Rodamón Hostels opened their first property back in 2012 and now the hip boutique hostel chain boasts several properties in five countries around southern Europe and Africa. From a 100-year-old Riad in Marrakech to a buzzing destination in Barcelona, they are finally reopening in all their locations and even have some new properties to reveal to the world.
The last year has been tough for hostels in particular but things are looking bright again and we spoke to Albert Polo Aibar, General Manager, about how they have transformed their revenue management technology and are now prepared to take advantage of the recovery.
Old school frustrations
“We used to use another RMS but started taking notice of what Pace, now FLYR for Hospitality, was doing and that their approach to revenue management was very different. We were Mews users and Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) kept on getting mentioned so we asked the opinion of our friends at one of the other big hostel groups in Europe who were big fans. They couldn’t have recommended it more. Frankly, one of the big factors that really impressed me to begin with was the focus on primary data. It’s a philosophy that we fully subscribe to as it shouldn’t matter what your competition is doing.
Another important part of the puzzle was that almost all RMS tend to be hotel orientated and hostels often struggle to make use of their software. That’s mainly because our inventory mix is so complex – female spaces vs mixed spaces and so on. There are so many internal factors that play a role in the pricing and demand for each of these spaces. For example, our female-only rooms are always sold out and a system like Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) will actually take this into account.
So we decided to try Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) out and we ran it side by side with our old RMS for a few months. After a month, we all noticed that we had not even logged into the old system at all as we were always using Pace (FLYR for Hospitality).”
“To be honest, at the beginning I did not really trust automation. It was a totally new paradigm and I used to price very differently beforehand. So it was a process of slowly accepting the recommendations one by one and gradually getting used to it and then realising you can totally trust Pace (FLYR for Hospitality).
We’ve now reopened our Barcelona property and it’s running on automated pricing. We’ve managed to hit 80% occupancy and prices are holding. We actually thought prices would suffer but automation is one of the reasons we have been able to sell beds for such a high price despite the circumstances. As things reopened, the view amongst some Barcelona hostels was that prices would suffer like it does in a normal winter. In fact, we all thought like that. The fear was prices would drop below €10 a bed, which before Covid was always the worst case situation. That’s in comparison to normal pricing of nearer €50. But we’ve been holding at around €30 and even selling some beds at €45.
We’re really looking forward to all the other properties opening and switching on automation. It has really simplified my life. Our old system was so frustrating as their approach to revenue management was fundamentally wrong and it was all so manual. You had to push all the prices manually whereas now everything is so seamless.”
“Analytics is a part of the Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) platform that we are really excited about. Our financial team are heavy users of the analytics already as you can build reports and dashboards exactly as you want. We’ve transformed our data systems over the last couple of years and now all our data flows into a data lake from where we can pull loads of information and Analytics is really powerful here. We’re building some really cool reports with the help of the advisory team, who are always engaged and there to help get creative with the dashboards.”
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