The Queensborough Group is pleased to introduce our brand new blog. The blog is accessible from our website and our social media to ensure we always keep you in the loop. Here, you can find helpful tricks of the trade provided by industry experts, updates on what’s happening in the world of hospitality and, of course, a nudge or two in terms of The Queensborough Group’s progress and information regarding new products and services. We will contact our customers to discuss their experience in the industry so that we can share their pearls of wisdom.
For those who don’t know, we have spent the past two years completely revamping and revolutionising the way our Q-Bookers use the Q-Book software. We have provided bundles of exciting new features, connected with even more channels, all topped off with a fresh look; Q-Book! According to our users, the next generation of Q-Book has made a huge difference in terms of how our Q-Bookers manage their day-to-day bookings. The upgrade has resulted in the most user-friendly version, offering the very best in functionality.
In this blog, we put the experience of potential bookers under the microscope. To get things started, we focus our attention on some simple food for thought that may make all the difference for the year ahead. Simple factors that may have slipped your mind could ultimately determine how many people are knocking on the door.
Often people don’t think about the potential customer’s experience. For instance, what type of website that greets them, does the software make it easy for the potential guest to make a booking, can their preferred accommodation be easily located on the world wide web, and many other factors that may have gone completely unnoticed?
We know from experience, it all boils down to the following key points:
Your website is the face of your business and the first thing to greet your customers. Therefore, it is essential to make a great first impression! Time and time again we see beautiful accommodation where the website is simply not doing it justice. Why work so hard to get everything perfect and, at the final hurdle, have potential customers not make the booking because your website isn’t up to scratch? Have a good think about what you would look for when booking accommodation- great pictures, enough but not too much information, prices and rates clearly viewable, up to date contact details and information, and easy to use booking software. Probably one of the biggest fundamentals of getting the website right is its responsive layout. Are you up to date in the current market? Is your website receptive to devices on which your customers may be viewing? Ensuring your website is responsive to all our most loved devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, really will make a difference! Don’t shoot yourself in the foot; think about this sooner rather than later.
Is your accommodation getting the exposure it deserves? Are your customers just stumbling across your rooms for sale or are you actively in the public eye; we hope it’s the latter! Think seriously about where you are! Links to larger OTAs will always provide that extra push in terms of prominent advertising, but remember to always keep your eye on the money. We know they can fill your rooms, but there is a commission fee. We find that if you can achieve a good balance of direct, commission-free bookings and third-party bookings, it is feasible to reach a happy medium. If you prefer to go it alone and without the big players only welcoming direct bookings, consider how your website is being optimised. How do you separate yourselves from surrounding competitors? Are you truly captivating your audience’s attention? If you find yourself in a position where your website isn’t getting as much attention and unique visitors as anticipated, what can you do next? Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) could be a big contributor to change for the better. Before you look away in pure terror, all this means is where your website is located on the internet, based on which keywords have been inputted into the search engine. For example ‘Hotels in Blackpool’ ‘B&B’s in Luton’- you get our drift!
Easy-to-use Booking Software
Make sure the easiest thing your customers will do all day is complete an online booking. You don’t want to put your customers in a position where an online booking is a chore for them. Providing a clear payment process is one of the biggest factors to consider. Nobody wants that awkward moment where your guests are just about to leave under the assumption they have already made payment to you, when clearly it isn’t the case! Clear payment instructions, clear terms and conditions, and a clear cancellation policy will ensure everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet.
Keeping up with the Jones’s!
How do your rates compare with those of the local competition? Specifically, consider and compare yourselves with similar accommodation. Based on feedback, we find that customers believe a touch of friendly competition is perfectly healthy. Regularly, they will keep their eye about town and see what everybody else is offering and at what rate. Simple fact-finding exercises are invaluable. If things are slightly quieter in comparison with your neighbours, it could be an indicator to make some small tweaks.
Let’s finish with a recent success story!
“I am extremely happy with the service I’ve received from Queensborough. I have been a customer with them now for a good 5 years when they took over the hosting of our original B&B website, and I can honestly say that they are the most helpful and friendliest team of people I have ever worked with.
This year, we decided to have a complete overhaul of our website and I was a little nervous about the process, but I needn’t have worried. Our account manager, along with the other members of the team, have been fantastic, always available to talk to and quick to get back to me with any queries and problems I have had.
The website looks fantastic and is really easy to use. I am enjoying being able to make my own changes to the website with photos and wording etc, and I am confident that if I get in a ‘muddle’ the team will sort it out for me. I thought it might be difficult but after following the online tutorial, and with guidance, I have found it really easy to use and it is now becoming quite addictive!! Thanks, everyone.”
Sally, Poppy Cottages.