How hoteliers can increase room rates by improving customer facilities

Here, Mike Hardman from hospitality equipment suppliers Alliance Online shares his advice for hoteliers looking to improve their customers’ experience — and, therefore, increase revenue.

Your revenue per available room (RevPAR) is a good way to measure the average rate you sell your rooms at, allowing you to keep track of your success and compare your hotel with competitors. If you haven’t already, you can determine your RevPAR by multiplying your average daily rate by your occupancy rate. Your occupancy rate is the number of occupied rooms you have divided by your total number of available rooms, multiplied by 100.

If your RevPAR isn’t as high as you’d like, you can raise it by focussing on customer experience. Improving your facilities won’t just allow you to charge guests more for their stay — your customers will also be more inclined to share their positive opinion of your hotel online and bring you more custom.

Below are just some of the ways you can improve customer facilities and increase your average room rate in return.

Offer something extra for your guests


During the booking process, tempt potential guests with packages and promotions. Give them the option of add-ons such as breakfast, shuttle services, or extra treats for their room to bump up their average spend.

When setting up rooms, it’s a good idea to provide your guests with low cost but high-quality items that have the potential to feel like little gifts. A bowl of fresh fruit, a vase of flowers, boxes of chocolates and, of course, toiletries can all be stocked in the room to make your guests’ stay more luxurious.

Improve your housekeeping and room services


High cleanliness standards are perhaps the most crucial way to show your quality and maintain positive reviews from guests. Don’t be frugal with deep cleaning tools, products, and practices, or you could end up paying the price. You can also offer extra services for guests, such as laundry and dry cleaning, ironing and pressing, and even shoe polishing to increase value.

Make sure you’re advertising the fact you offer room service; if you find that guests aren’t always taking advantage of it, it might not be as obvious as you think. Present their chosen refreshments with style by finding modern, instagrammable crockery, and ask staff to remove the lids from serving dishes in front of guests in their room. Staff can also bring a bucket of ice and pour drinks out of the bottle for an extra flourish. This level of service feels fancy, but it also gives staff the opportunity to ask guests whether to leave the bottle and add it to the bill.

Customer service


Effective planning and smooth communication between staff and guests allow problems to be solved before they become disasters. Keep on top of maintenance to prevent any issues arising during your customers’ stay, such as faulty air cons or cosmetic damage. Be prepared to manage your guests’ needs as quickly as possible by having plenty of extra pillows, towels, chairs, highchairs, and cots to hand. If this is something you might struggle with, consider whether your inventory management system needs updating.

As much as you can, go for the personal approach. Instead of working the whole building, give staff sections to take care of so they can better keep track of their guests’ names and preferences. If possible, it’s also good to invest in staff that can communicate in many different languages to cater for foreign guests.

Staff should be fully-trained and aware of the contents of all service dossiers and menus. That way, they can be a complete source of information and don’t have to leave guests waiting as they try and find someone who knows the answers to their questions. These little organisational details improve the overall guest experience, making them more likely to spend money in the future or convince others to do the same.

With these tips, you can begin to improve your customer facilities and consequently raise your average room rates.

Are hotels missing some obvious tricks to boost dining sales?

Yes – according to new research by CGA and Zonal Retail Data Systems’ GO Technology report – which found that Hotels are missing out on F&B sales by not offering customers an incentive at the time of booking, or a facility to order food from their smart device during their stay.

Their report surveyed 5,000 adults in the UK and found that:

  • 54% of leisure customers (and 45% of business users) cite price as a barrier to dining at a hotel’s in-house restaurant during their stay.
  • guests’ preconceptions of the expense of eating in hotels can be overcome by offering advance booking discounts on dining. 50% of leisure customers (and 43% of business guests) would consider making a reservation if they were offered an incentive at the time of booking.
  • A further 45% of 18 to 34 year olds would also be more likely to order room service from the hotel restaurant if they could use their smartphone,
  • 62% of those would be more likely to book lunch on-site, if they could do so from their mobiles

The mobile booking facility demand echoes a growing trend in the general hospitality sector, where 67% of consumers have said they would spend more and buy more drinks if they could order from a mobile device.

Rhys Swinburn, managing director of hotel management system, High Level Software, part of the Zonal Group, said: “Our research indicates that consumers prefer a more personal approach when it comes choosing where to stay, giving hoteliers a real opportunity to capitalise on this captive market.

“Hoteliers need to think how they can pitch themselves against high street operations and incentivise guests to stay for lunch, dinner or even enjoy a drink before heading out.”

He added: “Giving guests the chance to reserve a table, coupled with an offer at the point of booking their stay is likely to have a positive impact on trade.”

How to find hotel finance for tech investments

If you are looking to make any investments to grow your hotel business – like investing in marketing software to facilitate initiatives like mobile reservations and pre-booking discounts – you may well need hotel finance.

At Stewart Hindley and Partners, we are in an ideal position to help you as we understand the hospitality business through and through. We are long-established specialists in securing hotel mortgages. Our experienced team will be able to offer you friendly and informative advice to help you build and improve your business. Browse our site for case histories and more information about the process involved in securing hotel finance or call us now to speak to our team of experts.


The UK’s private island hotels – four of the country’s best kept secrets

When you think of private island hotels, you probably think of the Caribbean or The Barrier Reef, but did you know the UK also boasts some of its own exclusive island hotels.

We highlight four of them and their stand-out factors:

  1. Devon – Burgh Island Hotel

This is an art deco gem of a building on its own little island just off the South Devon coast, connected to the village of Bigbury-on-sea by a 250m long spit. Getting there is part of its attraction – you either approach on foot at low tide or by sea tractor at high tide.

Past celebrity devotees of the hotel include Noel Coward and Agatha Christie, the Burgh Island hotel was beautifully restored in 2006, retaining its vintage leanings with a no-TV policy in the bedrooms, nightly black tie dinners, a 1930s billiard room and a sheltered sea water bathing lagoon.

  1. Scotland – the Isle of Eriska Hotel with hot tub

A glorious turreted 300 acre private island hotel with 25 bedrooms, 5 spa suites with hot tubs and two 2 bedroom cottages.  Its wood-panelled restaurant serving locally produced food from Eriska smoked salmon to venison tartare and Scotch beef sirloin.

  1. Isles of Scilly – Star Castle Hotel

A converted fortress built on the island of St Marys in the 16 century.  Shaped like an 8-pointed star, it offers stunning views in every direction.  There are 11 rooms in the castle itself and 27 further rooms in new wings and an indoor heated indoor pool and tennis courts.

  1. Jersey – The Atlantic Hotel

A touch of the Cote d’Azur – set in 6 acres on a headland overlooking the golden beaches fringing St Ouen’s Bay.  It’s seven course tasting menu is legendary, as is its local surf school.

Not everybody running a hotel can boast their own private island location but it does demonstrate how key the old adage ‘Location, Location, Location’ is to the success of any hotel – whether it offers a central city location, proximity to famous sights and attractions or a rural haven.

What is your ideal hotel location?

If you are considering a hotel start up, you will no doubt be looking at a number of possible property locations and starting to build a business plan.

Our experienced team can offer you friendly and informative advice to help you start up or build and improve your business.

We have many years of experience in the hospitality sector and can offer hotel business and finance advice, including securing hotel mortgages.

Browse our site for case histories and more information about the process involved in securing hotel finance or call us now to speak to our team of experts




How Important Are Your Reviews?

With the increasing prominence of online holiday and travel search/booking engines and the rising power of the customer review across all industries, just how important are reviews and how can proprietors respond to them?

Our hospitality finance team of experts at Stewart Hindley and Partners take a look at the current trends and have put together their thoughts, to help proprietors get into the heads of their potential customers.

  • With so many hotels to choose from, trying to make a decision about where to stay can be daunting for people. Hotel reviews are therefore a valuable way to determine if a particular hotel is a good option and should not be under estimated.
  • The hotel’s rating score – astute customers will look at the rating score and sort their options to show them the highest ones at the top. A higher score means past hotel guests generally liked the hotel and enjoyed their stay with few, if any, problems. If you limit yourself to these hotels, you have a better chance of enjoying your stay as well.
  • But a few extreme reviews may not be as significant as people think. The number of reviews of the hotel on the booking site will be listed and it stands to reason that a hotel’s overview will be more accurate, the higher number of reviews it has.
  • Remember, what might be essential for one guest is completely different from that of another. Your potential guests will almost certainly look at both the positive and the negative things people comment on in their reviews, and look for things that might bother them.
  • People are now getting used to ignoring those that protest too much. If 30 people are raving about the hotel and one person says it was horrible for whatever reason, it was probably just a fluke. For genuinely good establishments, these days, one negative review is likely to be outweighed by a sea of positive reviews.

The common sense conclusion is for 21st century hoteliers to be mindful, but not dictated to, by their reviews.  It is worth monitoring them and responding in just a few cases – where relevant and in brief – to overly negative comments.  This is perhaps particularly the case, when it was perhaps a genuine issue for the customer, that has since been rectified your end.

That being said, it is definitely worth promoting and encouraging customers to leave feedback, but  there is a fine balance between encouragement and overplaying your hand.

Once guests have researched their shortlists they will more than likely visit your hotel website for further information which is why it’s also worth investing in a professional website and keeping it up to date.

If you are looking to invest in upgrading your facilities in response to reviews, or need to boost your marketing spend, you may need hospitality finance to fund your initiatives. Contact our friendly team of specialist advisors now for advice and information on the latest hotel finance and other hospitality finance packages available today.


Is your guest WiFi offering good enough?

Recent research across the UK and USA consistently highlights how vital it is for hotels and other tourism businesses to offer free, good WiFi.

A few research findings

  • The poll of 2,000 people for online retailer Pixmania revealed that 31 per cent of Britons regard access to WiFi as the second most desired ‘comfort’ while on holiday, ahead of having a clean room!

In fact, the top Top Five most desired holiday ‘Comforts’ were found to be:

  1. A nice view
  2. WiFi access
  3. Clean hotel
  4. Good mattress
  5. A Great hotel restaurant
  • HotelChatter found that 94% of people cite WiFi as the most important amenity with 38% of hotel customers say they would book elsewhere if there was no WiFi available.
  • A similar survey amongst Americans found that WiFi was more important to hotel guests than breakfast and parking; and here WiFi came in second only to cost when choosing which hotel to book.

Business travellers want WiFi in order to stay connected on the road; whilst millennials like to stream music or play video games – so whichever way you look at it, high speed WiFi is an important attraction for guests, whether you are offering hotel, B&B or self-catering accommodation.

Are you WiFi savvy?

If you are engaged in a hotel property search, researching the quality of the local broadband available is a must these days and should be researched thoroughly.

And once, your hotel is up and running then good connectivity will allow you to be pro-active about communicating with (and promoting your services to) your guests, including:

  • Using social media channels to promote your business, research your customers to make your marketing more targeted and effective, identify your repeat customers etc.
  • Using your WiFi to see where your customers spend most of their time e.g. café, reception, gym, garden, restaurant etc.
  • Encouraging social media referrals – create a simple way for customers to provide referrals through Facebook or Trip advisor with the aim of increasing word of mouth.
  • Make sharing easy – encourage customers to share pictures and experiences with friends via social media promoting your company and raising brand awareness.
  • Keeping your customers up to date through your WiFi landing page. Use this to publicise upcoming events and offers e.g. timetable of kids activities, evening entertainment, restaurant offers

Need to look at your hospitality finance options?

Whether you run a hotel, a B&B or self-catering accommodation, if you are looking to purchase a upgrade your WiFi offering to guests (and/or invest in digital marketing) you may well be needing to source finance and we, at Stewart Hindley & Partners, specialise in the hospitality finance sector.

So, whether you are needing hotel finance or B&B finance, we can advise you on the best deals to suit your individual business circumstances.  Take a look at our online Business Mortgage calculator for an initial guide to how much hospitality finance you might be able to raise or call our friendly expert team now to explore the possibilities further.



Top 10 English Hotel locations

Last month a panel of experts for the Daily Telegraph put together a guide to 10 of the best places and cities to visit in England, highlighting their attractions for family holidays and couples, providing a host of learnings for anyone looking at taking over, or starting/locating, a hotel business in the UK:
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Are you dog friendly yet?

If you run a hotel or B&B and you don’t currently allow your guests to bring their dogs, you are potentially missing out on a rapidly growing market in pet travel. British dogs are increasingly regarded as a member of the family, with many owners seeking to take their four-legged friends with them when they go away.
Continue reading “Are you dog friendly yet?”

Are you dog friendly yet?

If you run a hotel or B&B and you don’t currently allow your guests to bring their dogs, you are potentially missing out on a rapidly growing market in pet travel. British dogs are increasingly regarded as a member of the family, with many owners seeking to take their four-legged friends with them when they go away.
Continue reading “Are you dog friendly yet?”

The pitfalls of trading a B&B on a residential mortgage

Opening your own B&B is a life-changing experience, one that can be a dream come true. Providing you observe the rules around trading, that is. One of the most common and most costly mistakes made by new-to-trade owners is operating on a residential mortgage when they should have a commercial mortgage for their B&B. It’s something we’ve seen and dealt with frequently; a pitfall which can put people in a very difficult situation.

Continue reading “The pitfalls of trading a B&B on a residential mortgage”