Bosinver scoops top award for Family Friendly Accommodation of the Year 2017

Bosinver scoops top award for Family Friendly Accommodation of the Year 2017

Anytime Booking customer Bosinver has just won the Family Friendly Accommodation of the Year category at the 2017 VisitEngland Awards hosted at the Hilton Waldorf Hotel in central London. We are delighted for them – this national award is such an achievement, and it is wonderful to have their efforts recognised in this way.

Owner Pat says, “We have previously won the top national award for self-catering, but ‘Family Friendly’ is a new category and it is particularly thrilling to win this award as families are at the heart of our business. We strive to combine luxurious accommodation and facilities for parents with the creation of magical childhood memories for children on our farm.”

The congratulations have been flooding in on social media from guests, many of whom have been holidaying with at Bosinver for years. Check out what a wonderful place to stay it really is at www.bosinver.co.uk.

What Bosinver says about Anytime Booking

“The quality of our booking system is an essential part of our success – it is one of the first experiences our guests have of us so it must be as ‘award winning’ as the other experiences we offer – which it is! We are proud to use a Cornish firm that is going from strength to strength and building and improving the service that offered to us. Thank you, Anytime, for helping us to win this prestigious award.”

How Anytime can help you

1 Install a Book Now button on your website, the most effective call to action there is

2 Share live availability with global third parties like Booking.com, Airbnb and Tripadvisor

3 Increase your visibility on the web to take advantage of the spike in staycations and short-breaks

4 Maximise your booking process to capitalise on mobile browsing

5 Minimise the risk of double bookings

6 Flexible management tools to run your business your way, eg. categorising your inventory, setting your pricing, fixing discounts and occupancy rules, moving bookings

7 Up-sell welcome hampers, logs, activities, dogs, you name it – quickly and easily

8 Improve and automate the way you communicate with your visitors

9 Carve through your admin giving you more time to spend ensuring your guests have a fantastic stay

10 Detailed reception reports (arrivals/departures), housekeeping and financial reports, and owner statements

11 Backed up data and a great team of people behind the product to assist you every step of the way

Are you ready to increase your bookings, streamline your admin and stay ahead?

Take me to church: the rise of champing

Take me to church: the rise of champing

Camping is always marching on, always diversifying, always presenting something new. But who would have thought of putting camping and churches together?

The Churches Conservation Trust, that’s who.

Take a disused church steeped in history. Take friends and families who are always looking for the next adventure, something different, something to feed the soul. Put them together and you have champing. Church camping. A juxtaposed stay as down to earth yet as close to heaven as you’ll ever get.

The Champing churches can sleep from 2 to 16 people. The hire of a church is completely exclusive; you won’t be rubbing shoulders with any strangers, apart from maybe the odd spider or two. Child-friendly, dog-friendly, group-friendly, picnic-friendly, alcohol-friendly, the experience is surely one to consider if you’re looking for an authentic, unforgettable mini-break experience.

Facilities are basic with camping beds, rugs, cushions and camping chairs supplied but you will have to rely on your own bedding and blankets to keep warm. It isn’t fancy yet there is a certain magic and humour about having the free run of a church for a night or two that makes it seem actually quite spoily. Think of it as a massive tent filled with history. Imagine lying there with the moonlight coming through the stained glass windows, pondering awhile on all the people who have paced the flagstones over hundreds of years. Imagine the kids playing hide and seek in the churchyard and swapping spooky stories by torchlight. That is quite something. And to top the Blytonesque experience, a steaming breakfast butty will be delivered to you by a friendly local in the morning. Sold.

Brainchild of Peter Aires, director of the Churches Conservation Trust in the south east, the scheme was piloted in 2014 and launched officially in 2015 with three churches. More than 150 holidaymakers stayed at a champing church that year, including Andrew Flintoff, the former England cricket captain, who documented his overnight stay in Aldwincle on Sky One after England won the Ashes series.

In 2016 the trust opened a further four more churches for their champing experience and nearly 700 guests came through their doors. The movement (for it certainly feels like a movement) is increasing to twelve churches in 2017. It is an imaginative way to generate income to maintain these congregation-less churches while offering a new phenomenon in camping.

Champing is certainly making the press sit up and take notice. It has been featured in the likes of The Times, The National Geographic, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent and even on national TV. It really feels like there is a wave to catch here. With a new website launched today at www.champing.co.uk and our online booking facility in place to support them, the Churches Conservation Trust is already ramping up the bookings, even from as far afield as America.

So, are you going to frequent church anytime soon? We most certainly are. Champing. It’s the one to watch.

Trewince Holiday Lodges

Trewince Holiday Lodges

Trewince is a 26-acre estate nestled on the southern tip of the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall.  It is home to a Georgian Manor House with sea views to one side and woods and private quay to the other.  The holiday lodges are surrounded by idyllic countryside and some enjoy a prime position overlooking the English Channel.

Guests at Trewince Holiday Lodges are lucky to have complimentary access to their leisure club which includes a heated indoor swimming pool, children’s splash pool, spa pool and sauna.  They can then relax afterwards in The Coach House Bar & Cafe where they serve pastries, seasonal lunches, pasties, cream teas, freshly baked cakes, and Callestick Farm ice-cream. It really is a gem of a place to have happy holidays and make many wonderful memories.

Since coming onboard with Anytime Booking, Trewince has seen an incredible 42% increase in revenue over the past 2 years. “This has been down to the help and accessibility of Anytime”, says the reception team. “We’ve really pushed marketing through the system and our outstanding Tripadvisor reviews have helped. With an increase in efficiencies and therefore revenue, we’ve happily been able to reinvest back into Trewince and make a number of improvements to the site and lodges, such as new roads onsite, the introduction of a play park at the top of the woods and new kitchens in some of the lodges. This will give us an up-turn in first-time guests, as well as return guests – and our revenue will continue to climb which is brilliant.”

To increase their level of customer service, Trewince has opted to have a site map integrated into their Anytime system. “The site map has not only helped with advising customers with which lodge they’d like to book, we’re able to describe the location of the lodges far more easy with use of the site map on our website and customers can book their lodges directly through the map online. It’s a much-used feature of our system. Another helpful feature is that customers can pay online through instalments, which has really helped with guests that are paying separately. The whole system offers such flexibility; we are really happy.”

Thank you Trewince Holiday Lodges!

We are always looking to hear and share your success stories so if you are one of our customers and would like to be featured by us on our website and social media channels, please ping our communications director an email!

The Jarman Centre, Cambridgeshire East County Girlguiding

The Jarman Centre, Cambridgeshire East County Girlguiding

Set in 18 acres of private woodland just outside Newmarket, the Jarman Centre is used by Girlguiding and Scouting groups, other youth and community groups, schools and families.

It is also an ideal venue for outdoor team-building sessions for local companies.

Anytime Booking was approached just over a year ago to provide a booking management solution to support their varied residential and day bookings, as well as their bookable activities. We asked Patricia Acres, Treasurer for the Jarman Centre, to tell us about their decision to use Anytime Booking and their journey with us.

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“The Jarman Centre is owned by the Girlguiding county of Cambridgeshire East, and is run by a small group of volunteers, responsible to our trustees.

We have been using Anytime for just over a year now. We were already using a computerised booking system, complete with an automated availability calendar on our website, which had served us well for several years, but as we grew busier and added more activities it was beginning to creak at the seams. More importantly, our volunteer who ran it on her computer was at the limit of the time she could devote to the centre’s administration and badly needed to be able to share the load. So when we began our search for a new system, we knew we needed a web-based system “in the cloud” that more than one person could access and work on. And we certainly wished to continue using an availability calendar so that groups wishing to book could sort out a possible date before contacting us. Our last non-negotiable requirement was a system of listing Task Reminders; if you are a volunteer snatching time around your real work to keep up with potential bookings, you have to be able to find immediately your note of what is most urgent to do next.

 activity centre booking system

We tried out a couple of other systems and ran up against another snag: our mixture of residential bookings, day bookings and activities, coupled with the fact that our tariffs relate to who people are (our own members get preferential rates) rather than what they are booking or the time of year, produces a three-dimensional web of pricing that is perfectly clear to a human being but apparently always ties a computerised system in knots. In addition we know our member groups and they expect the personal touch. To get the complexity we needed, it looked as if we would have to go for one of the really big systems, which were beyond our reach financially.

 We spoke to Anytime in the first place because their website advertised that they could cope with any form of booking. We gave them a bit of a run for their money – but they have made good their claims! We can combine residential bookings charged per head per night, with a day booking of a campsite charged per hour, with activity sessions charged per session, all on one bill. The main residential booking may be made up to 18 months in advance, and then activities added over the time; sizes of groups go up and down; the leader falls ill and someone else takes over – all that is coped with. It has been a little complex to set up, but now that is done it works very well.

 Because most of the groups who book with us are charities which have to use double-signature cheque accounts and so cannot pay online, we decided for the moment not to have online booking and instead use the Enquiries system. An enquiry comes straight off the availability calendar with all the detail needed for us to put in a Provisional booking and is then confirmed by the deposit in the post. (Or people can pay by BACS if their banking arrangements allow it.) We can see straightaway on the Dashboard which bookings have not been confirmed. Importantly, Anytime tweaked the availability calendar widget for us, so that the difference also shows on the availability calendar. Now that groups know that their booking is vulnerable unless it has been confirmed, we have seen a perceptible improvement in deposits coming in promptly! And we are happy that when the situation changes re cheques – as it nearly did a couple of years ago – we can move to online booking with minimal effort.

 Anytime also wrote the Task Reminders system for us: it’s simple but effective. A group may tell us when they book a year in advance that they will want an archery session, but that’s far too early to book an instructor. The system brings it back to our attention at the right time. We can see on the Dashboard as soon as we log in what needs to be done next. We paid a little extra for these tweaks, but the overall price was still very reasonable, and considerably less than we would have had to pay one of the big boys.

Yes, another volunteer came forward to share the administrative load, so that is the biggest difference that moving to Anytime has brought us. Fairly close behind is the use of the automated emails. Apart from acknowledging the Provisional booking, in itself a great time-saver as we used to have to type them individually, we use them for two main purposes. We send our Pre-arrival Information – vital when the booking may have been made so far in advance – 28 days before a group arrives without even having to remember to do it. And all our receipts also go automatically whenever a payment is recorded. This has reduced to almost zero the number of items we have to post, which is a good saving of both time and money.

 So as a medium-sized Girlguiding-owned residential and activity centre, we are probably a rather different kind of animal from most of Anytime’s clients. But their system has proved flexible enough to cope with almost all our demands, and allows us to concentrate on providing a fun-filled and exciting time for all the young people who visit us.”

by Patricia Acres, Treasurer for the Jarman Centre

Jarman Centre

 

Home Farm Camping & Caravan Park

Home Farm Camping & Caravan Park

Home Farm is a jewel of a campsite only an hour west of London, nestled in the idyllic Chiltern Hills near the picturesque village of Radnage in Buckinghamshire.  Indeed, so pretty is the area that Home Farm is not unused to a camera crew or two (it is set to feature in the new series of a popular murder mystery programme, we believe!)

Twenty years young, the site is family run, welcoming and situated slap bang in the middle of gorgeous walking and red kite-spotting country. Even better, it is really close to an outstanding and cosy pub, with many more in the next village a mile away, so if you fancy a pint of something heady after wrestling with your tent, you’re in luck!

If the wilder side of camping does not bubble your crock-pot, Home Farm offers a spot of toe-warming glamping – 5 metre bell tents complete with double bed mattresses, single futons, chandeliers, rugs, internal wood-burning stove, firepit, BBQ and an ice bucket for the fizz… hang on, we feel an Anytime Booking mini-break coming on…

We asked the owner, Andrew Radford, what adopting the Anytime Booking software has meant for Home Farm as a business. Andrew lives life as a busy building contractor and property developer by day and campsite manager by night, so mounting admin was always an issue before he signed up to our booking and management package.

He says, “Anytime Booking has enabled me to keep the camp site open which may otherwise in reality have had to close. Being a small site, I could not give up my day job and was struggling with all the bookings at night. On top of this, taking the money and keeping track of it all was very difficult to say the least!”

Andrew continues, “Not only has Anytime Booking revolutionised how I run my business, and kept it open all year round, an additional and welcome bonus is that we have had a massive increase in bookings as people are now able to see if we have space and book and pay there and then themselves. Before, I was often unable to get back to them soon enough.”

“Keeping track of payments, receipts, who is on site and who is arriving are all so simple with Anytime Booking – the system even sends out directions and a map on its own!!!! What better service could you give to your guests?”

Having more time has meant that Andrew has been able to take things further for Home Farm as a business and work on factors that give them an edge over competing camping businesses. Some have even started to mirror what they do, which can only be taken as a compliment. Congratulations to Home Farm, another happy success story and thank you for choosing Anytime Booking to propel you to a better place!

Trewan Hall

Trewan Hall

Why Trewan Hall is such a success

Trewan Hall is a 17th century manor house located in the centre of Cornwall on the north coast between Newquay and Padstow. Celebrating its 50th anniversary as a family-run camping and touring destination, it is a gorgeous, open-hearted place to take a holiday.

Driving through the gates, the stunning manor house and 36 acres of woodlands and grounds may at first sight seem rather grand, but everything about a holiday here promises the honesty and simplicity of bygone days that is rarely found in the hustle and bustle of our modern world.

There is a real focus on the natural here. Everything about Trewan Hall sings discovery from beginning to end. There is hardly any signage, there are no allocated camping or touring pitches, games of cricket and football are positively encouraged in the wide-open spaces, and the outbuildings house games that don’t require plugs such as table tennis, billiards and pool.

If guests do require some connectivity in their lives, however, the library in the main house is open for them to use its free WiFi and reception staff will be happy to charge up any mobile devices or tablets that they may have.

As if this weren’t enough to make prospective holiday-makers glow inside, Trewan Hall also offers a 25m heated swimming pool which can be either open-air or sheltered from the elements by a dome; a huge handmade scalextric track; a woodland children’s play area, and live entertainment by local musicians and theatre companies in a fairy-lit barn.

To add to the idyllic nature of the holiday, visitors don’t even need to set foot off site as the well-stocked shop is open 14 hours a day in high season and sells all manner of things that campers might need such as groceries, fresh bread, pasties, camping equipment, toys and souvenirs.

All of the seemingly effortless magic that happens at Trewan Hall is down to the very hard work and nurture of the Hill family who have been in residence for the past 50 years. They have put Trewan Hall firmly at the heart of their lives and it shows, which is why they win over the loyalty of their guests who like to return year on year. They set out to deliver an experience for families to remember, a true escape from the rat-race. It really does evoke warm and fuzzy feelings that linger long enough when one leaves to make enquiries for a return visit.

As it is Trewan Hall’s 50th anniversary, a lot of effort is being made this year to show off the historical timeline of the business. Old photos taken by the Hill family are on display in the scalextric barn and show the numerous improvements, renovations and changes that have taken place over the years. As recently as 2013 they completely rebuilt a washing/toilet block that now provides top class facilities for guests. It even has a spacious washroom with a bath, making the whole camping experience with babies and toddlers so much easier.

Trewan Hall-23

Trewan Hall in bloom

How Anytime Booking helps Trewan Hall

Another massive step for Trewan Hall in recent years was taking the business online by developing their web presence and taking on the Anytime Booking software to manage their bookings. As with all our customers, Anytime Booking considers it a real privilege to be the booking and management system that powers people to holiday here at Trewan Hall, and to be part of that bigger picture.

A particular part of the Anytime Booking system that Trewan Hall uses to suit them is what we refer to as the ‘Open Field’ feature. As Trewan Hall does not allocate pitches, instead giving their guests the opportunity to choose their own camping area using a peg number, our feature enables customers to book online when there are no specific pitch numbers. In the back office, Trewan Hall creates a unit where that unit is essentially the ‘whole field’. They then assign a total number of pitches allowed within that whole field unit. Their availability calendar then takes care of the rest, notifying them of how many spaces they have booked, how many are still available and how many there are in total.

“We struggled at times before the booking system to be honest. We are absolutely delighted with how things are now working,” said Judith Mitchell. “We can see so much more clearly now what our occupancy and availability levels are, and we have definitely seen an increase in revenue.” Matthew Hill added, “Anytime Booking has developed a system that allows flexibility – you let us do it our way. You also listen to us and make changes based on our suggestions which is refreshing.”

Our best wishes go out to the Hill family, the staff and all the visitors to Trewan Hall in this special 50th anniversary year. We really hope the celebrations, swimming galas and special events go off with a bang!