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Customer Stories How Stein Collection Increased Online Bookings by 2.5x with Inntopia Commerce

photo of stein ericksen lodge

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

 Feb 13, 2023

Deer Valley Resort first opened in 1981 with the vision of bringing luxury skiing to the budding Park City area. Luckily, the resort’s developers knew a suave, Olympic gold medalist named Stein Eriksen who they believed could create a hotel experience that would match the skiing experience they were aiming for on the slopes.

It didn’t take long after its grand opening in 1982 for Stein Eriksen Lodge to become one of the most iconic ski hotels in the world. And as its fame has grown, so have the options for skiers seeking a world class experience. Today, the lodge is joined by The Chateaux Deer Valley and Stein Eriksen Residences to form the Stein Collection, a portfolio of luxury brands nestled in the heart of Deer Valley Resort.

For decades, virtually everything the resort sold was routed through a call center staffed by a team of talented agents. In recent years, however, that approach put the hotel in a tough spot. Here’s how Director of Revenue, Jason Nelson, described their predicament.

“We kept hearing from skiers that they didn’t want to call a call center to book their trip. But at the time, only a small percentage of our rooms were available online and booking those rooms online was fairly clunky. We already knew that we needed to deliver a better user experience, but the labor shortages that came as a result of the pandemic quickly exacerbated these issues within our call center.” 

At the time, Stein Collection had only 10-15% of their rooms available online which resulted in just 22-23% of all bookings. With luxury lodging, some guests will always want the personalized touch that only a call center agent could provide, but they also recognized that more and more of their guests wanted to book online instead of over the phone. 

At the very least, Stein Collection knew they needed to give their guests the choice.

Solving the Problem

Both Jason and the team’s Director of Reservations, Jay Martin, had experience with Inntopia from a previous role and realized that the Inntopia Commerce platform had all the pieces they needed. From ease of booking to the ability to integrate with their PMS, Maestro, once they put their inventory online they knew there would be a nice, clean presentation for their guests and an easy-to-use call center application for their agents. 

Speaking of the call center, that piece was key.

“Despite the goal for all of our rooms to be available online, it was critical that we have all of our inventory and offerings available through the call center as well. Even for our high-dollar reservations where guests call in to talk to an agent before booking, we found that these guests still like to ‘read the menu’ online first.” 

On this point, Inntopia’s offline-to-online features helped immensely because a guest could call in to ask questions and then book online, or start online to browse photos of their options on their computer and then call the center to complete their reservation. No matter how the guests wanted to book, Stein Collection knew that Inntopia could give each guest the booking experience they needed.

screenshot of stein collection booking engine search results

Strong Results

Today, using Inntopia Commerce, Stein Collection has 100% of their inventory available online and 100% of their inventory available in the call center. And how many vacations are being booked online? Here’s what Jason said.

“We’ve increased online bookings 2.5x with Inntopia Commerce. Before, just 22-23% of bookings were online. Now it’s 52% in winter and 63% in summer.”

And while they still see the correlation between large bookings and the need to talk to an agent, it’s not just smaller transactions that are happening in browsers and on mobile phones.

“We recently saw a $160,000 booking come in – our largest ever – and it was booked online. To me, that says they guests are comfortable with the system. They know our name, they know our reputation, they know what we represent and they’re comfortable putting down their credit card even for that kind of reservation.”

Despite ongoing labor challenges, all of these online bookings have helped the call center stay on top of demand and give each guest the service they need. The majority of their high-dollar guests are still calling in and talking to somebody, but with 2.5x as many guests booking online it’s helped take a huge load off their agents. As a result, they’ve been able to maintain a call center staff of around 6 down from the 8-10 they had before implementing Inntopia Commerce.

Beyond direct bookings, the benefits from Inntopia have trickled through other areas of the hotel as well:

  • Jason can more easily export data to show key stakeholders performance by room type, day of week arrival trends, and length-of-stay insights so they can make informed decisions around things like minimum stays. 
  • The percentage of bookings from OTAs is also down which Jason credits largely to having an easy direct-booking option available for all room types.
  • A Stein Collections group sales manager converted a manual process of fulfilling group reservations to an automated one using Inntopia’s packaging functionality. What took him half a day to fulfill now takes just a few minutes.

screenshot of stein collection booking engine

Not Just Lodging

But the Stein Collection team also recognizes that Inntopia Commerce is about more than lodging. It opens up the ability to sell multiple products in predetermined packages or à la carte, so they’ve been loading ancillary items that can be bundled with a guest’s lodging and sold through the system.

“Our reservations team has been really successful in adding additional products like chocolates, roses, and gift cards. We’re running several more products through the Inntopia booking engine than we were in our previous environment. Based on the success that we’re having both with lodging and some of those ancillary products, we’re getting a lot of attention from other departments within our collection of hotels wanting to leverage the packaging capabilities that come with Inntopia.”

Despite doing well with these products as well as dining and spa, Jason is also eager to move beyond the resort boundaries and into the greater Park City region to begin offering adventures like fly fishing, horseback riding, and guided mountain bike rides when guests book online or in the call center. 

Three Reasons

Since going live in December of 2021, Jason points to a few key elements that have helped Inntopia Commerce be such a success for the Stein Collection team.

“Inntopia is a much friendlier booking experience for the guest. If you put the inventory online, if you make the inventory available to everyone, if you make it easy to find and shop, guests will book it. We know that a lot of guests just want to do it themselves, at their own pace, whenever it’s convenient for them to book. This increase in our online booking volume takes a lot of load off of the call center. And that’s working because we’ve done it right and put everything online to leverage what’s available to us.”

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