(Or why our guests love technology, even if they don't know it! Part 2 in our B&B Technology blog series).
The transistor was developed in 1947, as was I. Sadly the transistor has had much more of an effect on humanity than I have! This post was going to be all about microprocessors and how they have revolutionized the business of running a B&B but as they are so ubiquitous right through our lives, it seemed a little disingenuous to write about the way integrated circuits now control everything from the oven temperature to the fire alarm system.
Instead I want to mention just one really startling statistic that I discovered when researching information on Wikipedia. 11 years ago, in 2002 alone, 60 million transistors were built for each man, woman, and child then living on Earth. Think about that for a moment. (Or maybe don't, it's somewhat overwhelming!)
So even before we opened the Carlisle House in 2004, you would think that technology might have peaked. But no, ever since then we have been increasing our use of high-tech in our small business. The day we opened, we had our web-site ready to launch.
(I cringe when I look back at it now. There is a fascinating website called web.archive.org which has collected and organized archives of many websites - including ours - and you can see how tastes and trends have changed over the years).
Back in 2004 we used to carry our laptop computers everywhere we went so that we could keep in touch by email with our guests. Our PCs were the life-blood of our B&B where we wrote correspondence, updated the website and of course where the Internet connection enabled us to track our reservations and room availabilities.
And the Internet, or to be more accurate the World Wide Web was the real game-changer for B&Bs and inns worldwide. For the first time we could establish a presence outside of travel books and AAA books, gaining guests quite literally from all over the world, 41 countries from Argentina to Vietnam, and Australia to Vanuatu.
Before we opened, we investigated Property Management Systems to decide which would be the best for our new life as innkeepers. We chose SuperINN which hopefully means nothing at all to our guests, but which has enabled us to have an online real-time reservation system in many ways superior to those which major hotels were offering at that time.
The most important aspect of SuperINN is that it is truly a real-time system meaning that we work with exactly the same data that our guests see on the web anywhere in the world. This means that in almost 10 years we have never had a double booking. It is quite common for chain hotels to overbook on the assumption that they will get cancellations, something that we never have done, and never will do.
At the Carlisle House, our technology structure helped us have a Better Way to Book a Room, along the way to becoming a Better Way to Stay!
In Part 3 of this series, I will be talking about how "Low-Tech" can be just as useful as "High-Tech"!