How easy is it to switch booking managers?
This is a question I get asked a lot. There is a fear among hospitality owners that when you sign up to booking managers, you are with them for life. Even when things get bad, the hassle of having to switch, especially in the middle of a season, is too much.
To answer the question I reached out to freetobook and asked that exact same question.
The lovely Heather Scott came back with a comprehensive answer for me. Heather has an extensive background in the hospitality industry. She was initially a hospitality owner herself. Her knowledge of freetobook, which originally came from being a customer for a number of years, is extensive. This was so much the case that when she relocated, she was asked by the owners of the company to come on board full-time with freetobook as an account manager. I can think of no better person to answer this question than Heather.
So, without further ado, I will pass you on to Heather.
In my role as an account manager, I often speak to properties who are keen to move to freetobook and just want a bit of help to navigate their way through the switching process. The way we work here means that switching has never been easier. Here’s what you get with us:
• FREE Account – When you register with freetobook, you get a freetobook account AT NO CHARGE. This account gives you access to all the features of the freetobook Booking Engine and Diary.
• NO FIXED CONTRACT TERMS, NO MONTHLY ORANNUAL FEES, AND NO UPFRONT COSTS – This means that you can start your set-up immediately without having to make any financial or contractual commitment. Nothing goes online until YOU say so.
• YOU are in Charge – Once you have your account, you can start the setup of your freetobook account offline and work on it at your own speed and in your own time. This gives you plenty of time to play with the system and find the best set up for you. Nothing will go live anywhere until you are ready.
• EASE – Contrary to popular misconceptions, you do not have to be a “computer person” to set up a booking engine. Our system is free because you do the set-up and that model would not work if we had not made it easy to do. All you are doing is entering information into the system you already know, rather than emailing it to someone to do for you. There are training videos and tips on how to set up the system, which people all over the world use.
• CONTROL – By setting up the system yourself, YOU are empowered to control your business yourself, forever. You will be able to make your own changes without calling someone else to do it for you or waiting in a queue.
• PLANNING POWER – Obviously, when to switch is key. We recommend autumn as the best time since you can have the system set up before Christmas, with the added perk that it will be ready for the following year’s bookings. Where you may be paying monthly subscription charges, it will also mean that you can save these over the winter when bookings are lower. That’s not to say that you should wait until the autumn to begin. You can tinker away over the summer, popping in and out whenever you like with a view to finishing on a schedule.
• PREPARATION – The account is free. You can prepare the basic set-up well in advance and start to add bookings as and when you get them, as long as they are all set on dates that fall after your anticipated switch. This will reduce the chances of any last minute rush. For some booking engines, we can arrange a booking import, so please check with us if you’re interested in this option.
• CHANNEL TRANSFER – If you work with any of the Online Travel Agents, you can sign up to some of our PLUS services, such as Channel Manager. You can transfer your connections to your Online Travel Agents so that those bookings all automatically go into your freetobook diary. For major channels such as Booking.com, this can be done in less than 24 hours.
• GO LIVE – Once everything is in place, all you need to do is place a booking link of your choice on your website. It’s really as simple as that.
The main thing to know is that YOU are in control of the whole process. Do it as quickly or slowly as YOU would like.
Have a look at the following testimonial from Karen Cheater from The Langtons, Eastbourne, who switched to freetobook in April 2017.
“I decided to switch to freetobook after a recommendation from a fellow accommodation provider who raved about what a great system freetobook was and what a friendly company they are. I did a review of our costs and realised I could save a lot of money, so decided to switch.
The set-up process was very straightforward and well explained, with help available when I needed it. The system is very intuitive and I set up the whole thing offline before picking a date to go live. Freetobook was able to import my bookings from my old provider which helped me get up and running quicker.
The transition from one system to another was easy and I was able to connect my website and Channels with negligible downtime. I am already saving money by not having a monthly charge for my booking engine. I’m looking forward to saving more in the years to come.”
Article by Heather Scott (Account Manager – freetobook)
*Channel connections may be subject to charges. Please check with your Account Manager.