Switzerland’s diverse Tailormade Hotels group have ten properties scattered throughout the alpine country (and one in Cape Verde) and have several more opening in the next year or two. They are emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever and guests have been returning en masse across their eclectic portfolio.
With a complex mix of inventory - from rooms to beds to apartments - and a broad range of customer types, they recently decided to properly revolutionise their tech stack. We spoke with Revenue Manager Alex Löw about how some new innovative platforms have helped them outperform.
Old school frustrations
“We wanted to find an RMS with a true two-way API connection. The legacy revenue management vendors can’t really do that so we looked at more modern options. We also needed something with a good reporting function, which ruled out a bunch of systems. In the end, Pace was the best fit for us and the user-interface particularly stood out from the competitors. We’re a team of three now so we wanted a system we could navigate easily and that plugged into Apaleo - our new cloud-based PMS.
We used to work with a basic demand calendar on Excel based off of seven buckets and adjusting all those prices manually. One of the most challenging things was that, because I had so many other tasks and responsibilities to perform, I simply did not have the time to manually check all the pricing at the properties every day and to see how they were each setup for the upcoming months. Hence, my pricing focus was never more than the next fourteen days at each property.
So you can imagine - we were missing a lot of chances to impact prices and revenue. Furthermore, that fourteen day window normally had over 80 percent occupancy so even then it was too late to make a material difference. We often take reservations several months out and I would never be able to price that far out before. Meanwhile, Pace is always working and pricing 365 days out. Problem solved.”
“We now have eight properties on Pace and six of those on full automation. Onboarding was easy peasy - it took just two working days to onboard those eight properties. We needed to onboard the properties as fast as possible and it was another decisive factor in choosing Pace. We’ve got two more properties opening this year and another two next year so we are really picking up momentum.
“Onboarding was easy peasy - it took just two working days to onboard those eight properties.”
We put the first property on pricing automation within seven days of onboarding and gradually switched on automation for the others. We check them every once in a while but can generally leave Pace to do it’s thing.
We have a big mix of inventory and a range of customer types so an RMS that handles that is essential. For example, one property in Zurich is 85 percent corporate while another on the lake in Lucerne is over 40 rooms for mainly weekend leisure visitors and another one caters to one night stays for travellers (the Germany to Italy route) on the side of the motorway.
“In the first month of having most of our properties on automation, we beat budget by double digit percentages…”
One property in Lucerne is a true hybrid in itself - rooms and beds - and Pace does an excellent job handling that complexity. I’ll say it again - Pace is just so user friendly and understandable to use and that alone has saved us so much time and effort.”
“We mainly track total revenue vs budget and in the first month of having most of our properties on Pace automation, we beat budget by double digits (percentage) in most of the properties while others outperformed in the high single digits.
Our GMs have quickly adapted to the new pricing paradigm. Now they are happily surprised to see Pace sometimes selling rooms for 30 percent more than they had previously expected. Or when Pace sells two rooms for CHF 100 instead of one at CHF 160. They no longer worry as they know the Pace algorithm takes into consideration so much more than a human ever could.
Another thing I really like about the Pace pricing algorithm is that it’s all about demand and is not overly focused on compsets. I’m from the new generation of revenue management and am not overly obsessed with sticking to the old ways if they don’t necessarily make sense. I think it’s a really disruptive approach.”
“I’m excited about getting to know Pace Analytics more and more. As I mentioned before, a good reporting function was really important for us and a native integrated Business Intelligence platform is even better.
There are so many KPIs and data points to play with. What I personally like is the ability to run segmentation based on the rate plan. Being able to see what segment is performing…that’s definitely one report I really use!”