Case studies of operators using TakeABreak®
LJ Hooker Case Study a real estate agent
Mannum Motel Case Study a regional motel
Banjo's House Case Study a self contained holiday house
Riverview Caravan Park Case Study a tourist park
Grevillea Lodge Case Study a hosted guest house
Heidelberg House Case Study self contained apartments
LJ Hooker works well with TakeABreak
Like most real estate agents, Sonya Martin spends a lot of time on the road and is always busy, which is just one reason why being listed with TakeABreak makes her life easier. “With over 50 holiday properties to manage in the Aldinga area anything that simplifies my life and saves time is a good thing”, says Sonya “and the fact that TakeABreak is so easy-to-use is a huge selling point.”
She has been using TakeABreak for over 3 years now and initially decided to list on the site as a test, to see if using resources outside of the LJ Hooker company could assist her to maximise inter and intrastate bookings.
“We currently receive up to 70% of our bookings for holiday properties from online sources,” Sonya continues “and between 20-30% of those come from TakeABreak. One of the real bonuses is the ability to refer people on to another property, if their first choice isn’t available. This would be one of the main reasons that we have seen an increase in occupancy since listing. Our conversion rate would be about 1 in 3.”
Sonya found it extremely time-consuming to market the portfolio of holiday properties previously and says it was not only time-intensive, but not always successful. “These days people are very savvy when it comes to finding information and the internet speeds up the process. Our target market is families looking for holiday accommodation, as well as couples looking for a break and this segment uses the internet well to research their options.”
Being listed with TakeABreak also means that bookings are simplified due to the “brilliant booking system, the easy-to-use calendar and the wider exposure so that we can reach more people within South Australia as well as interstate,” Sonya continues. “The calendar means people can instantly see whether or not a property is available, which saves them the time and frustration of making an enquiry for a property that isn’t available.”
Another advantage for Sonya is the ability to select “pet-friendly” as a theme, as up to 50% of the properties that she manages can accommodate pets. “Family-friendly” is also a popular theme and being able to list for each property the facilities available means that potential visitors can make enquiries already knowing whether or not the accommodation is likely to suit their needs.
As the range of properties involved is so varied, using the theme and activity boxes allows Sonya to quickly and easily identify the selling points for each one.
“All in all the depth of information and the superior systems make TakeABreak an obvious choice for anyone with a holiday property to list” says Sonya.
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Mannum Motel - Case Study
The Mannum Motel and TakeABreak – a great partnership
The Mannum Motel is located one hour from Adelaide on the banks of the mighty River Murray. The township of Mannum is an ideal holiday or business destination and David and Wendy Hartley have worked hard to make sure that their motel offers a great range of facilities for both the business and family market with its variety of rooms and up-to-the-minute conference and function facilities.
David listed the motel with TakeABreak in 2005 and says that the site is perfect for his business as it is easy-to-use for time-poor operators and offers great value for money. Currently around 15% of bookings come from online sources and David feels that in his 8 years running the motel, he sees online sites like TakeABreak as a major innovation in the way accommodation operators can do business.
Mannum Motel offers many guest facilities including swimming pool, tennis court, BBQ area, guest laundry, room service breakfast and off-street car-parking. “Another benefit of being with TakeABreak is being able list all the facilities our property offers, in a way that makes it easy for potential guests to understand if the property meets their needs. Other online sources don’t allow for the same depth of information,” says David.
The motel is just a 2 minute stroll from the main street, overlooking the River Murray. Mannum’s central location within South Australia makes it an ideal home base for exploring all this wonderful state has to offer.
“We love what we do”, continues David “but there is no doubt that running a motel is hard work. Being able to go online to TakeABreak any time – even the middle of the night – means we can deal with our administration without it impacting on customer service.”
The Mannum Motel has taken full advantage of TakeABreak’s theme listing as a way of making sure the property reaches the broadest market possible. They have selected the following themes to give potential visitors an idea of what the property – and region – offers: group accommodation (10+), honeymoon, motor bike-friendly, wedding venue, winter holiday, accessible, family-friendly, bird-watching, dinner bed & breakfast, great view and romantic.
“We can also highlight facilities that can make the difference in potential visitors deciding to stay with us, rather than elsewhere, such as our self-contained facilities or river views. Our listing on TakeABreak is a great marketing opportunity for us,” concluded David.
For more information on the Mannum Motel
Banjo's House - Case study
“We have made the house one that appeals to a broad spectrum of people,” says George. In fact, the property ticks many boxes … it is ideal for families – particularly those who like to travel with their pets, as it has a secure fenced yard, as well as its own tidal reserve. There is room to leave your dinghy in the yard, and for larger boats there is a ramp close by.
“We are also ideal for couples looking for a getaway that offers solitude, serenity and fabulous views across the bay. The house has a gourmet kitchen and beautifully-appointed spa bathroom, so unless you choose to explore the region, there is no need to leave the house,” George continues.
George has owned the property for around 4 years and says that in that time he has marketed it solely through online sources. “I would say that currently about 40% of our bookings come from TakeABreak, and it is a lot less work than relying on word of mouth!”
“In fact listing with TakeABreak is the best thing I have done – it is easy, you can make your listing exactly as you wish and I don’t think I would have survived without being on TakeABreak,” he says. “We are booked out 11 months out of 12 and I think that is a fabulous result in what can be a very difficult industry.”
George estimates that his conversion rate is around 50% and says that TakeABreak really work with the operators to ensure they get the best from the site. “The support staff is so professional and helpful; nothing is ever too much trouble. The other thing that I really appreciate is Business Breaks, the monthly newsletter sent out by TakeABreak. It addresses industry issues, marketing tips – even work/life balance. It is a really useful tool for operators who quite often have another job they are committed to as well. In fact the time-saving aspect of being listed with TakeABreak is a real plus for me.”
Banjo’s House has taken full advantage of TakeABreak’s theme listing as a way of making sure the property reaches the broadest market possible.
Themes: Canoeing & kayaking; cruising; executive rental; golf; luxury; pet-friendly; romantic getaway; waterfront; bird-watching; bush walking & wilderness; family-friendly; fishing; great view and waterfront.
Click here for further information on Banjo’s House
Riverview Caravan Park Case Study
Riverview Caravan Park rolls along with TakeABreak
Riverview Caravan Park enjoys one of the best locations near Bright, in Victoria’s high country. It is close to the ski fields of Mt Hotham, Falls Creek and Mt Buffalo and yet far enough away to offer perfect solitude, if that is what guests desire.
Robyn and Shane have owned the property since July 2006 and listed with TakeABreak late last year, on the recommendation of another operator who advised them that being with the website would simplify handling their enquiries.
“We currently get about 40% of our bookings from online sources, and around half of that comes from TakeABreak,” says Robyn. “We find our property gets a lot more exposure from being listed with them and the bookings are really easy to deal with, using the response templates,” she continues.
“One of the major benefits of TakeABreak, aside from the exposure it gives us, is that it is a name that people know and trust and this gives credibility to those listed on the site.”
Riverview Caravan Park has a number of regulars who return each year and they also have their own website, so Robyn and Shane are well aware of the advantages of marketing and spreading the word about their property to other people. They are close to the historic Buckland River as well as the ski fields and so they appeal to a broad range of people, however they are primarily a family-style property.
“About 1/3 of enquiries turn into bookings and we are pretty happy with that conversion rate,” says Robyn. “We can choose to pay either 10% of the total booking or a nightly rate of $9.90 and we feel it is more cost-effective to pay a percentage,” she says.
Robyn thinks that their occupancy has improved by about 20% since listing “… and really that speaks volumes about the value of being listed with TakeABreak,” she finishes.
Riverview Caravan Park have listed themselves under the “Parks” description and have made full use of the “Themes” tab by selecting the following: family-friendly; 4WD; golf; canoeing & kayaking; gay & lesbian friendly; accessible; art & craft; birdwatching; bushwalking & wilderness; fishing; gliding; great view; pet-friendly; motorbike; romantic getaway; rock-climbing; waterfront; snow; school groups; wine appreciation and whale watching. With so much to do, no wonder people keep coming back!
More information on Riverview Caravan Park
Grevillea Lodge - Case Study
Grevillea Lodge grows with TakeABreak
Merrill Moore certainly knows how to keep her guests happy – she was busy making her much-loved marmalade when we spoke to her. Merrill has been running Grevillea Lodge as a bed & breakfast for the past two years, and already she has many people returning for her special blend of hospitality and homemade treats.
Grevillea Lodge is a purpose-built guest wing that not only allows up to 5 people to enjoy this wonderful property, but well-behaved pets are also welcome and will have a playmate in Nikki, Merrill’s gorgeous Alaskan malamute.
Merrill has been listed with TakeABreak for as long as she has been running the property and one of her favourite aspects of the website is that you get great coverage, but only incur a cost once the guest has stayed.
Currently 95% of the bookings for Grevillea Lodge come from repeat guests as well as online sources and TakeABreak alone would account for up to 15% of those. “Being with TakeABreak has definitely made it easier for me as an operator of a B&B,” says Merrill. “In fact, I am such a convert that I have just encouraged a friend who is running a farmstay to sign up.”
Merrill continues “The major benefits that I see are the exposure that the property receives through the website and the ease of dealing with enquiries. I find the site very accessible and easy-to-use, which means that I am more likely to keep my listing up-to-date, as there is no hassle involved.”
Grevillea Lodge markets itself to families and couples – particularly those who love to travel with their dog. With a choice of full or continental breakfast (featuring Merrill’s goodies!), internet access and a separate entrance for complete independence, it is no wonder that the property is continuing to grow in popularity.
“I think that a well-run B&B should always be successful, so long as people know about it. And that is where TakeABreak comes in – the website helps me reach many more potential guests than I could through more traditional means,” says Merrill.
Grevillea Lodge is listed with TakeABreak both as a self-contained apartment and B&B, thus reaching a larger market than just listing as a B&B alone. Merrill has also taken advantage of the theme listings, in order to let potential guests know of the many activities available, such as bird-watching, family-friendly; gay & lesbian friendly; golf; hot air ballooning; pet-friendly and wine appreciation.
Click here for more information on Grevillea Lodge B&B
Heidelberg House - Case Study
Heidelberg House finds TakeABreak a hit!
When Andrew Luo decided to run Heidelberg House as a self-contained apartment for visitors to Melbourne, he knew his property had many points that would appeal to the short-stay accommodation market.
“What I didn’t know was how to best communicate with that market and let them know what Heidelberg House has to offer,” says Andrew. “We are close to Austin and Mercy Hospitals and only about 20 minutes to the CBD by public transport and offer a real alternative to motels for people who are visiting relatives in hospital or who want to be able to self-cater rather than paying to eat out. Our location also makes us ideal for business people on a budget, or who prefer home comforts to a hotel or motel.”
While Andrew utilised some of the traditional forms of advertising to let potential guests know what he had to offer, he found that the Yellow Pages and ads on the hospital notice boards didn’t reach enough people.
So Andrew listed Heidelberg House with TakeABreak around two years ago, and he estimates now that more than 40% of his bookings come from the website. He found that the assistance that TakeABreak gives to operators makes it really easy to get a listing up and running. “I found the system really easy to use and I love the ability to block out dates on the calendar so we don’t get enquiries for times we already have bookings,” he says.
“Also the response templates supplied by the site just make my life easier … all I have to do is put in the rate and it is personalised for my property. TakeABreak is the only site to do this, as far as I know,” Andrew continues.
“One of the trickier things in accommodation for small operators like myself is organising payment, but the BPay facility makes that easy as well,” he says.
TakeABreak has certainly taken the hard work out of the self-contained accommodation sector, as far as Andrew is concerned!
Click here for further information on Heidelberg House.
Andrew has taken the opportunity to list his property in several categories – an option TakeABreak offers for no charge. Heidelberg House is listed as a serviced apartment, a cottage and a holiday house.
He has chosen his themes as family-friendly, gay & lesbian friendly, student accommodation and close to public transport.