Travel tech firm Freetobook helps b&b owners

by Phil Davies
by Phil Davies
February 22, 2012 05:03 PM GMT

A bespoke website for Ayrshire bed and breakfast owners has been created by two brothers behind one of the UK's leading online booking companies.

Glasgow-based Craig and Iain Stewart run a series of online accommodation booking sites, which have combined annual sales of more than £4 million, but have agreed to develop the B&B side based around their freetobook.com software.

Twenty-five of the fifty strong Ayrshire Bed and Breakfast Association members are showcasing their properties on the new site in its launch phase.

The association predicts that bookings could rise by around 10% in the first year alone, increasing members' combined revenues by as much as £200,000.

The Stewarts are behind online booking software tools including justonehotel.com, which drives web-based reservations for UK and international hotels.

They accepted a 'modest' four-figure sum to share their expertise with the 50 B&B owners.

The brothers now plan to introduce similar sites working in conjunction with other groups of B&B owners throughout the country.

The business model could also be replicated globally with aims to target the potential from the massive American B&B, guesthouse and short-stay business.

The newly launched website - www.ayrshirebandb.com - gives each of the owners a profile to showcase their B&B or guesthouse accommodation options.

Iain Stewart, operations director of freetobook.com, said: “Our software is offered free to use and allows each property to take 100% of the booking revenue when reservations are made directly from their own site.

"We were impressed by the Ayrshire group's motivation and desire to proactively manage and drive their marketing push and turn more lookers into bookers."

The B&B association’s vice-chairman Charlie Steele said: “Many small B&B and guesthouse owners can feel isolated when it comes to being able to market themselves properly so this move allows us all to have a stronger and more confident voice together. We are sure more owners will join us to combine forces.”

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