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Major New Online Accommodation Website Launched

Press Release 14-July-2006

Wellington-based Strait Solutions are pleased to announce the launch of their new last minute accommodation website: Book Now! (www.booknow.co.nz).

Book Now! features over 560 New Zealand motels, hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation options that can be booked instantly online, and so right from launch will make it one of the largest last minute accommodation booking websites in New Zealand, second only to Australian owned www.wotif.com.

Managing director Nick Hill, says that it is a very competitive market which can only be good news for consumers. “Book Now! offers a huge choice to the consumer,. As we do not charge any booking fees like most other last minute websites, booking with us will save consumers money”.

“The other major reason for consumers to use Book Now! is that they can book far in advance. Other websites only allow you to book just within the next 28 days, which for many people is just plain inconvenient.”

“The design of Book Now! makes it easy for the consumer to see exactly what they are booking, with many of the properties even displaying photos of the actual room that you will stay in. By booking online in advance and from the comfort of your own home, it is far less stressful than driving around a town trying to find a room, like generations of Kiwis and overseas tourists alike have done in the past”.

The new website is linked at the back-end to a number of websites and services that are used extensively by the accommodation industry, such as the highly successful online duty motel service that is run in conjunction with the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ).

“The fact that our system links to so many other websites and services makes the system very attractive for the industry as operators only have to update a single system. For example, by making a room available in our system, customers can book directly online, and travel agents and visitor centers can see and book the same room from systems that cater to their specific needs. With some larger hotels and motels juggling their room availability between 5 or 6 booking systems at once, our system solves a huge problem for the accommodation industry”.

The accommodation industry has been generally slow to adopt online booking, unlike other sectors of the tourism industry such as the airlines, where online booking is much more common. “Airline websites in particular have done a good job at educating the public that online booking is the cheapest and easiest way to book for the consumer and the airline alike”.

The two biggest hurdles to the adoption of online booking in the industry is the lack of integrated systems and the fact that many accommodation owners and staff simply do not have the technical skills required, especially with the smaller properties where many owners are in the industry for lifestyle reasons.

However, Mr Hill sees that his system will solve these issues and has spent considerable effort in making the system as easy to use as possible for both suppliers and consumers alike. “Any website that needs an instruction manual is doomed to failure” says Mr Hill. “We also work extensively with industry bodies such as the Motel Association to ensure that the system meets the wider industry needs”.

The accommodation industry is now adopting the new technologies at a fast pace, and Mr Hill expects to see online booking as the most popular way of booking within a relatively short time-frame. “The number of new systems launched in the last few months alone, just goes to show what a hot issue this is for the industry”. Mr Hill adds that “The winners will be the websites/systems that offer the widest choice of options to consumers and those that are integrated to the other systems that the accommodation industry uses“.

Strait Solutions are a Wellington based company specialising in online booking systems for airline and accommodation markets.

ENDS

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