Business case studies
Philippa Barton set up Boutique Retreats in 2007, aiming to bridge the gap between boutique hotels and traditional holiday cottages. Based at Wheal Kitty, a converted engine house at St Agnes on the North Cornwall coast, the company now employs three people full time, with up to ten others working remotely.
Building great foundations
Philippa says: "When I set up Boutique Retreats, I wanted to shake up the self catering market in Cornwall, providing a stylish, contemporary and top quality experience to the younger London market. We provide a personal service to both our customers and our owners and the web is pivotal to our business. So the arrival of superfast broadband in St Agnes has been an incredible boost for us.
"We are now getting superfast broadband download speeds of up to 80 Mbps, as we are in an area where we can get a 'fibre to the premises' (FTTP) connection. This has made all the difference to us as it coincided with a major backer investing in our business; being able to get superfast broadband at our premises at Wheal Kitty helped seal the deal and meant we did not need to relocate. It means we now have great foundations from which we can build the business from our base here right by the ocean."
Philippa continues: "Superfast broadband is incredible, totally brilliant! It is making everything so much easier for us and means the world is our oyster.
"Our customers are generally high net worth individuals with very little time to spare, so it is vital that the website experience we offer is completely swish and instantaneous. We recently invested in a new website and now all the features, such as the online booking and the videos, are all running at peak performance. We can upload new videos in a second, to keep the content fresh, and of course, superfast also makes it far easier to upload videos and photos to social network sites, to raise our profile."
Superfast broadband-led innovation
"Now we have superfast, we are using a brilliant VoIP (Voice over internet protocol) system and we routinely hold telephone conferences with owners overseas, in California, Canada or Europe. The quality is superb, it is as though we are in the same room.
"We have set up a virtual private network and so now around 10 people can access our systems from remote locations. This includes our I.T. support staff, so glitches of any kind can be sorted out in a flash.
"We are also now using the cloud for data back-up and we will be making more use of cloud-based applications in future. It is all systems go and thanks to superfast broadband, there are no limits to our growth plans. The future is looking very exciting indeed!"
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