ROOMDEX Customer Success Story: Cedar Court Hotel Group Yorkshire
Cedar Court Hotels is a small, independent hotel group, comprised of 4 luxury properties in Yorkshire, England. The group has over 35 years’ experience in the hospitality industry delivering a warm Yorkshire welcome to guests and quality residences with individual personalities.
We recently caught up with Emily Cox, both the group’s Revenue Manager and IT Manager to find out how ROOMDEX upsell system has been performance as the industry gets back on its feet.
Emily we can’t start without acknowledging the two sizable roles, that of IT and Revenue Management that you oversee.
Yes, it works. Revenue management, has come a long way and technology is a now huge part of it – and there’s so much technology that’s developed so quickly. Over the last few years you have to be on top of that as a Revenue Manager.
What property management system do your currently use?
We currently use StayNTouch. We changed our property management system (PMS) a couple of years ago now. We wanted something that was much more customer friendly and our owner was very excited to have something that was quite automated and enabled the guests to have that self-check in experience – so we moved over to StayNTouch a couple of years back.
What was your impetus for looking at upselling software and considering it?
We hadn’t really had any upselling software at all. When we implemented the StayNTouch PMS, the level of automation with that was quite high. It took a lot of the admin side away. What we found with upselling is that we were struggling to coach the team to do manual upselling, and as a result there was no pre-stay capture of any up sales at all. So, similar to our PMS, we needed, wanted, a system that was very automated and took the emphasis away from the front desk and the reservations agents. We wanted to automate that whole process so that we didn’t have so much administration in traction.
Would you say it was the issues with training or that you just didn’t get consistency, that led you to ultimately implementing ROOMDEX?
It was inconsistencies. I don’t think the training wasn’t too much of a problem, it was the fact that it wouldn’t be consistently delivered – and the fact it was manual. We were sending reservations, we were sending emails out to guests, pre-stay, offering options but if the guest came back and said I wanted “x” it was then a manual process. We wanted something that was integrated with the PMS system so that we didn’t have to have any manual notes made on the system or add-ons put in the system. It needed something where we could just be consistent – that it got sent out every time, we knew the guest would have an easy journey following through on booking if they chose to accept the upsell. I also wanted something that was flexible. There are quite a lot of systems already on the market where you can set it to sell at a certain price or offer a certain product, but I wanted something that was a little bit more intelligent than that- and ROOMDEX offered that for us.
Tell me a little bit about setting up and the process you were in – you were part of an early trial for ROOMDEX?
We were. I think we were probably one of the first ones that kind of adopted the system and it was one of the easiest things in the world to set up. It was very simple. The team made it so easy. I think it took us about an hour to get it set up – and it’s quite intuitive. It’s not complicated. As you go through the set-up process it’s very simple. From a client perspective, it was quick and easy.
How soon after setup were you seeing results?
Pretty much straight away. Obviously as we were early adopters, it probably wasn’t the best time to actually categorize because obviously the world was a very different place when we joined up. It was 2020, we were just going into lockdown at that point in the UK. So, we got the system set up and then we went into this period of, “we’re not sure what’s going to happen”, but having said that ROOMDEX made a difference during that time for us. Those extra bits of revenue that we could capture during that period made all the difference to us. We did see results straight away after set up but we’ve seen a lot more results now that the world has opened up again and “back to normal”.
Similarly, when we first signed up with the system, obviously upsells were limited. But as the team developed the system, they added on F&B and other extras. Now we offer champagne in the room, we offer flowers, we offer breakfast, dinner etc. and that has also made a difference for us – especially in terms of breakfast, that is the most popular upsell that we sell through the system. It has made it a lot easier for us to communicate to guests to say, “this is everything we can provide you with, pick and choose what you want”. It’s such an easy process, it has really made a difference – certainly when the F&B elements were added in.
Do you find that guests are adding more things than they otherwise might if they were upsold at the front desk?
Absolutely. Somebody will, if they are on a room only basis, they will add on breakfast and they will do a room upgrade as well. It really has increased that incremental spend on reservations, definitely.
Would you say occupancy has returned to 2019 levels?
Not quite 2019. We have some various exclusive contracts in certain hotels in the group at the moment, so we do have lower availability than we would have had in 2019. But the ones that are fully open are absolutely back to 2019 levels. ROOMDEX works really well in our property in Harrogate. That is by far the busiest hotel that we have at the moment and the type of clients that we get there like to go for upsells and those extra F&B add-ons that we can do through the system.
In terms of performance, would you say that occupancy is a determining factor of success?
No, not at all. In three properties of our properties – one is currently closed off for booking – we are seeing success from our upsells even though they are of lower occupancies at the moment.
You also upsell early arrival and late departure, how are they working out?
We do. What we have noticed is that we tend to have more of the early check-ins in Harrogate because that is a more leisure-based market, whereas we tend to have more late checkouts in the other two hotels because they are much more wedding venues – anybody booking to come for a wedding will obviously prefer a late checkout! But both work really well for us.
Any final words on ROOMDEX’s upsell system?
It’s such a simple system. There’s very little admin work required from the team to contribute to that ROI – and the ROI is very quick, it’s very seamless without too much administration work involved. with ROOMDEX you have the ability to decide what level you want to sell upsell. It is quite an intuitive system in terms of, you have control over how much of a discount or how much you don’t want to discount in terms of those upsells which I think puts ROOMDEX ahead of a lot of other upsell systems I’ve worked with in the past. It is user friendly and guest facing. It is a really simple process for guests to follow.