About The Hoste
The Hoste is a luxury hotel retreat at the heart of the North Norfolk Coast with sixty-two bedrooms, three self-catering cottages, a spa and top class restaurant serving around 150 covers a night. The ownership of The Hoste Group transferred to Brendan and Bee Hopkins in April 2012. Under their ownership, The Hoste has expanded from thirty-six bedrooms to sixty-two and the name has changed from the well-known Hoste Arms to The Hoste.
There were three initial challenges
- The reputation was suffering due to some poor public reviews
- The change of name was affecting search results
- The increase in size of the hotel meant a larger base of loyal customers was needed.
It was also identified that the IT infrastructure was incapable of supporting the expansion which put their business systems at risk. In addition, their website was flawed which resulted in significant downtime.
MyLocal first addressed the most pressing problems – improving local search results and reviews leading to better visibility and online reputation. Through that work, a wider scope of work was identified which would return further business value to The Hoste and MyLocal was retained for the full scope of the digital transformation.
All of the local listings were cleaned up so that there was consistent branding and recognition of the name, address and phone number of the business which resulted in an immediate boost in local online search results.
An internal review system was implemented so that poor reviews were streamed for management attention while those leaving good reviews were invited to leave them on public sites like Google or TripAdvisor. Good reviews were also streamed to a review page on the website and automatically posted to social media where they are seen by a loyal customer base of followers.
A new website was commissioned and project managed by MyLocal to elevate The Hoste from the previous poor performing site.
A new email marketing system was introduced which enabled proper customer segmentation and list management so The Hoste could be targeting with emails within its user base.
A managed service provider was finally selected to ensure that the network was secure and that staff could “hot desk” to any workstation connected to the network so allow for efficient use of resources.
- Local search results are monitored weekly and compared with nearby competitors enabling constant improvement to ensure that The Hoste retains its dominant online position in Burnham Market.
- Staff can now actively seek customer feedback confident that any bad feedback will immediately be dealt with by management rather than being spread publicly across the internet.
- Management can now focus on managing the hotel in the knowledge that they don’t have to worry about IT as MyLocal is constantly monitoring things and coming up with suggestions for improving systems and saving cost.
For more information about MyLocal see: www.mylocal.org.uk/services.
Get in touch for a free consultation and report of your digital presence.
About The George Hotel at Cley
The George Hotel at Cley was purchased by Stephen Cleeve in 2013 and at the time it had a very low profile and was very run down. It had a lot going for it in terms of history and location but required a lot of investment.
The George Hotel at Cley is ideally situated beside the Norfolk Coastal Path in the picturesque wildlife destination village of Cley. It should be a natural magnet for those seeking food, drink or accommodation, but is surrounded by other establishments vying for the passing tourist trade, many of which were more established. So the challenge was to get noticed amongst strong local competition.
MyLocal was called in by the PR person working with them at the time because it was realised that they required more than just PR. The PR person lacked the technical knowledge to resolve the local search and online reputation issues, but was aware that MyLocal had these skills.
MyLocal was literally able to put them on the online map so that at least they could be found in local online searches for the first time. They also adopted a reputation management system which differentiates between good and bad reviews enabling management to deal with poor reviews whilst publishing good reviews on the website and on social media.
From those beginnings MyLocal has overseen an organic search engine optimisation project designed to complement the local search optimisation work; has put in place a database enabling segmented email marketing; has had installed a system of capturing email addresses from anyone using the free Wi-Fi facilities in the establishment; and has doubled the number of “Likes” with some Facebook advertising.
The George Hotel at Cley has built a solid online presence which means that more likely than not it is amongst the local establishments found when anyone is looking online for accommodation, food or drink near Cley or Blakeney. It has built up a large number of reviews which are streamed on the website to be seen by anyone not already familiar with the hotel. It has brought all of its contacts from its various systems (booking, email etc.) into a central repository where they have been de-duplicated and enriched with additional data such as whether or not they are a customer. This drives a monthly newsletter programme. The website has been enhanced with a Blog which keeps the content fresh and helps with organic ranking which is a long term project.
MyLocal is focussed mainly on assisting local businesses with growing their customer base using the latest sales and marketing thinking. Get in touch for a no obligation discussion.
About Norfolk Churches Trust
The Norfolk Churches Trust exists in order to protect through financial aid and advice the many architecturally precious religious monuments of the county. Norfolk contains the greatest concentration of medieval churches in the world which were built as a result of the vast wealth created by wool. Of the 921 that were originally built, 699 remain: a testament to their skilful construction from flint – one of the most unforgiving materials, in a region devoid of freestone.
The committee had produced an invitation to tender for a computerised administration system that would provide, amongst other features
- An online database of assets (churches)
- An online database of members (subscribers)
- An online database of prospects (potential donors)
- The ability to produce personalised emails or letters to lists and/or individuals
- The ability to maintain a log of correspondence with or about any of the above
- The ability to account for subscriptions and donations including Gift Aid
All of the companies who responded to the tender said that this requirement was so complex that they would have to develop a bespoke system. One company was chosen and wrote the system which was sent to NCT for testing. Due to lack of knowledge and resources, no testing took place and, worse still, relationships broke down and the contract was terminated. This triggered full payment of some £50,000 which was paid to avoid embarrassment. The project was transferred to another company that would charge to fix the system rather than fixing it under the guarantee of the original contract. It was at this point that Thomas Olesen became involved at the invitation of the Chairman who he had met socially and had been told about the problems.
Thomas Olesen had vast experience in IT systems and project management and agreed to look at the situation to see if he could help, so there was no risk for NCT. He quickly made three observations which then led to a project:
- It was likely that repairing the system as designed could cost another £50,000 because they were using another supplier with no loyalty to the original system.
- The system would require constant expensive updates to stay current with developments in IT, or it would fall behind and become obsolete.
- Contrary to original advice, they could use an off-the-shelf system which, with a few modifications, would do what they required as well as quite a lot of useful things that were not originally envisaged. The advantage of off-the-shelf software is that it is both inexpensive and it is always up to date with the latest technology.
There followed a short implementation of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system called Gold-Vision which included modifications for the non-standard requirements. The total cost of this was about £5,000 (i.e. 10% of what they had already spent and written off). This project was immediately followed by the development of a new website which was integrated with the CRM system so that they can control which churches are listed on the website.
Within about 6 weeks the NCT had a working system that gave them what they had originally set out to obtain and then some. The system was totally online and fully integrated with Microsoft Exchange Server so the main interface was Outlook which was already in use and therefore familiar. Anyone that required access to the information was able to access it either read-only or with editing capability. The system could grow with changes to requirements over time and was inexpensive.
Although MyLocal is focussed mainly on assisting local businesses with growing their customer base using the latest sales and marketing thinking, it can assist other types of businesses including large charities like the NCT with complex projects. Get in touch for a no obligation discussion.