The 2016/2017 Scottish Thistle Awards were held on 16th March at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. As usual, the category freetobookers did best was Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House. We are happy to announce that this year at the Scotland’s tourism Oscars,Brookford B&B, a freetobook user, has won the national award for Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House. Congratulations!
We asked them for a short comment and here is what they said:
“We are completely elated to have our efforts recognised in this way. To be honest, being the first time we had entered the competition, we had no expectations about winning the Regional final let alone winning the National title too.
To us, hospitality comes naturally and is all about treating our guests and recognising their needs as we would close friends whom we have invited to stay with us.
It is without a doubt that working with freetobook has played a major part in our success by helping create a good first impression with its seamless booking process and ease of use for both our clients and ourselves, thank you.” – Brookford B&B
Scotland’s Best B&Bs, which is using freetobook as a Together Group was a regional finalist in the Working Together for Tourism category. Congratulations again to all of you!
Scottish Thistle awards 2017/2018 entries are now open. Good luck to everyone who is going to enter this year! Also earlier this year many freetobook customers from all corners of the world scooped up top awards from TripAdvisor at the 2017 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards
Bookings are already flooding in from VisitScotland to properties using freetobook, don’t lose out and get yours at no cost whatsoever.
If you are an accommodation in Scotland you can get free bookings from the VisitScotland website. No signup fee, no annual fee, no commission – using freetobook system you can feed your rates and availability onto their website and get bookings FREE.
This is a NO-BRAINER, bookings are already flooding into freetobook properties from VisitScotland and there is no cost from freetobook and there is no cost from VisitScotland.
One of the most exciting things on the horizon for freetobook is our new connection with VisitScotland.
VisitScotland has a new accommodation search system that allows all B&Bs, guest houses, small hotels etc in Scotland to be displayed regardless of their relationship with VisitScotland itself (this is known as a “polling” system).
What this means is that very soon all Scottish freetobook properties will be able have their rates and availability appearing on VisitScotland’s site whenever a prospective customer does an accommodation search.
1st June is the current “go live” date for VisitScotland’s new system. Keep checking our blog for further details and updates.
It came as bit of a bombshell to lots of hospitality businesses when VisitScotland suddenly announced the withdrawal of its online booking system. Many, including myself, would argue that this was long overdue. VisitScotland’s foray into this area over the last 10 or so years has left many Scottish tourism businesses disgruntled and wary of online booking….not a great record.
In my view, it was simply not fair for them to compete against private enterprises whilst receiving funding from government or EU bodies. The accommodation sector has been radically altered by the internet and the pace of change is unrelenting. There is just no way an organisation like VisitScotland, with all its processes and its complex culture, can keep abreast of developments and provide a service of any quality or value.
Now, with limited time to find an alternative, many businesses are understandably worried about the process and cost of changing. For these accommodation providers I would say:
take your time; don’t rush into anything – you’ve got a month
make sure you have a good look around – look at 2 or 3 options
try before you buy; it’s important the system works for your business
you can test most systems in an hour or so; some (like freetobook) can be set-up in 2 hours
call and speak to a few providers; get a feel for their “service”, not just sales
ask your friends and users of each system if they’d recommend it and why?
make sure you get the best, most cost-effective solution
map out what you think you will want from the system – not just now but 3 years hence
consider the system from your customer’s perspective i.e. how easy is it to book?
don’t base your comparisons on what you currently have
find out the cost and ease of connecting back in to VisitScotland via whichever system you’re considering
The solution currently being put together – whereby many suppliers will be able to offer their customers a link into the VisitScotland website – is absolutely right, because it gives accommodation providers the choice. When you add to this the zero commission policy from VisitScotland website bookings you can clearly see the benefits i.e. more businesses will join the site, providing a better experience for visitors with greater direct access to Scottish tourism products.
The project is currently being run well and although it has a rather distant delivery date the signs are very encouraging. VisitScotland is offering an intermediate step, whereby business can have a link to their online booking engine on their VisitScotland page.
We have always campaigned for an open system because that serves both the accommodation providers, and their customers best, so freetobook is proud to be the only free system connecting with VisitScotland, ensuring you don’t lose out on any bookings. What’s more, you won’t have to pay any connection fees or commission on bookings from the VisitScotland website.
Craig & Iain will be attending the Scottish Thistle Awards ceremony on 9th November 2012 at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. They’re looking forward to seeing old friends and making new contacts, so do drop by their table and say hello if you’re attending.
The “Oscars” of Scottish tourism, the award ceremony is attended by more than 400 guests. In an era when tourism is one of the most promising drivers to get the economy back on track, the Thistle Awards encourage professionalism and promote the quality service and products that reflect all that is great in Scotland’s internationally celebrated tourism industry.
This year will see a unique global marketing campaign to promote Scottish tourism. Disney-Pixar, the film company behind such modern classics as Toy Story, Wall-E and Monsters Inc will team up with VisitScotland for a series of promotions around the film Brave, due to premier in June 2012. Never before has the company collaborated with a nation’s tourist board on this scale.