NightsBridge – the real time booking system for Southern Africa’s smaller accommodation providers – reports that it has been inundated with requests from travel agents, corporates, and tour operators who want to book guest houses and B&Bs on line.
“This is an encouraging trend for our clients since the tourism market’s in a bit of a slump,” said NightsBridge co-founder, Theresa Emerick.
Why the move?
“Firstly, cost is an issue,” said Ms. Emerick. “Hotels are generally more expensive, and travelling business people are beginning to feel that they get better product – more of a home-from-home experience – at B&Bs and guest houses.
“Secondly, it’s about location. Many places that don’t have that many big hotels – like Bloemfontein for example, or Mpumalanga or Limpopo – attract a large number of businesspeople. And for businesses like Clicks and Woolworths, which operate or may be opening new stores in the smaller locations, hotels are often not an option.
“And thirdly, the process of booking B&Bs and guest houses was traditionally time consuming and costly for corporates and their travel agents – looking for the right establishment, making numerous phone calls, struggling with archaic payment systems all contributed to this.
“But the digital world – and NightsBridge particularly – has changed all that.”
She said that NightsBridge dramatically reduces the cost and time of booking with smaller establishments – which is why her company has recently linked to Bidvest’s MyMarket corporate booking tool (which is used some of the country’s largest retail and banking chains – amongst others), as well as to Travelport Leisure (which is used by more than 6,000 travel agents) and to Traveller’s Choice (a large tour operator which also makes a booking interface available to agents).
“So you can see that B&Bs and guest houses who aren’t on NightsBridge may be losing out – and that both our member establishments and travel agents and tour operators who are linked to our system benefit from NightsBridge’s cost effective method of accessing your inventory through our easy booking and payment systems,” said Ms. Emerick.