A Boutique B&B shifts more bookings to their direct
online channel with an all-in-one solution
Munzesheimer Manor is a seven-room Boutique Bed and Breakfast located in charming Mineola, Texas. Throughout the year, guests come to stay while visiting friends and family, or simply for a romantic weekend getaway.
Ashlee Unger has been running the bed and breakfast with her husband, Bret Unger, for the past three years. Together, they handle all aspects of the business.
“We are the innkeepers, operators, and owners of the Munzesheimer Manor, and we juggle between many roles on a day to day basis. My husband takes care of landscaping, maintenance, and he helps with breakfast. We both clean and housekeep, and I advertise and manage finances.”
While Ashlee and Bret hosted a steady stream of guests, they soon felt that their guests’ booking experience wasn’t where it should be.
“The biggest struggle with our last reservation system was that it wasn’t user-friendly. Guest feedback confirmed my suspicion that people struggled with online reservations. They had to go from one page to the next to complete their booking.”
Ashlee and Bret were also unsatisfied with their previous reservation system’s inability to effectively promote the packages she offers.
“We have a lot of amenities and packages unique to our hotel, but guests weren’t seeing those being offered because they were on different tabs and weren’t sure how to navigate around them.”
Because their website’s reservation system was so difficult to use, guests were choosing to book through online travel agencies (OTAs) – which, in turn, cost Bret and Ashlee money in the way of expensive commission fees.
“We noticed that an OTA we work with was being advertised on our TripAdvisor page, and a lot of people booked through them without going to our site. That triggered us to look into how channels work.”
Unfortunately, even though they received plenty of guests from that OTA, some rooms were double-booked because Munzesheimer Manor B&B’s previous reservation system wasn’t connected to it
“Updating our inventory manually on the OTA was a pain. We had a couple of double bookings because I would be out during the day and get a booking, but I couldn’t get to my computer in time and someone else had booked it.”
They realized that something had to be done if they wanted to make things better for their guests and their bottom line.
“If we hadn’t done anything about it, we would potentially lose bookings or be giving a lot of commissions away because it’s not easy enough to book on our website.”
Ashlee and Bret began looking for another technology solution for their bed and breakfast business.
• A user-friendly reservation system for our own website, because the ease of being able to book online is really important for our market. People don’t want to wait. If you don’t call them right back and they can’t book online, they’ll go to another property.
• To be able to access all of our reservation information in one place. We knew we wanted to bring online travel agencies (OTAs) into our strategy and we knew that we should have our reservation system to connected to them.”
After conducting online research and comparing several systems, Ashlee and Bret decided that Little Hotelier’s allin-one solution was best suited to their needs.
With Little Hotelier, Munzesheimer Manor Bed and Breakfast is able to offer a user-friendly online booking process on their website. This has resulted in more direct bookings and less commissions paid to OTAs, even though they have increased their number of OTA partnerships.
“We feel as if our guests have changed the way they book with us. We had a lot more OTA bookings before. Now, even if our guests go to OTAs they still go to our direct booking engine. We’re still getting the exposure but people aren’t booking through the channels.”
Munzesheimer Manor Bed and Breakfast has also noticed a decrease in phone reservations since implementing Little Hotelier.
“We used to get a lot of calls from people who saw our previous reservation system, but still chose to call us to ask us questions and make their booking. Since we’ve been with Little Hotelier, we’ve hardly taken any phone reservations – most of our reservations are online, so it must be very easy for them to book.”
Additionally, Ashlee and Bret have experienced considerable cost savings with Little Hotelier in place
“On top of reducing OTA commissions, we have saved on software vendor fees. Our previous reservation system charged us a higher flat fee per month, and tacked on a fee with each OTA that we wanted to integrate with. They priced everything individually instead of having it as one set price, like it is with Little Hotelier.”
Ashlee and Bret feel are so happy with Little Hotelier’s impact on Munzesheimer Bed and Breakfast that they are happy to recommend it to other bed and breakfasts like theirs.
They are also satisfied with the way in which Little Hotelier have communicated with them.
“The two strongest qualities about Little Hotelier is
1. Your staff are incredible. They are patient, supportive and local.
2. This company is very good at disseminating information. I love the blogs and email updates, they
encourage me to keep learning about your system, which is most important!“
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