How to manage accommodation bookings via your website

We’ve all been there. You use a third party website to book a well-earned break. The website works fine and is easy to use. But then you get offered car hire you don’t need, insurance you’ve already got, and even a discounted trip to a winery you don’t want (ok, maybe you sign up to that one). The point is it’s not a great experience.

You shouldn’t have to go through this and neither should your customers. Luckily, they don’t need to. By customising the booking experience to the needs of your own website and customer base, you take matters into your own hands.

The right online booking platform has a lot of benefits that can help your business grow and prosper. You could be streamlining operations, increasing direct bookings, and avoiding expensive commission fees to external booking websites.

But how do you know what is the best system for your business? The best thing you can do to find out is to work with an IT expert in the know who is familiar with the different options available. The right ‘go-to IT guy’ will smooth out the process of finding the right system and set up a beautiful and simple booking experience for your customers.

When you speak to them, you might be surprised to find out just how much these systems are capable of. Below are some things to consider to get you started.

Functionality factors

Different businesses need different things (yep, that’s right!) and in the hotel business the booking system you use may change based on the customers you are targeting, what time of year it is, and more.

Based on what your business needs you may want to consider things like multi-room bookings, where customers can book two or more rooms at once, dynamic pricing, where you are able to easily change the cost of rooms based on various factors.

Also worth considering are things like loyalty integration to reward regular customers, rate matching to keep pace with competitors, and strikethrough deals to make it clear how much of a bargain the customer is snagging.

Frictionless usability

You want your booking platform to be as user-friendly as possible so it is easy to use. You’ll probably want one that allows for simple mobile bookings. Think about how you can reduce the barriers to customers making a purchase. How many steps does the customer have to go through before they can finalise the booking? Is the system visually appealing?

One of the advantages of tailoring your own online booking system is that you can do away with the annoying and tacky discounted deals offered by external booking companies.

Practicality

As well as being easy for your customers to use, you want your booking system to be easy to maintain. Email automation for things like confirming bookings is a must, and supporting multiple languages and currencies is something to consider. A cool feature is the potential to automatically update the prices shown on external operators, which could streamline your business significantly.

Optimum information

The right booking system can also help you track your customer analytics to determine who you are good at attracting and what you may need to work on.  Analysis reports can be generated to track things like what external websites are working and what you can do to make your system more efficient.

Overall, the right choice will deliver you value for money by vastly increasing your bookings, streamlining your operations, and helping to keep your customers happy. Now that you know the basics, go and find yourself your an expert who can look after the rest!

Need help choosing the ideal booking engine for your website? Talk to us about the best system for you.

5 reasons to use Google’s G-Suite

So, if you’re investigating cloud services you’ve probably heard of G-suite, but perhaps you aren’t sure exactly what it does. Well then, you’ve come to the right place.

G-Suite is a Google cloud computing product designed to give users access to a range of office tools, such as email, word processing, and calendars, wherever and whenever they need them.

It’s often the choice of young, tech savvy companies for its usability, affordability, sharing tools, and security. So, why should your business consider using it?

1. Easy to use

G-suite is built for the user first. By that we mean every application works just how you would expect it to. Seamless, intuitive functionality that means it’ll take you a matter of hours to get used to all the moving pieces.

This is big difference to their key competitor, Microsoft, who pack their office products with functionality most of us never use. You could say Google have pretty much streamlined all of Microsoft’s office products and made them easier to use.

In other good news, these days most people are familiar with Google applications, particularly Gmail, Google Docs, Sheets and Calendar, so anyone you are hiring or working with won’t need training or support to get used to using the products.

2. Good for collaboration

Because G-suite lives in the cloud, sharing and collaborating on files, videos, images has never been easier. You can pretty much ditch your USB drives.

Instead of sending endless versions of files between computers or saving them in group destination folders, users can work simultaneously on the same file and actually see changes in real time.

And, it’s not just internal staff who’ll benefit. You’re clients and external service providers will love the efficiency with which they can edit, comment and accept work. You can say goodbye to folders full of frustratingly titled revisions from multiple stakeholders.

3. Goes where your employees go

It’s the dream isn’t it? Globe trot around the world and only work when you have to. Well, it could be a reality with G-suite.

If you have an internet connection and your password, you can access G-suite. The only other thing you need is a laptop, tablet, phone, or even an internet cafe.

And, it’s great for employees too. They could be working off-site and unsure how to solve a problem. All they need to do is pull out their phone, check a document for the information they need to solve the problem efficiently.

4. Affordable

At this point you are probably thinking, this is all good and all… But, how much is all this going to cost me?

The truth is, it’s a big money saver. Google is responsible for all maintenance and upgrades to both the hardware and software required to make G-Suite work. So, if you’re running an expensive server, you can ditch it and you’ll already have saved a load of money because you won’t need to dedicate space or employee hours to a physical server room.

You’ll save money on the efficiencies the system provides too. Think about the ease of collaboration, the 24/7 access and usability of the G-Suite applications.

To talk real costs, G-suite is offered at various tiers and versions. Professional office and business versions range between $5 and $10 per user/month .

5. Secure

Security is a big deal for all businesses. Lost data equals lost time, money and sanity. The good news with G-Suite is that the files are stored in the cloud and therefore you won’t have to worry about power surges, or failing hardware deleting your data.

Your data will be protected and can be backed up in the cloud automatically.

Another benefit is that if your company supplies employees with Android phones, then they’ll be protected by Google’s security and administration tools. So if a device is lost or stolen, it can be reset or blocked to prevent any unwanted users accessing your company’s data.

If you want more clarity on whether G-Suite would work for you, ask us for a free IT audit and we’ll give you some expert advice.

Choosing the right POS for your restaurant chain

Imagine this scenario.

Business is booming. In fact, it’s going so well you have a line of hungry customers waiting to be seated. Meanwhile, a customer comes up to the front to pay their bill. They don’t know their table number and you didn’t serve them. A good POS will help you locate their table on a seating chart allowing you to maintain the momentum of the day and get those waiting customers seated at a table.  

But knowing which POS software to get can be tricky. The right software can improve the efficiency of your business and stop those waiting customers from finding a feed elsewhere.

As a small business owner, you can’t be an expert in everything.

Having an IT professional help explain the pros and cons of the various software options can give you peace of mind and reassurance when making a decision. They’ll break down the lingo so you can be clear about your choices. Running a small business is hard; turn down the pressure of choosing your POS software by engaging an expert who’s made the correct decision time and time again.

But while you’re here, we’ve got a few tips to get you started.

Budget

As with any business decision, the first thing to work out is how much you need and are willing to spend. There are lots of options out there, so the critical thing is to work through each, carefully.

Look at the different fees and charges of the various providers and consider how much they will impact different aspects of your business. For example, do they charge installation fees or cancellation fees? How much do they charge per transaction?

Remember to back yourself. You know your business better than anyone. You need to consider your current needs, but also your projected growth. Don’t pay for something you don’t need, but don’t skimp either.

Cloud-based or on premises?

Cloud-based POS systems are great because they allow all your sales data to be stored online, in the same place. The benefit here is you won’t need clunky and chunky hardware located on your premises. Which means you’ll make some handy savings, too, such as on power and hardware management.

Cloud-based systems also allow you to access your data anywhere, anytime. On the other hand, on-premises systems might work better for business owners who don’t consider themselves particularly tech-savvy. Having critical sales information stored on a hard drive can be a source of comfort. Again, it is about knowing what works best for you and your business.

Features

Do you need a POS system that is capable of:

  • Running loyalty programs?
  • Allocating tables?
  • Providing customer analytics reports?
  • Managing basic accounting needs?

Much of this will depend on the staffing arrangements of your business. The best POS systems can do much more than execute simple payments, and finding the right one can significantly streamline and enhance your business operations.

Security

Just like you need a secure cash register, you need a secure POS system to ensure confidential customer data is kept safe. When setting up your POS, it is critical to consider who has access to the information stored within it, and how they can access this information.

Support

As a small business owner, you can’t afford to have your POS system fail. Neither can you constantly be on call to fix it! You need a good support process to help you manage your POS so it achieves all the things you need it to, reliably and on budget. This means you need reliable and on budget support. Happily Just Make It Work is here to provide that!

Need help deciding which POS will work for you? Or want help setting it up? At JMIW we’ve done this time and time again. Talk to us about our easy prepaid packages and money back guarantee.

Choosing the right cloud solution for your business

There was a time, not too long ago, when we all carried little thumb drives wherever we went. It was kind of amazing, we could transfer large files from computer to computer without any trouble. Now, in the time of cloud computing, it’s kind of hard to believe the humble USB was actually a pretty nifty innovation and improvement on file-sharing.

But technology has moved quickly, and now we just shoot things into ‘the cloud’ and they become accessible wherever there’s an internet connection.

The cloud, though, does much more than facilitate file sharing. It can be your server, software manager, database, network, analytics system… and believe it or not, much, much more.

Why should you adopt a cloud service?

There are huge benefits to shifting away from traditional IT operations to the cloud.

The first and probably the most compelling reason is actually cost. Cloud services reduce the amount of hardware a business requires. You can say goodbye to your physical server/s, which will not only save you on the cost of the machines, but also money spent on energy and floorspace.

Plus, in many instances, cloud services will also save you money by charging only for what you use.

Then, just to rattle off a few more benefits — cloud services can give your business global scalability, more agility, productivity, reliability and performance. Let’s just say these days adopting a cloud service is a bit of a no brainer.

How do you know which service will best suit your business?

The answer depends on a number of factors: how your business operates, its size and industry, the number of users, its storage needs, and of course, your budget.

Let’s start with why you might choose Google’s G-Suite.

G-Suite is pretty basic and is often the preferred by younger, smaller tech savvy companies who are used to simple file sharing and user-friendly functionality. One drawback is, G-Suite offers users less functionality in it’s apps, such as Google Docs, Slides and Sheets. This can be fine, it just depends how much functionality your business needs.

Compare this with Office 365.

Microsoft Office is legacy software for many organisations. It’s preferred by large organisations for whom large scale change can be a bit of battle. But, it has great benefits too, particularly when it comes to functionality. Microsoft Excel, for instance, has far superior functionality to its Google counterpart, Sheets. Same with Microsoft Word as oppose to Google Docs, and PowerPoint as compared with Slides.

Essentially though, by themselves, G-Suite and Office 365 are mostly used by small and not very complex companies and individuals.

For larger more complex operations who require more services one of the big three might be more suitable.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are what are called public cloud services, and though we’ve only mentioned three, there are actually a host of other public cloud services who have similar or specialised offerings.

Apart from offering more scalable and ultimately more affordable storage options, the big three and their counterparts have a range of services that can help your business and IT services run more smoothly. For example, they can be set up to automatically install software patches at off-peak times, back up your data without prompt, and manage your server usage so you are  only charged for what you use and not for what you don’t.

What makes these public cloud services good at what they do is they have discovered that by saving your business time, hassle, and money, they can bolster their bottom line.

The other good news for their users is that they are in fierce competition with each other, which means they are investing big in improving their suite of services and applications and finding new ways of making your business more productive.

So, if your business needs more from the cloud, then investigating these cloud services will be well worth your time. If you want the experts to recommend the best cloud service for your business, then get in touch with us at JMIW for a free IT audit.

Who We Are

JUST MAKE IT WORK does exactly that: make IT work for your organisation, across Australia.

You can get on with your real work while we take care of the planning, implementation and support of all aspects of IT.

Call us on 1300 644 576

enquiries@justmakeitwork.com.au

support@justmakeitwork.com.au

Questions a business IT audit will answer

If the computer system in your office is malfunctioning or having recurring faults, the chances are there’s something up with your IT infrastructure.

Even small or seemingly insignificant glitches can be a sign software and hardware is not up-to-date, is incorrectly configured or is operating in conflict with other software or hardware.

They can also indicate your IT systems are in dire need of an audit — a deep dive into your IT systems will determine their efficiency, security and cost-effectiveness.

It can be difficult to understand how exactly an audit will help your business, so we’ve compiled some questions an IT audit will help you answer.

Are the systems in place a good fit for my business?

Any good IT audit will look into more than just the nuts and bolts of your computers and the programs they are running. It will also take stock of your business processes and policies to identify how the IT set up could be improved to better compliment the way you like to do business.

Not only will the results highlight inefficiencies in your processes, it will identify out-of-date software and hardware in order to help you stay on top of current technology that can improve the efficiency of your business.

And, if computers aren’t your thing, the best part is an audit is conducted by experts who can walk you through the benefits of new software, hardware and how your overall IT system is set up.

Is my data secure?

Imagine the impact to your business if your computer system crashes for a just a day, a week, or even longer due to an avoidable vulnerability in your security system.

This is simply unacceptable for most business owners and managers and its incredibly bad for the bottom line.

An audit can uncover issues in your security that can then be addressed to ensure your assets and data are protected.

Am I spending too much on IT?

It’s probably not uncommon for you to update software and hardware as the need arises. Essentially though, without a plan, each time these bits and pieces are added to cover or mitigate small issues as they surface your system gets more bloated. This can not only make your system less efficient, but also just more expensive to run.

For instance, if not properly directed, you could end up paying for programs that:

  • Do the same thing, Are no longer relevant or useful,
  • Are more expensive than similar programs with the same functionality.
  • Sometimes you simply build up more infrastructure than your business requires over time, which can add up to some nasty dents to the bottomline.

An IT audit conducted by IT experts is all about helping businesses identify the above issues, securing your data, improve efficiency and saving you money.

Ransomware poses a cyber threat to your business 24/7

Ooops, your important files are encrypted.

If you see this text, then your files are no longer accessible because they have been encrypted. Perhaps you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but don’t waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service.

These are the kind of words that send shivers down the spine of any 21st century business.

We guarantee that you can recover all your files safely and easily… all you need to do is send $300 (USD) worth of Bitcoin to…

The scammers message is clear — pay up or you can forget about conducting business as usual.

In fact, the appearance of these words signalled the three-day crippling of the Cadbury chocolate factory in Hobart, costing the parent company, Mondelēz International, $140m in lost revenue.

This is what a ransomware attack can do huge multinationals but they aren’t the only target of this malicious software (malware) as it can sneak past just about any businesses security systems and lock them out until they pay.

In this article, we’ll help you understand how and why ransomware works and what you can do to prevent it from shutting you down.

How ransomware works

Ransomware often slips by your anti-virus and anti-malware software by disguising its presence as attachments or links sent to you by email.

All it takes is one person at your company to open the attachment or click the link to initiate a process that will download and install the ransomware on one computer before it spreads to the entire network.

Then, having locked you out of your system, it demands you pay the ransom to get your data and access back. The ransom amount can seem insignificant compared to the

potential losses to your business but accumulated over many businesses it adds up to a nice payday for the scammer.

The scammers usually insist on payment in the form of cryptocurrencies because they are harder to trace.

Why it works

Ransomware is clever in the way it exploits human foibles, such as curiosity, fear, or basic inattention in order to sneak by your system’s defences.

Scammers will feed off trusted brand images and create websites, and apps that mimic those of legitimate businesses to entice users to enter their legitimate login information. Alternatively, they’ll create an email or link that promises a risque image, or hilarious joke.

They often get really creative by doing things such as mimicking emails from delivery companies making users click to see, receive, track or accept their order.

It just takes one employee to click a link that can devastate a business.

What you can do to prevent it?

It’s incredibly hard to recover files encrypted by ransomware and even if you pay the ransom, there’s a possibility your system may not actually be unlocked or that your data will have been copied and sold anyway.

So, when it comes to ransomware, we believe prevention and damage minimisation is better than finding an elusive or non-existent cure.

There are some things you or your IT managers can do, such as ensuring your software is up-to-date, your data is backed up, and your employees are aware of the risks involved in opening and interacting with emails from unknown sources.

At JMIW, we put processes in place that minimise the impact of ransomware, including:

  1. Providing free cybersecurity risk assessments.
  2. Checking your backups are working and showing you how to access them.
  3. Helping you recover your files and providing bitcoins if you have been attacked.
  4. And, covering you from losses with cybersecurity insurance.

We believe an attack on your business could be imminent. If you suspect you’ve been attacked by ransomware or want to prepare yourself for the worst, please visit www.justmakeitwork.com.au or reach out via enquiries@justmakeitwork.com.au or phone 1300 644 567.

Outlook 2010 search not working, returning no results

Go to the Start Menu and search for “Indexing Options”.

Click Modify > Uncheck Outlook > Close Indexing Options.

Close Outlook.

Open Outlook.

Return to Indexing Options > Modify and check the Outlook box (and C:\ if it’s unchecked). Close Indexing Options again.

Search should start to work again.

 

Issues with HTTPS/SSL + slow site loading in Chrome and/or Outlook 2016 Stuck at “Synchronizing Hierarchy” stage when using Cached Exchange Mode

We have a client who runs Vodafone Cube 4G hotspots as their main WAN link, routinely getting 40/40 bandwidth test results. Websites would load properly and quickly, as would downloads, in Internet Explorer, but in Chrome there was a routine 8+ second wait for page loads, with HTTPS traffic displaying CSS errors or not loading at all.

Outlook 2016 would also completely fail to load new email in Cached Exchange Mode, even after creating new profiles, new accounts, deleting offline data etc. The client would get stuck at the “Synchronizing Hierarchy” stage of the sync process, and network activity showed at most 5KB/s going up and down.

We examined everything (VLANs, DNS, MTUs, power cycling all network hardware, new router, disabling IPv6, removing antivirus, flushing WINSOCK etc), but in the end, what fixed the issue was opening up an Administrator-level CMD prompt and running:

netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled

Troubleshooting verifying domains in Office 365 when using Crazy Domains as your domain host

Crazy Domains offers a very basic feature set for domain name DNS record management, and this can cause problems when adding domains to Office 365.

During the verification phase, Office 365 asks you to add either an MX or TXT record to the domain’s DNS records.

Crazy Domains does not allow you to add TXT, SRV or a range of other records to your DNS unless you pay the $20 for a “Premium” DNS package.

Once you have paid for the Premium package and have added the required records, you may find that Office 365 still does not see the added DNS records.

We have discovered two possible reasons why this might be the case.

  1. Crazy Domains appears to use a separate set of name servers to manage their Premium DNS domains. Normally, Crazy Domains use ns1.syrahost.com and ns2.syrahost.com for their domains, but once you have turned on Premium DNS, the domains should switch to ns1.dnspackage.com and ns2.dnspackage.com. In some cases, Crazy Domains does not automatically change these NS records over, and as a result Office 365 cannot detect your new DNS records. Edit your name server records accordingly and wait 5-10 minutes and verification should take place.
  2. Crazy Domains appears to have a very high TTL set for DNS record changes by default, and you cannot change this TTL. As a result, you may have to wait up to 24 hours for a DNS record change to propagate.

Visit jmiw.it / Call 1300 644 576 / Email enquiries@justmakeitwork.com.au
Theme by: Promo Code, Powered by: Wordpress