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How VR Can Help Your Business to Grow



How VR Can Help Your Business to Grow

By Gareth Breeze, protective VR case expert at the Case Farm.

There are some amazing ways that companies are using VR for business success.

With the arrival of affordable, consumer-friendly headsets, what was once a quixotic Sci-Fi fantasy is now becoming a real part of our everyday lives, and it is changing how we do business in ways we never thought were possible.

The rise of VR has done much more than give us 360 vision. It’s broken through previous barriers of communication, altered entire sales strategies, and completely transformed how companies train their staff.

Needless to say it’s an interesting time to be alive, and a crucial time for business development. True business success lies in the ability to move with the times, and the words “keep up or lose out” are possibly more relevant than ever before.

VR is just the beginning for businesses

If you think VR technology is only for tech firms and video game makers, think again. Much like the introduction of the internet, it began with a specific use (military communications in the 1980s), but soon turned mainstream and took over every aspect of modern life. Do you know a company in 2018 which doesn’t have a website or use digital communication? Not a successful one, for sure.

It’s true that the birth of VR into the mainstream world was primarily for enhancing entertainment purposes, but it’s professional growth has already started. According to research from Tractica, uptake of VR in business is going to outpace leisure and entertainment by 2021.

VR for next level employee training

In a virtual world, if things go terribly wrong you can press restart – not the case on an operating table or when flying a plane. VR offers a revolutionary opportunity to employers to train their staff in a consequence-free environment. Doctors and surgeons can now carry out complex procedures on 3D virtual patients, making life or death choices along the way without risking anyone’s life.

Teachers have access to virtual classrooms to test their teaching methods and practice dealing with challenging behaviour, which can be observed and analysed by teacher trainers without any real children being involved.

Of course, there are many, many more professions where VR is becoming a large part of training, and this is expected to grow much more in the coming few decades.

VR can cut costs for businesses in all verticals

Businesses are already discovering how stepping into a virtual world can result in a very real cut in costs. Allowing employees to practise their roles, whether initial training of later career developments, in a 3D virtual environment, has been known to save millions.

The physical equipment that was once needed is now in the virtual realm, with in some cases digital supervisors, saving an extortionate amount for the company in the long run. The obvious cost of investing in this level of technology is high, but is an investment which will serve you and your company very well indeed.

Architects have already saved large sums of money by converting to technology and virtual buildings for their development and planning. Not only does it allow clear representation to clients, it allows everyone involved to explore freely without travel and with much less time spent.

Make the right choices when it comes to introducing VR to your business

It goes without saying that if you run a company, you may need to make the switch to VR, but there’s no denying that it’s a big financial step to take for any business looking to adapt.

Once you do make the investment, you’re going to need a protective case to store and transport your VR kit. VR cases by the Case Farm could be the perfect companion, catering for various different VR systems and keeping them from damage. With waterproof, dustproof and shockproof protection, your VR equipment will be helping your business grow for many years to come.


7 Ways to Grow a Profitable Hospitality Business



7 Ways to Grow a Profitable Hospitality Business 1

7 Ways to Grow a Profitable Hospitality Business 2

Hospitality requires charisma and innovation

The hospitality industry is a multibillion-dollar industry with lots of career opportunities in hotels, theme parks, restaurants, country clubs, etc. It is one of the fastest-growing sectors as a lot of industries are involved in it. 

Though it can be very profitable for aspiring and established entrepreneurs, it can get challenging as it requires charisma, drive, and innovation to ensure you can meet your customers’ demands. Growing a hospitality business for profit requires a lot of thought and innovation. In this article, we’ll look at some practical ways to grow a profitable hospitality business. 

1. Yield Management

Yield management refers to anticipating, understanding, and influencing your customers’ behavior to increase your business revenue to the max. This principle was first used in the hospitality industry in the late 80s. The main objective of yield management is not just to increase your rates or occupancy; instead, it involves forecasting your business’ supply and demand through different key factors to maximize your revenue. Let us consider some yield management examples. If you have a hotel, yield management will allow you to maximize the profit you can make from a specific number of rooms that must be sold on a deadline. 

Another example is if you have a hotel located next to an event center or stadium, you will charge more for rooms than you do on a typical weekday or weekend during a conference or sporting event. Yield management involves targeting the right customer at the right time and selling for the right price. 

It involves using gathered data to understand your customers and their sensitivity to pricing and combining that with seasonal demand. High demand, seasonality, and special events can allow you to alter your rates to increase revenue. Though the idea isn’t to increase rates only, it also involves attracting the right customer at the right time. 

Yield management allows you to make more profit from your existing inventory.

7 Ways to Grow a Profitable Hospitality Business 3

Attract the right customer at the right time

2. Create a Website

Your hospitality business should have a well-maintained website as it adds to the first impression prospective customers have when they check out your business. For example, if you have a vacation rental, you can hire a competent web designer or a web design company to help you build a vacation rental website. Also, customers can make bookings through your website if you have one, and this will help you save more money as you will not have to rely on listing channels to gain customers. 

Though listing channels can help you get bookings, you’d have to pay a commission and follow the transaction terms, which you will not det. When you have your website, you’ll have more control over how you present your business to customers. You can display a photo slideshow with high-resolution images of the property or add other enticing features that will help you gain more customers. A professional website helps to give your business a professional image while making it more visible online.

7 Ways to Grow a Profitable Hospitality Business 4

Create a professional website

3. Maintain and Improve the Quality of Your Service

The hospitality industry is a highly competitive one, so it is important to stay on top of your game to gain more revenue. If your business is reputable for providing quality service, then you should maintain that standard. You can check out your competitors to get ideas on how to improve your service and set your business apart. This is very important as the reputation of your hospitality business is primarily determined and affected by your quality of service. 

If your customers are satisfied with your quality of service, they are more likely to recommend you to prospective clients. To get more ideas on how to improve your service, you can check the online reviews about your business. Check what your past clients have said about their experience, what they like, what they dislike, and any improvement they might suggest. Once you improve your service quality, new and old customers will be willing to pay more even if you increase your rates as they will get enough value for their money. To grow a profitable hospitality business, you should be ready to offer more value than your competitors.

7 Ways to Grow a Profitable Hospitality Business 5

Improve your customer service

4. Have an Active Social Media Presence

This is a great way of making your hospitality business more visible online. It is also a means of reaching prospective clients. Apart from creating and maintaining a website, you should have an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

These are where a bulk of your prospective clients are, and most brands take advantage of this. Nowadays, brands and businesses employ social media handlers that stay in charge of their social media pages. They are responsible for creating content and interacting with customers and prospective clients on social media. 

You can post images and videos of your property on social media to attract new customers. Another way you can grow your business on social media is through sponsored ads. Most social media platforms offer various forms of advertisements at a reasonable price. 

With sponsored ads, you have a higher chance of getting new customers or driving traffic to your website as you’d be able to reach a wider audience.

5. Create a Rental Agreement

If you are fully managing your business, then oral agreements with customers may not be enough. Your clients may have some assumptions about the terms and conditions or interpret the rules and regulations differently. 

Sites like Airbnb can take care of this for you if you are not fully managing your rentals. For example, you can easily create an Airbnb house manual visible to prospective clients once they click on your property. 

To avoid misconceptions and misunderstandings, you should create an agreement that will be visible on your website or any booking medium you prefer. Your guests will sign this agreement and protect both you and the guest if there is a dispute. 

Though the terms and conditions may vary depending on the type of hospitality business, you can consult a business attorney for verification before using the agreement for your business. 

A rental agreement should include information about the property, rental party details, occupancy limitations, the minimum stay requirements, house rules, rates and additional fees, cancellation policy, payment details, and the customer’s signature. 

You can add other details and terms depending on your type of business. Creating a rental agreement is an excellent way to ensure your hospitality business runs smoothly as it makes it easier to prevent and resolve disputes between you and your customers.

6. Make the Booking Process Easy

A complicated or strenuous booking process is likely to discourage new clients from patronizing your business. Firstly, your hospitality business should have an online booking and buying platform. 

A large percentage of people prefer to make bookings online. If your business does not have an online booking platform, you are bound to lose a lot of customers. If you choose to use listing sites or booking platforms, make sure the platform is reputable and offer good customer service. 

If you use your website for reservations, then customers should be able to make a booking with simple steps. The required information boxes should not be excessive. 

The less time your guests spend booking, the better. You should include additional informational text to help your guests through the booking process. Before your booking system goes live, ensure you pre-test it to make sure it’s hitch-free. Also, you can create a mobile app that allows your guests to make bookings and other transactions. 

7.    Keep in Touch with Your Customers

Apart from gaining new customers, a good way to grow a profitable hospitality business is retaining valuable customers. Guests will value a company that can offer a personalized experience. 

If your guests can get a personalized experience, they are more likely to make more bookings or refer your business to others. Always interact with your guests on a personal basis. You can send emails or appreciation messages after a successful booking. 

You can also refer your customers to your social media pages or ask them to sign up for your newsletter if they prefer to. Though you shouldn’t spam your customers with ads or emails, ensure you send information periodically about new offers, promotions, or other relevant details. 

This will help keep your business on your customers’ minds, thereby increasing the chances of having repeat bookings. Once you identify your most valuable customers, you should try to keep the communication lines open. Also, you can ask for referrals or recommendations from your long-term customers.

7 Ways to Grow a Profitable Hospitality Business 6

Keep in touch with your customers


As we have previously stated, the hospitality industry is very competitive. You need to come up with creative ways to market your business.  To ensure you get a steady flow of revenue from your hospitality business, ensure you follow these tips we have given above. Apart from these, always be on the lookout for new trends and innovations in the hospitality industry to help you stay on top of your game.

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Finding and following your website’s ‘North Star Metric’



Finding and following your website’s ‘North Star Metric’ 7

By Andy Woods, Design Director of Rouge Media

The ‘North Star Metric’ (NSM) is one of many seemingly confusing terms to come out of Silicon Valley but its message is simple and universal.

It refers to the single metric businesses use to guide activity, drive key decisions and measure success. And while it may seem naïve on the surface, to boil business success down to a single metric, there is a method to the apparent madness.

It doesn’t mean businesses simply ignore all other performance data but instead measure it against the overarching goal they’re working towards.

Here’s how businesses can create their own North Star Metric and follow it to website success.

What is a North Star Metric?

The idea of a North Star Metric is to focus on the goal which delivers the most value for the business and its customers.

It’s a popular strategy adopted by successful business around the world. For example, Spotify set its North Star Metric as ‘time spent listening’, while Amazon focused on ‘purchases per month’. Every business decision was then geared towards increasing these metrics.

For the business, this increase means greater advertising revenue and sales, while for users, spending more time using the service or making more purchases shows the platform is meeting their needs.

Chasing this North Star Metric sees businesses align their efforts towards a single goal. For ecommerce businesses, this means sales and marketing activity is aimed at taking users to the website, where service experts provide relevant content and information and website designers add natural calls to action.

Finding the North Star Metric for your website project, whether it be sign-ups, purchases or more time spent on site, allows the whole team – plus your agency, if you work with one – to move in the same direction.

What does a successful NSM look like?

Nominating your NSM before undertaking a website project allows you to focus all your efforts in design, functionality and content on delivering your goal.

However, some businesses may have been operating for years with a North Star Metric that isn’t quite right. If you’ve been focusing your efforts towards a goal which isn’t driving value for the business or customers, and for which you struggle to measure impact, you may need to switch focus.

Key considerations for making sure your NSM delivers a positive impact for your business include:

Generating engagement: the internet is full of businesses fighting for custom and users don’t owe them anything. If a website doesn’t give them what they need, they can find one that does within minutes.   

Solving consumer challenges: Customers want a product or service that solves their problems and they want it now. Does your website contain information that answers their questions? Does it call out the key features of your product or service that makes their life easier?

Building trust: The chances are, many businesses offer a similar product or service to you. Customers need to know your business is trustworthy if they’re to part with their cash. Case studies, awards and user reviews are examples of content which can improve your brand authority.

Finding your website’s NSM

Identifying your NSM doesn’t mean picking a goal that sounds good in the boardroom. It needs to be a targeted, realistic and measurable goal.

Andy Woods

Andy Woods

Dial-in on your NSM by answering these three questions:

What is the single most important thing your website should deliver? The answer to this should be simple and obvious – more sales, sign-ups, downloads or leads.

What do users want from the site? You’re likely to have many users, so try to identify your main three here. What are they looking for when they enter your site? Advice, a product, a follow-up from an employee?

Which metrics tie together the above? You need to be able to measure your performance in answering these questions. If you’re after more leads, monitoring on-site user data – like time spent on site and number of pages visited – gives you an indication of what users want and how well you’re meeting their needs.

There are many questions to answer when finding your NSM. A useful way to arrange the information is in a visual hierarchy. Place your NSM at the top, with the answers to these key questions as branches.

Breaking it down into a visual flow chart like this also helps with gaining crucial buy-in from the whole business, with teams visualising how their role fits into the wider goal.

Final destination

As your business grows and industry and user demands change, you may need to adapt your NSM.

If you’ve been working towards an appropriate NSM, it may only need tweaking slightly. For example, as a start-up, your NSM may have been building awareness by generating more leads. After a few successful years, the business may decide to switch the focus from leads to online sales.

While the metric changes slightly, the original strategy has already laid the foundations for the new goal, with your website designed to drive traffic and provide helpful content to inform users’ buying decisions.

Using analytics data, businesses can make changes to their website to align with their changing goals. Look at how users are behaving on your site. Are there ways you can encourage them to convert or sign-up?

This data helps you understand where to add calls to action or how to improve website design and functionality, so completing a form becomes a natural part of navigating the site and accessing content.

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Risk assessment: How to plan and execute a security audit as a small business



Risk assessment: How to plan and execute a security audit as a small business 8

By Izzy Schulman, Director at Keys 4 U

Despite the current global coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty it has placed on the modern workplace, businesses cannot afford to relax their attitude towards security. Especially as there have been reports of increased break-ins and cyberattacks among the crisis.

Conducting a thorough security audit could be the key to improving employee awareness and identifying weak points in the business to avoid breaches.

Starting from scratch

The first step in an effective business security audit is a risk assessment – reviewing the workplace and all business processes to identify every risk.

No stone should be left unturned. This means conducting a physical inspection of the office, plus breaking down all employee tasks and demands and even reviewing how employees are working from home amid the current pandemic.

It’s important all risks are identified, so relevant and proportionate measures can be put in place – from heavy lifting to ensuring a comfortable office temperature.

At this stage, it’s also important to get employees to buy-in to security policy. Everyone needs to play their part to ensure complete safety.

Let employees know you understand they’re busy with their role but everyone needs to pull together to stay secure.

Offering incentives like employee recognition emails or even small rewards like gift vouchers may incentivise employees to go the extra mile.

Assessing the workplace

The average small business break-in sees around £2,000 lost in stolen property – not to mention the cost of disruption as a result of lost or damaged equipment.

Office security audits should begin with entry points, checking potential break-in spots like doors – and windows if you’re on a low floor – are monitored by alarms and cameras. Make sure these are visible, as this is known to deter potential intruders from trying their luck.

The workplace must also be protected against fire risks. Not only do fires threaten to destroy property and disrupt businesses, but hefty fines can be issued for failing to meet fire safety standards.

Carry out a thorough fire risk assessment, including nominating and clearly signing fire exits, establishing an emergency procedure and educating staff on its steps.

Safety audits should also highlight any trip hazards or danger of falling objects, plus any electrical or flooding risks.

Plus, this year has brought its own health and safety risks, with the coronavirus pandemic demanding new hygiene and social distancing measures.

For businesses with over five employees, the government has put together a specialised risk assessment for a COVID-19 compliant workplace, including advice on handwash stations and staggering shifts to avoid contact.

The online threat

The cost of cyberattacks to UK businesses is estimated at around £34 million a year – from the theft of intellectual property and the cost of recovering from the attack.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has only increased the risk, with many employees encouraged to work remotely, away from employers and IT managers.

A combination of technical IT solutions and educating employees on cybersecurity best practices can help businesses navigate these uncertain times.

For example, multi-factor authentication technology means employees are prompted to enter multiple login credentials to confirm their identity – typically their standard password plus a one-time code sent to their phone.

Even if their password is stolen, the attacker is still unable to log in to the company network without the additional code.

Managing permissions by employee case adds an extra layer of security, with individuals only able to access the data they need. If an employee’s device is breached, it limits the amount of data available to the attacker.

Keeping the company network secure is a team responsibility. Arrange calls in small groups in which IT professionals can explain new remote working protocols in detail and emphasise the importance of adherence, as well as answering employee questions.

Look ahead

Investing time and budget into identifying and addressing threats now, places businesses in a stronger position to maintain high standards of security in the future.

All information gathered from the security audit should be recorded, laying the foundations for a security framework and annual security audits. Log each hazard, along with the status of the risk and measures taken to prevent it.

The idea is to create a clear and structured audit process, which is intuitive to follow if personnel changes occur, or in an emergency. Include a priority checklist with the most significant risks, along with key dates for renewals or updates of any key equipment or facilities.

Update the file year-round, with all new information which may impact business or employee security. Any physical changes to the office should be recorded, along with new or updated equipment and machinery and any significant IT updates. Include key contacts and manufacturer information in the notes to speed things up in case of an emergency.

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