Fully integrated and customised e-commerce solution for Ireland's largest provider of Bed & Breakfast Accommodation
What was previously Town and Country Homes Association, has now rebranded as B&B Ireland. Based in Ballyshannon, Donegal, it is the largest provider of Bed and Breakfast Accommodation throughout the Island of Ireland. With over 35 years of experience dedicated to promoting and developing the Irish Bed and Breakfast market, B&B Ireland are the undisputed market leaders who professionally promote over 1,100 family run homes in Towns, City & Countryside locations.
B&B Ireland approached biznet IIS in late November 2007 to undertake the development of a custom built Content Manageable Booking and Reservations E-Commerce Portal. The new portal’s key purpose was to provide a fully integrated platform to promote, sell and communicate with B&B Ireland key target audiences via a secure and resilient online environment.
To add to the equation biznet IIS was also asked to review their internal day to day business systems and see how we could help streamline and integrate the day to day business processes into one coherent robust Management Information System. The organisation, like most SME’s, had grown over the years and had several disparate systems that replicated similar information yet provided very little real time data. A full study and analysis was carried out and from this biznet IIS was given the added challenge to develop and implement a secure custom built Extranet and CRM solution which would be fully integrated into the online portal and reservations system. Further work is currently underway to integrate their financial and accountancy software allowing automated and real time account management and invoicing of trade partners.
The work undertaken by biznet IIS with B&B Ireland delivered a tailored solution which supports the organisation’s day-to-day business needs, processes and online communications strategy. The team at biznet IIS has been entrusted with delivering and supporting (24/7, 365) a solution which not only promotes the organisation’s products worldwide but now helps run its complete day-to-day business operation. It has allowed the organisation to remove manual and tedious data management and have real-time data on demand. Internal resources have been streamlined and personnel redeployed into new high value roles. On top of supplying technical, design and hosting expertise the Search Engine Optimisation and Web Marketing team at biznet IIS has been engaged to provide a complete online marketing and optimisation solution.
B&B Ireland required that its online solution aspect of their communications strategy became a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to book Bed and Breakfast Accommodation on the Island of Ireland and it is.
The E-Commerce portal is completely dynamic with full content management providing B&B Ireland with complete control of their online solution. The Booking and Reservations engine offers an easy to use graphical rich search interface to promote and showcase properties which are available to book in real-time online. The solution is fully integrated with Google maps which provide the ability to highlight and locate all member properties throughout the Island of Ireland.
An Intuitive and easy to use Back Office Reservations system has also been deployed which provides Members who have access privileges the ability to control Rates and Allocations in real-time.
To meet and fulfil the precise requirements of B&B Ireland biznet IIS deployed a customised version of our Travel IT Now Tour Operator Software. This implementation of a customised version of the Travel IT Now suite has provided Town and Country Homes with a solution that is truly flexible. It provides all the benefits of a searchable secure e-commerce web portal whilst also offering a flexible Back Office, Reservation and CRM system that can be easily managed and updated.
To support the customised deployment of Travel IT Now Suite, biznet IIS implemented the following functionality:
- A secure online environment where properties can be searched, browsed and securely booked via a secure online transaction gateway
- A direct interface to the ‘Operate Now’ Reservations management module. ‘Operate Now’ is the comprehensive desktop reservation software which facilitates product and property allocation, availability, rates, commissions, profitability and fees. ‘Operate Now’ seamlessly links with Town and Country’s Website via Webservices to ensure connectivity between all sales channels.
- ‘Manage Now’ Content Management System which allows for the control of Area and Property Content. Each individual property is also inter-related and links to relevant stored prices and availability in ‘Operate Now ‘
- ‘Manage Now’ offers Town and Country a multi-lingual platform servicing and serving when required, various languages during all stages of the booking
- E-Marketing facility which allows for the control of Meta Data content for Search Engine Optimisation. A custom mail shot facility has also been integrated which allows for the targeted promotion of the E-Commerce Portal
- Integrated CRM (‘Communicate Now’) and Call Centre Interface, that each seamlessly integrate with ‘Operate Now’ to allow for managing of customer information, and a Call Centre interfaced sales channel.
- Trade Login where In-bound Tour Operators can book contracted properties (by web interface or XML Document upload)
- Affiliate Management and provision capability which allows B&B Ireland to provide their booking engine to third party companies wishing to sell and promote their product. Solution has full white labelling and personal branding capabilities. Partners can login securely to view all bookings processed via their affiliate site.
The project has been a major success. B&B Ireland has already recovered in just the increase in online bookings their initial spend on the project. They have also recently re-engaged on another substantial phase of work with the biznet IIS team which is at the Business Analysis and Requirement Specification stage.
From the initial deployment of the B&B Ireland solution, success can be primarily measured on sales and search engine ranking both of which have improved dramatically month on month in the 9 months that the solution has been live. Online sales are moving to over € 2,100,000 with continued growth each month by over 20%. This is outstanding considering current economic climate which has decimated the Hotel Industry but which obviously has created a value proposition and change of attitude towards Bed and Breakfast Accommodation. The online solution for B&B Ireland has obviously launched at a difficult but opportune time.
Internal business efficiencies have also been created. By implementing the Trade and Call Centre Interfaces B&B Ireland has been able to reduce its business operating costs by 30%, achieved mainly by allowing Inbound Tour Operators to securely book and manage their account via the new online extranet system which interfaces directly with the reservation and property management engine. This capability has greatly reduced the amount of effort required by B&B Ireland staff on account management and maintenance which is now delivered via a robust self-service platform.
As part of their ongoing communications strategy B&B Ireland engaged with biznet IIS to take over their Search Engine Optimisation strategy. The main aim was to maintain their existing rankings and achieve new top 10 rankings on the main search engines for more targeted keywords and phrases. The initial strategy was to identify, target and optimise relevant and achievable search phrases related to the B&B Ireland service. Being an Ireland-wide operation, key top county destinations were targeted and optimised. A phased approach was used for on-page and off page optimisation strategies. Through this and other white hat techniques implemented by biznet IIS, B&B Ireland are now reaping the benefits and sitting at position 2 in Google UK for ‘bed and breakfast Ireland’, amongst other key phrases.
The solution delivered by biznet IIS, has streamlined the day-to-day business processes of the organisation and has allowed a regional SME tour operator to market its offering to a worldwide audience whilst conducting true e-business. The team at biznet IIS has helped realise and make the organisations vision a success.
"biznet Travel Tech have risen to the challenge, and delivered for B&B Ireland a cutting-edge Travel Solution within an extremely tight time frame. We are extremely pleased with the final result, and look forward to the next phases of work"
B&B Ireland, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal
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