New online booking facility supports local businesses

Visitors to Winchester can now book accommodation through the city’s official tourism site

Winchester City Council has developed the online booking facility to keep in-step with customer expectations and to support local B&Bs, hotels, and self-catering properties.

The new system meets the demands of tourists who are often short on time and want to book short breaks and holidays easily and quickly. The Visit Winchester website also displays ‘real-time’ availability, and users can carry out detailed accommodation searches to suit their requirements by type, area and accessibility requirements.

Customers have already started to use the new service, with the first ‘e-booker’ choosing to book accommodation at The Old Vine in Winchester. The first customer also came from overseas, showing that the new system is already supporting efforts to reach the international market in the run up to the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

Ashton Gray, Director of The Old Vine Inn, said: “Online advertising via the Visit Winchester website is a fantastic way for accommodation providers to reach a worldwide market of potential clients in a highly cost-effective way. Online booking has the added advantage of easily converting hot sales leads into confirmed bookings. It’s a huge boost to our business”.

Councillor Dominic Hiscock, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Prosperity, added: “Accommodation providers are a vital part of our tourism industry. By making it easier for people to book rooms, we satisfy our customers and boost the local economy. We hope that this initiative will help B&Bs and self catering properties."

The city’s tourist information centre still offers a personal reservation service, and visitors can either telephone 01962 840 500 or email to book accommodation during opening hours.