In the 21 years since our birth in 1998 we’ve learnt a thing or two about making, managing and servicing accommodation bookings but the one thing we often get asked is:
… “what makes freetobook different ?”
It is a tough question (if you really care about it) and after this long in business we had better have a good answer! In a perverse kind of way it’s actually taken 21 years to really find out who and what we are.
Some soul searching and chat in the office led us to seven key points that we would love to share with you as “pledges”. We believe what makes us a great company to work with is that we genuinely (and always) pledge to:
listen, care about, support and advise you whilst building things to the highest standards both morally and technically
continually develop, upgrade and improve for your business
build booking technology that maximises direct bookings above all other bookings
protect you from powerful corporations that seek to manipulate and plunder your revenue
be the best booking system possible, to study and learn from other booking systems
never prevent you from leaving (by tie-in contract or any obstruction), instead we’ll learn why you left and improve to get you back
continue to make all paid services optional, clearly priced and listed publicly on our website, ensuring we advise honestly and openly as to their value and use to your business
Note: the order of these pledges are as they came to us, we’ll shortly be asking our customers which are the most important to them then re-order accordingly.
These aren’t some corporate bull, in fact they have always been guiding us we just haven’t really thought much about it. They are part of our DNA, developed from those that work with us and for us, those that support us to grow and all those that used to work with us, they are our history and our future.
The significant success of freetobook in business provides us with the luxury to always put your interests first with fierce independence and a long term outlook typical of family values that no corporate can afford. That’s what makes freetobook different.
Just back from a round table meeting with Nathan Bostock (CEO Santander UK Plc), Prof. Anton Muscatelli (Principal of Glasgow Uni) and a few other small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
We discussed some of the problems facing SMEs and from freetobook’s perspective it’s simply access to highly skilled, enthusiastic and clever undergraduates. We don’t have the recruitment resources of large multinationals yet we can provide a unique learning environment for fresh grads…..how do you get that message across?
We were lucky enough to access Glasgow Uni’s great intern programme (Internship Hub) over this summer. They are a really professional and helpful outfit…totally on the ball! It’s also really refreshing to speak to lecturers that are heavily encouraging students to take on internships during their summer holidays, seeing the all round benefits to students, the Uni. and interns alike. Having interviewed quite a few interns I can see that encouragement is clearly taking effect – these grads are keen to get real experience (and we are enjoying access to some great young minds).
Glasgow Uni have fantastic computer science undergraduates and with Santander’s generous part funding of these internships SMEs like us were able to access them. We do need that support to get ourselves in front of these students and ensure they have a choice. Working in an SME offers students a huge variety to tasks and roles to play with, plus responsibility from day one and opportunities to see the immediate effects of their industry… providing real job satisfaction and a fantastic learning environment. Many SMEs are also very close to the Uni’s (freetobook is just 5 minutes walk from Glasgow Uni) so the interns don’t even need to change their alarm clocks!
Santander generously part fund over 2000 placements across Universities in the UK but for us that has sadly changed as they are no longer offering support for interns still studying. Instead the part funding is now only available after graduation, that’s not really any use for us as computing science graduates are overwhelmingly employed by the time they graduate…especially the best. This change may be a result of Santander wanting to link revenue spent on internships directly and immediately with employment – it completes the circle. However, it fails to account of the real value internships can offer SMEs in our sector….helping aspiring SMEs in the tech sector access the very best engineers must be a bet worth making!
Come on Santander, leave aside the corporate need to “show proof” to the CEO and focus on the real long term value delivered….surely this equates to many of your core values?
We currently have 2 interns and are looking to increase that….help us.
Scotland’s Herald newspaper profiled freetobook and our two Glasgow University interns – Read the Article