How A Boutique B&B Shifted More Bookings to Their Direct Online Channel

Running a small accommodation business can be tough. Without the time or resources to hire additional help, owner-operators have minimal time to focus on figuring out how to sell rooms in a way that maximizes their revenue.

As the owner-innkeepers of Munzesheimer Manor B&B (a boutique bed and breakfast in charming Mineola, Texas), Bret and Ashlee Unger faced this particular challenge. They were so busy wearing multiple hats on a daily basis that online distribution took a backseat.

Luckily, they were able to fix this problem and come out on top – shifting more bookings to their direct online channel, and achieving a healthier distribution mix for their bed and breakfast business. Here’s how they did it.

Step 1: Identify areas of improvement

The bed and breakfast has been popular since it opened, but Bret and Ashlee felt that their online booking process 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.”

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.

“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.”

Step 2: Decide on a solution

Ashlee and Bret began looking for another technology solution for their bed and breakfast business.

“We needed:

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 all-in-one solution was best suited to their needs.

Step 3: Reap the benefits

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.

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.”

To see how Little Hotelier can help you take control of your distribution mix, watch our on-demand demo videos.


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