#1 Antivirus: Make sure you have a good antivirus and malware program(s) installed and keep them up to date!
I won’t recommend an antivirus, because everyone has differing opinions on them, but I would recommend at least go with a known brand name, AND keep it up to date. A little more at http://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/antivirus-and-backing-up-my-biggest-challenges-when-it-comes-to-working-with-bandbs/.
#2 Domain name: Who owns your domain name? If it’s not you, it should be!
Your domain name is one of the most important facets of your business, but every year businesses lose their domain names due to a variety of reasons.
Make sure you own your own domain name, a domain name registered through another company (i.e a website designer or developer) means that they, not you, control it and it can be held hostage. It also means if they go out of business, get hit by a truck, decide to be a rat or don’t keep their own credit card information up to date, you are the one that gets screwed.
Make sure your credit card on file for your domain registrar is up to date and accurate. You have 60 days past when a domain is due for renewal before you lose it completely. Domains that have been around for more then 2 years generally have a domain buy set up on them. When a domain expires and is not renewed, it gets snapped up by a company who generally will demand anywhere from $2000 to $5000 to get it back. Paying the ransom demand does not always release the domain name.
Make sure your email address attached to the domain registration is accurate. Domain companies will always send out renewal email reminders in advance, but if your email isn’t accurate you won’t be reminded. You will never receive a domain name reminder by snail mail, those are always scams.
You can check your domain name information by going to http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp
#3 Backups: Keep multiple backups of important information and keep it updated. You never know when you are going to need it and by then it’s generally too late if you haven’t backed up.
Please see http://rockyhill.patch.com/groups/heather-turners-blog/p/bp–the-importance-of-backing-up-your-restaurant-and-aacacbb301 while the post is aimed primarily at restaurants, as businesses that serve the public and have kitchens the same tenants apply.
#4 Hosting: Who hosts your website? If it’s billed to you, do you have current login information and is your credit card on file up to date?
If it’s not you and through a website designer, who are THEY hosting with? Most website designers don’t have servers in-house, and generally buy either individually or as a reseller through a larger company. Know who this company is and how to get ahold of them, and what their support links online and phone numbers are. If your hosting goes down (and pretty much every hosting company has been down at some point last year, some for fairly extended periods of time, there is NO such thing as 100% uptime) do you know where to find out information about when it will be up again? (especially if you can’t get hold of your webdesigner at 8 pm on a Thursday night when you could potentially be getting bookings for the weekend.)
#5 Information Management: When was the last time you Googled or Binged your business? Or checked any directories you might be listed on, Paid (especially) or otherwise to make sure information is correct? Amenities added or deleted? Pictures to be updated? If your phone number or website is incorrect somewhere, how much business can you be potentially losing because of it?
And while this is technically a #6, it goes in the same vein as #5, check your social media links, from website to social media and from social media to website. About 30%+ of the links from either I come across on B&B sites on a weekly basis are not valid links. I see a boatload of them from Twitter and Facebook to websites missing .coms or just misspelled. People are not going to go searching for a correct link, they will just go elsewhere.
Innkeepers don’t have a lot of extra time, but any one of these things is a potential loss of revenue, so spend the time, it doesn’t take long to double check things and in the long run, your time will be worth the money saved.