7 Pledges, here’s how you voted….
We asked you to prioritise these 7 Pledges, to re-order them according to your needs and your ambitions. That was no easy task… as many of you said, but that forced focus is what every good business requires if it is to improve.
So here’s how it unfolded, drum roll please…
Maximise direct bookings above all other bookings (35% of the vote)
This is music to our ears, we created freetobook to enable direct bookings on websites. We wanted to build a booking engine so any accommodation anywhere in world could get an account, set up and take direct bookings in under an hour – for free. That was case in January 2011 and it’s still very much the case now, indeed that’s why we called it “Freetobook”. But there is so much more to do and we’re working on it. (some free direct booking images for you)
Continually develop, upgrade and improve functionality came second (with 26% of the vote)
We are here 21 years down the line simply because we’ve always believed we can do it better, we must do it better. Our “creative” drive demands that we look for solutions to difficult problems. We also enjoy that process, it’s terribly rewarding. This means that we don’t accept and settle in a comfort zone but continually look around appraising the changes to your environment.
Listen, care about, support and advise your business (17%)
This is the “easy” bit for us, as a family business we find it a very natural function yet we value the importance of it. Our support team have an amazing record only because they care. We are not here to serve ourselves so it’s important that we listen and feel confident to advise when required. Having the commercial freedom (of a family business) means we don’t compromise in our service and advice we offer.
Keep learning to be the best booking system possible (9%)
We will. Aiming to do your best is always a great place to start and we are fortunate to work with 1000s of customers who believe the same. Over the 21 years we’ve seen a lot of changes so we’ve had to keep learning new things. We have always looked for and admired great technology.
Protect you, keep things optional for you and not tying you in (altogether got 13%)
Our independence is a choice, just like yours. We have seen enough stuff that does not impress us to know that we must always be clear, open and genuine in what we do and what we offer.
Protecting independence results in more money staying local and being re-invested locally in businesses. We live in times where technology is enabling money to move across oceans far far away from where it was generated and without any chance of businesses or governments being rewarded for their investments.
So where do we go from here?
The great news is that we are already working on some new technology to help increase direct booking, this includes better measurement and analysis of the current situation. Other developments will become clearer next year and we trust we can count on your support to get them moving. There is much work to do!
Thank you again for voting and for your many appended comments. As usual there were masses of amazingly supportive ones, as well as some great suggestions.
Here’s a small selection of what people said against the various votes….
“We know you are the best out there, you have been amazing for us. Helpful and progressive.”
“All of the above are highly important. Thank you for giving them focus.”
“… really excellent customer service, feel like I’m contacting someone in my own company!”
“Would love it if freetobook was more mobile friendly or had a full App.”
“Good to see an honest and ethical organisation.”
“Still love freetobook and even more so since I joined stripe.”
“Thanks so much for your amazing service you have revolutionised the way we do business…”
“More reports, like annual and monthly.”
“Get the OTAs out of the booking loop as the charges are criminal.”
“Best booking system on the net.”
“…great system – tried all the others !!!!”