Seven years after setting up Maid in North Wales, entrepreneur Alex Parkes turned to technology to help handle her rapidly expanding holiday let management business. With Brexit uncertainty and hotter summers in the UK, more Brits are choosing to holiday at home amid a staycation boom. And, greater investment in local attractions such as Zip World and Surf Snowdonia is driving demand for holiday homes with the North Wales tourism industry now worth £3.2 billion annually.

With 16 staff and 60 holiday homes in the Conwy valley to manage and a growing waiting list of property owners, juggling bookings with multiple paper diaries and manually writing out invoices had become unmanageable for Alex. She knew her relationship with paper had to end so she turned to Superfast Business Wales to seek out an online solution.

I got to the point where I was struggling to keep on top of all the bookings coming in

“Paper systems had always worked well for me in the past, but it got to the point where I was struggling to keep on top of all the bookings coming in. I needed an online system where I could easily log arrival and check-out dates, and store client details as well as staff clock in and out times. At the time I was receiving support from Business Wales and they referred me to their specialist digital arm Superfast Business Wales,” said Alex.

Jobber CRM took a while to get used to, but me and my accountant couldn’t go back to paper now

“I didn’t use computers much and my online skills were minimal but Adam Gerrard, my business adviser with Superfast Business Wales, was fantastic. He was so knowledgeable and really helped me understand what technology could help me and how to use it. He advised that the Jobber CRM package would suit me best. It took a while to get used to, but I wouldn’t go back to my paper diaries now. It’s so convenient and easy to use. I can login remotely and see all my holiday homes and cleaning jobs in one place, and it links with QuickBooks, so my accountant can easily pull through jobs to invoice. It’s saved me so much time.”

Turnover is between £20,000 to £24,000 a month and growing so I need to consider options

A former equestrienne, Alex started Maid in North Wales in 2012 after moving back to Conwy when her partner passed away. As the mother of a toddler, she needed work which would fit around her family and started doing domestic cleaning. Fast forward seven years and Maid in North Wales is turning over between £20,000 to £24,000 a month. It has just opened a laundry in Llandudno Junction to service the company’s properties but plans to move into a larger industrial unit in 2020 to help cope with demand.

SFBW instilled the confidence to explore ways digital can help manage staff, payroll, and efficiency

“I really want to capitalise on my business growth as the North Wales tourism industry grows. And working with Adam has given me a huge amount of confidence. I’ve updated my website and am now looking at other ways digital technology can help make the business more efficient as it continues to expand”, says Alex. “While I have enlisted the help of a HR company to monitor staff leave, absence, hours worked and more; I’m searching for someone with digital expertise look into digital payroll and HR.

For someone learning on the job, the support I’ve received from SFBW was integral

“When I started out, I was literally learning on the job, working from my living room, then progressing to the utility room and shed. Now I have a company premises, an excellent team who have all been through an internal training system and my sister is the manager. I’ve attended a lot of courses over the years, but the support and advice I’ve received from Superfast Business Wales has been amongst the most beneficial. I don’t know what I would have done without it.”
 

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