“Availpro appeared to be a tool that evolves according to one’s needs, the competitor’s appeared more fixed. It was important for me that our hotel was equipped with powerful tools, like those you see in much bigger organisations.
- How long have you been working with Availpro? Why did you decide to choose them?
I’m in a slightly different situation in this series of interviews, as I’ve just opened my hotel. In fact, I’ve started out having spent 10 years managing sales teams in financing. It’s a complete change! For me, managing a boutique hotel is like PR, you need to be talented at communication and welcoming, with people in general. It’s this that stimulates me day to day.It’s a project I’ve worked on with my wife and associates for two years, when we bought this bourgeois house of 450 m2. This was followed by heavy building work, which was nevertheless accomplished in a record time of 11 months. Many technical and regulatory constraints had to be taken into account, such as the installation of air conditioning, plumbing, accessibility, fire safety, etc. And we are very proud of the result!
To return to your question, even if this is a small property, it was important that our hotel was equipped with powerful tools, like those you see in much bigger organisations. At the start, we tried to develop our own in-house reservation tool, but we soon realised that certain specificities related to pre-authorisation or purchasing online require specialised skills and tools.
So I started researching, and it was a hotel consultant who recommended several companies. I made a shortlist of two companies: one company, who gave me a demo over the phone, and Availpro, where a member of their team visited me in the bakers next to the hotel, which at the time was my office during the construction. It is this visit that made the difference, despite the higher price. What’s more, Availpro appeared to be a tool that evolves according to one’s needs, the competitor’s appeared more fixed.
- Which Availpro products do you use?
We use the booking engine and channel manager.
- What was the problem you were experiencing before choosing Availpro?
At the start, I had a few issues with the “seasons” imposed by Vega for the dates, which I was able to circumvent thanks to Availpro. Before I Ioaded the rates in Vega, now I manage this via Availpro which centralises everything. I update my rates every day, as it’s important that my price positioning is consistent across booking websites such as Booking.com and Expedia. I modify the rack rate only, then the rest comes from automatic rules I have predefined.
- What has been the biggest impact on your hotel since selecting Availpro as your partner?
I have quite a few non-refundable reservations because they are 10% cheaper. And to properly manage the option of breakfast (which is logical for a hotel with 10 rooms), you have to be able to anticipate the purchases, and the tool allows it.
With the selling price connected to the market, you need to react as soon as possible to the decreases. Availpro is very useful for all aspects of revenue management in general.
- If you had to recommend Availpro to another hotel, what would you say?
Availpro is a tool that centralises everything and which above all guarantees the absence of errors, or at least limits them. Too many hotels still manually transcribe the reservations from their channel manager into the PMS, the risk of errors or overbooking is frightening.It’s true that this represents fixed charges, which can be high, but it is a choice, and it is a choice of high quality. So here we are and I think people notice it, whether it’s customers or even our staff. It’s important also for recruitment, so future staff will be confident when we mention a tool that they already know. We’re not in the stone age anymore! We do things 100%.
|Eric Spiniella – General Manager, Hôtel des XV
Eric Spiniella is general manager at Hotel Des Xv in Strasbourg, in the neighborhood of the European institutions. An old bourgeois house converted into a boutique hotel with 10 rooms, Hotel Des Xv offers tailor-made services with a high-end welcome and personalised service. He embodies the renewal of the hotel business that breaks rules, with a guest house touch combined with the services of a five-star hotel.