Waterfront Rest B&B - Independent Booking and Reservation solution

Waterfront Rest B&B: Joomla website refresh and redesign, incorporating independent booking and payment systems.

Waterfront Rest B&B is an established beach-front Bed and Breakfast (B&B) property on the peaceful Wild Atlantic Way in the heart of Connemara.
Stunningly located with rooms overlooking the beautiful bay, it is a perfect place for couples and families to stay, relax and enjoy the area whilst visiting Connemara.
While many of its visitors are from across Europe, it is very popular with French-speaking visitors.

The Challenge

The directors knew that their business was growing – it had shown steady growth based on their 5-star service excellence and unique location. However their website was in need of an upgrade and redesign. They also needed to revise their operating structure.

When the website was first developed using Joomla 1.5, the business was still in its early days and they had chosen not to invest in features such as online booking and payment engine. Instead they used the services provided through third party online booking sites (OTAs). While these relationships helped to grow their business through added visibility and reach, this invariably meant a large portion of income from every booking was regularly paid out in commissions.

Waterfront Rest B&B was poised for growth. They knew that in the long run, they needed to become independent, and bring such features under their direct control. This would ensure that they were future-proofing the business for growth.

The Approach

The business was ready to upgrade and redesign its Joomla website while ensuring full synchronisation with back-office operations. They were happy to continue using Joomla as they were aware of the security it provided, a very important criteria if they were to start accepting bookings through the site. They also knew about the built-in enhanced SEO capabilities, another key component which they wanted to maximise through the new site.

From a business perspective, top priority was the need to have real-time room-availability accessible on several channels; the site had to be fully responsive and easily accessible for online bookings on mobiles and tablets. Equally, the site had to remain bi-lingual to cater for French visitors.

They approached Puma IT, who had built their first Joomla site and were acknowledged experts in Joomla sites. With their help, they mapped out their requirements, highlighting elements they considered essential for the smooth running of their operation, as well as other features which would help them maintain their online visibility and ease-of-use for site visitors.

Puma IT handled the Joomla CMS upgrade and refreshed the template with the new design. They successfully managed the new build within a short, four months’ time-frame. Many of the required features were out-of-the-box elements in Joomla Core, making it a seamless and secure operation to revise and upgrade the existing site.
These features included:
  • Seamless content and structure migration from existing site, including bilingual content
  • Responsive design optimised for mobile & tablet
  • Template refresh
  • Multilingual elements (French, English)
Third-Party Extensions:
  • Booking solution with payment engine
  • Featured backend software with multiple rooms management
  • Social media integration
  • Independent and yet fully synchronized with the main Online Travel Agents(OTS)
  • Automated email system for reservation reminder, invoice, follow up message, customized reservation process and user interface

The Result

Within a few months, Waterfront Rest B&B saw a 12% increase in direct bookings. Furthermore, their online ranking and traffic were similarly increasing month-on-month.

In the following years, uploading and setting up the website for the next season was a breeze: updating prices, change of room-types availability between high and low season periods, and synchronising with OTAs channel with a different pricing structure than their website (direct booking). The new website now allows them to adapt easily and quickly to changes in the hospitality market within this highly competitive touristic region.

As Puma IT commented, since the site was already built using Joomla, the refresh and redesign was a seamless and painless project. Many of the features were already included in the Joomla core, thus ensuring stability and security to both the site and the booking system. It also reduced the need for numerous third-party plugins
5th of December, 2018


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