Paul Sault, revenue director at Apex Hotels, explains why the company is stumping up £100,000 to double its online business
Hotels are now the fastest growing product group online.
Last year, figures from financial services company Merrill Lynch showed that 29% of all hotel bookings were generated online with another third influenced by the internet and then completed offline.
There is little doubt that a website, expertly designed and managed, is a commercial tool, capable of extending customer reach and driving bookings.
The success of the likes of Expedia, Lastminute and Laterooms show how it is possible to steer millions of consumers towards specific airlines and hotels.
These sites help keep prices competitive, rooms full and customer satisfaction high.
However, for a business like ours to grow we have to harness the web in a way that also enhances our premium business.
Putting more emphasis on our own website and building the brand and consumer experience from this point of contact onwards is going to be increasingly important for us as we grow.
We have therefore adopted the approach that good service and customer satisfaction must start online and are investing accordingly.
Through a partnership with Realise, one of Scotland's leading web designers, the Apex online booking experience is now more intuitive and links seamlessly with system provider Travel Click's istay booking engine.
Provision of real-time bookings via the Apex Hotels website also allows guests to customise their stay by choosing from a more extensive range of hotel amenities and services than was previously available.
Good for them and good for us.
We aim to double our online business over the next three years and consider a £100,000 investment now money well spent and integral to our future growth.
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