Zetter Hotels - Overhauling the techstack for data intelligence
HOTELIERS' VOICE S2E2
Liutauras Vaitkevicius (LV), Managing Director of Zetter Hotels, explains how he overhauled the tech stack. He speaks about how he’s using data intelligence and working with his team to optimise performance. He tells us how they crafted the new experiences at the three centrally-located properties in London that are much like private members clubs.
Vaitkevicius arrived with new owners a year ago and began the overhaul. The company had the luxury of time during lockdown to plan for the long-term. Key requirements were having the flexibility to allow for expansion and obtaining enough data. LV wanted to make the system as simple as possible. “We know from experience the simpler the background, the simpler the setup and configuration, the more efficient you can be.”
LV told us how the tech stack had to be invisible to guests so as not to distract from the boutique experience. Fortunately, he had lots of previous experience of installing technology and had learned from his mistakes. “I’ve learned to trust technology much more and ask the right questions during the procurement process. And I’ve learned to trust my team as well, to know their requirements before making key decisions.”
LV advises not rushing, or letting snazzy salespeople bamboozle you with technology. Keep asking questions. You have to be completely happy before signing on the dotted line. And be certain to select a vendor that understands your specific requirements. He prefers smaller vendors who are “a bit of an underdog and maybe a challenger as we have a challenger mentality ourselves. Together we can develop things and take our industry forward”.
Key requirements for the tech stack were that it was cloud-based with open APIs that provide flexibility. The company chose SiteMinder for distribution and HotelREZ for the GDS connections. Other major partners included Apaleo, LightSpeed Commerce, Up Hotel Agency, GuestRevu, Foresight, Flexkeeping, Xero, PACE, OTA Insight and STR Report. “Putting all of those things together, we get a very comprehensive picture of what our customers are all about.”
LV tells us that the beauty of being an independent, privately owned boutique hotel is they can take more risks. The open APIs mean if a particular module doesn’t work, they can unplug it and try something else. The company built a new website back in September 2021 and now understands customer segmentations much more. For example, for their cocktail lounges, it’s possible to know why guests chose to go there.
The data is ultimately about raising revenue.
“You can create the most amazing cocktails, but unless you’ve got bookings coming in for, the next three weeks, five weeks, six weeks, three months, then none of it matters,” he says.
LV says it’s incredible how comprehensive guest profiles can be these days. The company is able to evaluate psychometric needs that go beyond demographics and segmentation.
Finally, LV tells us running a revenue management system has become like investing in the stock market. It’s essential to gauge and understand the public mood to make the best decisions. The tools that provide the data help understand the market. But there still remains an element of feeling-based management.