Hotel Hellsten is a 78-room cosmopolitan hotel conveniently located in the heart of Stockholm. As one of eight hotels in The Hellsten Hotels Group, the property strives to provide the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that the group is well-known for.
Mikael Larsson is the senior revenue manager of Hellsten Hotels Sweden & Finland. While all hotels were bringing in a steady stream of guests, Larsson soon found that the administrative work involved was less than ideal for the hotel staff and revenue.
“I wanted a tool that would help me and my staff save time, but also a solution that allows me to manage my hotel’s day-to-day room inventory, with a quick and fast overview of all the bookings on one platform. Across our hotels, we were manually updating between 10 and 16 extranets on a daily basis. It was clear that we needed an alternative solution, as this was very time-consuming and not at all cost-efficient.”
Additionally, incoming reservations were being processed manually, so Mikael found that he had to jump in to help the reservations department process reservations.
“Each morning, the reservations department were met with a pile of reservations which had to be entered into our PMS before any real strategic decisions could be taken. This meant that the first hours of my working day were usually spent helping the reservations department enter reservations.“
Mikael knew that he needed to find a solution to automate rate and reservation management across all eight of the group’s hotels.
In March 2014, Mikael and his colleague took a trip to the ITB Berlin conference, one the biggest travel trade shows in the world. During their trip, they collected information from many travel tech providers, including eight different channel manager providers.
“SiteMinder has allowed me to implement and change my strategy much quicker than before. Since I’ve implemented The Channel Manager, I’m updating rates more frequently.”
In selecting a channel manager, one of their biggest requirements was the ease of implementing rate changes and adding new distribution channels.
“We wanted to be able to add new partners, rate plans and room types on our own so that we wouldn’t have to wait 4-6 weeks to launch a new channel.”
After conducting extensive research, Mikael decided to trial SiteMinder’s Channel Manager along with its booking engine, TheBookingButton, to effectively drive direct bookings through all online channels, including the hotel’s own website.
The trial started in May 2014, just three months after they had first embarked on a search for a channel management solution. Mikael was so impressed that he rolled it out to more hotels in the group.
“Within two weeks of beginning our trial, we decided to implement SiteMinder’s solutions in three other hotels in Stockholm. We had them up and running before the summer of 2014,” he says.
With SiteMinder, The Hellsten Hotels Group runs much more efficiently and profitably.
After six months of using SiteMinder’s product solutions The Channel Manager and TheBookingButton, Mikael decided it was time to have them integrated with their PMS, Opera. With the PMS integration in place, The Hellsten Hotels Group is much more connected, and Mikael says he is more efficient.
“SiteMinder has made a world of difference to our day-to-day processes. With the automatic delivery of reservations to our property management system (PMS), we have saved hours of time per day,” explains the senior revenue manager.
These saved hours are now spent on optimising rates, forecasts and other important strategic market analysis.
“The automatic processing of reservations means that I know that whenever I log into to the PMS, it’s always up to date and I can start working on my tasks straight away,” he says.
Mikael is so happy with SiteMinder’s solutions that he plans to integrate it into a new hotel they are launching this year.
“During 2015, we saw an increase of 10% of sold room nights and our turnover increased by 15%. For the first 6 months of 2016, we have seen an increase of 5% of sold room nights and our turnover increased by 16%. Now we are in the process of configuring yet another hotel in Stockholm, our latest addition to the chain that will open during the coming months!”
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