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Working in the hospitality industry can be very tiring and challenging due to the fact that different circumstances may occur this way making your daily job harder and above everything riskier. Your guest may encounter in different situations, including here your staff too. And in order to keep your guests safe and your staff as well, you should take some measures. Here are some tips which would help in reducing violence.

Be aware that it can happen anywhere: People you might know, or faces you have never seen.

Prepare your staff awareness: teaching them how to approach to different situations that involve their own and clients security. Teach them the appropriate way of stepping-in when they see suspicious behavior before it escalates to violence. There are some sings to look for: aggression, sulking or even a possible temper-tantrum at check in, disregarding the authority, and usage of inappropriate statements.

Availability: Try to be more available and more understanding for your staff in order for them to report to you any suspicious behavior they might occur into.

Creation of Safety policies: When you create your safety policies, you inform your staff what needs to happen if there should be a crisis, including here a violent person or a natural disaster, either way a written plan of action should exist.

Security cameras: By installing security cameras, you are more aware of what is happening around your hostel/hotel, and this way the person responsible can easily deter guests from causing any kind of problem.

Quiet Areas: In order to prevent any potential theft happening in your hostel/hotel, the quiet areas should be patrolled, this way no thief would take that risk, knowing that there are always people there.

Reputation Management

April 23, 2019 | The Lobby Boy | No Comments

We are all aware that online reputation has become very important for every business. And the management of their online reputation should be part of their business strategy. By online reputation you are more aware of how the guests perceive your business. You should engage with your guests by answering to their reviews. When you get positive reviews you should try your best and make sure to make good use of it by maximizing its exposure, whereas you should as well try to response to the negative reviews in a positive way ensuring them that you will try to resolve their problem, and this way you also get some insights on what is going wrong with your business and what you can do to improve your services. Based on some statistics we have obtained around 93% of consumers think that reviews are very important especially when you’re deciding to book a room in a hostel/hotel. And then there’s another 50% of those who decide not to book a room when any reviews do not appear on the page of the specific hostel.

Because reviews are very important, you should try to encourage your guests in writing a review at your page by sending them emails after they have checked out. And it actually not only provides you more reviews but it as well prevents getting fake reviews. You should always try to stimulate conversations, by answering to your guests reviews, they will immediately share it In their profiles and more people will be aware of your existence.
We know that getting bad reviews drives you into thinking a lot of people will take these into account and we will lose a lot of potential guests.

But in reality that is what reputation management is all about, you making good use of bad reviews. You should try to provide an appropriate answer to each of your bad reviews due to the fact that people might start speculating. An 82% of people asked said that when hostels responded to bad reviews improved their perception of the hotel. And a 62% said that it made them actually book a room there.

You should try to make good use of all your reviews on different platforms and this way your potential clients are more aware of the services you provide and your business.

How to get rid of bedbugs?

March 30, 2019 | The Lobby Boy | No Comments

They do not fly but they can move easily and quickly over ceilings, walls and floors. But the female bedbugs are the most dangerous because they may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime. It happens to most of the hotels and hostels due to the fact that they enter the room through clothes, mostly luggage. They naturally tend to live in groups and in hidden places, but their favorite place to live in is under mattresses and bed frames, usually places where they can hide and where they have a direct access to people to bite during the night.

However, Hostels try to be very cautious and careful when it comes to bedbugs, because if they happened to be found at any of their rooms that would be bad publicity and that would mean that the hostels will lose a lot of clients. If you are suspecting that one of your rooms is infested by bedbugs, here are 4 ways to properly inspect the room:

1. Start with the bed and by placing the sheets out as flat as possible inspect each sheet carefully by using your flashlight. Pay particular attention to the edges, corners, folds, and seams.
2. Closely examine the folds and visible seams in the corner of the mattress for signs of bed bugs. Use the credit card to peel back the seams of the bed to see beneath them. Bed bugs often squeeze into small crevices to hide, especially during the day. While you’re examining the corners, make sure you lift the mattress itself to look beneath it. Also, they are very sticky, so they might get stuck to the creases of the bed.
3. The headboard is one of the most popular of those hiding places. You have to check along the grooves, behind the bed, and then against the wall. And also you have to check the nightstands as long as you’re underneath there.
4. Check the curtains. Simply give the inside and outside of the curtains a detailed inspection. Make sure you smooth out any wrinkles to make sure you are seeing the entire curtain, and whatever that might be in it.

Take these steps to properly inspect the room, because it’s very important to prevent bedbugs from spreading at your hotel/ hostel. If you are suspecting that one of your guests was touched by bedbugs do not feel sorry to tell them because they would appreciate more the honesty, and would show more respect knowing that you take the issue of bedbugs very seriously. Because heat remains bedbug’s best enemy, recommend the person, to try drying the luggage and then all of the clothes. After all it can happen to any of us.

What is Revenue Management?

March 29, 2019 | The Lobby Boy | No Comments

Revenue management is mostly defined as “Selling the right room, to the right client, at the right time, for the right price, on the right distribution channel, with the best cost efficiency”.

It helps in predicting and understanding the consumer demand, and knowing when to sell the right room at a lower price if we do not expect a higher demand.

But what is really Revenue Management? Well, it is known as the use of analytics, which help to predict the behavior of customers, so that the price and the availability of a product can be optimized to generate the maximum amount of revenue possible.

Within the hospitality industry, the main purpose is to increase revenue while selling the same number of hotel rooms. In essence it is mainly about matching supply and demand. Successful revenue management basically involves the understanding of what the customer’s thoughts and perceptions of value are. This sometimes can mean refusing to sell a room today, because you are hoping to sell it for a higher price tomorrow. However, it might also mean recognizing when we are facing a lower demand and that we should sell at a discounted price. And if we manage to create an effective hotel revenue management, we can easily see if by chance we are paying too many staff members during slow time periods, or if we should hire more people during the busiest times of the year.

Revenue management is the most useful tool within the hotel industry that is available to managers because it allows them to generate more revenue from the guests. And it is defined by these 4 components as following:

  1. Customer segmentation
    This component is very important because through it we segment the customers according to their age, gender, trip’s purpose, spending habits or their interests.
  2. Demand forecasting
    Through Demand forecasting we analyze the information with regard to the past demand across all the consumer segments and by that we can predict whether the demand will increase or decrease. It is important because through demand revenue we set prices and create promotions through which more guests will engage.
  3. Yield management
    The component of Yield management is mainly focused on the price and the volume of sales. It defines what would be the perfect price to sell the product, through which we would maximize our profit.
  4. Dynamic pricing
    Dynamic pricing as an approach allows retailers to change the price of their product according to market demand. These dynamic pricing strategies allow hotels to keep up with the market and to maximize the rate of occupancy.

As we can see a Revenue Management would be useful in each industry, but it is essential to the hotel industry.

Top 5 Hospitality trends in 2019

March 26, 2019 | The Lobby Boy | No Comments

Previously, Hotels and hostels were a place for people to feel better, and remove their mind from work. And certainly these people would say that the impact of technology on this industry is crucial. Because various transactions happen while using the technology and being online.

These are some trends that each hotel could use in their advantage:

  1. Millennials
    The millennials tend to travel a lot and most of the time they behave spontaneously. And due to that reason as a hostel you should try to make it easier for them to check in, and also you should try to provide good quality food for reasonable prices. And you benefit from them because they will post on social media and that would promote your hotel.

2. Tech explosion
These hotels should try to be more up-to-date, meaning that for every potential conference or business meeting to be held there, they need to provide their consumers with high tech equipment and more importantly a knowledgeable support staff, so when the customers need help to be provided instantly.

3. Influx of international visitors
Hotels should provide their customers staff who knows and speaks many languages fluently, so that the customers would feel more welcome and more like home. That would benefit the business because most of the time, based on other people’s experiences in many hotels the staff is not well equipped in speaking other foreign languages. With that provided more customers would choose your hotel first rather than others.

4. Emphasizing well-being
Nowadays people are very focused on their well-being. A lot of people have decided to stop using junk food and are more focused on creating a healthy life-style. That is why; a hotel should try to create more recreational spaces such as well-equipped fitness and pools, and a variety of healthy food options, and gaming spaces, table tennis, dart, table soccer, where people could spend more time, meet new people and enjoy their stay.

5. Need for seamless technology
Each day the technology is improving and every industry is benefiting from using it. In the hotel industry the improvements that have been made have made booking a room more attractive for people and even entering a hotel room easier than ever. Simply by offering mobile check-in and digital concierge services we make it more fun and easy for our customers to share information.
We have provided only 5 trends but a lot of attention should be paid to these in order for your business to be more modern and for you to attract more potential customers.

Ways to increase your occupancy

March 9, 2019 | The Lobby Boy | No Comments

Increasing your occupancy is a daily struggle for every Hotel, Hostel and B&B owner. Every business has its own strategy and sometimes revenues are just not satisfactory. Coming up with a profitable strategy for your Hotel, Hostel and B&B is not easy.

First of all, the key to create the best strategy is to know the target market. Let’s not forget you should know your surroundings, meaning that you should see what your competition is doing, perfect timing can have an outstanding results with small changes you make. NEVER say that you don’t have any competition and don’t start off by saying that we are the REAL deal. Not paying attention at your competitors can cost you in the long term.

Start promoting, make a package deal, use different holidays like: Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Independence Day, this was you can start to attract more customers.

To do a promotion, it’s good to start with Online Traveling Agencies “OTAs” where your property is listed such as Booking.com, Hostelworld.com, Expedia.com, Airbnb.com est. since they already have the tools for you to make a promotion on their site.

Booking.com has e feature called “Visibility Booster” (I use this from time to time at my Hostel), and what this does, it improves your ranking on their site. To use this feature that booking.com offers, you need to increase you commission fee that you pay to booking.com. I usually use this feature during the low season when the competition is at its highest.

Hostelworld.com has a feature called “Feature Listings” and to use this feature you need to pay for it. What this does is that it gives you premium visibility on their site by listing your property at the Listed Properties. Another feature that I use is “Elevate” where by increasing your service fee percentage, where you can improve the ranking of your property on the Hostelworld.com website. I use this feature constantly for my hostel, sometimes I increase the commission fee to get better ranking depending of course on the ranking of my competitors.

You should also make good use of multiple social media platforms in the market. Each reservation that comes from your social media platforms, you make more money since you are not paying the commission fee for every booking. What I did for my hostel is; I have updated the cover picture and have added “Book Directly for 10% discount”, this way guests pays less for the reservation and I still earn more compared to the commission fees from OTAs. But bare in mind that OTAs are still your main source for getting more reservations.      I hope that these tips were helpful enough for you, and have had a positive impact for your property. Any feedback and also tips from you would be much appreciated, with the aim of helping fellow hostel owners.

As a Hotel, Hostel or B&B owner you want to increase your occupancy and incomes. From my personal experience, one of the best ways is to enlist your property in as many Online Traveling Agencies “OTAs” possible such as Booking.com, Hostelworld.com, Expedia.com, Airbnb.com ect. Having your property listed in numerous OTAs creates a managing problem especially if you still rely on pen & paper and / or excel spreadsheets. Managing your property this way will result in losing at least 3 hours per day of your valuable time and ending up having less time to spend with your guests. Being a hostel owner myself, I know the importance of having more time to spend with your guests, they are most probably for the first time in your country/city and they want to know: which are the best places to visit, where are the best places to eat and drink. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes explaining them such simple things.

One of the most common scenarios that occur at every Hotel, Hostel or B&B is: Guest(s) makes a reservation at your property, you add the guest(s) in your spreadsheet and you start to manually update your availability at all your OTAs. Later the same guest(s) notifies you that they wish to cancel their booking, now again you have to manually update your availability at all your OTAs. Also, if the guest that wants to extend his/their stay, you still must update your availability at all your OTAs.

The Lobby Boy robustly centralizes your booking data while allowing secure remote access.

It is a tailor made, affordable and user friendly property management system that helps every Hotel, Hostel or B&B. Any change made with The Lobby Boy PMS will be automatically updated to all your OTAs within seconds. Your managing couldn’t get any easier with our user friendly platform. The time when only large hotels and hostels could afford a quality property management system is over.

Join now and manage your property for a very affordable price, all within one system. Start your 30 days free trial and be convinced about the simplicity of the system. 

The Lobby Boy is the interface to all your OTAs,

As we say in our team: You can take care of your guests, Lobby Boy does the rest!

You are passionate and were always dreaming to own your own hostel and now you have finally decided to start your own business. Congratulations we wish you all the best, you made the right decision since hostels are an ever growing industry. Start constructing a plan, by developing the idea you have. Make some researches and do not be ashamed to ask people, even if it takes going door by door to ask them how this thing works, or at least get informed hostel business in general.
Just before I have decided to open my own hostel, I started with simple analysis, the SWOT analysis S – Strength, W – weaknesses, O – opportunities and T – threats.

Strength: My strength was the place where I have opened my hostel, it was my family apartment and I didn’t have to pay any rent. I was very lucky I have to admit it especially when first 3 months were not that good money wise and was a great relief not having to pay the rent.

Weaknesses: I had no experience at all about hospitality business; I had to learn it on the way sometimes the hard way. I remember I was even asking guests to give some ideas and tips about improving my hostel. Experienced travelers here have helped me a lot, like one of the great tips that I got from a Spanish traveler was to ask for key deposits since guests were losing them all the time and to copy just one key was 5 euros. Today there are plenty of pages and blogs where you can get tips and advices, personally for me the best pages are “Hostelmanagement.com” and “hostel owners, manager, staff & consultants community”.

Opportunities: When I decided to open the hostel on 2012, at that time there was no hostel in my city and was a great opportunity for me to be the first hostel in the city. If you are not the first hostel in the town, you shouldn’t worry about this at all. New hostels open all the time, just look for a good location, an affordable place to rent and that you don’t have to make lot of renovations. Maybe there is a hostel for sale that has good location and good rent, but in this case you must check the duration of the lease.

Threats: One of the threats is that eventually new hostels will open near you or your location. This can have and most probably will have effect on the rates since more competition, rates will start going down. Threats can also be external forces, such as: political instability or natural disasters.

Other things that need to be taken under consideration are:

1) Nearby attractions are needed, Such as museums, sights, restaurants and nightlife nearby are necessary to attract a crowd.
2) Transportation links are vital. If you build it they will come? Only if there are planes, trains or buses to get them there . . . and around.
3) Ensure you’re in a safe area. Run-down areas are cheaper, but most people won’t compromise safety for saving a few bucks
4) Complement the community. Carefully consider the impact of your business on the locals.
5) Do you have the language for the location? Ordering food is one thing, but do your language skills extend to business speak?
6) Be on top of travel trends. Are you in a budget traveler hotspot or are they moving out as luxury development moves in?
7) Central isn’t always necessary. Assuming a safe area with transportation links, a good vibe and facilities can compete with a central spot.

I hope this article was helpful enough and will help and guide you to take important decisions.