Little Hotelier and the Bath Independent Guest House Association partner together to provide small hotels with an all-in-one solution
Located in Bath, UK, Bath Independent Guest House Association (BIGHA) is a voluntary organisation representing a membership of over 100 local small accommodation businesses between 2 to 60 rooms. All guesthouse members are listed on the Association’s StayinBath.org website. BIGHA has also developed “Bath Reward Card” a discount scheme working with local attractions, restaurants and independent businesses.
One of BIGHA’s main goals is to help their accommodation members generate more direct commission-free bookings. They do this by encouraging and supporting their members to take bookings using their own property’s website and marketing the group as a whole, mainly through the StayinBath.org website. Tim Potter is BIGHA’s website coordinator and owner of one member guesthouse.
With high levels of website visitors and enquiries on the StayinBath.org website, Tim knew that travelers wanted to make reservations using the site but, without a booking mechanism in place, member guesthouses turned to Online Travel Agents (OTAs) – forcing the need to pay commissions for their bookings and also reducing the personal touch with travelers.
Tim discovered the need to integrate each member property’s room availability and rates onto the StayinBath.org website, which would, in turn, increase engagement and enable travelers to make bookings directly and instantly with member guesthouses. With this challenge came the additional need to capture direct bookings.
Ideally, the solution would also free up the time members spent manually capturing email and phone reservations.
Tim began the search for a booking engine and property management system that could cater for all BIGHA property types, and also integrated seamlessly with the StayinBath.org website.
“We were desperate for a booking engine and property management system that were very well integrated.”
Tim explored all options available to find a system that fulfilled all their members’ needs. After exploring all options, he made the decision to partner with Little Hotelier’s all-in-one reservation and direct booking management solution, which is designed specifically for small hotels and bed & breakfasts.
Little Hotelier enabled each accommodation member to display rates and availability both on their own property’s website and StayinBath.org. The all-in-one solution offering empowered the property members to take direct, commission-free reservations and deliver these to their property management system in real-time.
Furthermore, with the integrated channel management component of Little Hotelier’s all-in-one solution, the properties could still sell their rooms through the OTAs and other channels, and know their rates and availabilities would be automatically updated without the fear of double bookings.
With all BIGHA accommodation members using the same system this allowed them to support each other with regular workshops and training session so every member to share ideas and make the most out of Little Hotelier.
Member guesthouses initially feared moving to an online booking system and losing direct contact with their customers. However, using Little Hotelier’s integrated, automation technology, the member properties no longer had to spend hours on the phone answering questions. Customers who wanted to book online, were just a few clicks away from an unforgettable time in Bath.
“Members felt the technology would mean they would no longer have direct contact with their guests. But when we convinced them to move over to the online booking platform, their lives just revolutionised!”
Since its integration with Little Hotelier, BIGHA members using the all-in-one solution have experienced a significant increase in direct, commission-free bookings.
They are able to effectively and efficiently update their room availability and rates into Little Hotelier, which immediately updated this on the StayinBath.org website.
Tim’s own member guesthouse, Cranleigh, previously had only one room rate. Now he has many different rates for the same room, for things such as advanced purchases, special offers and packages.
“Little Hotelier allows us to do things that large hotel chains do!”
BIGHA’s StayinBath.org website has seen its organic traffic double from 40,000 viewers to 80,000 viewers within the first 12 months. This, in turn, coupled with the direct booking technology of Little Hotelier, has meant a significant increase in travelers booking directly on StayinBath.org.
The Little Hotelier solution has also created a major selling point for acquiring new member guesthouses. Tim and the other members of BIGHA can now spend more time on their accommodation businesses and tend to guests without being tied down to the front desk.
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