Whangarei TOP 10 Holiday Park

Northland holiday park snaps up awards helped by leading software system

Owner operators: Nick and Claire Blake

Whangārei TOP 10 Holiday Park is one of the jewels in the crown of the Northland accommodation scene, with a clutch of awards to shout about and a smooth operation supported by Seekom’s savvy software.

Owner operators Nick Blake and his wife Claire kicked off their hospitality careers at Fox Glacier TOP 10 Holiday Park in 2013, working their way up and buying Whangārei TOP 10 Holiday Park in 2016.

Nick says they changed the Whangārei holiday park’s property management platform to Seekom immediately because they liked how it worked, it was great for group bookings and had everything they wanted to manage the cabins, campsites and caravan sites at the park.

“We’ve used all the major booking and property management systems and we find Seekom suits our park the best.”

The Blakes rely on their silent software partner to quietly take care of business behind the scenes, letting them concentrate on their priorities: friendliness, cleanliness and winning awards!

Whangārei TOP 10 Holiday Park won the Top Guest Experience – Classic Park Award and was runner-up in the ReviewPro Cleanliness Award at this year’s TOP 10 Annual Awards. The recognition builds on its success in the same awards in 2022, where the park won the Top Guest Experience Award – Small Park Award.

Nick says recent Seekom software updates have added functionality that makes life easier for holiday park staff and customers. He’s pleased Seekom understands what its users need rather than adding functionality just for the sake of it.

“Some of the other booking systems have all these bells and whistles that aren’t functionally useful and can make systems complicated for guests to use - Seekom communicates really well with back-end and online booking systems.”

Another benefit of using Seekom is the embedded email and SMS (text) customer communication functionality that saves time and keeps customers updated with everything they need to know to make the most of their stay, he says.

“It’s got some really good automated functionality which sends out emails and texts to customers – it does everything you need.”

Nick says he’s been contacted by a lot of other holiday park managers from across New Zealand since he shifted Whangārei TOP 10 Holiday Park’s systems to Seekom. After explaining the cost, functionality and support benefits Seekom provides, many of them had made the move as well, he says.

“When we changed over to Seekom we brought over about 10 or 12 parks – I would definitely recommend Seekom.”

Seekom’s cloud-based software allows easy access on any browser-equipped device with internet access and handles the heavy lifting of updates, backups, and keeping data secure, giving accommodation providers more time to run their business and look after their customers.

In 2018 Whangārei TOP 10 Holiday Park was inducted into the prestigious 2018 TripAdvisor Hall of Fame, becoming a member of a select group of businesses that have succeeded in achieving TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years. Continuing its momentum of recognition, the holiday park was recognised as Winner of the Northland Business Excellence Awards in 2019.

Perhaps there’s something in the water in Whangārei, or maybe it’s in the cloud…

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Note: Something you may not know, is that we also build websites. Many of our customers have Seekom built, fully managed websites which we maintain, including SEO management. If you’re interested in finding out more about this, get in touch.

One of our amazing business development managers will be in touch to showcase our product to you and talk you through how we can help grow your business.

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Summer rush blog banner image

Getting set for the summer rush at your accommodation

Make hay while the sun shines. It’s an old adage, but one that holds truer than ever today, particularly for the accommodation industry where the summer months are a time of plenty for most of us.

As many in New Zealand will be aware and as accommodation data shows, average occupancy rates for commercial accommodation peak in the warmest months – January and February – and drop off to below 50% in the June to August winter period. The situation is similar in the UK, where average occupancy peaks in June to August, during the northern hemisphere summer, and drops off in winter.

But while being busy is great for the bank account, it can be hard on the mind and body. The summer months can be stressful, particularly if you don’t have your systems in order or if you are short staffed. We’ve put together a list of some key steps you can take to work smarter in Seekom and help ease the pressure. All going well, you might even be able to enjoy a bit of time outside of the office in the sun yourself!

1. Offer guests express check-in

Take advantage of our Express Check In forms to speed up the check-in process and reduce the load on your team. These forms allow you to send a follow-up email to guests after they have booked at your accommodation, asking them for any information they may have missed at the time of booking, like the length of their camper van, when they expect to arrive, or their vehicle registration.

Seekom users can set the times and days to email Express Check In forms to guests and customise the information requested.

Instructions for updating your Express Check in Configuration in Seekom iBex can be found in our Seekom user help section.

Express Check In forms can be customised based on your property’s needs.
Express Check In forms can be customised based on your property’s needs.

2. Harness the power of scheduled emails

Scheduled emails are a powerful tool that all properties should be taking advantage of. This functionality has been enhanced recently to allow you to schedule guest emails for a particular time of day or to be sent only to guests staying in a particular room type. Some common ways to use scheduled emails include:

  • After a guest has made a booking (Thanks for booking. Please let us know when you expect to arrive and your vehicle registration if you wish to park with us)
  • Before a guests arrival (Your door code is XYZ, please come to reception upon arrival to check in and receive your welcome back)
  • Before a guest’s departure (Would you like a late check out?)
  • After a guest’s departure (We can’t wait to see you again, leave us a review!)

If you like our scheduled emails, keep an eye out for our upcoming SMS upgrade. This will allow you to add automated and scheduled text messaging, making it simple to reach guests through more than one channel and while they are on the road during their travels. We all know some people avoid opening emails while on holiday and the stats show SMS messages have a higher open rate than emails (perhaps due to the vibration settings most of us still have set up on out phones for text messages), so the upcoming upgrade will take customer communications to the next level

Conclusion:

Implementing a robust SEO strategy, focusing on meta titles, meta description tags, and H1 tags, can transform the online visibility of hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and short-term rental properties. By optimising for search engines and user experience, businesses in the hospitality sector can attract more guests, enhance their online reputation, and ultimately achieve long-term success in a competitive market.

3. Ensure minimum stays and peak season rates are up to date

Have you got your peak season minimum stays and rates set up? This is common practice in many countries and can reduce your team’s administrative load if staff do not have to deal with quite so many short-stay guests and the associated need to re-stock and re-prepare rooms, for each and every one of them. Setting peak rates can help to generate more revenue during a time of the year when your staffing costs often increase due to an influx of visitors and the need to pay staff for working on statutory holidays over the holiday period.

Read instructions for changing minimum stays and rates in Seekom iBex on our website.

4. Train new staff and ensure they have appropriate permissions

Don’t wait until things get busy to train up new staff on how to use and make the most of Seekom – make sure to think ahead.

The lead-up to summer is the ideal time to ensure new staff are comfortable using the system, and to make sure they have the correct permissions in place for the areas of Seekom they might need to use when guests start coming through the doors.

We have a range of guides and videos that can help you and your team make the most of Seekom features, from how to make a booking through to housekeeping and even payments and invoicing.

If you want to engage with other users or propose new features, make sure to log into the Seekom Community to share your ideas.

5. Promote any pet friendly options you offer

For many people, a summer holiday means leaving their pets at home. If you offer pet friendly accommodation at your place, make sure to promote it widely.

Seekom users in New Zealand can use our new Pet Friendly Stays website to promote their offerings. The site allows you to pick and choose which room types are displayed on the website, set rules for guests staying with pets, and generally showcase your pet friendly accommodation offerings. All bookings made via Pet Friendly Stays go straight into your Seekom account so all your information is in one place.

Of course, if you’re elsewhere in the world, you don’t have to miss out on this segment of the market. There are a variety of other websites where you can promote your pet friendly accommodation to the world.

Pet Friendly Stays allows Seekom users in New Zealand to promote pet friendly accommodation.

6. Use vehicle registration printing to help identify authorised guests

When things get busy, every minute counts. Seekom’s Vehicle Label printing feature allows you to easily print off the registration number of guests’ vehicles during the check in process, for display on their windscreen. This makes it simple to identify which vehicles belong on the premises.

To enable this feature in your Seekom iBex account, email our support team and they will get things set up.

Once enabled, you will be able to print vehicle registrations by visiting the ‘Arrivals and Departures’ page in Seekom iBex, finding the guest you are checking in on the list and then selecting the small ‘Print Vehicle Label’ option on the right hand side.

Once printed, the label displays:

  • the guest’s departure date
  • the unit, or site or room they are in their vehicle registration number.
Seekom printed vehicle label for blog

7. Manage days when your property is closed to check-ins or departures

Sometimes you may want to close your property to new check-ins or departures on specific days of the year. If you want to do this at your place to ease the pressure on staff - perhaps on Christmas Day – then Seekom makes it easy.

You can manage any days when your property is closed to check-ins and check-outs from the Manage Property screen of your Seekom iBex system.

This feature still allows guests to stay during the period you set, but it will block people from either arriving or departing on the dates you choose, based on what you set.

Some managers use this for periods like Christmas Day, when their property is bound to be full of guests already and they want to reduce the foot traffic coming through reception so staff can enjoy the day as well.

Read the instructions for setting a property closure in our help section for more information.

Read the instructions for setting a property closure in our help section for more information.

It’s your time to shine!

With summer on the horizon for many of you, now is the ideal time to swing into action. You may not tick off absolutely everything on this list, but by tackling at least a few of these, you can reduce those stress levels when the summer guest rush arrives.

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Note: Something you may not know, is that we also build websites. Many of our customers have Seekom built, fully managed websites which we maintain, including SEO management. If you’re interested in finding out more about this, get in touch.

One of our amazing business development managers will be in touch to showcase our product to you and talk you through how we can help grow your business.

Seekom enhancements make promo easier, save time

A feature allowing Seekom users to add promotional banners to their properties’ online booking screens is among the latest batch of improvements released in recent weeks.

A feature allowing Seekom users to add promotional banners to their properties’ online booking screens is among the latest batch of improvements released in recent weeks.

We’ve also made it possible to display the booking calendars for all rooms advertised on your website, added the ability to change the default booking duration for prospective guests when they first arrive on your site and made setting up scheduled guest emails easier.

Read on for an overview of our recent enhancements and a quick guide to setting them up at your place.

Showcase special offers with the new promo banner

Want to promote a special offer, share an important notice or wish your guests happy holidays? We have added the ability to display a text promo banner at the top of our new booking screens.

Adding a banner is a great way to call out any seasonal promotions or special deals on longer stays you are offering.

To set this up:

    • Log in to your Seekom iBex account
    • Navigate to your booking screen template
    • Open the ‘General Fields’ tab and scroll down to the ‘Promo Banner’ section
    • Add the text you would like to display

.

Adding a banner is as simple as typing in the words you would like included.
Adding a banner is as simple as typing in the words you would like included.
Once set up, the banner will display at the top of your booking screen.
Once set up, the banner will display at the top of your booking screen.

Display booking calendars on the room listing screen

We have upgraded our new booking engine to make it possible for you to display a booking calendar for all of your rooms, directly from your rooms listing screen.

Previously the calendar view was only visible once a prospective guest clicked the ‘Show Calendar’ button for the room they were interested in. This enhancement gives you the option to make the booking calendar load by default for all room types, if you wish to do so.

You can now turn ‘Show Flexible Calendar on Load’ on or off in the ‘Other Options’ section.
You can now turn ‘Show Flexible Calendar on Load’ on or off in the ‘Other Options’ section.

To set this up:

  • Log in to your Seekom iBex account
  • Navigate to your booking screen template
  • Open the ‘General Fields’ tab and scroll down to the ‘Other Options’ section
  • Tick the ‘Show Flexible Calendar on Load’ option.
Once enabled, calendar view displays by default for all rooms on your room listings page.
Once enabled, calendar view displays by default for all rooms on your room listings page.

The power to change the default booking duration

Until now our new online booking engine has pre-selected a one-night stay for prospective guests when they load the booking screen for your accommodation. Our recent updates give you the power to choose whichever default booking duration makes most sense for your property, whether that be one, night, three nights, five nights, or any number you choose.

Prospective guests can still change the duration themselves, but the ability to set the default booking duration when the page first loads can help encourage longer stays and ensure any long-stay discounted rates you offer are shown up front.

To set this up:

  • Log in to your Seekom iBex account
  • Navigate to your booking screen template
  • Open the ‘General Fields’ tab and scroll down to the ‘Other Options’ section
  • Enter the number of nights you would like to be selected when your booking pages first load into the ‘Booking Duration’ field.
You can now set the default booking duration for guests booking at your property.
You can now set the default booking duration for guests booking at your property.
The default booking duration you choose is pre-selected for guests visiting your site.
The default booking duration you choose is pre-selected for guests visiting your site.

Save time setting up scheduled emails for guests

Setting up automated messages before they arrive, after they depart, or at different points during their stay can improve their experience and provide an opportunity to let them know about some of the additional paid services you offer. But setting these messages up can take a bit of time.

 

You can now select multiple properties or multiple room types for Seekom scheduled emails.
You can now select multiple properties or multiple room types for Seekom scheduled emails.

Setting up automated messages before they arrive, after they depart, or at different points during their stay can improve their experience and provide an opportunity to let them know about some of the additional paid services you offer. But setting these messages up can take a bit of time.

Follow our updated scheduled emails help guide for information on choosing multiple room types or properties for a scheduled email you have set up.

Still need to set up the new booking screen on your website?

Many of the enhancements mentioned in this article are only available to Seekom users who have set up the new and improved booking system on their website.

To find out more about the new booking system and how to set it up on your website, check out this blog post

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Note: Something you may not know, is that we also build websites. Many of our customers have Seekom built, fully managed websites which we maintain, including SEO management. If you’re interested in finding out more about this, get in touch.

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Seekom Blog

Smarts to help you operate more effectively and efficiently. From guides of our systems and integrations to tips and tricks you can use every day - we've got you covered.

One of our amazing business development managers will be in touch to showcase our product to you and talk you through how we can help grow your business.

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Seekom’s online booking screens now support Google Analytics 4 measurement

Our online booking screens have been upgraded to work with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), ensuring you will be able to continue measuring visits, conversions and other helpful website data when Google retires its Universal Analytics tracking code on 1 July 2023.

Setting up your Seekom online booking screen to work with GA4 is as simple as adding your GA4 Measurement ID into the Website Booking Templates section of your Seekom iBex admin account.

Once added, Seekom’s system will ensure data from activity on your booking screens passes to Google Analytics seamlessly.

How do I set up GA4 for Seekom’s online booking screens?

To take advantage of GA4 on our online booking screens, you will first need to have it setup on your website. If you haven’t already, follow Google’s GA4 help guide to create a GA4 property and link it with your existing site.

Once done, follow the relevant steps below, depending on whether you are using our new online booking screens or our original booking screens.

NOTE: If you are on a fully managed Seekom website plan we will do these steps for you and you won’t have to do anything (see the section later in this article for more on this).

Setting up GA4 on Seekom’s new online booking screens

Step 1: Log in to your Google Analytics account and navigate to Admin > Select your GA4 Property > Data Streams > Web Streams (detailed instructions here).

Select your web stream and highlight and copy your GA4 Measurement ID (it usually starts with “G-”):

GA4 Measurement ID

Step 2: Log in to your Seekom iBex account and use the left sidebar to go to Website Bookings > New Website Booking Templates.

Once there, select your booking template, open the ‘Custom Scripts’ tab and paste or enter your GA4 Measurement ID into the ‘Google Analytics 4 ID’ field.

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Setting up GA4 on Seekom’s original online booking screens

If you haven’t yet moved to our new online booking screens, now is a good time to do it (instructions here).

However, if you aren’t ready to make the switch just yet, you will still be able to set up GA4 tracking for our old booking screens.

IMPORTANT: Make sure to add your GA4 tag to the booking screens as soon as possible after 27 June as the Universal Analytics Tracking Code will stop capturing data from our original booking screens from that date onwards. As soon as you’ve added the GA4 tag it will start capturing data again.

Step 1: Log in to your Google Analytics account and navigate to Admin > Select your GA4 Property > Data Streams > Web Streams (detailed instructions here).

Select your web stream and highlight and copy your GA4 Measurement ID (it usually starts with “G-”):

GA4 Measurement ID

Step 2: Log in to your Seekom iBex account and use the left sidebar to go to Website Bookings > Website Booking Templates.

Once there, select your booking template, open the ‘Custom Scripts’ tab, scroll down to the ‘Script / Tracking Code’ section and paste or enter your GA4 Measurement ID into the ‘Google Analytics 4 ID’ field.

GA4_FBSV1_New

What if I’m on a fully managed Seekom website plan?

If you are on a fully managed Seekom website plan our team will take care of everything. Your website will be set up to work with GA4 and the tag will be added to any Seekom booking screens used to take accommodation bookings on your website. Please contact our website team on webhelp@seekom.com if you do not want this to occur.

Why is Google Analytics important and why do I need to use GA4?

Google Analytics allows you to track and understand your customer’s behaviour, their user experience, how they interact with your content, and more on your website. This can help you shape your marketing and business strategy.

In the past, this tracking was done by using a Google ‘Universal Analytics (UA) Tracking Code’ on your website, but Google is retiring that for most users on 1 July 2023.

A new ‘Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Measurement Tag’ is replacing the old UA code to enable Google Analytics measurement going forward.

For more information about why it’s helpful to set up Google Analytics 4 on your website, read our ‘Why should you upgrade your website to GA4?’ blog.

One of our amazing business development managers will be in touch to showcase our product to you and talk you through how we can help grow your business.

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Seekom’s new and improved booking engine is here

Our enhanced front-end booking screen is now available to all users.

This upgraded booking screen makes it easier for your guests to select multiple rooms and optional extras when paying for accommodation and is designed to work like a dream on mobile devices.

We've developed this enhanced functionality with the support of a group of Seekom users from across New Zealand and the United Kingdom who took part in beta testing. Thanks to their feedback we’ve created something pretty special and we’re excited to make it available to you all.

MAKE MULTI-ROOM BOOKINGS AND ADDING EXTRAS EASY FOR GUESTS

The new front-end booking screen allows guests to make multi-room bookings online, without having to phone you, and it also makes it simple for guests to pay for extras – such as a newspaper, breakfast, or any other options you make available.

INCREASE ONLINE CONVERSIONS

The new system has a modern look and performs much better on mobile devices. It reduces the number of steps guests need to take before confirming a reservation, speeding up the process and boosting the number of online bookings you receive.

EMBED WITHOUT IFRAME

If you want to embed the booking screen directly into your website, you now have the option of doing so without iFrames, allowing for more customisation and a seamless fit with the branding of your site.

At a glance: The new front booking screen

Make it easy for guests to select multiple rooms in one booking.
Make it easy for guests to select multiple rooms in one booking.
Allow guests to pay for optional extras during the online booking process.
Allow guests to pay for optional extras during the online booking process.
The new booking experience works seamlessly on mobile.
The new booking experience works seamlessly on mobile.

THE DETAIL

How do I add the new booking screen to my website?

We’ve put together an instruction guide showing you how to add the new front-end booking screen to your property’s website, either using a link or embedded code.

Will the old booking system continue to work?

If you haven’t yet upgraded, the old booking system will continue to work for a while longer. It will be retired on 1 July 2024, so there’s still a bit of time to get the new booking engine set up on your website.

What’s next for the booking system?

We’re committed to making our front-end booking system the best in class and we will continue enhancing it in the weeks ahead. We are working hard on adding a multi property booking option, as well as the ability for you to include custom fields in your booking forms. Watch this space!

One of our amazing business development managers will be in touch to showcase our product to you and talk you through how we can help grow your business.