Future Hotels - Luxury high-end hospitality underpinned by technology
HOTELIERS' VOICE S2E4
Sotiris Kopatsaris, CEO and founder of Future Hotels and MD, Carpe Diem Santorini explains how technology helps staff to create the magic and authenticity that offers special experiences to every hotel client. Sotiris stresses the need to digitalise operations without losing the human touch so integral to the Carpe Diem luxury brand and valued by couples honeymooning on the Greek island.
“We cannot get rid of that element, which creates the magic, originality and authenticity,” he says. “We have to take into account the individual experience before we start the journey towards digitalisation and sustainability with Future Hotels.”
He explains how every hotel has a special vibe that must be respected. The technology has to operate behind the scenes and be invisible to guests. When staff have fewer administrative tasks, they are freer to deliver the special hotel experience. Sotiris says 20% of technologies deliver 80% of the impact in the shortest time. Rapid gains give hotels the courage to continue their journey.
The first step is to evaluate the current approach. The second step is to give hotels the company’s “bible of digitalisation” which evaluates performance on 600 innovation criteria. “Once we know a hotel has implemented 50 criteria, we know there’s another 550 to reach maximum profitability.”
Benchmarking encompasses all operations, including digital marketing, the guest experience, integrations and payment methods. The more you tick off, the more competitive you’ll be.
Such a rigorous approach has existed for years in hotel groups like the Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott. “We’re trying to bring that know-how and innovation to the small hotel operator who has been stuck behind with no technology,” he says.
Sotiris explains how at Carpe Diem they test a lot of tools before deciding which to implement. They recommend the best ones to Future Hotels. The first step is to choose a flexible PMS system open to new integrations. Carpe Diem usually chooses Mews PMS which allows it to run operations on an iPad. As a channel manager it uses SiteMinder which is integrated with all new partners.
Sotiris tells us that using Optimise AI for sales is invaluable.
“Previously only huge companies like airlines and retailers had the ability to reprice every time the inventory changes. Now any small hotel can do that without having a team of 500 consultants just through a software algorithm. That is powerful and can deliver incredible impact on revenue.”
The best way to future-proof hotels is to create a mentality of constant improvement in all partners. “Innovation is extremely important to us. We’re trying to get hoteliers to think of their hotel as a lab that constantly tries new solutions to improve the guest experience.”
Finally, Sotiris explains how Carpe Diem has become Santorini’s first climate-positive hotel. Like digitalisation, this is about evaluating, then embarking on a journey of gradual improvement. Tracking emissions with technology helps to know where reductions can be made. Carpe Diem has also planted its own forest and installed smart sensors.