StayCity - Underpinning revenue strategy with business intelligencerations

HOTELIERS' VOICE S2E1

Paolo Dona, CIO of StayCity Group, explains how the company has responded to changes in booking behaviour. He stresses the importance of data and business intelligence within the company’s tech stack to gain insights into how best to directly target individual guests.

 

We discuss how StayCity Group bucked trends during the pandemic by expanding rapidly from 2,700 units at the start of 2022 to an estimated 4,300 at the end of this year. StayCity Group’s self-contained units are well-suited for longer stays and performed well with workaway professional groups like the police, nurses and hospitality staff. “The product lends itself to surviving the pandemic conditions very well. So we had a shift from the leisure business to the more corporate side specifically during the pandemic,” he says.

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He explains how the long-term digital strategy is designed to win more direct bookings, partly to avoid paying commission fees to OTAs.

 

“We’re all trying to get a direct relationship with our guests, especially people that are very loyal to our brand, or repeat customers. There’s no point in paying commissions over and over again.”

Paulo tells us how StayCity Group targets different profiles of guests, ranging from professionals to leisure-focused families and groups of friends going to football matches. A one-size fits all marketing strategy won’t work and personalisation is key.

“If you’re a workaway group, you want great internet and an in-room workstation. If you’re a family, you want Disney Plus for your kids. We’re also expanding in more countries, so different geographies, languages, typed of customers. In Germany, for example, people use breakfast facilities and food and beverage way more than other countries.”

The company has developed an in-house data warehouse, where they create profiles of every customer. “You collect data from multiple sources from Wi-Fi, the booking engine, the PMS, from the website and all the interactions. You merge all the data. … What is the next best action for a given person to give them what they want?”

Paolo outlines the long-term goals for the company’s software platform. “We’re moving towards a purpose-built software as a service (SAAS) platform that will ingest all the data and help us achieve all our goals.” But the company cannot do all the development in-house. It needs partners with the capacity to do R&D as well as the capital. 

Paolo tells us how highly the company values customer satisfaction. It tracks reviews closely and considers every aspect of the service, such as call centres responses and the quality of WiFi. This is partly about company culture, but higher rankings also lead to better daily rates.

The company uses the Oracle Opera PMS system which allows individual components to be swapped out, such as the systems to manage revenue, housekeeping and property as well as the data warehouse and the CDP.

Paolo finishes the interview on a positive note by speaking about the expansions planned this year, including Frankfurt, Manchester and Paris.