Stayo is an urban collection of beautifully designed apartments sprinkled throughout Greater London, specially selected and supported by the local knowledge of a passionate team to make sure every guest gets the most out of every trip.
The story of Stayo began in July 2012. A tenant in a six-bedroom house in London Bridge handed in their notice, but instead of looking for a replacement, they decided to advertise the spare bedroom on Airbnb. The founders identified a gap in the market for short-term rental in prime city-centre locations. As the portfolio grew, they expanded their network of landlord and agent partners. Today, Stayo works with the likes of CBRE, Foxtons, Royal London Asset Management and Fuller’s, together with partners such as the Royal Opera House and Sotheby’s Realty.
With a multicultural team made up of dozens of employees now managing over 130 units across multiple buildings, Stayo has built a successful serviced apartment business that provides exceptional serviced accommodation, offering high-quality property rental with a unique and bespoke guest experience. With the fast growth in the product offering and team, they needed to transform their tech stack to keep pace with their global ambitions. We spoke to Revenue Director Victoria Hardy about their digital transformation journey.
Old school frustrations
“During the pandemic we decided to make the much needed transition to a better technology stack. The first change was to a new PMS as our old one was slow, clunky, broke all the time and struggled to integrate with anything. We needed something more advanced. In the end, we chose RMS Cloud as they had just what we needed as a serviced apartment business.
Soon afterwards we tested three Revenue Management Systems suggested by RMS Cloud that seamlessly integrated with their cloud system and Pace quickly stood out amongst them. Although Pace cost more, the product was far superior and more than justified the extra budget.
We are growing and we need partners that can scale up with us. We currently have over 130 serviced units and we are aiming to have over 1000 units within three years, including adding more traditional hotel type products to our portfolio as well.”
“Onboarding was great - in fact, it was the best onboarding of any system I’ve ever done in my entire career. It was all done in a couple of weeks! The platform is so straightforward and I felt like Dorian and Michael were always there to hold our hands and guide us through everything. The Customer Success team is amazing and always quick to respond.
Thanks to Pace we are hitting our targets and finally where we need to be in terms of ADR and occupancy. We went into July with very high occupancy and have been hitting 100 percent as well. The automation of all our pricing via Pace has been great! Of course, the system has needed to learn as we get going but it’s been easy to dive in, check the ADR and tweak the min and max where needed.
In our case, we have three categories of products - super luxury properties with ADRs of over £400, normal central London properties and non-central London properties. Forecasts and occupancies are very different between them and the Pace algorithm has had to learn these variations. In general, I’m learning to trust the science when it comes to Pace.
The time savings from switching to Pace have also been huge. I used to spend most of my time on pricing alone and Pace has freed up my time so I can do other things. For example, I would spend a vast amount of time trying to manipulate all the figures on our non central-London properties as they are the most complex. I exhausted a lot of energy trying to make sure all those properties were sorted. Now Pace takes care of much of that and the ADR and occupancy at properties like our ones in Kew and Barking are better than they’ve ever been before.
It’s made such a difference and been so easy to use that we are now even up-skilling other staff to learn Revenue Management, like those in the Reservations team for example, as Pace can take care of all the RM heavy lifting while they can focus on more strategic and tactical areas. It’s made some staff actually want to learn more about revenue management! Our CEO even spends plenty of time in the system!
The Reporting capacity of Pace has also been such a contrast to our old setup. Beforehand we just pulled a list of numbers from the PMS and it was every man for themselves when it came to trying to visualise all that. Now it’s all automated and we get slick visualisations and can easily monitor pickup. It’s been a game changer when it comes to our investors as well as Pace automatically sends them a report every Monday that they love as they can actually see whats happening within the business.”
“Proper integrated business intelligence is going to be very important for the future of Revenue Management. The potential of Pace Analytics is massive as you can start to break down so much of the performance in the business and strategise around that.
In our case, I’m looking to see where we are at with each building and want to be able to break down performance per unit. I’d also like to be able to track things like cancellations per building, per group and per unit. Analysis of ‘Length of Stay’ is another crucial metric to monitor as in a business like ours housekeeping costs are astronomical and a good BI tool could help us potentially become more cost efficient.
I’m looking forward to delving into Analytics more and with such a powerful tool will definitely need the guiding hands of the ever so helpful team at Pace to build out some insightful dashboards and templates!”