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Case study: The Gables Guesthouse, Ambleside

The Gables Guesthouse is a fourteen-bedroomed country house in the lovely village of Ambleside in Cumbria. A successful restaurateur with years of hospitality experience under her belt, Sharyn Rush first took the plunge into the B&B industry when she bought The Gables with her husband nine years ago, just as their daughter Harriet was turning one.

Sharyn has been using freetobook as the property's online room booking engine for more than three years and had also successfully used freetobook's channel manager connection to share inventory with a number of OTAs. "Having it all updated to the one diary means I don't run the risk of double booking. So thankfully no more sleepless nights!" she laughs. "I particularly like the option to block out booking channels at certain times. This means I can carefully plan our use of them to fill in the gaps here and there."

Although the majority of bookings come directly to The Gables via their own website or phone, almost forty percent come through the freetobook channel manager. "We added freetobook's new Expedia Managed Connection just in the last three months. Although Booking.com makes up the lion's share of these, we calculate that Expedia will be bringing in at least the same as booking.com by the end of the year, based on the first three months performance."

Sharing inventory across a number of OTAs is a strategy freetobook's Craig Stewart wholeheartedly agrees with. "Business wisdom and common sense suggest that an over reliance on one source of sales is risky. Spreading your sales sources will give you a more reliable, robust and diversified stream of bookings."

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