The Hans Brinker hostel brand is synonymous with providing great value accommodation in popular cities such as Amsterdam and Lisbon. After riding out the pandemic in Holland, they are set to reopen a Lisbon property in 2023 having first opened there in 2014 and have plans for several other openings in Germany and Portugal.
The Dutch brand is renowned for their spicy marketing campaigns and amusingly honest copywriting, which helps sum them up:
“Welcome to the Hans Brinker: quite honestly not the best, but definitely the most memorable hostel in Amsterdam. At the Hans Brinker Hostel you get what you pay for. And because you don’t pay much you won’t get any of the following things: a swimming pool, room service, honeymoon-suites, a gym, tiny bottles of shampoo, a spa-bath or bellboys in silly hats. You will simply get a basic room in the centre of Amsterdam that is worth every penny.”
We spoke to Managing Director Pieter van de Zeeuw about how technology has helped keep them ahead of the pack…
Old school frustrations
“We first came across Pace in 2019 as it had a reputation of being one of the most innovative RMS in the space and many of our colleagues were switching to their platform. Our issue at the time was that our legacy PMS couldn’t integrate with anything and many of the new PMS we had started to look at were pushing their own internal RMS systems so Pace seemed like it just wasn’t going to be an option. In the end, we decided to switch our PMS to Mews partly to solve for this exact issue - access to integrations and Pace in particular.
Once we made the switch to Mews we made sure we did a trial with Pace and one other RMS. Pace was much much better! It did exactly what it promised and adjusted prices really well but also had many other great features.
I really like that Pace thinks for itself and I don’t have to do a lot of RM work anymore. It’s just so user friendly! In fact, we have not needed to hire a dedicated Revenue Manager directly as a result of implementing Pace as we have the system instead. I can even go on holiday and hand over everything to the reservation manager without losing any sleep - humans just can’t stay on top of such things so having the automated system take over is so ideal.
The onboarding was also super straightforward as the system learns fast and works immediately. If I’m being honest it took me a little while to adapt to all the automation! For example, for the first week running Pace I was super cautious and was tinkering in the platform all the time but then I decided to remove myself entirely as I remembered that that was the whole point of getting the system in the first place!
Once we switched on full automation I kept checking prices several times a day until after about two weeks when I finally ’let go’ and stopped checking and developed total trust in the Pace platform. It just goes to show - at the beginning I was scared that the prices were too high but then I started seeing that all the prices sold and began to relax! Now I just check it once a day and do some tweaks every once in a while.
Oh and I’ve been very impressed with the customer service at Pace, which is a rare thing with hospitality tech! When I ask a question I always get an answer and the team are always there to help!”
“Within six months of switching on Pace our ADR had jumped up 40% and next year it’s looking to creep even higher. Out of our competitor group of eight, we used to be at the bottom and now we are in the middle and finally where we want to be. And we are almost always full!
It really is a huge jump in revenue and that’s ultimately down to the fact that the Pace system ‘dares’ to ask the market what price our rooms and beds should be. It’s a platform that can be objective testing prices, unlike us humans.
Sure - we set certain boundaries in the system but, for example, I would never even attempt to charge €60-70 for a 6-bed dorm. It’s just not on my radar with all the historical pricing baggage I carry! But they sell for that!"
“I look at Pace Analyze- the native BI tool - a lot as it gives us loads of insights like what segments or OTAs are performing.
One particular feature that is invaluable to us is the forecasting tool. In the old days, I used to sit down and manually calculate all our budgets in Excel…last year versus this year…add 5 percent for next year etc…now the Pace system is able to tell us what our monthly revenue will be for the next twelve months. The forecasting in Pace is so powerful and accurate that I now use Pace to do all my budgeting as Pace kept beating our own manual forecasts so I transitioned to using it instead.
The platform keeps analysing and learning that it can push prices further and I feel that over the next six months that the system is going to learn even more. It would be amazing if Pace could extend the forecasting from twelve months to eighteen months, which I hear is on the horizon!”