Who is Jomres for? part 2
The bulk of this post is taken from a comment on the forum, regarding mention of technical aspects of the software on the newly revamped home page of the Jomres.net website.
The commenter rightly questions the wisdom of this and lead me onto one of my, as usual, long winded replies, which I'll share below.
That's a good point, and I agree with you to a certain degree.
The problem is, we needed to ask ourselves "Who are our target market?" As you know, Jomres scales well from single property sites all the way up to full portals ( I should know, the amount of code that Aladar in particular produces for optimisation is terrific ).
Now, ideally we'd capture everybody, both small businesses and large, but that's just not possible, no matter how hard we try to "dumb" Jomres down. There's just too much functionality for mom & pop type businesses, especially if they're not technically minded. Even the Single Property Wordpress Quickstart (which was designed for them) might be too much for them if they aren't familiar with using FTP. The only truly simple solutions are SaaS systems, but then you run the risk of sharing your intimate business details with anonymous strangers who could disappear at the drop of a hat.
Now, we could go the Apple route. We could rip out all of the options that aren't absolutely necessary and tell people "There, that's what you're getting, take it or f*** off" but of course that would then leave users like yourselves out in the cold again with nowhere to go. We don't want to do that, so we have to admit that our target market are the web developers for the world, coupled with their clients.
Building a full-featured multi-property, multi-vendor, multi-language booking system takes either a ridiculous amount of money, or years of concerted effort by dedicated developers who're in it for the long haul, not just looking to make a quick buck.
To the best of my knowledge, we're the only system in either the Wordpress or Joomla worlds that provides a full booking portal at such a low cost. At one end of the scale you've got the various Wordpress micro-systems ( SaaS or not ) that are only suitable for single property sites, generally. Small, very limited WP based systems are generally in the $50 region, VB & Solidres are $110 & $79 respectively. We're not far from those prices, but whereas VB is good for very simple single property sites and SR is ok-ish for small multi property with single vendors sites, neither of them have the full feature set of Jomres.
WooCommerce Bookings ( a plugin for woocommerce ) starts at $249, but as far as I can see that's not multi-vendor, and certainly doesn't seem to have the booking centric features that Jomres offers. When I first saw WCB I genuinely thought it could be a real competitor to us, but as time has gone by it's clear to me that it's no real threat.
At the other end of the scale, you've got the "AirBNB clone" scripts. To get the source code for these systems, your starting price is around about $1200 for a decent system with good support. These are full featured systems ( even more than Jomres, but I'm looking closely at their offerings and we can do most of what they do already, the rest is just a matter of time ) and some are probably worth every penny but none of them integrate into another CMS ( for better or for worse).
As a result, Jomres is firmly between these two groups. Capable of being a massive portal ( Aladar said that one of our clients he dealt with had 30,000 properties on his site, and it was fast ) all the way down to single property sites. The only way to achieve that is through complexity, meaning that there's an absolutely inevitable learning curve for anybody wishing to implement Jomres.
We've done a lot recently to make managing properties easier, I hope you'll agree ( if you don't, then you should speak up! ), however the underlying truth of the matter is that Jomres always has been, and always will be for the technical user when it comes to actually setting up the site itself.
Acknowledging that fact allows us to say "Ok, we need to tell potential new customers about all the magic features we offer for a ridiculously cheap price". At the same time, it would be foolish to say "Anybody can set this up", as we all know that that's not the entire truth. If you're used to FTP'ing files and creating a database in phpmyadmin then it's pretty simple to set-up the Quickstart and get Jomres up and running in a few minutes. Setting up an entire site takes a lot longer. People are wonderful and varied and they all want to do something different.
I've always said that Jomres is a tool-kit, and virtually everything you want do can be done, either through the tools it provides or some customisation of your own.
Eventually, we have to admit as I said further up, that our target market are clients with capable web developers ( people like you guys & girls ). We target the clients based on feature-set and price, and web developers with the tools to achieve the client's goals. We try to make it easier for both by making properties easy to manage, and Quickstarts for the developers to deploy, but the cold hard truth of the matter is you have to have a brain, and be willing to use it, to get the best out of Jomres.
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