Monthly Archives: November 2021

Improving Productivity Guest Blog

improving productivity

The power of smart systems for your business and improving productivity.

Hotel management software company, Preno, shares why the right software has the power to revolutionise the way you work.

Running a business with out-of-date tools can cost time, patience, and money. When daily tasks like stock-taking, bookings management, and reconciliation are done manually, they waste hours of valuable time every day. At Preno, we think those hours should be spent focusing on business growth and customer experiences – instead of elbows-deep in admin. 

Our hotel management software is designed to streamline and simplify the way accommodation owners run their businesses. So it’s no surprise that we believe smart software solutions can change the way you work for the better. Here are just a few core reasons why.

A smart system keeps your business hyper-connected

When you’re running your business on multiple disconnected systems – like Excel spreadsheets, Google calendar, and an accountant – crucial data and information can be easily lost. One integrated system keeps things far simpler. For example, you might use Xero’s accounting software to take care of finances, and another industry-specific software solution (like Preno) to manage point-of-sale, stock-taking, customer service, and more. Used together, the two platforms will give you one connected system for everything from sales to accounting. A seamless approach like this means fewer mistakes, less double-handling of information, and better communication across departments. 

You can learn even more about what makes your business tick

The best software solutions don’t just keep all of your information in one easy-to-access place. They also come with reporting features that let you in on valuable insights that you might otherwise have missed. Many smart systems offer daily, weekly, or monthly overviews of how things are tracking – analysing metrics like revenue, sales, and customer demographics. You can then use these handy details to make more informed business decisions. For example, you could learn which type of customer is likely to spend the most money at your business, then invest in advertising that specifically targets those high-value customers. For the hotel-owners who use Preno, these reports can reveal useful information about their guests. Their staff can then use that information to create a more tailored experience – leaving the team feeling empowered to act, and their guests feeling incredibly well looked after.

Smarter systems mean more time to grow your business
When you’re busy running a business, time really is money – and the right software will give you back plenty of it. From emails, to payments – systems let you automate just about everything. No more long nights replying to emails, or manually re-entering information across different platforms. With a smart system like Preno, the routine admin is all taken care of, so hotel-owners can focus on taking care of their guests. Automation isn’t the only way smart software saves valuable time. When there’s only one system to learn, you can drastically cut down the time it takes to train your team to master multiple tools. And all those hours you’re saving on repetitive admin, you can spend finding ways to focus on your customers and build your business for the better.

In today’s world, smart systems aren’t just the best way to run your business. They’re the only way to run your business.  

So do a little digging, and find the right software solution to help your business grow. And if you’re a hotel owner or operator looking for a cloud-based property management software you can rely on, try Preno for free. 

Related post I didn’t have time

Planning Peoples Development

planning development

10 questions to ask when planning people’s development

On the workshop I was delivering last week on developing people, there were two specific points that prompted a lot of discussion when we talked about planning people’s development.

So much so, that we decided to devote a whole follow up session to discuss these in more detail.

What were these?

The first was the value of a strengths’ appraisal, which I know I’ve shared with you before

The other was a series of questions to ask in connection with the strengths’ appraisal.

  1. What skills & knowledge are needed across the whole team to achieve our goals?
  2. What more can we do as a team to add value (to each other and to our customers)?
  3. Where do my team sit on the skill will matrix for each key task?
  4. Who has strengths I can better utilise?
  5. Where are the gaps I need to fill?
  6. What coaching or development is needed?
  7. How can we meet these development needs?
  8. What can I delegate to make best use of people’s skills?
  9. What more can I do to inspire my team to take responsibility?
  10. What can I do in the next 24 hours to get started?

When I go back to my client we aren’t going to sit in a room and do this alone, but involve the whole management.

And before we do this, they are each going to conduct a strengths’ appraisal with their own teams and review these questions for their team as a whole. That way we know we are making best use of the strengths across the whole business, and give each team member an opportunity to tap into their talents.

If you only do one thing: Make best use of people’s strengths to compensate and plug the gaps in others’ weaknesses.

Video: D is for Development


Hello, I’m Caroline

build rapport

Build rapport using names

Do you remember the TV series Cheers? And the theme tune “… where everyone knows your name”

This coming weekend I will be helping at a charity event ‘Bolt Round the Holt’ in aid of GUTS (Guildford Undetected Tumour Screening). I normally get involved with registration at this event, and thinking of the task ahead it reminded me of the importance of names.

Using someone’s name is a powerful way to build rapport.

According to Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”  “… any person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.  ….we can make people feel extremely valued and important by remembering the name.”

This is true, not just for customers, but your team members too; in fact, anyone you speak to.

However, sometimes it can be challenging to remember names. I remember about 20 years ago, the company I was working for at the time ran a series of Roadshows. At the time I was a management development executive at our international training centre. This meant that over the course of the year I would meet hundreds, if not thousands, of managers attending training.

Because I knew so many people I was asked to help with registration at each event, and because so many of those attending knew me, they made a beeline to me expecting me to remember them too. But when you have thousands of people registering at each event, it’s quite a challenge remembering everybody’s names, and some people got quite offended when I couldn’t remember who they were!

I learnt a little trick to get around this, which I’ll tell you about in a moment. But in the meantime, here are my other top tips for helping you and your team members remember and use people’s names.

  1. Start with your team, greet them by name, and use the name they want to be known by. So, if they have a preference to be known by their middle name, use this. Never shorten or abbreviate their name unless they ask you to. So, Andrew doesn’t become Andy, Christopher doesn’t become Chris, and Deborah doesn’t become Debbie, unless that’s what they request.
  2. Repeat it. How often do we ask someone’s name and then instantly forget it? So, listen with intent, and then immediately repeat their name. This not only helps you to committed it to memory, but allows an opportunity for the other person to correct it if you’ve got it wrong or missed pronounced. If the pronunciation is a little tricky for you, always ask the other person, whether you’ve got the pronunciation correct. It’s far less awkward for both of you to correct it now than on your fourth or fifth meeting.
  3. Can you spell that please? Spelling someone’s name incorrectly can feel insulting, so check the spelling if you need to. Even relatively common names often have more than one spelling; Cathy or Kathy, Iain or Ian, Philip or Phillip.
  4. Formal, friendly or familiar. It’s difficult sometimes to know whether to address the customer as Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms. or use their first name. The rule of thumb is to follow their lead; how they introduce themselves.
  5. Personalise your automation. Have you ever had a letter that’s addressed to you personally on the envelope, but the salutations reads “Dear Sir or Madam”. With technology today there should be no excuse not to address emails or letters with someone’s name (or at least the name they have given you).
  6. Create a memory. If you can create an association between someone’s name and a characteristic or relate to a famous person. For example, my husband is terrible at remembering names and when he first met my parents this was no exception. Their names were Liz and Phil. So, I told him to just think of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip!.
  7. Tags, cards and badges. Spotting name badges on luggage tags, payment cards or name badges at corporate events can help; a word of caution, don’t get too clever with this! Check the name on their tag, card or badge is the one they want to be addressed by.  If you know which customers you are expecting remind yourself of their names (and personal preferences if you know them) before they arrive.
  8. And what of employee name badges? They can make it easy for the customer to engage with and remember the people who have served them (as well as a level of accountability). But it’s a very individual decision, and what best suits your business and your style service. A name badge should never be a substitute for a personal introduction from a team member to a customer.

Take action

If you only do one thing – encourage your team members to use customers’ names, so they feel valued and important. Set the example and help make your team also feel extremely valued and important by always addressing them by name too.

And that little trick I discovered on registration? Thankfully, all the name badges were arranged in alphabetical order by people’s surnames. So, I’d always greet them with a cheery smile and ask how they are; and then ask absentmindedly “sorry, just remind me of your surname again”. It seemed forgetting their surname was acceptable, and when I found their name badge, hey presto, I was reminded of their first name too, and could then use this as I handed them their badge.

related article:


How to Prepare for Training

prepare for trainingHow to prepare and engage your team for training

I was discussing with a client yesterday how to get their customer facing team prepared for some forthcoming training. Although I will be the one delivering the training to reap the full benefit…

I can’t do this alone.

When carrying out any training what happens before and after is just as important as the training itself if you are to get a return on your investment of time, money and effort, and start to see a positive impact.

For whoever is delivering the training, naturally there’s plenty to do beforehand.

But it’s just as important to get the participants prepared if you want to get them engaged and turning up for the training in the right frame of mind.

Here are 3 considerations to help prepare for training and get started on the right track, whether you are delivering the training yourself or using an external trainer.

1. Keep in mind delegates’ schedules and personal circumstances

You can’t expect someone to spend even half an hour, let alone half a day in a training session on top of a 9 hour shift and still get full benefit from the training.

Or remain fully focused on the training if it means being late for the school run or missing the kids’ bedtime.

Give plenty of warning and aim to schedule training so it doesn’t interfere with their normal routine outside work, or potentially getting behind in their work resulting in the stress caused by playing catch-up.

2. Tell people what the training is about and why they are attending.

Some people see training as a punishment or a criticism of how they do things now.

Relate the training to a personal benefit; will it make their job easier, quicker, safer or more interesting? Will it put them in a better position to progress to a new role they aspire to? Will it give them more confidence and independence in their role?

You shouldn’t ignore the business benefits, but help them identify what’s in it for them too, so at least they turn up to the training with a bit of enthusiasm.

3. Recognise not every problem equates to a training need.

If there are shortfalls are these down to lack of time, resources, motivation, or authority?  If so recognise these and have a plan to fix these otherwise they become an ‘excuse’ for people not to adopt change.

Be careful not to use training as a way to improve one person’s shortfall when everyone else is already doing an excellent job. In my experience the good people see through it instantly (and begrudge having to waste time or worse see it as an insult), whilst the person it is aimed at is often blissfully unaware!

Action point

So if you only do one thing to prepare for training – tell people what’s in it for them.

Related video: How people learn

Getting an ROI on training


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