In southern Italy, family means a lot – and Hotel Ascot is no exception. Located in the province of Caserta, this property has been a family affair since its opening in 2014.
It’s here that owner Antonio Iannotta works, alongside his wife and parents. The Ascot is a small hotel with 12 rooms, and a friendly atmosphere that Antonio describes as “informal”.
The hotel is around 30 km from the nearest major tourist attraction, and when the family first opened the hotel, they had difficulty getting the hotel’s name out there for guests to find. So they started looking for technology tools to help tell the world about Hotel Ascot.
Instant access to millions of guests
The Iannottas were clear that promoting their property online was the way to go, so they hired a local web design company to build a website for them. However, with few bookings coming in, they struggled to see much return on their investment.
That’s when they found out about WebDirect by BookingSuite, a website solution for properties. After signing up, the initial setup was completed in only a few seconds, and the Iannottas had their own professional website with all Booking.com’s years of expertise behind it.
The benefits were visible almost immediately, with a 30% increase in direct online bookings. “With this system we managed to reach the top positions on search engines, almost at no cost,” says Antonio. He easily set up an SEO strategy from the website’s backend and purchased a custom domain as well. “It gave us direct results, and indirectly, thanks to the visibility, we have become the main attraction for the area.”
Quality apps in one easy store
With an effective website bringing in guests from all over the world, the Iannottas were keen to see if there was more hotel technology that could help push their business forward.
Initially, they tried using search engines to find what they were looking for. But without an easy, trustworthy way of identifying useful tools, they struggled. “We weren’t offered the best service available on the market,” says Antonio.
Since WebDirect was working so well for them, they had a look on BookingSuite’s App Store, a collection of tried-and-tested apps for independent properties. Antonio was amazed by the difference. “Booking.com has great experience in selling rooms and promoting properties, so I’m sure that they choose the best companies offering these products in the market.”
“Using App Store was easy and intuitive. It lets you choose the product that is most suitable for your business,” he says.
Simple ways to improve service
One of the tools Antonio found on App Store was a programme designed to collect guest feedback quickly and easily. This chimed perfectly with Hotel Ascot, because “since the very first day we set customer satisfaction as a main goal. We really need to get real, direct feedback from the customer.”
With the new guest review app, they’ve been able to send quick feedback requests to guests’ mobile phones, even during their stay. This has alerted Hotel Ascot’s staff to issues that they’d never considered before. One time, a guest made a comment about the toiletries, “and we managed to fix it immediately,” adds Antonio.
That way, staff have been able to turn potentially negative guest experiences into positive ones straight away. “We manage to solve them instantaneously, while the customer is still staying at our hotel,” he explains.
The unexpected benefits of the new technology didn’t stop at creating great guest experiences. Antonio and his colleagues also managed to save the salary of an additional employee. “If the same person who’s sitting at reception manages to solve these situations while checking in people, it’s great […] Now we have one person in reception managing everything,” explains Antonio, estimating a €12,000 savings.
What started with a search for a better hotel website has ended up with the Iannottas building a successful business. The family’s willingness to embrace technology has really proved fruitful – not only with more revenue, but with better guest experiences and a more efficient operation.
“Without Booking.com, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Antonio says.