A three-star hotel in Snowdonia has no reservations when it comes to using digital technology, with job creation and expansion plans in the pipeline thanks to effective use of email marketing and customer engagement.
The Royal Victoria Hotel could add another 20 rooms over the next two years, with occupancy rising year on year as it continues to stand out from the crowd in a competitive market place.
At the heart of its success is how it has integrated digital into its operations, as well as offering guests high speed internet, something which many of its competitors do not. The hotel, close to Llanberis at the foot of Snowdon, has bucked this trend and is now enjoying its most successful period ever.
Steve Lee, general manager at the hotel, which started life in the mid-18th Century, says putting the customer at the centre of the technological revamp has been crucial in achieving growth.
Superfast broadband helps our customers feel connected
He said: “While some people like to switch off when they go away, many holidaymakers prefer to still feel connected to the outside world. Whether it’s to stay in touch with family, follow the latest sports results, or share holiday snaps on social media, we understand that a key requirement for our customers is to have a fast, reliable connection to the internet.
“Before, we were receiving between 1mbs and 2mbs download speed, which wasn’t good enough. We now receive up to 100mbs via fibre. There aren’t many hotels or B&Bs that offer this, so for us, it’s been a huge selling point.
“Just as important as having it to offer to our guests, was our ability to use it to benefit the hotel in areas such as customer service and marketing. For example, our cash tills are now managed via the wifi and this fast connection ensures customers aren’t waiting long for payments to be approved. Also, the tills now provide instant reporting so we can see which products in the restaurant are popular and when. This allows us to develop the menu in line with what our customers actually want.
Email marketing drove between £10,000 and £15,000 of new business
“On the marketing side, we emailed all the people that had used the wifi in a specific month and offered them a special deal in the hotel for their next stay, with a deadline of when to use it by. This drove between £10,000 and £15,000 of business. We couldn’t have done that before.”
The hotel, which has 104 bedrooms, could be extended to 124 rooms over the next two years, with more jobs likely to be created on the back off the expansion.
And Steve will continue to identify how the digital infrastructure can benefit the hotel going forward. He added: “We’ve already changed all keys from traditional metal keys to digital cards and the reliable internet connection also means we can be more agile in pricing by updating our rates for third party travel agents.
Online technology will help us become more efficient
“We will continue to explore ways of getting the most out of the internet structure we have. This could include in-room entertainment, car park management, and remote mobile and tablet access to CCTV to enhance guest and staff safety.
“Improving efficiency is also on the agenda for us and the digital technology available to us now will provide the opportunity to streamline the management of the hotel. For example, payroll and staffing are the hotel’s largest expenses, and we are trialling software that automates staff scheduling.”
To find out more about online technology and to access free digital business advice to grow your business click here.