Coffeebreak chat with Amanda Middleton, Roomex Operations Executive
While at college, a semester abroad in Florence, Italy, ignited Amanda’s wanderlust, and she fell in love with Europe. She later returned to explore more and her travels took her to Ireland where she settled in Dublin. A chance opportunity with Roomex saw her secure a working visa and offered her the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in hotel management and technology, the intersection of which she has always been keen to explore.
“Although I don’t have a technology background, hospitality and technology is an area I’m really interested in,” said Amanda. “Roomex was an opportunity to get involved and learn more about that. I work closely with our tech team and developers and I’ve learned a lot from them and what they do.”
Amanda hasn’t wasted any time settling in to life in Ireland and setting out to explore her host country. “I’ve been to a lot of places - Donegal, Galway, Cork, Belfast. I’ve really liked everywhere I’ve visited,” said Amanda, who enjoys indulging her sense of adventure. “A lot of people I meet are surprised at how much of Ireland I’ve seen - they tell me, we haven't even been there yet! My parents have visited me, and so I’ve done the tourist thing with them. I even had my grandma over to stay and that was the first time she had ever been to Europe. It’s great that I get to share this with them.”
From Monday through Friday Amanda’s job as Roomex Operations Executive sees her building and branding client portals, as well as listening and responding to their wants and needs. “The whole point of Roomex is to make things better for our clients. After all, that’s one of our promises - to make things quicker and easier,” she said. “At the moment, I customise the portals for customers. I can put anything they request on there. We customise every single portal so that it best meets the needs of the company we are working with. Often the company will have cost centres they want to include in the booking flow which means their monthly invoice from Roomex is broken out just how they want it. We provide hot links to any locations visited regularly, as well as preferred hotels and any existing negotiated rates the company may already have in place. They all come into the booking flow from the start so that the portal makes sense to the user from the beginning, it really feels like it is designed to their own specific needs and is not an off-the-shelf product.”
Roomex has over 400 clients across Europe including high-profile names like AIB, Compass Group, Cuisine de France, David Lloyd Leisure, Musgrave Group, Mercury Engineering, Kuehne & Nagel, MIB Group, KN Networks, Actavo, TGI Friday's, Quantcast and Sisk Group.
“One of Roomex’s promises is to make things quicker and easier for our clients.”
- Amanda Middleton
The beauty of Roomex, according to Amanda, is that it is so flexible and highly-customisable. Each portal is uniquely branded with the clients’ details, and therefore acts like an extension of their own IT provision. This level of familiarity is something that makes everything easier when it comes to creating a seamless, time-efficient user-experience. Since Roomex has a database of over 650,000 hotels worldwide, the branded portals reassure clients that all the necessary information is communicated.
“It’s important that branding of the client portal is right, and that we’ve using the right logos, for example,” explained Amanda. “All of that assures the client that all the options are specific and tailored to them. They’re in the right place and getting the right information.”
Portals are set up and customised quickly - often within 48 hours - and the cloud-based system means everything happens remotely with minimal disruption. Clients can begin receiving the benefits of using Roomex almost immediately to control, save and gain total visibility on all work-related hotel spend.
“One of the most rewarding things about my job is giving the clients what they want.”
- Amanda Middleton
As well as listening intently to client suggestions, troubleshooting issues and devising changes and improvements to their portals based on feedback, Amanda is also proactively monitoring cutting-edge developments in the hotel booking space. “I’ll frequently provide customer feedback to our Product Development Team to continually improve our customer experience,” she said. “We want to retain our market leading position in the sector so we need to constantly innovate.”
For Amanda, Roomex’s highly accessible reporting gives them the competitive advantage in the business hotel booking space. Amanda will also spend time helping clients interpret this data and comparing it to certain benchmarks - for example, total spend for a period, savings and performance against negotiated rates, as well as data on cost centres, hotel type and division. Spending limits can also be applied through the portal, meaning office managers or company travel bookers don’t have to spend hours scouring for the best deals within budget. “In my opinion Roomex’s reporting sets it apart from any of the competition. I think not many do that as well as we do,” said Amanda. “We also price-check all bookings to measure savings, a level of benchmarking that no-one else offers. We also check bookings and reconfirm plans prior to travel. Again, this is a level of detail and customer service no-one else offers.”
Amanda predicts that Roomex will only continue to flex and grow in complexity in terms of what it can offer. “As customers become more demanding it is important that we are ahead of the curve and continue to lead the way in this competitive sector”.