The four-star Hotel Beethoven is open for business! The elegant, five-floor boutique property built in 1902 in Neo-Renaissance style lies nestled in the bohemian quarter of Vienna and opposite the famous Naschmarkt. But it’s also a stone’s throw away from all the classic Viennese spots – from the Theatre to the Opera house to the traditional Viennese coffeehouses – and is already seeing the travel recovery in action.
The hotel is family owned and operated and each floor is devoted to a particular local Viennese theme along with special personalities of the city. Traditionally, they welcomed mostly leisure travellers but during the pandemic they were forced to pivot towards business guests. Now leisure guests are returning to the Austrian capital again and Hotel Beethoven is raring to go with the help of some new technology upgrades.
We spoke to Julia Hellwagner about how they have upgraded their revenue management platform during the pandemic and are already seeing the benefits.
Old school frustrations
“Before we were using a really primitive RMS that was super slow in making price changes. It was so manual! You had to click around everywhere and update things all the time. It was ridiculously tough to change the price recommendations. In fact, it was so bad that the system didn’t seem to recognise that there was a difference in demand compared to the previous year. I would sometimes double check and the availability and pricing was basically identical.
We finally moved to a cloud-based PMS in 2019 when we switched to Mews, which opened up a world of possibilities for us in terms of Revenue Management. Our old rate management system was not cloud based and, as I just explained, it was working way too slow anyway. We needed an RMS that worked perfectly with Mews so we did a few tests and trials and we immediately chose Pace, now FLYR for Hospitality. It was an easy choice and we switched it on in March 2020.
There were so many reasons why it was right for us. To start with, we fundamentally agreed with the Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) algorithm’s preference for primary data. The most important thing to be looking at in RM is your own demand and not to blindly follow your competition and their platform is built around that reality.
The ease of use was also a major factor. We’ve changed our operations set up a lot over the last year and we have needed an RMS that anyone – from the front desk to our GM – can use. The old system we used was so complicated and there was no way anyone without serious RM experience could use it.
Going into more detail, I really like how Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) considers categories separately and allows dynamic pricing for each category. That was crucial for us. We were also looking for an RMS with a good analytics product that wasn’t impossible to use and their analytics proved to be amazing, but more about that later.
Last but not least, the team were super nice and really engaged with us every step of the way. The customer support has been top notch.”
“Onboarding was so easy. Our old rate manager took six months to get connected! But that was before the combination of Mews and Pace (now FLYR for Hospitality) …and this time it took only a few days to get up and running.
The cost structure was also ideal for us as it flexed around our needs as a boutique property. They offered competitive onboarding fees unlike so many of the other RMS options who insist on that old fashioned way of charging people exorbitant amounts up front for implementation regardless of their property size and type.”
“We switched on automated pricing a couple of months after onboarding. Now I love how it is adjusting prices constantly throughout the day and how easy everything is. I can give things a quick glance with the overview and that’s all I do. We have set some limits but then we let the platform do what it does best. I trust the algorithm totally.
The amount of time it has saved me is crazy. I used to have to check all our pricing manually three times a day and then make all the changes. Now I have all that time back to do more important things like strategy and long term planning instead of wasting time changing prices. Because we are an independent property, I’ve had to multitask a lot over the last year with other roles and Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) has really allowed me to do that by taking care of the heavy lifting for me in the background.
More importantly, the platform has helped boost our RevPAR by €40 in recent months. We even ran a test comparing what Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) pricing achieved during lockdown versus what our old RMS would have delivered – our RevPAR was €4 higher, which is amazing considering our average room rate was €120.
We also love how it has adjusted to the uncertainties of the last 18 months with its dynamic pricing. For example, when Austria was downgraded last year, we saw a lot of sudden cancellations but then we also saw the decision engine immediately kick into action with its automatic price recommendations. That was really impressive and comforting to see. On top of that, our booking window is super short these days and I don’t need to worry about it all as the tool handles the changes easily so I can focus on other things.
Since we switched over, our RevPAR has been constantly rising along with our ADR. For example, we have one competitor that, historically, always had a higher rate than us and now we are back at the same rate as them. Oh and our occupancy is recovering nicely and is back at over 70 percent.”]
“I love the analytics and it was a big reason for choosing Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) as our RMS. In short, you can look at it and actually get something out of it. That was not the case with our old system!
I used to spend days preparing just one report and now it takes me seconds to do the exact same thing. For example, I like to know what channels bookings are coming from, in what category and at what price. We were not able to get anything like that before but now it’s generated immediately. I’m really looking forward to using it moreover the coming months and seeing what other reports and dashboards I can generate.”
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