The Rival is a privately owned luxury boutique hotel in the trendy Södermalm district of Stockholm. Beyond its 99 designer hotel rooms, it counts bars, a bistro and café, modern meeting facilities and a theatre amongst its offerings.
We spoke to Jesper Sandberg, Revenue and eCommerce Manager, about how they have upgraded their technology and are now well positioned for the travel recovery.
Old school frustrations
“We used to use a PMS called Suite8 – Opera’s little brother – so we were always limited to what we could integrate with and, for a while, we didn’t even have an RMS. Then we switched to Mews and we got access to a world of apps through their Marketplace, including Revenue Management solutions.
“I used to spend 8 to 10 hours building just one monthly report but now it’s all delivered immediately …”
I felt that the legacy RMS options were too old fashioned – we wanted technology that was future-proof and had a fresh look. They are also way too complex, particularly as they often try to pull in every single piece of data it can find. And not to mention the huge setup costs that really ruled them out…
We looked at a few independent RM solutions but, to be honest, they were just rate shoppers. In the end, we boiled it down to two RMS candidates. We liked Pace, now FLYR for Hospitality, because their algorithm wasn’t looking at what other people were pricing. Hotels often don’t even have a revenue manager so they simply base their rates on what other people are charging – to follow them is like the blind leading the blind.
It’s also clean and easy to use with just the right amount of information for the user. It’s mayhem when you look at the dashboards of all the other RMS competition out there. We never knew what to look for amongst all the numbers!
We also wanted something that would give us less work and not more. I’m performing several roles in the hotel at the moment so my time is precious. Automation was a major factor as the system handles stuff on its own. Sometimes I just want to be able to go in to the RMS and spend 10 mins and see the right numbers, do a bit of analysis and have a look at what’s going on in the next few days.
Finally, Analytics was a real game changer and almost nobody else offers a native Business Intelligence solution like they do. It’s something I’m now really reliant on.”
“Onboarding was super fast and we were up and running in a day or two thanks to their approach to data. Other systems we looked at wanted more historical data and I knew that getting historical data from our old PMS would not work. We needed something that could be up and running quickly and Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) was the winner as they don’t focus on historical data.
It’s also less of a gamble when you have a PMS like Mews and you can just switch on Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) immediately through their Marketplace and try it for free for a month. It’s no longer that old school process of having to wait a couple of months and building the API etc.”
“We switched on automated pricing and it’s been a great decision. We increased our ADR over the last year and during the pandemic. We are actually charging more this April in comparison to previous Aprils. We’re at around SEK 1500 and we aren’t selling out at SEK 595 and getting into a race to the bottom. We can maintain our brand position and we get the kind of customers we want.
I’ve kept an eye on the rates and I’ve definitely become more open to a wider range of rates and to charging higher rates in general, which it correctly suggests.
In the end, it’s not about what we think the room is worth but what people are willing to pay for it. You can’t base it on what you think – a super advanced algorithm that adapts to demand will always price way better than any human could.
So the system takes care of the day to day price changes with its smart algorithm while I can focus on making more strategic pricing decisions at a higher level. ”
“We’ve really benefited over the last year from using Analytics.
We used to do forecasts every month but now we do them every week as the platform lets us see what’s happening on a more granular level. We’ve got a lot better oversight on everything and it’s super interesting to follow the pickup and distribution in terms of where we are getting our reservations.
I’ve built a bunch of my own reports and have been using Analytics to build custom visuals. I’ve got three reports arriving each day and then I have five dashboards that I’ve built that I receive each month with all my monthly reporting. I used to spend 8 to 10 hours building just one monthly report but now it’s all delivered immediately. Now I’ve got all sorts of pie charts showing me everything from pickup to the overall booking window and more.
Reports now automatically arrive everyday into my inbox as a PDF, which makes it super easy to read on my phone. But I’m also still a bit old school and like that I can print them out to show occupancy and pickup to the front desk.
I’ve also got another two daily reports being delivered to our CEO and operations managers with the data that they need respectively. Our CEO even uses the Analytics tool everyday to look at the main dashboard and keep an eye on ADR, occupancy, forecasts and budgets.
At the end of the day, I’m a numbers geek and love Business Intelligence products so it’s been super fun building these dashboards and being able to adjust them just the way I want and the Analytics support from the Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) team has been really amazing!”
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