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Cost effective online booking for B&B's, guest houses & single holiday lets

Written by
Mike Harding
February 7, 2011

We recently took on a new client who runs a small holiday let in Devon. The brief was to take his existing website, add a proper CMS so he could edit the site himself and add in some additional pages. Whilst in the process of doing this he asked us for advice on how to accept bookings and payments online.

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Previously, we had looked into this for another of our clients in a similar situation and the only available options that had all the functionality that was required was ibex booking system, which did include many features. However at £55 / month was a little on the pricey side. Our client looked at ibex and came back with some suggestions and the results of some of his own research. We took his initial research and then looked into the combinations of booking services and payment gateways.

The cost savings over ibex were huge. So here is our current golden combination:

Booking System:

Roman Cart  a very cost effective and scalable booking system with 1 property only costing £59.99 a year, with no transaction costs. (That's a year at a little over the cost of ibex for one month) The system allows you to do everything you need for a small accommodation business, including adding discount codes, sales reports and much more.

Payment Gateway:

Roman Cart integrates with just about all the payment gateways you would hope it does, all the usual suspects such as Google checkout, PayPal, WorldPay etc. The best of these in terms of service and also cost we found was SagePay. Now were big fans of Sage Pay, as for a flat rate of just £20 a month you can process up to 1000 transactions per quarter, an average of 333 per month which for a small trader is great. There are no setup costs and if you choose to use them as your merchant account there rates are very reasonable.

So for an entire years payment gateway and booking solution the cost is fixed at £299.99 for the year, safe to say these savings will be passed on to our other holiday lettings clients.

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