Rapid growth meant tracking bookings at The Mercer Collection was getting tricky – until roomMaster changed everything.

When a successful boutique hotel group in the South of England grew rapidly to seven hotels, Reservations Manager Ellie Hogston knew something had to go…her filing trays.

The extraordinary popularity of The Mercer Collection’s hotels had meant speedy development, but Ellie knew her booking system – which consisted of the seven trays with folders and a single paper diary – no longer cut the mustard.

So she turned to NFS Technology Group to provide an up-to-date online booking system that would save the boutique group, based in the Southsea area of Portsmouth, time – and keep their highly-discerning guests completely happy.

“I knew something had to change – the system basically consisted of me and my filing trays!” she said. “It was messy. Any changes had to be Tippexed out, and sadly there was real potential for human error when people were taking bookings, which as a high-quality brand we just could not allow.”

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The Trusted Solution for 6,000 Hotels

NFS provided a complete and easy-to-use solution in the shape of its roomMaster hotel management suite, working with the Availpro Smart Booking Engine.

NFS CEO Luis De Souza said: “roomMaster is the trusted solution for more than 6,000 hotels worldwide, so we had no hesitation in recommending it for The Mercer Collection.”

“roomMaster handles all aspects of hotel management from guest check in to housekeeping to drinks in the bar to final checkout and billing, and supports the smooth functioning of hotels with extensive management reporting and marketing features.”

Availpro – roomMaster’s partner – provides a complete e-booking suite of software including tools to help managers operate on-line distribution, maximise commission-free bookings and facilitate decision-making processes on price optimisation and e-reputation.

“We have now a professional and comprehensive booking engine on our website ensuring maximum conversion from our own site thanks to the Smart Booking Engine,” added Ellie. NFS implemented roomMaster for The Mercer Collection in August 2014 – Availpro has been in place since 2012 – and the group has found it makes a huge difference to its operations.

Ellie said: “It’s so much easier to take a booking now that I can see everything in one place and don’t have to go through the folders trying to find the right place to put a guest. It gives a better impression to guests, too, because they aren’t looking at a scrappy piece of paper as you check them in. By just putting in a surname, you can bring up all the details of a returning guest – it’s great for regulars.”

The Power of Getting Personal

This personal, friendly level of customer service is crucial for boutique hotels such as those run by The Mercer Collection, which pride themselves on their ability to create an individual experience for their guests. But larger hotel chains are also seeking to make use of the kind of detail that roomMaster can provide.

A recent report: “The power of personalisation: Hotels’ roadmap to 2020” by professional services network Grant Thornton says hotels can win greater loyalty by satisfying guests’ particular requirements. “From online check-in, to the app that allows on line room service ordering, personalisation helps hotels stand out from the crowd,” the report says. Personalise or perish should be the mantra at the heart of hotel companies’ efforts to build their brands and lay platforms for long term-success.”

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Driving Revenue with Online Bookings

Ellie and her staff are highly appreciative of the fact that roomMaster provides easy online accessibility. It means they can log in to the system from wherever they are.

“We love the complete convenience, and while it’s hard to quantify the benefits, we know we’re saving a huge amount of time,” she said.

“For instance, once a booking is made through Availpro Smart Booking Engine, it goes straight away into the system without us having to manually enter them, and the amount of time we save is massive. Previously, we had to create an email confirmation and send it out – now we just push a button and it’s done.”

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The Mercer Collection’s Experience with NFS

She found the implementation of the two solutions simple; Availpro and roomMaster are well-integrated and easy to use.

“We’ve found it extremely easy to scale up, too,” she said. “We added our new hotel The Clarence to the system last year, and all we had to do is contact roomMaster and they added it on – it was easy.”

Stepping up from trays and a paper diary to a state-of-the-art technology system might have been daunting, but Ellie says the company has found the support of NFS’ 24/7 technical helpdesk comforting.

“We can’t fault the out-of-hours support,” she said. “In fact, we can’t fault the roomMaster at all – we’re completely reliant on it now, and very happy.”

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