Northumbria Coast and Country Cottages

39 Years of Changing Technology

It's 2020 and we are celebrating our 39th year letting holiday properties in stunning Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.

Since it’s inception in 1981, the advances in technology have had an incredibly dramatic but positive impact upon our business and looking back now, we all wonder how we ever managed with just pens, paper and a telephone!

1980’s

We started with just a manual typewriter and telephone with hand drawn illustrations of the cottages. We purchased wall charts to record the bookings.

We then up-graded to an electric typewriter, which was replaced a year later with our first black & white Amstrad computer, enabling us to produce marketing material in-house and compile databases. Little did we know then just how basic and ‘clunky’ this first computer was!!

The day the brand new fax machine appeared in the office we all stood around to hear the high-pitched squealing noises emitting from its interior, not entirely sure as to how it managed to transmit written data down a telephone line. Still a bit of a mystery for some of us!

Our booking confirmations were typed using carbon paper and produced in triplicate. Remember those days?

But of course we still retained the wall charts to record the bookings...

1990’s

With the dawn of the internet, it became apparent that a website was the way forward. After much investment, we finally launched our first one, unlocking a huge, innovative marketplace. Although our website has been updated several times since, we were very proud to be one of the first holiday letting agents to have this facility.

Of course we were (and still are) more than happy to speak to holidaymakers and owners too! And to make this easier, we went ahead and installed a networked telephone system, allowing us greater communication capability and multi-line function.

With the transference from DOS to Windows, networking became the new ‘buzz’ word and we embraced it wholeheartedly. Every member of staff was provided with their own computer and ‘data-sharing’ commenced in earnest. Our first networked system with integrated on-line booking service was created and, wow, did this make a major difference to efficiency and productivity.

In line with the website we also purchased a new digital camera. Back then, each photo took 15 minutes to upload but we were thrilled to have the ability to directly showcase the holiday cottages in detail. You could even say we were ‘snap’ happy!

But still we kept the wall charts as a back up...

2000’s

We invested in a ‘real-time’ sophisticated booking and control system, enabling further streamlining, efficiency and productivity. And holidaymakers could now pay securely online too!

With the ever increasing complexity of social media, search engine optimisation and customer interaction, we decide on a further major overhaul of our website.

The 'Cloud' also entered our world and once again, we reacted swiftly to take full advantage. When we opened our second office in Seahouses, it was time to upgrade our telephone system to a cloud-based system so that we were fully functional between the two offices.

The final demise of the wall charts!!! We eventually took down the wall charts and, strangely enough, we haven’t missed them. We do confess though that we have replaced the wall charts with one computer that still stores our original booking system – just in case!!!

We truly hope we have stirred some ‘fond’ memories for you too with our potted history of technological advancement over the past 38 years. It’s really quite striking just how far we’ve progressed by embracing change!

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