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McQuade Hotels and Self-Catering Apartments, Glasgow:

With over 30 years' experience in the independent hotel industry, the McQuade family are well-established in Glasgow, owning and running a number of hotels and apartments.

Robert McQuade is at the helm of the business now that his father Robert Snr has stepped back from the day–to day running of the businesses.

Overall the company employs around 12 full-time staff and 15 on a part-time basis. Starting off in property investment and management before moving into the hotel business, the McQuade Group acquired the Albion Hotel in 1986 and then bought and sold the Hillhead Hotel soon after this. The family business further expanded with the addition of the City Apartments in 1995, the Ambassador in 2000 followed by the Acorn Hotel in 2008 and the Kelvingrove Hotel in 2010. Overall guests to the hotels and apartments are from both the leisure and corporate sectors, with a strong number of returning visitors.

This family business has weathered many major changes in the industry over the last decade, but particularly so over the last couple of years. The trend for direct customer bookings via the internet has made the most significant impact on their business. Online booking now accounts for around 80% of the McQuade Group's room bookings.

Having successfully used roomgenie, the extranet system also designed by freetobook, they were one of the earliest independent hotel 'sign ups' for the software freetobook at its launch at the end of 2010. Hotelier Robert had tried various software and extranet systems but without complete success with any one system.

"The freetobook system allows me to show room availability and prices across ALL of our hotels and apartments which means my conversion rate has increased three-fold over the last 12 months, with over 2,000 direct room bookings.
As freetobook charges no commission for any bookings made directly through my website, the impact on our revenue is considerable."

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