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Case study: Garmoran Square, Susan MacDonald:

Having followed a career path in engineering and manufacturing that took them across the UK, Europe and the US, Garmoran Square owners Susan and Kenneth MacDonald moved back to Scotland on deciding to start their own family.

Relocating back to the Highlands, the couple decided they could utilize the land around their own property to design and build a series of self-catering cottages. Kenneth project-managed the build which took a full year.

Their luxury, 5* assessed cottages opened for business in September 2006. Offering 4 cottages in total, the properties can accommodate parties from 2 up to 18 guests, perfect for extended family and friends holidays or getaways. The majority of their guests are Scottish or UK 'staycationers' with other guests coming over from Europe, from France and Germany in particular.

Although they launched the cottages website in 2006, Garmoran Square didn't offer online booking until January of this year when they signed up for the software freetobook. On realising that the majority of visitors expect to book online but are wary of long term contracts and associated fees, Susan was 'sold' on freetobook as it does exactly what it says on the tin (no lock in contract for clients and no commission to be paid on bookings directly from the hotel/cottage owner's website). Freetobook saves owner Susan at least one hour of her time each and every day.

Now with full online booking at there has been a dramatic increase in the business's conversion rates (between 20-30%). Freed up from time spent responding to emails regarding availability, Susan now can plan and put in place special offers and deals across quieter booking periods to encourage a more even year-round occupancy rate.

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