“In today's market every accommodation business needs their own website and a PMS (property management system). Freetobook provides many opportunities to get direct bookings and automated tools to make your life easier. It was our answer with TripAdvisor via Tripconnect, a two-way Airbnb channel connection, smart messaging with direct bookings, and a free way to get exposure on Google. Freetobook is the only PMS to do all this reasonably without breaking the bank. Thank you freetobook on our 10-year relationship.” Greg and Silvia Lupone, Stingray Villa, Mexico.
Here Greg sheds light on growing his business with freetobook over the last decade, hosting guests from over 35 countries. Greg and Silvia had been regular visitors to Cozumel in Mexico without any real plans to make it their permanent home.
“Up to 2012 we were living in St Louis, Massachusetts with no thought to being in the accommodation side of the hospitality industry. My first career had been with the US Navy for five years and then I’d been persuaded to run a chain of restaurants with a friend before I took the plunge to run my own restaurant for 17 years.
My wife and I had taken many vacations to the area of Cozumel over a number of years and at the end of each holiday we just didn’t want to return home. Then one day we found the perfect property with two guest houses at the back and so our adventure began."
"Back in the early days of the business, I built the first website, but it wasn’t very mobile friendly and over 90% of our properties’ revenue was coming through the OTAs with a hefty commission fee. Since signing up to freetobook in 2012, I have started using the connection to TripAdvisor as well as the Messenger service and most recently Google Zero and the brand-new Reputation Suite. Messenger is ‘a god send’, It saves me so much time emailing out individually.
From November through to Spring it’s peak season here and our guests are mostly couples aged in their 50s to 70s. From May onwards, the demographic changes dramatically and we have much younger couples, mostly Europeans, visiting.”
Overall, the business is going from strength to strength despite the challenges of a global pandemic taking its toll on the international travel industry. Occupancy rates for November 2021 to present are at an all-time high of 78%, almost 20% up from November 2018 to November 2019.
So how has the business weathered the storm and what changes have they made? Greg has spent significant time and energy on the promotion and marketing of their properties; designing and building the website, launching a regular blog to highlight and promote the area, setting up social media platforms and increasing their mailing list by 700%.
Good luck from everyone here at freetobook, here’s to another 10 years!