With almost twenty properties in their portfolio, C&C Revenue Management are experts in running RM for properties in highly dynamic and competitive markets within the Netherlands and the low countries. Their niche tends to be boutique city hotels with three or four stars including the likes of Hotel2Stay and CityHub.
Today - things are looking promising as things recover post-pandemic - the summer is booked up, the booking window is gradually getting longer and they are opening a few more properties in Rotterdam and Belgium over the summer.
But several years ago, RM was uncharted territory for lots of hotels in Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general and C&C was in a position to help. After growing exponentially in 2017 and 2018 they were forced to change how they operated their business. C&C were busy running the day to day operations of their properties while also taking care of strategy at the same time and so they started looking into their tech stack and how they could become more efficient with the help of automation.
They used to manage all revenue management with Excel…and that meant a lot of sheets…so it was top of the list of areas they needed to make some changes. We spoke to founder Chris Chang about it all.
“The main reason for updating our tech stack was to find efficiency savings. We thought that automation could be seriously useful with all the heavy lifting we were doing with revenue management in particular. To be honest, we were never believers in full 100% automation in RM as it’s difficult to reach and do well. The autopilot function on Tesla is a good analogy - 80% off the exertion is saved but exceptions need to be allowed for. Often, on smaller and more complex roads, we prefer to be more hands on…so we were looking to automate 80% of what we were doing manually beforehand with all those Excel spreadsheets.
We never considered the legacy RMS players as we wanted something that was future-proof and that was affordable. Those old vendors charge a crazy amount for implementation and the monthly fees don’t flex around our kind of business.
We looked at three modern RMS providers including Pace. The Pace philosophy was the closest to what we believed in - it’s all about demand. Like them we believe that most of the secondary data is noise so it’s better to focus on pickup as the primary indicator and dive into that more and more if you need to.
Pace also stood out from the competition as its easy to accept or decline rates or even make adjustments at a room type level as, after all, a family room will always behave differently to a single room! You don’t need to go through all that hassle of setting up endless parameters and rules! If you want, you can easily override things directly.”
“Most of our properties are running on the Mews PMS and their two-way integration with Pace is seamless. As a result, onboarding was crazy fast. The first property was done over the weekend - we started the onboarding on Friday and went live that following Monday. We were then able to onboard a dozen properties in one go straight afterwards and that was all done within a few days.
That was another big difference with the competitors we looked at - they take much longer to implement. They have different workflows and need a lot of data and parameters to set up beforehand so it can really drag on. We wanted a quick and easy solution without too much fuss and Pace was the winner hands down.”
“It really has been a new paradigm of revenue management to get used to and we have had to transform how we think about pricing. For example, we had one hotel where we decided to accept lots of pricing recommendations from Pace even though our instincts didn’t agree based on previous experience. In the end, and with some small tweaks here and there, we realised the pricing was really close to what was logical.
So Pace’s automation helps us with all the heavy lifting of the day to day pricing while letting us adjust things here and there as we see fit. Although Pace are big champions of automation, they make it really easy for you to manage by exception as well. That was not the case with the other two vendors we looked at, who don’t want their users to make any changes and they force you to arm wrestle the system to over ride anything.
Another thing is the flexibility Pace has when handling different kinds of inventories, which has helped a lot with our hostels. For example, multiple bed rooms or rooms without showers are fundamentally different products so it’s great to be able to easily manage that within the same system.”
“The reporting functionality of Pace was a massive plus. Pace Analytics allows us to inform our clients about what they need to know and it’s all automated. It’s a really powerful product and I’m looking forward to using it more and more. For example, we use the pickup overview a lot for our management clients and we can easily schedule reports to be sent out weekly and, again, it all gets delivered automatically. Another cool example is the reports we’ve created showing breakfast revenue at properties, which really showcases how guests are spending internally.
And this is where it’s important to mention Pace support and how great they have been. They are really responsive - to the point where they are actually solving problems, which is not always the case with other Customer Support teams! We’ve been building a bunch of reports together and they are always there to help me with the system.”