We concluded 2019 very successfully, as we received The Shortyz 2020 award for 1st place in the category “The Best Online Platform for Booking Accommodation” in March.
2020 also started in an optimistic tone. However, the corona crisis unexpectedly appeared. In March the lockdown began, office work was replaced by work from home, which lasted until May.
Although the year was challenging and uncertain at no point we didn’t give up. We reviewed all work processes and plans for further development. It can be said that we made the best out of the worst.
We decided to take advantage of the situation and dedicate ourselves to improving our business and developing new functionalities.
Our franchise and Booker Tools software has reached a new, higher level, and as a result, a new department has been formed, Department of Global Business Expansion. We currently have 22 franchises in 9 countries, while our software manages more than 7 000 accommodation units.
We have merged several departments into a single Property Development Department, thus achieving significant work quality. There has been a reorganization in the Account Manager Department, and their business is enhanced using Revenue Manager. In this way, we reduced their manual work and gave them more time to devote to accommodation units’ sales.
Our Booker Tools software is made and developed according to Direct Booker’s needs and satisfies everything a vacation rental owner, agency, ho(s)tel, or campsite needs. Direct Booker vacation rental owners, franchisors, and Booker Tools users were completely switched to the new system.
We have also taken over the complete management of the mobile application. The great news for 2020 was that we have gained connections with 4 new booking channels: Hotelbeds, Agoda, E-Domizil, and HomeToGo. A new real-time online credit card authorization system, WSPay, has been introduced. We have improved our business by introducing Freshdesk software intended for more advanced features in customer support (better and simpler organization of emails). We have introduced the Ajpes information system for registering guests in Slovenia and the option of invoice fiscalization. Also, we have improved the API system that allows users to communicate from one platform.
In addition to the internal changes, the Direct Booker team decided to share their optimism with others. We organized a giveaway on social media in spite of #COVID-19. As rewards, we gave symbolic numbers of 19 accommodations at 19 locations in Croatia for 19 winners. Also, we gave 19% discount for all reservations made through Direct Booker. The giveaway had a huge response, and positive comments were bursting from everywhere.
It is unbelievable, but it is questionable whether this progress would ever have happened had it not been for this crisis. Looking at everything we improved, a revenue decline of 82% in 2020 is not the worst thing. We slowed down, but we didn’t stop, indeed. And that is the most important thing. We believe that all of us could get some positive things out of this, both business and private and that we will all look back with a gap of a year or two, and find something for which we will say “Thank you, Korona”.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
In addition to the already mentioned Shortyz award, one of the world’s most famous Channel Managers, Rentals United, ranked Direct Booker in the TOP 10 largest Property Management agencies in the world, and the TOP 4 in Europe.
Direct Booker also received ISO Management System certification – Introduction of Management System business processes and quality.
Expedia and Booking.com, one of the world’s most famous booking platforms, have declared our Booker Tools software their No.1 Connectivity Partner for 2020 and 2021, respectively. This recognition is given to systems that they believe can achieve the best sales results through these platforms.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR 2021
The new year is just beginning, and we are already receiving recognition for our hard work.
A new Booker Tools connection with Next Pax “Channel Manager” is expected in February. It will enable the presence of our unit accommodations on an additional number of booking channels.
In March, we hope to launch our Direct Booking project – website for direct accommodation booking.
We have adapted to the emerging trends in the short-term rental industry: flexible cancellation policy, new prices, a more significant emphasis on cleanliness.
Although we lost handshake in this whole situation, we did not lose contact. We even empowered it with employees, partners, clients, industry colleagues. And that’s not all …