The Chester Hotel is rated as one of the most desirable boutique hotels in Aberdeen. It’s the Granite City’s only AA four star silver rated hotel – and one of only three hotels in Scotland which hold this accolade. Its two red rosette IX restaurant was recently names as the North East of Scotland’s restaurant hotel of the year. With such a reputation to maintain, in 2017 The Chester decided to bring in the expertise of two technology providers to help grow their online bookings.
Shortly after an integration was completed between hotel booking engine specialists Avvio and yield management experts HotelPartner, Stephen Gow the hotel’s general manager, appointed the two companies with the remit of establishing a better booking experience for guests and better rate management for their in-house revenue team.
Aberdeen has traditionally enjoyed strong demand from oil and gas businesses, but the city has been hit significantly by the decrease in the price of oil as well as the increase in hotel supply. Hotels have lowered rates in order to attract business and a price war has ensued. Oil prices have recently started to improve, and Aberdeen has looked to make itself more attractive to non-oil business with the development of a conference centre and a focus on the numerous golf courses and leisure activities that are available.
The Chester’s guests range from oil executives visiting on North Sea business, visitors to the region’s sprawling golf courses, and wedding parties. Guests benefit from staying in an individually designed room, with Egyptian cotton sheets, Apple TV, the renowned IX Restaurant and being based just a short walk from the city centre.
Stephen Gow, general manager at The Chester explains: “HotelPartner introduced us to Avvio, as they are the booking engine of choice, so it was a logical partnership for the two tech providers to work on to support our hotel. HotelPartner offers an exceptional all-in solution, which works seamlessly with our existing systems.
“We’ve also recently started working with Avvio to create a better online experience for our guests. We were attracted by how streamlined the booking process is, and the fact it’s fully integrated to our existing website and property management system. Our initial results are just in and show how we’re significantly outperforming other luxury hotels in the area, which I’m delighted with.”
HotelPartner has been trading in Europe since 2006 and has over 450 partner hotels and accommodation providers. Their automated yield management system works to encourage direct bookings during peak demand period, and uses an inbuilt commission optimiser to close out high commission channels when occupancy parameters are met. The solution works in real time combining an RMS with channel management and rate shopping, which is fully supported by a team of revenue and content managers.
Robert Holland, Managing Director UK & Ireland at HotelPartner says, “The team at HotelPartner is delighted at the success that we have achieved together with Stephen and his team at The Chester Hotel. Having worked very closely with Avvio in my last role, I knew that the partnership between such an advanced booking engine and the unique yield management solution provided by HotelPartner would have fantastic results – which has been proved in Aberdeen.”
Our VP of Client Strategy, Ian Sloan is pleased with the early results. He says, “By working closely with Avvio’s E-Commerce team, the hotel has improved conversion rates as well as its focus on package sales to leisure customers, ensuring that this traffic is converting to direct business. The results against comparable hotels in Aberdeen have been very encouraging; shortly after launching the partnership with Avvio and HotelPartner, their rooms revenue ended the month 28% up year-on-year whilst the comp set only grew by 4%, according to performance data from STR. Direct business has increased from 15% to 35% of online bookings, which shows the power of Avvio’s booking engine.”
The predominance of the growth has been achieved through rate, and with a lower cost per acquisition this has had an even greater impact on the profitability of the hotel. And the hotel is so pleased with the performance, that the integration between the hotel’s PMS, HotelPartner and Avvio has now been extended to their sister property, The Chester Residence – the number one rated hotel in Edinburgh on TripAdvisor.
Robert summarises; “The communication between the hotel, Avvio and HotelPartner has been excellent and we must not ignore the first class service that the hotel provides to its guests; ensuring that demand continues to be strong and customers look to return regularly. We look forward to replicating this success in their Edinburgh property soon.”