Direct bookings have long been prized by hoteliers. However the guest’s online booking journey is often fragmented, pushing them towards booking with OTAs, which comes at a hefty cost to hotels and reduces the hotel-guest relationship.
For boutique and luxury hotels, this is particularly problematic: without a direct relationship with the guest, a full-service hotel or resort is less able to ensure their guests can secure their preferred spa treatment, tee time, dining reservation or additional experience.
If a guest misses out on that experience, it leaves a sour taste and the property’s reputation as a full-service, luxurious destination suffers.
The Elms Hotel & Spa, a U.K-based property, turned to Journey Hospitality's OneJourney to provide its guests with a unified digital e-commerce experience.
Influenced by learnings from high-end online retailers, OneJourney has helped The Elms embrace e-commerce principles and more than double its revenue.
Like many hotels, The Elms utilizes multiple technology systems on property, with different booking systems for different areas of the hotel. This left the property unable to offer full-service online booking, with rooms taking precedence and spa treatments, dining reservations and other elements needing to be made manually after a room booking is received by short-staffed operational teams.
Mark Bevan, managing director of The Elms, wanted to provide the hotel’s customers with a more effective digital experience, including the ability to shape their own stays with self-selected add-ons as well as more easily booking the room category they wanted.
With post-pandemic pressures on budgets and staff shortages, Bevan sought a solution that would seamlessly integrate with the hotel’s existing tech stack, assist with wider operational challenges around staffing (preferably freeing his team from administrative tasks to focus more on the in-person guest experience) and be digitally intuitive for guests - and staff - to use.
The Elms implemented OneJourney in June 2022. A unified e-commerce platform for hotels, OneJourney aggregates the products and services of The Elms into live bookable inventory, empowering guests to book rooms, spa, dining and more in one seamless online transaction - multiple items in one basket, with one checkout.
The technology was created following careful study of the wider e-commerce landscape and enables hoteliers to
think more like retailers, removing barriers to purchase for guests and providing staff a wide range of reports and business insights, while synchronizing booking data with a hotel’s existing PMS and outlet booking systems.
The system pulls data from each booking system used across The Elms’ business, with availability of bedrooms, spa treatments and other services presented in real-time to online bookers. The platform wraps around existing technology, meaning no changes are necessary to back-end systems, PMS or website CMS providers were required.
It works with the hotel’s existing website and brand identity and is fully responsive for mobile use, providing a seamless digital booking journey for guests.
Bevan says: “Since launching with OneJourney, we’ve improved our online conversion and increased our average order value. Working with OneJourney reduces my labor costs, increases my revenue and increases my direct bookings, therefore reducing commissions. Over a third of our orders are now multi-product, driving greater direct revenue. OneJourney has been a game changer for us.”
Highlights of OneJourney at The Elms include:
- 108% increase YOY in room revenue
- Over 20% increase in average order value
- 34% of all orders contain multiple products
- 59% of bookings now made on a mobile device
- Provides operational efficiencies, reducing staff paperwork
- Easy implementation with just weeks to install and results delivered immediately
Danielle Walker, finance manager, adds: “The multi basket tool is fantastic because it upsells some of the products our customers may not have known we offer, such as afternoon tea or additional champagne.”
Following the hotel’s initial success, The Elms is set to open a new revenue stream by implementing the platform’s retail module. This will facilitate the online selling of spa retail products and other branded items, encouraging The Elms’ guests to enjoy a taste of the renowned hotel and spa at home.
The operational efficiencies are also shaping the way the hotel’s team interact with guests, with reception and other guest-facing roles excited to be able to reduce their administrative workload and focus on spending more time with guests on-site.
Bevan says: “Working with OneJourney is a really seamless process, with the team always on the end of the phone. They proactively phone me and offer suggestions of how we could be selling more to help my revenue, which is great.”
About the author...
Harriet McCarroll is client success director of OneJourney.