Founded in 1975, this unique 29-room Napa Valley bed and breakfast boutique hotel is located between the towns of St. Helena and Calistoga, surrounded by acres of world-class vineyards. Boasting one of the only panoramic views of the Valley, the Inn is within walking distance of award-winning wineries and the famed Culinary Institute of America.
“Napa is a fiercely competitive market, so we need the strongest CRS partner we can find. With SHR, we have the flexibility, channel outreach, and visibility we need to not only stay in the game, but win it more often.”
—Corrina Cuevas, Revenue Manager, Wine Country Inn & Cottages
For decades, Wine Country Inn & Cottages attracted its visitors by reputation alone, foregoing a central reservations system (CRS) altogether. But by 2016, it had become clear that the hotel booking landscape had changed, along with Napa Valley itself. “On the main streets, new hotels started popping up faster than we could have ever imagined,” said Corrina Cuevas, Revenue Manager for the Inn. “So, not only were we facing more competition, but being tucked so far back behind the wineries, some locals didn’t even know we were here.” They needed to get the word out about their hotel, building an online presence that would get them noticed, and fast.
SHR platforms have helped the Inn to reinvent their guest booking methods, as well as complement their new property management system (PMS) capabilities. “For instance, right now, our PMS will not allow us to build dynamic packages where your price fluctuates off your BAR rate,” explained Corrina. “We go around this by using the add-on feature in Windsurfer.”
The Inn is also seeing longer stay lengths now via blended rates. “We’re not able to do multiple rate plans within a single reservation in our PMS, but with the blended rates in Windsurfer, we can do multiple nights over weekends, and our bookings are going up because of it,” said Corrina. Pulling reports for the hotel has been enhanced as well. “We really need detailed segmentation reports,” Corrina explained. “What we can’t pull through our PMS we can easily pull through Windsurfer with no problem.”
Seriously competing in their market has also meant using OTAs and making better use of their winery partners. While they can’t compete with the OTAs for reach, with Windsurfer, they can compete in OTA style. “With the strike-thru feature, our guests can see exactly how much money they’re saving in real time,” said Corrina. The promo and rate codes that can be generated have also added to their marketing options. “We just generate a unique code for each winery to use on their site so they can steer guests right to us, and we can track the source easily,” she said. “This has helped strengthen our relationships with our neighbors, as well as boosted our bookings.”
In an ever-more competitive market, using technology to squeeze the most value out of each marketing dollar is paramount to the Inn’s strategy. “With new tools coming out all the time at SHR, like the recent room upgrade feature where guests can book up a few levels in price without feeling it as much, we’re hoping to reduce our need to discount,” Corrina said.
But, for the Inn, SHR is more than just great tech. “For instance, one night I called after hours. It was almost 11:00, so I wasn’t expecting to get a callback, but I did, and in about fifteen minutes. I thought ‘who does that?’” Corrina said. “It’s situations like that when I know we made the right choice for our CRS partner—one who will be there for us, no matter what.”