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Hoteliers benefit from going direct to maximise sales & efficiency

April 15th, 2013, by

Press release, courtesy of Moore & Smalley and Freshfield PR:

When Mark and Lucy Fuller became frustrated with the lack of a suitable system for managing bookings at their South Lakes Hotel, the entrepreneurial couple decided to create their own.

The booking system they designed, in partnership with a web development agency BF Internet, has been so successful at maximising sales and improving efficiency, they have decided to launch a new venture offering the software to other hotels and accommodation providers.

Direct Room Sales has been designed specifically to help smaller independent hotels offer online sales, manage room allocation, and take electronic payments, all within their existing website.

Mark, who owns The Sun Inn at Kirkby Lonsdale with wife Lucy, said: “For smaller hotels, such as those with fewer than 20 bedrooms, there was nothing out there in terms of software that enabled them to manage online reservations in the efficient way that larger hotels do.

“We wanted a system that allowed us not just to sell our rooms online, but to sequence those room sales in a logical order, offer packages and extras, and do things like automatically change room pricing structures for weekends or certain times of the year. A key feature for us was the link into our EPOS to automatically charge the guest room account.

Mark and Lucy, who both have a background in hotel management and sales development for larger hotels, approached Milnthorpe-based BF Internet to help them design the software for their five-star inn, which they took over in 2006.

The duo also worked with Morecambe-based company LCR Systems Ltd, which specialises in cash registry and electronic point of sale (EPOS), to complete the system.

The software increased efficiency at the hotel so markedly, that Mark and Lucy approached their development partners about launching a joint venture business, offering the software to other hotels of a similar size.

The new business launched in July 2012 and, so far, five regional hotels have installed the system, which can be set up for as little as £300, depending on a size of the hotel. Hotels then pay an annual rental which includes integrating the software into their existing website, online hosting of the system and payment processing.

Lucy added: “What we’ve achieved with Direct Room Sales is to give hotel owners a booking system that boasts features of software used by large hotel chains, but which is simple to use. Managers and staff can be trained to use the system in as little as 30 minutes.

“It is ideal for those hotels that have a restaurant and bar, as well as their rooms, as it allows them to maximise sales by offering guests the facility to arrange room extras as they book. Not only does it boost revenue, it significantly reduces administration costs too.

Mark and Lucy have received advice on the new venture from Moore and Smalley, which has offered accountancy and business advisory services to the business for a number of years.

Colin Johnson, corporate services director at Moore and Smalley, said: “With their years of experience in the hotel sector, Mark and Lucy have proved themselves to be very entrepreneurial, not just in the running of their own hotel, but in the development of this new business which has massive potential. There are literally thousands of hotels across the UK that could benefit from the Direct Room Sales software and I predict that business will be very successful.