Guestline provides a suite of management software applications for property owners and hotels to manage their business by coordinating reservations, online booking availability, payments, and reporting. Integrating into hundreds of different booking website such as Trivago, Booking.com and Expedia, Guestline had a requirement to bill each transaction of a booking, modification or cancellation to the hotel that the transaction applied to.
Guestline needed to move away from hugely time-consuming manual processing, littered with errors. After trying and repeatedly failing to find an appropriate software platform and even considering building their own capability, the search turned to ICT billing with the suggestion that if you can bill telecoms, you can bill anything. Whilst other providers in the market shied away from the complexity, Inform Billing’s extensive experience in billing a wide range of services and subscriptions enabled them to demonstrate both the required flexibility within their software and the expertise to meet the complex requirements.
Guestline’s billing requirements have significant complexity that would not be achievable in most billing platforms. There was an inordinate number of quirks and idiosyncrasies in Guestline’s billing due to the number of variable elements that make up their charging structures and the different tariffs across 3,000+ hotels.
Customers could be billed in a variety of different ways: sometimes on a fixed fee per transaction, sometimes for an all-inclusive monthly fee and sometimes for a transactional fee but with a monthly or annual spend cap, so any transactions over and above are completed at zero charge. In addition, some customers needed to be billed on a sliding scale, being charged less the higher the volume of transactions they receive.
An incredibly high degree of flexibility was critical in the rating engine of the software to account for variances between the hundreds of different booking sites, known as ‘channels’, that feed the transactions. An individual hotel may apply different charging structures for each of its different channels, utilising multiple channels at any one time. With over 1,000,000 transactions every month, the sheer amount of data to process had become completely unwieldy.
To further complicate matters, Guestline operate globally across 25 different countries and had a requirement to bill each hotel in its native currency.
Since using Eclipse
In a nutshell, Eclipse has enabled Guestline to automate processes, providing a direct interface with complementary systems and enabling them to seamlessly and more accurately process billing data. Before moving to Inform Billing, Guestline took two solid days each month to export data to manually calculate bills, now within Eclipse this process has been reduced to just under one hour.
Data integrity is greatly improved. Eclipse found 50 hotels which were not being billed at all, as previously they were not able to validate their data, adding over £30k of monthly revenue. Importantly, whilst transactions took a big hit during the pandemic due to hotel closures, Guestline are now confident they are accounting for every transaction that occurs.
Eclipse is also providing useful intelligence – the comprehensive and instant reporting suite within the platform enables Guestline to analyse customer and channel trends in a timely manner, enabling them to tweak their commercial offering and further improve profitability.
In addition, through Eclipse, Guestline has set up automated reports to be sent to customers. Similar to a usage statement, these show the value a hotel is receiving from Guestline’s pricing structures – for example how much is saved by having a pricing cap in place. This is unique within the industry and is providing Guestline with competitive advantage.
Overall Guestline have been able to remove reliance on a single point of failure. They have streamlined and automated processes to such an extent that they have been able to redeploy resource during a difficult period, gearing up ready for their next stage of growth as restrictions ease.
James Padkin, Head of PMO at Guestline
“Inform Billing have completely transformed our billing – turning a messy, painstaking process into a positive. The difference is immeasurable and we would never be able to achieve our growth targets without them.”
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