Today’s article is for cottage owners. Cottages are fantastic places for tourists to stay and are becoming ever-more present in Europe and across the world. The offer has grown exponentially over the past 10 years and now all kinds of travellers can find their perfect cottage, with stays in high-end, rural or green cottages for a detox trip or a trip with family, friends, a spouse or even colleagues.
The Covid-19 crisis has thrown the tourism and hotel industry into wild uncertainty. What can be done? Stay open, sure, but under what conditions? Those of you in the industry have been asking all kinds of questions, but the main one has been: how do you survive ?
People and passion remain at the heart of the hotel and tourism sector, and these are essential factors to allow the industry to run. But how can you keep going when health guidelines and restrictions put a limit on human contact and being passionate is no longer enough ?
Here at Amenitiz, we accompany and support hundreds of passionate professionals looking for ways to survive despite the crisis. Our big plus is our technical savviness. Now more than ever, owners of cottages, guest houses and hotels have to go digital in order to survive and keep their business booming.
The latest studies on travellers’ booking habits show that the digital trend has become reality. To start your slow but sure digital transition, your best bet is creating a website (if you don’t already have one) with an integrated booking system.
The advantages of a booking system for your cottage
In times of crisis like this, all savings count! A booking system that is directly integrated into your website will let you make considerable savings on commissions taken by Booking.com and other similar platforms. Get your independence back !
We are aware that making savings isn’t the only challenge created by the current crisis. Given that your business has likely been closed for a while, your first goal will be to get it full again once it reopens. 52% of travellers that find you on booking platforms such as Booking.com, Hotels.com or AirBnB would rather book directly on your own website. Why? To make sure they get the best prices, to see more photos of your establishment and to be able to communicate with you directly, among others. This percentage shows how important it is to have a booking system.
The vast majority of the cottage owners that we work with are people who enjoy communicating, providing services and welcoming guests. Many of them find that administrative tasks involved in managing their business take too much time away from their main activity. That’s why Amenitiz is here! All of the tools that we offer are there to help you spend as much time as possible doing what you love and what counts: welcoming your guests. Booking systems are no exception. By automating booking-related tasks, they can save you precious time in your day.
They are also a good way to add value to your website. Integrating a booking system into your website helps promote your SEO (ranking). This will help your site earn visibility and hits.
Many different booking systems are available on the market. Not all of them are suitable for cottages, they don't all cost the same and they don’t all offer the same quality. Our guide will help you find your feet and make the right choice by showing you the most important points to consider.
The key word when choosing your program is “simple”.
It must be simple to understand, simple to install, simple to use and simple to access. We’re not all equal when it comes to computers.
To make sure that the program you are looking at is simple to use and run, it must:
Be intuitive. This means it was designed with users in mind. It must have clear indications which illustrate precise actions. Cottages are usually family businesses, and "intuitive” also means that anybody can work it, regardless of age or computer skills.
Work automatically. As we mentioned above, a booking system is a time saver. It is an intelligent program that should be able to perform many tasks by itself, including taking the booking, adding it to a calendar, taking payments, saving guest information to set up profiles, and more. These are all tasks that you will no longer have to do.
Let you be flexible. One of the many lessons learnt from the pandemic is that you have to be flexible and know how to go with the flow. With a good system, you can adapt your offer to the situation at hand by setting a minimum stay length or by giving the health measures for the stay.
Good customer experience
- Give visitors to your site a good booking experience.
- What are they looking for ?
- A digital solution that is easy to use.
- The possibility to book from any page on your website or blog.
- A quick reservation in 1 to 3 clicks.
- The possibility to book from their phone or tablet.
Good payment management
Bank payments are anxiety inducing for many owners, as fraud could sign the end of their business.
It can be equally worrisome for guests who find themselves redirected to a different platform with a sketchy interface when paying.
Put an end to all these troubles by offering a very good payment system via your booking tool.
- With a single, clear and multilingual interface.
- Which accepts bank cards from all countries.
- Which allows payment in vouchers.
- Which lets guests pay a deposit easily and owners refund it just as easily.
- Which has high security to fight fraud.
Finally, a good payment system should clearly inform you of all commissions on each transaction, meaning no hidden fees.
Finding the right price isn't difficult. An all-in-one digital system is definitely the best value for money. If you want to just get a booking system, compare its price to its quality by using the points outlined in this guide.
Perhaps you already have some digital tools to manage your cottage, such as a website, a Channel Manager or a PMS. In this case, make sure that the system you choose is compatible with your other programs.
Some booking systems are customisable and can be adapted to your offer. Many cottage owners offer various side activities, including visits and tours, yoga, entertainment for children, etc.
With a customised booking system, you will be able to offer these extra features at the booking stage. You can also share your special deals and offers.
Are you a hotel owner who wants to go digital? Do you want the best programs at the best prices? Website, PMS, Channel manager, direct booking software, SEO... You’ve come to the right place. Ask for your free demo today!