case of complaints you want that dirty laundry in as soon as it goes up. In the case of the bouquet of flowers – my compliment analogy, d’uh – you want them in the water of your fast-reply while they’re still fresh. In either instance – without the buzz of a mobile device they fester or wither. That and that alone can make sure you know as soon as it happens and react there and then.
4. You can be contactable (and contact) anytime, anywhere
Think of this next one as a follow-on from the last one. Indeed, many of you will see it as the sharper edge of the sword on this point. You are always contactable.
But on the up-side you are always contactable. Or is that the downside? Or maybe it’s just how you look at it.
What’s that? Eureka!?
Yes indeed – as with comments and keeping updated it’s important to reply to emails and direct messages as soon as possible. Is the connection between sleek and easy contactability and an increase in direct bookings and therefore revenue still slightly in the fog for you? Then I’d recommend booking a free demo with Amenitiz as soon as possible, for the health of your margins if nothing else.
If you’re already playing for that team then my work might be done on this score but the rest of you, hear this! Whether you’re chatting in your lobby or readying a breakfast tray there are certain emails when time is of the essence. A good rule is – make it all of them.
A good many might be suited to a prepared reply. You probably have a couple ready to go in the copy-paste shop. But what about those others – those weddings or conferences or wedding conferences? They will not only have more specific questions but they’ll have sent them to a brace of hotels at the same time.
It’s in these cases that more than ever the old adage applies – the early reply bird gets the booking worm. Or something like that.
5. Communicate with housekeeping in an instant
I don’t know what kind of house you grew up in, but I personally have always been of the opinion that yelling up stairs to check on the readiness of a party is a privilege reserved for mothers and parole officers.
As such let the days of the smartphone see an end to confirmation calls on the houseline or scribble-torn clipboards in the back office. The Amenitiz solution means housekeeping can update the state of a room at the touch of a button. This way the front-of-house can see instantly when the room is ready for check-in.
How? Via smartphone of course! With Amenitiz housekeeping gets their own portal. Two parties using smartphones to communicate useful information instantly – imagine! The future is here! Get on the phone for your free demo now and find out more about how this works.
BONUS - Take payments in an instant, on the move
With all this talk of how to talk people into giving you money or presenting them with something worth their money I’ve spoken very little about how you might actually get their money from them if they don’t fancy using cold hard cash – hint, they won’t.
Well as my old Dad used to say ‘save the best for last, especially if it concerns an easy, secure way to take payments in a jiffy.’ Hence – Amenitiz Pay.
Amenitiz Pay is the latest tool in the all-in-one arsenal. It presents the option to pay directly at every available turn on your website – many people, including me, like to get this out of the way ASAP. Not only that, it also makes it easy for you to add extras in a second or even take a payment on the spot.
How? Well, for those who prefer something more classically recognisable there are payment terminals available. While you wait for yours it’s all doable on your – drumroll please – smartphone!
Or phone if you like.
For everything there is an app...
Imagine someone told you leaving school that within your lifetime you’d have a studio and editing suite in your pocket that also served as a promo device from which to communicate with the outside world and your housekeeping staff all while taking direct payments and playing cat videos.
That last one was optional by the way. Cute, but by no means obligatory.
I don’t know about you but leaving school I was a bit of a know-it-all. I’d have probably grimaced at this man or woman from the future and moaned ‘is that all?’.
Then, if that future man or woman knew their stuff they’d probably have told me to shove it, and I’d have deserved it. Then, they’d have listed the following apps that are by no means essentials for all hoteliers but very useful to some and at least not a bad thing to know about for others.
I’ll go ahead and give a guarantee – there’s at least one thing (and maybe more) on here for everyone.
V-Key: This app – which Amenitiz is proud to be partnered with – is a tech solution for the age-old liability of lost keycards whereby a room’s door is opened by QR code.
Lightspeed: for those of you in the hotel-restaurant tandem business look no further for integrated management than this easy-to-use software from which to make reservations and take orders – also partnered with Amenitiz. As you can see, we only bundle up with the best.
Vivino/Untappd: No, this is not a suggestion to buy good wine for your days off. Well, it’s not just that. These two apps not only give market-approved recommendations (or otherwise) for wine but they also give you sommelier approved jargon with which to pitch the bottle to thirsty guests who feel like treating themselves.
Google Translate/DeepL – anyone with aspirations – aka anyone who’s read this far – wants to expand their market overseas, which may include speakers of languages no one knows casually, let alone someone as busy as you. The next time you’ve a Mongolian or Tonganese booked to stay there’s no better way than one of these apps to pick up ‘hello’, ‘goodnight’, ‘enjoy your stay’ and ‘do you mind making a testimonial video’?
Capcut: For anyone who wants to engage in some video production a little above the standard software’s pay grade need look no further than this free, easy-to-use software.
Snapseed: The photo team-up to Capcut’s video option, this one is great for anyone up for the extra mile (well, the extra 100 meters maybe) on their photo content.
And remember kids...
Some of you have just done reading this article on one of the devices it’s described – more than half if statistics are to be believed.
I hope you believe me enough to follow the recommendations I’ve given. They will gain you not only a competitive edge on those who don’t but time. And time is, as the saying goes, money. Or so my father told me.
If you’re not among those reading this handheld do yourselves a favor and switch over now. See how this site runs smoothly in both places? Did you know this is not an automatic process?
If your own website couldn’t perform this feat so slickly it might be time to think about updating. Even if it does, something tells me it doesn’t do so as smoothly as it might, let alone as prettily.
In either – and every – case I’d recommend booking yourself a free demo with Amenitiz now and getting a better look at what you’re missing out on. If this article – which didn’t write itself – hasn’t convinced you let me say it straight – we’re all about empowering independent hoteliers. Case in point – we do not manufacture or sell smartphones. We do, however, recommend you start using yours to increase your direct bookings today.
15 Nov, 2022
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