Booking Experts

“We’ve put many years into building the perfect, all-encompassing solution.”

Interview with Maureen — CEO at Booking Experts.

Booking Experts

All-in-one reservation system for holiday parks, Booking Experts, doesn’t only make things more efficient: it makes things easier for people working at these vacation resorts. Maureen Ilboga, CEO of Booking Experts, illustrates this point: “If a receptionist loses eight hours a week managing cleaners, then they can now use this time to do more fulfilling tasks. For example, making sure a welcome message is sent to guests.” Since they opened up shop in 2011, not a single client has cancelled their contract with them to switch to another system.

Booking Experts’ CEO Maureen Ilboga at the front desk of a holiday park

Automating processes, all of them

Booking Experts Founder Ali Ilboga had a web design company that made websites for all types of companies, including holiday parks. His experiences here were the motivation for Booking Experts. Maureen explains that the company, “built beautiful websites, but if you wanted to book clients, it was a hassle. They’d get a telephone number or an email address where they could send a reservation request, or they’d have to deal with a system that looked and operated like it was from 1995.” This was far from ideal and, “it was frustrating, and because of it we decided to build our own system,” she adds, “We literally went and sat beside park managers, receptionists, and cleaning people to see what steps they needed to take every day to do their jobs.”

The dashboard of Booking Experts seen from the front desk of a holiday park

Despite Booking Experts officially launching in 2011, the company has put many years into building the perfect, all-encompassing solution. Even now, they’re improving their system. “We use a Trello board where we put client requests,” she says, “Other clients can vote on which one they want the most, and the one that gets the most votes gets done.” This approach, “makes clients feel like they’re taken seriously, even if they’ve just started with us. Moreover, it gives them direct insight into what we’re up to.”

“Clients feel like they’re taken seriously, even if they’ve just started with us.”

Maureen Ilboga CEO at Booking Experts

Not technology experts

Whether it’s a big technology issue like implementing a module that adjusts prices during busy periods or a smaller one like choosing a better time to send a text message to guests, everything technology-related should be as easy as possible for clients.

“Generally speaking,” begins Maureen, “our clients aren’t technology experts. They’re passionate entrepreneurs that are busy with their holiday parks day in, day out. Next to this, many of them have missed the boat when it comes to digitisation. They know that they have to do something but don’t have a clue as to where to begin.” Maureen continues: “This means our technology shouldn’t create questions, much the opposite: it should take them away. And in the end, everyone benefits.”

“Our technology shouldn’t create questions, much the opposite: it should take them away.”

Maureen Ilboga CEO at Booking Experts

An example of what she’s talking about? “Imagine that a guest places a reservation and this triggers a number of other responses,” she explains, “For example, an email that’s sent out a week before they arrive that asks whether they’d like to have made up beds upon arrival for a small extra charge. Then the planner receives this message automatically in their overview as a task and the cleaner does as well,” says Maureen. “When the task is complete, it appears checked-off in the receptionist’s overview, who then can reassure the guest when they arrive that the beds have been made, just like they requested,” she concludes.

An important part of the experience

The ultimate goal of Booking Experts comes down to this: optimising guests’ vacation happiness. This is made possible through their very own content management system, which communicates directly with the backend. “For instance, if someone wants to put a temporary discount in place and they enter it into the backend, this would automatically appear on the website without you having to take any additional steps,” she says. The more things that are automated, the more repetitive and boring processes get taken out of employees’ hands. This in turn frees up time to make guests really happy. It’s all about the guest’s experience, and that begins on the website.

Booking Experts’ CEO Maureen Ilboga walking in a holiday park

That’s also why Booking Experts introduced Booking Boosters, which handles marketing. “Payments,” according to Maureen, “too are an important part of a guest’s experience. Being able to safely pay creates trust and is a major part of the booking process. The selection of payment methods also plays a role here.” Whereas many entrepreneurs only offer a limited range of payments, Booking Experts advise their clients to offer everything. “There are payment methods that are relatively expensive, like credit cards,” Maureen says, “But if that means clients book directly with you and don’t go to a well-known booking platform, then it saves you a lot of money.”

“I want Apple Pay, too!”

“That’s one of the reasons we chose Mollie,” Maureen says, “integrating payments is extremely easy. That goes for the whole process as well. Mollie makes everything easy to use.” Maureen goes on, “We recommend Mollie to our clients, who only have to sign up and then send the Live API-key to us. It’s really important that this is easy because if it’s not then clients will start asking questions and that will cause delays and we don’t have time for that,” she explains. “It’s also an important selling point for us to be able to say: we work with Mollie, where you can have a payment link live in five minutes,” she states.

And that’s not all. “In addition, we’re now proud to say that we offer Apple Pay because Mollie makes that an option. These types of things make our clients think, ‘wow, Apple Pay, I want that, too!’ It makes the choice to do business with us easier. Mollie makes that easier for us,” Maureen indicates. “After all,” she says, “we want to ensure entrepreneurs don’t have any concerns about payments and that that positively influences the most important part of the equation: satisfied guests.”

“It’s an important selling point for us to be able to say: we work with Mollie.”

Maureen Ilboga CEO at Booking Experts

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“Our e-commerce success prepared us to take on other great projects.”— Martijn Wijsmuller, Co-founder at Ask Phill