Online booking system software for holiday property rentals. Booking Reservation and availability calendar.

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Stickwick Manor & Cottages

Stickwick Manor and Cottages - Case Study

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With our new website and the online booking system we definitely expect to increase our occupancy rate this year.

Stickwick Manor & Cottages is situated on the edge of Dartmoor in spectacular countryside in the heart of the beautiful Devon. Stickwick Manor and Farmhouse were built in 1780's by the family of Robert Hole. The property came our family in the late 1880's. The farm and land have been worked since this time.

The Manor & Farmhouse were renovated in 1970/1980's and the stable was converted in to the current Cottage for self catering accommodation. The business was established as a self catering enterprise in 1980 by Linda Harvey.

Why did you decide to add online booking to your website?

Customers want an easy way to book and make payment at all hours of the day and night so we decided to go for it and have full online booking and payments

The market has changed over the years and bookings were decreasing due to a poor web site. We found more and more of our competitors are moving to online booking and feedback suggests this is the way forward.

We decided action was required and undertook improvements of our properties to make them more attractive to customers. We also decided we needed to market it more proactively. This lead to a brand new web site and active advertising to drive customers to the web site.

Initially we were looking for just an online availability chart because we were nervous of using online booking. However we are aware that customers just want fast and accurate information on availability and prices and do not have patience to ring or email...they will just go elsewhere!

Customers want an easy way to book and make payment at all hours of the day and night so we decided to go for it and have full online booking and payments.

Last year I had lots of emails each day asking about availability, prices and wanting more photos of the properties. This was not productive use of my time. So our web site needed to do more work so I had more time - in this respect the booking system is an essential tool that helps save us time.

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What made you choose Holiday Bookings Online as your online booking software provider?

the admin control panel is easy to use with simple menus that are easy to negotiate.

We'd hired a tourism marketing consultant for our new website and also to find the best booking solution for us. The consultant set about the task of investigating the options, that would fit our criteria and budget and her research suggested Holiday Bookings Online as suiting our business and being cost effective at the same time.

The most important aspect of the Holiday Bookings Online system was that there is a full availability calendar which can be embedded into the web site, which gives the customer full availability information over a wide date range. (Therefore if a preferred date is booked, the customer can easily see then another date is available and may be willing to change dates in order to stay at their desired property).

It also allows short breaks out of high season and many other availability charts will say part of the week booked, but this does not tell the customer what dates are actually free causing confusion for customer - the Holiday Bookings Online system avoids this.

I also liked that the admin control panel is easy to use with simple menus that are easy to negotiate. There are also different routes through the menu to get to different task areas.

The system is just as easy for customers to book and make payments - again another essential if we are to maximise bookings. When a customer is looking at the availability details on one particular property they are able to easily view other properties on the same site, without having to retrace steps. This is ideal for big groups who want to book more than one property.

I use PayPal as one of my payment options and this was quick and simple to add to the booking system - no code just update a setting in the admin control panel. Customers seem to trust PayPal and its straightforward to transfer money from PayPal to our bank account. It also means we don't have the responsibility or risk of holding customers card details.

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Are there any other features of the booking system you find useful?

I like that emails are sent to you notifying booking and payment information, so you know quickly about a booking. Or you can also request an SMS message to your mobile though I don't use that option myself.

It's also easy to add additional costs on top of rentals (e.g. pet charges) and to edit the booking form to add your own questions and detail requests. If customers want to book, but does not want to pay online this is still simple to use.

I also find useful the statistics which indicate what customers are viewing (i.e. which property and which month).

How has the booking system helped your business?

This is our first season with the new site and after only 10 weeks use we have had 17 bookings on line

It's helped in quite a few ways - for example we can also attract more foreign visitors who book in the early hours when we're in bed! Unlike us the booking system works 24/7.

It's made it easy to keep customers details and download information on occupancy, address etc. for marketing.

It's also helped increase our bookings along with us having better website and extensive improvements to our properties. This is our first season with the new site and after only 10 weeks use we have had 17 bookings on line plus others which have been researched on line but completed via booking form and cheque.

With our new website and the online booking system we definitely expect to increase our occupancy rate this year.

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