Thought Leadership

boyne valley hotel

Despite a significant downturn in travel, there is no shortage of hotels looking ahead to the future.  One such property is the Boyne Valley Hotel and Country Club. An independent hotel in the North East of Ireland, the Boyne Valley Hotel has been quite proactive in a year that has been particularly bad for hospitality. In the past year they have partnered with a new PMS provider (StayNTouch) and integrated with the ROOMDEX hotel upsell tool to offer automated upgrades. Plus, the hotel is in the latter stages of a renovation project which will see eight new rooms added to its inventory.

Regardless of the disruption the pandemic has brought, the Boyne Valley Hotel remains unwavering in its investment in the hotel’s future.

We caught up with the hotel’s General Manager, Damien McDaid, to talk about recent tech investments and what they hope to achieve in the coming months.

Damien, COVID-19 has been bad for hospitality. Like elsewhere, Ireland has experienced a number of lockdowns which saw your hotel close for periods at a time. Why has your hotel decided this year was the right time to invest in technology?

Towards the end of last year, I sat down with the team to review our PMS and wider technology offering – or lack thereof. One of the selling points of the Boyne Valley Hotel is that it is a period house built in the 1840s. It’s quite an old and unique property. However the same could be have been said for our technology. We’ve been a traditional property and the consensuses was we wanted to bring the hotel into the modern era. As a first step, we reviewed a number of PMS solutions and it was during this process we came across StayNTouch.

There are many PMS solutions on the market, so why StayNTouch?

Their Rover PMS solution is purely cloud-based. We now avail ourselves of up-to-date PMS technology functionality quickly. Implementation was fast, integration simple and no hardware was required. StayNTouch PMS was our preferred choice because it is intuitive, scalable and flexible. We are aware there is a lot of future facing tech on the market and we felt that the ease of integrations that the ROVER PMS offers would allow us to be ready for any future integrations. While the pandemic was just kicking off here in Ireland, we successfully installed it in March.

And installing a new PMS was just the beginning, correct? You then went on to integrate ROOMDEX. What was it about the hotel upsell tool that you liked and how did the pandemic impact the decision?

One of the main reasons we chose the ROOMDEX hotel upsell tool was how could we get more incremental room revenue from guests that we already have – specifically on premium rooms. This year, with COVID, every Euro really does count. For example, ROOMDEX provides the opportunity to make further sales prior to arrival in terms of early check in and late check-out.

For example, our hotel has a number of superior rooms with a magnificent view of our gardens. Now with ROOMDEX, we have the ability to add and leverage those views, by offering those rooms at a higher price, while still pleasing the guests!

boyne valley is hyperintelligent with roomdex hotel upsell tool

Can you walk us through the set-up process?

Implementation of ROOMDEX’s software, for me, was as simple as you are going to get. It took only an hour, maybe an hour and a half of my time. As mentioned earlier, ease of integration was one of main reasons for choosing StayNTouch. Both the Rover PMS and ROOMDEX Upgrade Optimizer really lived up to their expectations when it came to integration.

What about ongoing management of the upselling process?

Our reception staff does little in regard to managing the hotel upsell tool. It all happens in the background. Really, that’s the one thing that really stuck out for me. It looks at our occupancy, our average daily rate etc., and can calculate and propose appropriate pricing.  It optimizes conversion without harming room revenue margins.

You can control the percentage of the upgrade price (yielding range) but what we are seeing is the software isn’t selling upgrades for less than they should be sold for. My thoughts are to let the software do its thing and don’t get too involved. It really is, set it and forget it.

And given the current lower rates in our compset, we can lead in with a lower BAR and have some confidence we can make it up with ROOMDEX upselling once we secure the reservation. It allows us to be more competitive on pricing.

Does your approach change as we begin the recovery?

The first half of next year is even looking light. But definitely in late 2021 and early 2022, I feel it’s going to be an even more valuable tool for us. Especially when it comes to weddings, we’ll now have the opportunity to upsell deluxe rooms and suites.

We also have eight rooms in renovation that are going to be ready to receive guests early next year (2021). These rooms are rich in architectural and luxury features. All have original fireplaces, sash windows, high ceilings, and free standing baths. I know that once I have these available in the ROOMDEX hotel upsell tool, I’ll see a quick benefit.

While COVID may linger awhile, I’m personally excited to see what ROOMDEX really can do and how it will improve our incremental revenue.

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