2016 is the year of OTAs vs. direct. Has the time come for independent properties and hospitality groups to join the battle and rethink their online distribution strategy? No matter how big your hotel, there are a lot of opportunities to take some bookings back from the online travel agents. Hotel distribution technology has reached new heights and keeps improving. Digital marketing tools are available for everyone. So even without the budgets of Hilton and Marriott, Independents can win big but only if they try.

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The guest experience can be enhanced by providing modern online services that are easy to consume. What are BYOD, hotel applications and guest-facing hotel software features? How a mobile hotel app as a part of the property management system can help you win your guests' hearts and positive reviews. Can content and services delivered through a mobile hotel self-service application directly on a guest's mobile phone and a real-time, two-way communication channel with guests be a game-changer?

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What does it take to have a powerful hotel website that converts and brings direct revenue in? Is it the content that makes the difference, or is it the design? Or maybe the booking software? In fact, everything that caters to the guest experience and comfort matters. Mobile responsive design, a booking system with fast checkout and instant confirmation, i.e. integrated with the hotel PMS, service personalisation, best price guarantee are what will make travellers stay on your site, book and come back for more.

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Cloud Hotel systems have changed the overall concept for hotel management. They enabled the replacement of fragmented software infrastructure with end-to-end cloud PMS solutions where hoteliers can manage everything - from housekeeping, through online distribution, to guest engagement. Cloud hotel software made it possible to perform tasks from a distance and in a timely manner, without the limitations of hardware or location.

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Marketing is probably the most important thing in the list to popularize a hotel, besides ensuring the quality of service and ambiance. There are two ways to go about it: the hard way and the smart way. The hard way is to do extensive marketing and spread the word in such a way that almost everyone is aware of your hotel and it becomes the center of a conversation.

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