On August 11, 2000 we received the very first booking on Bookassist’s shiny new hotel booking engine. Dr Szebesta’s reservation for a Dublin hotel was to be the very first of tens of millions of bookings that we have been entrusted to handle on behalf of our hotel partners across the world since that late Friday evening twenty years ago today.
Ever since, all of us in Team Bookassist located across eight countries have celebrated “Szebesta Day” annually (with Dr Szebesta’s bemused blessing I might add). But this year, two decades on, it’s a decidedly different atmosphere.
Today, celebration isn’t appropriate. The deadly impact of Covid-19 on so many continues to cast its sombre shadow. Many have experienced illness, or the death of friends or family members. Many are out of work or on reduced hours. Many of our past and present hotel partners are temporarily closed, or unfortunately may never open again. Or they are struggling for business if open. We all face unsettling uncertainty in our personal and professional lives on a daily basis.
And so this year we quietly mark the occasion of our twentieth anniversary and reflect on our industry today. We take this opportunity to sincerely thank all those hotel partners who have put their faith in us across twenty years to manage their online strategy and deliver their direct business. We hope that you all get past the current crisis and recover to full business strength again. We hope that you and your staff stay safe, and soon get the opportunity to again deliver that rich and personal tradition of hospitality that is the cornerstone of your livelihood.
Bookassist staff are working away, mostly remotely, interpreting the evolving online landscape to bring whatever data insights, support, and useful new tools we can to our hotel partners to help navigate this unsettling time of crisis. Rest assured that we are still here for you, as we have been for twenty years, focused on your direct business and ready to help where we can and to support your preparation for a return to full operations, whenever that may be.