Case Study

The Chesterton Hotel, Bicester

“We needed a system that was easy to use, intuitive, constantly improving and properly integrated – Rezcontrol is all of this, with amazing customer service as the icing on the cake.”

Background

The Chesterton is an 18-bedroom boutique hotel on the edge of Bicester with a bustling bar and brasserie and a focus on weddings, parties and corporate events, which are a vital part of their business.

The hotel was purchased by owner and MD Kaven Gill in 2018 as a going concern, and updating the PMS was an immediate priority. He chose Avondata’s previous system, Hotel Executive, and was impressed with both the team and the functionality. This made it a natural progression to migrate to Rezcontrol when it was launched not long afterwards.

Tables set for a wedding reception

The problem

“I needed a PMS which was easy to use and properly integrated”

“When I bought the hotel, it wasn’t very well managed,” said Kaven. “Nothing was integrated and the existing systems didn’t talk to each other; the online booking system and POS didn’t feed into the PMS, and so with everything operating in isolation, the day to day management and bookings processes were time consuming, very manual, and prone to error. I therefore gave myself a brief to find a system which was intuitive, easy to use, and brought everything under one roof.”

The Chesterton trialled several systems, global giants among them, which were discounted as they had concerns about being ‘just another number’. Kaven was reassured by the prospect of teaming up with a more agile and responsive UK-based supplier which offered personalised tech support and as strong a focus on customer relations as on the product and its functionality.

The solution

“I am so impressed with the culture of ongoing investment and improvement"

Bedroom at the Chesterton Hotel

One of the elements which most impressed The Chesterton was Rezcontrol’s responsiveness. “I love the fact that the team listens, makes constant improvements and enhancements, and keeps adding to and fine-tuning the system,” said Kaven.

The Chesterton has taken full advantage of all the improvements since Rezcontrol was launched, and is an ‘early adopter’ when it comes to new functions and integrations.

“We jumped at the chance to take on board the events module when it launched, and we’re thrilled with the POS system from Newbridge,” said Kaven. “We’ve recently started with RoomPriceGenie and it has already increased revenue.”

The benefits of Rezcontrol

“Having such a simple yet effective system has made life so much easier”

“I wear lots of hats in this business – most hoteliers do – and having such a simple yet effective system has made life so much easier,” said Kaven.

The Chesterton is an especially avid fan of one of Rezcontrol’s latest integrations, RoomPriceGenie.

“We had never implemented a pricing strategy properly before,” explained Kaven. “We would manually set prices, and in fact we realised we were setting mid-week prices too high and then over-discounting to compensate. Once we could use the system to set our targets and comfort zone, the algorithm runs it for us and we have definitely seen an increase in revenue, in just a few weeks.”

“We had never created a proper revenue and pricing strategy before”

The hotel also avoids manual error due to the automation. “Once we made a simple typo and input room rates at £13 instead of £130,” he said. “This then forced us to spend hours calling guests to explain and changing bookings. This kind of human error – which can happen to anyone – is avoided when you run sophisticated automation technologies.”

Adding value and increasing revenue with marketing and guest experience automations

Marketing and guest experience automations also feed into the same beneficial circle the hotel has seen from working with Rezcontrol.

They make good use of the branded, automated email marketing options, and use these to communicate guest offers, special deals and other upsells and extras as well as standard booking and billing reminders.

Similarly, they use Rezcontrol’s gift voucher integration, SmartGift, for afternoon teas and monetary value gifts.

“This combination works really well for us,” said Kaven, “as we’re not centrally located, so nearly all our guests dine in, or else are here for an event which includes F&B. So even if RoomPriceGenie will sometimes suggest pricing which is lower than we’d have anticipated, we then see the extra bookings coming in, and these guests will nearly always make additional purchases in the bar and restaurant – which we can encourage through the guest experience elements of the PMS.”

 

RezPay and contactless billing

RezPay also works well for the Chesterton, with its chip and PIN pre-authorisation, auto-scheduled deposits and payments, online check-in and self check-out. These functionalities combine to offer a smoother guest experience and protect against chargebacks – though in reality many of the hotel’s guests prefer to visit the front desk to check in and out.

Key automations such as guest communications, payments, revenue management and voucher reconciliation mean that the hotel staff have far more time available to create a truly memorable guest experience – which is evident from the rave reviews the hotel receives.

Outstanding onboarding and support

“We love knowing that we will always get through to someone who’s happy to help, and whom we’ve usually dealt with before – the continuity is a real plus”

The reason the Chesterton chose Rezcontrol was a combination of ease of use, functionality and support, and this has been borne out in the hotel’s experience of onboarding, training and ongoing customer service.

The migration to Rezcontrol was smooth and hassle-free, and staff have found the on-demand training very useful. The team finds it especially useful to know that they can call, and get through to a named account manager, for any query big or small.

“We very rarely have an actual problem to solve with the system,” says Kaven, “but we’re very keen to get ahead and make the most of the functions and integrations, so we might call to get a bit of further insight or training on using a particular element more effectively or efficiently.”

“The Rezcontrol team is always willing to help and it comes across in the way they deal with customers. It’s a breath of fresh air.”