Maes Yr Helmau Cottages is a thriving tourism business, boasting three self-catering cottages. Each is unique – one sleeps eight, another six, and the final provides cosy, romantic accommodation for two.
Set in the beautiful Welsh countryside just outside the market town of Dolgellau, the cottages are full of character, with a homely feel and a relaxing vibe.
The business has been trading since 1984, and Janet Preston and her husband, Adam, took the reins in 2001.
All cottages are pet-friendly and have played host to cats, dogs, and even, on occasion, pet rats.
In addition to bringing their own four-legged friends, guests at Maes Yr Helmau are greeted by Janet’s own horses, Jack and Wish, as well as her Shetland pony, Sultan. The animals are popular with visitors, who enjoy feeding them carrots and apples – they’re the real focal point of a stay at the Cottages.
Janet strongly believes that the key to running a successful business is a focus on the needs of guests. She likes to spend as much of her time as possible meeting guests, rather than dealing with the money side.
As she actually lives on the property, in a fourth, private cottage, Janet is essentially welcoming people to her home. The last thing she wants to do is to be interfering in guests’ stay by discussing money.
While the majority of guests come from within the UK, Janet wants to be able to target overseas visitors as well, in order to grow her business. With more people turning to the internet to plan and book their holidays, this means she needs to have the infrastructure in place to accept bookings and payments online. She now works with Kashing to meet this challenge head-on via the company’s state-of-the-art digital payments platform.
Janet first heard about Kashing through the Mid-Wales Tourism Board (MWT Cymru), reading about the company in newsletters and emails. Following a recommendation from MWT, she decided to ask Kashing for support in creating a PCI-compliant online payments capability.
Thanks to Kashing’s innovative approach, all the awkwardness of dealing with cash or asking for card details over the phone has now gone away. Guests can pay for their stay through Janet’s website. Not only does this save her considerable time and resources, it means that customers can make secure card payments using a method that they feel comfortable with.
For Janet, the whole payments system is extremely user-friendly, both for her as a business user and for her guests as consumers. This is a crucial requirement – she wants customers to find the online payments solution easy to use as well. It was important that her new online payments solution wasn’t just another convoluted business platform.
Aiding her growth strategy, Janet has noticed a significant increase in the number of people booking from abroad since the Kashing online payment platform was implemented. There’s also been a major rise in the number of people booking directly through her website, rather than via third-party service providers, meaning she’s seen a substantial boost in revenue.
For Janet, Kashing is great value for money, very easy to deal with, approachable and always ready to answer any of her questions if she needs to phone the company up with a query.
“Kashing is very friendly, you get an instant answer and a personable service,” Janet explained. “The implementation was very quick – it all took about an hour to set up, including a quick training session, and since then I’ve had no problems.”
Thanks to the introduction of Kashing’s secure, PCI-compliant technology, Janet has found that running Maes Yr Helmau is now nearly hassle-free.
She now has the time to be friendly and attentive to guests, as she no longer has to bring up the issue of money face-to-face, take card details over the phone, or chase late payments – it’s all handled by Kashing. That makes for a much more relaxing stay for customers, and a more enjoyable working experience for Janet.
The majority of Janet’s guests are repeat-customers. They use the Kashing platform every time they stay, and they’re happy to pay with Kashing.
Cancellations have gone down too, as guests pay their deposit up-front, then the full balance six weeks before their stay.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a single cancellation since using Kashing,” Janet added.
Most importantly, bookings have gone up substantially. Janet concluded: “I think when people see somewhere they want to stay, they want to pay there and then, they don’t want the hassle of phoning people up. People like the idea of going on to the website – by the time they phone they may have changed their mind or found somewhere with an easier payments system.
“I’d recommend Kashing to friends and people I know who have similar businesses, purely for how easy and secure it all is. Payments are made within the required timescale and customer service is on-point.”