In our section “5 questions to …”, employees of Hotelcore, customers, partners or industry experts give insights into their work and business. For this post, we spoke to Juliet Ramzan, General Manager at Little Hotelier about digital helpers especially for operators of small hotels, holiday apartments, inns and guesthouses.
Little Hotelier offers booking software for small accommodations. What exactly do the tools support hosts with?
Little Hotelier is the more-in-one platform for small accommodation providers to increase their bookings and efficiency, simplify their admin and grow their small accommodation business, all through one platform and log-in.
We focus on giving small hotels more bookings, more control and more freedom. The Little Hotelier features which drive improved bookings are the channel manager, direct booking engine, website builder and metasearch. To allow for more control, our platform includes a front desk, reporting and analytics, and payments and invoicing functions. And, to give hoteliers more freedom, our mobile app lets them be at their front desk or in their back office from any place at any time. At the same time our app store connects them to top apps from around the world – like the Guestfriend-App by Hotelcore!
What is the difference to the systems that larger hotels use?
We are laser focused on ensuring our system is very easy to use for busy hosts and hoteliers managing accommodation with one to thirty rooms. Our platform has the capability for seamless integrations to assist with things like operations and guest communications, without being dragged down by confusing, unnecessary functionality that our hoteliers will just never use. Our app is designed especially for small accommodation businesses, and tailored directly to their needs.
Among other things, Little Hotelier offers a Channel Manager. It keeps the availability and rates of rooms up to date across multiple booking channels. Is that really worth it for hosts with only a few rooms or apartments?
Absolutely it is. We’ve seen that properties using Little Hotelier’s channel manager experience up to 46% more bookings. We connect to over 450 booking channels. That is more than any other hospitality channel manager, meaning our customers can choose the booking channels that work for their business. This is done with 100% connection quality, making double bookings a thing of the past for hotels who use Little Hotelier. And the same goes for rates and availability with updates made instantly across all a hotel’s distribution channels. Our customers manage this through one centralised calendar, meaning better distribution doesn’t mean more work, when using Little Hotelier. We also give hotels greater control, allowing them to set different pricing and distribute different rooms on each channel if they choose to. And, this is all done at no extra cost.
Another important point to remember about distribution channels is that they contribute to the billboard effect. That means the more visible a hotel is online, the more it can attract guests to its website to book directly, meaning less commissions and a bigger slice of the pie for the hotel!
The smooth processing of bookings is usually at the beginning of an entire guest journey. Where else can hotel software support small accommodation providers?
Little Hotelier caters to the entire guest journey, from a guest’s first contact with the hotel online – long before the booking process – to the moment they check out and beyond. Our distribution features which I mentioned previously take care of the first part, getting guests to notice a hotel, and sealing the deal. But that’s just where it starts. Our metasearch offering makes this even more seamless. With it our team manages hotel ads on Google, Tripadvisor and Trivago to drive direct bookings where hosts can have more control. If guests are booking directly – which hotels want – then the website needs to be up to scratch. Also, the payment processor needs to be smooth and trustworthy, otherwise they’ll be scared away.
After this, small hotel business owners know better than anyone that they need to deliver a quality experience, to get positive word of mouth and hopefully create returning guests or brand advocates. This means all a hotel’s processes running smoothly and being quick and responsive to guests’ demands. Little Hotelier’s front desk lets hotel owners easily see and respond to guest requests, and by making their distribution management quick and simple, lets them focus on running their hotel as they want to.
With the drag-and-drop calendar on the Front Desk platform, hosts keep track of all bookings and availability. Image: ©Little Hotelier
With Little Hotelier connected apps, hoteliers improve the guest experience even more. The Guestfriend App by Hotelcore, for example, informs guests about everything they need to know, promotes the accommodation’s offers and simplifies guest communication 24/7. With Tripadvisor Reputation Pro hosts monitor online reviews and see where there is potential for optimisation. And there are many more useful apps!
With Little Hotelier, hosts can also manage bookings and process online payments via the app. What role do apps play in managing an accommodation these days?
The Little Hotelier mobile app is now used by the majority of our customers globally. It has even increased in usage by more than 15 percent year-on-year. Its recent re-release was a significant upgrade. It is specifically designed to make working-from-anywhere easier for the world’s hundreds of thousands of small accommodation businesses. Improvements include a more interactive calendar for accommodation providers to view, manage and create reservations, and a more simplified payments module for users to easily process customer payments. In addition to that, it uses multi-factor authentication for greater security.
This is something I’m very passionate about. Usually, when the travel industry talks about mobile apps, they’re thinking about guests. But what about small hotel business owners, who need to be always available, but can’t be at their desk all day? We believe small hotel owners need flexibility, too. Then they can be as free, connected and in control as their guests.
Juliet Ramzan in conversation with Sandra Schneider, Gastfreund GmbH
Logo of Little Hotelier