In January 2001,
Six Continents Retail
(formerly Bass Leisure Retail) began rolling out a new concept in the hospitality market. Identifying a gap in the budget sector for a sub 30 bedroomed product, they wanted to expand the experience of a traditional British bed and breakfast.
This was achieved by providing their guests with consistency, good quality rooms, phone/modem access, satellite television and a friendly service normally associated with pub accommodation. Their goal was simple: turn their lodges into superior budget accommodation, while ensuring quality, hospitality and distinctiveness. In order to achieve their goals, Six Continents needed an IT partner that could keep up with their pace. They found that partner in Ramesys Hospitality
and began their IT partnership with them over three years ago, implementing the Ramesys Chain Management Solution (CMS). Each lodge successfully operated using CMS, with all reservations being handled through the Innkeeper?fs Lodge
Central Reservations Office (CRO).
Since then, Six Continents Retail has expanded their Innkeeper?fs Lodges from one to 56 properties, with an additional 50 planned over the next two years.
In addition to the continued growth and competition in the budget sector, guest expectations also began to grow. Innkeeper?fs Lodge noticed that their guests began to desire ease of booking over almost any other factor. In order to maintain their unique qualities and brand values, they realized that they must provide their guests with a smoother and easier way to make their reservations.
To meet this need, Innkeeper?fs Lodge went live on the Internet with the CMS on-line Internet booking module In November 2001. The module allows customers with Internet access the ability to book rooms for themselves directly onto live availability. ?gWe?fve got to provide the best experience on-line that we can. It must be easier, more secure and quicker than our competitors sites. We needed an innovative booking and service process that would allow us to offer this to our guests,?h said Paul Madden, Innkeeper`s Lodge Sales and Marketing Manager. Since November, Innkeeper?fs Lodge has improved their guests?f experience in various ways through the use of the CMS on-line booking module. With the Internet being one of the quickest and most efficient methods for a guest to make a reservation, this booking option immediately offered better guest service.
“Growth continues to be a trend for us, with 56 lodges opened in just over a year and the goal of 50 new properties over the next two years. We are capable of maintaining this pace because of the pressure the on-line booking module takes away from the CRO and the individual lodges. As we expand, it will allow us to react more efficiently. We can add new properties quickly because the infrastructure is already in place,?h said Madden. He continued, ?gYou have to make an initial investment in order for this sort of system to work the way it should, but we are now beginning to reap these benefits. On-line bookings cost us one-fifth the amount it takes to maintain our Central Reservations Office. As we continue to grow, we will only continue to become more effective and benefit greater from the on-line bookings.?h
With more guests logging on to the Innkeeper?fs Lodge web site, company information, news and promotions are more easily available to them. Customers are able to look at maps, contact information, various lodges and much more.
“Without the use of the on-line booking module we would have never been able to successfully attract this much attention to our web site. Customers are coming to book a reservation, but at the same time they are familiarizing themselves with Innkeeper?fs Lodge, our services and our brand values,?h added Madden.
?gAs of May 2002, our on-line booking conversion rate surpassed 15% across all lodges. According to a survey performed by Deloitte and Touche, on-line bookings provided an average of 5% of reservations in the budget sector in 2001. In six months, we managed to triple the yearly industry average. By April 2003, we are confident that we will reach our goal of having 30% of our bookings coming via the on-line booking module,?h said Madden.
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