From bookings via fax to getting more than 50% of its sales from online channels, ASURE Colonial Lodge Motel credits its partnerships with STAAH, Rooms Online and the ASURE Accommodation Group for its success.
The ASURE Colonial Lodge Motel is a centrally located motel in New Zealand’s Art Deco Capital – Napier in the Hawke’s Bay region. Boasting award-winning native park-like grounds, the property features modern amenities and well-appointed rooms that attract business and leisure travellers.
Owner-operator Mark Johnson grew up on the property when his family bought the business in 1969. Today he carries forward the family tradition of delivering an excellent hospitality experience with his wife and children, who reside on premise.
Colonial Lodge Motel is a part of the ASURE Accommodation Group set up by passionate accommodation providers who wanted to join with other like-minded hosts to ensure their guests experience fantastic hospitality throughout New Zealand.
“This partnership, along with our willingness to always adopt new technology and partner with external experts to guide us through a dynamic digital environment has been integral to our success,” says Mark.
Winds of Change: New Technologies
Now in his fifth decade in this property, Mark seen the whole evolution in technology, from taking phone and letter bookings onto the manual pad and pencil (and eraser!) system to receiving booking by fax, to today where more than half of the bookings are made online.
Emphasising the digital reliance of modern travellers, Mark says, “There has even been a time when a booking has been made online by someone sitting in a car outside the motel!”
The hospitality industry has completely been reshaped with the advent of online travel agents (OTAs). “These were a game changer and pushed accommodation providers to become digitally savvy.”
Just when the industry was getting used to OTAs, along came the likes of Bookabach and Airbnb. “We’re now not only competing with the motel or hotel down the road but with anyone with a spare room in their house!”
Having been a motelier for most of his life and with extensive work experience around the world, Mark knew that to be successful ASURE Colonial Lodge Motel must adapt change and become agile in its distribution.
There was a market-led need to be across multiple channels and become smarter about inventory by leveraging modern technology to make sure he was optimising to the very last room.
Establishing Successful Partnerships
Having become a part of the ASURE Accommodation Group, Mark’s next successful partnership was with STAAH, connecting to their Instant Channel Manager.
“We tried a couple other channel management platforms before settling for STAAH. The system is easy to navigate and the support is superb.”
Connecting to STAAH opened up a whole new world of distribution to this small Napier motel – literally. They benefit from STAAH’s 200+ integrations to OTAs and payment gateways. Updates of rates and inventory are real-time and instant, avoiding costly double-booking errors and saving many laborious hours spent updating multiple websites.
Another key partnership for ASURE Colonial Lodge Motel has been with Rooms Online that helps accommodation providers of all sizes maximise their online returns.
“Rooms Online helped us look more closely at our pricing model based on trends across channels, something we were not doing particularly well before, but is critical to any business.”
He complements Rooms Online saying they have a straightforward and professional process; have taken time to understand his business and developed a thought-out approach that is working well.
Recommending STAAH and Rooms Online to other operators, Mark says, “Both companies are New Zealand based. They understand us and the market very well, and while you can manage channels yourself or develop your own pricing strategy, why would you? STAAH and Rooms Online offer an affordable and efficient solution, freeing up your time to do better things – like folding towels and playing golf!”