How to effectively apply data-driven analytics and revenue management to a family business with less than 100 rooms?
Total revenue increase of 75% since 2017.
In the three years since Hendrik Fennel and his wife took over their parents’ country inn, they have been able to increase the total turnover of the hotel on Lake Constance by a whole 75 percent. “Without IDeaS G3 RMS, this would not have been possible,” praise the two managing directors.
The Hotel Restaurant Maier is a family-run four-star hotel in Friedrichshafen-Fischbach on Lake Constance with 55 modern rooms. The restaurant is dedicated to regional, seasonal cuisine and is the only restaurant in Friedrichshafen to be included in the Slow Food guide to culinary delights. Since April 2017, the fourth generation has taken the helm at Hotel Restaurant Maier. Hubert and Gabriele Maier, who ran the country inn for 34 years, handed over the hotel to daughter Sandra and son-in-law Hendrik Fennel as sole managing directors, who have been working in the business since 2013.
Hendrik Fennel has a wide-ranging background: Originally a trained chef, he completed his training as a hotel specialist and complemented this with a degree in hotel management and a master’s in business administration. His professional experience ranges from various hotels and trendy restaurants to the establishments of large hotel chains such as the InterContinental Group, where he is familiar with data-driven decision logic and revenue management.
There was no way around IDeaS.
With the takeover of Hotel Restaurant Maier, he brought analytical methods to the management for the first time. His parents-in-law were sceptical at first: Is it worth the effort for a family business with so little inventory? “My primary concern was not to change everything,” explains Hendrik Fennel. “I first wanted to examine the business from the ground up and find out which guests use which systems to book and how. But once the analyses had reached a certain level of complexity, I couldn’t get anywhere without a forecast using intelligent algorithms. We wanted to do this with the best in the industry and there was no way around IDeaS.”
In the past, the Hotel Restaurant Maier had strongly focused on group travel business. But Hendrik Fennel wanted to find out what opportunities for his hotel still existed in the market beyond groups. Group guests seldom return to the same hotel and also evaluate their stay less often on portals. The investment pressure is not as high in group hotels as it is in direct marketing of a hotel. “We used to have two different room categories. Now we also sell rooms that we no longer have in the form of an overbooking strategy. Or we don’t sell rooms that are not yet occupied because we are waiting for a guest who stays longer and pays more. We can rely on IDeaS—the forecasts are right.”
In addition to the room types, there are now also different sales logics. When does the guest pay and until when can they still cancel in case of an early booking discount? “IDeaS G3 RMS helps us create these categories and work effectively with them,” says Hendrik Fennel. “It teaches us to question, redefine, or supplement our own processes and decisions, also because we didn’t have the information before or didn’t even think about it. Ultimately, it gives us a better overview and orientation as to what exactly we are selling to which guest.”
Demand forecasting automatically changes the business model.
The Fennel family had increased the number of rooms from 40 to 55 soon after the takeover through internal conversion measures. “Even with 40 rooms, a revenue management system would have been worthwhile for us. Only with IDeaS G3 RMS do we know what business opportunities we missed,” emphasises Hendrik Fennel. “Lake Constance is an attractive location, where no new hotel under 100 rooms would be built today. In addition, we now know what kind of guests we can best get and when.”
The Fennel family is also expanding the hotel with additional guest rooms and new conference rooms. In the group evaluation tool of IDeaS G3 RMS, these can be recorded as additional sales and costs and are already on the market, with the first inquiries for the conference rooms already coming in. “If you follow the IDeaS demand forecast, you automatically change your business model. We are optimising our processes and using the newly gained knowledge to be able to react better to situations and also to develop new business opportunities.”
This development would not have been possible without IDeaS G3 RMS.
Hendrik Fennel would like to learn more. IDeaS Advisory Services offers regular coaching in the implementation of yield strategies and the development of further skills in the daily work with IDeaS G3 RMS.
In addition to monthly, regular consulting sessions by the market manager, Hendrik Fennel also wanted to know how he could improve his processes. “The workflow of IDeaS G3 RMS offers meaningful overviews and detailed views, which are graphically very well prepared,” Fennel praises. “The individual price types can be easily distinguished from one another. So I can quickly see that I have enough demand for certain data to sell better myself than via the portals. Thus we develop measures for our marketing with the insights from the revenue management, advertise our offer more strongly in a newsletter or place targeted Google Adwords. However, these actions are only possible for us thanks to the forecasting capabilities of IDeaS G3 RMS.
For Hotel Restaurant Maier, IDeaS has become the most important driver for sales development in the Hendrik Fennel summarises: “Since my wife and I took over the hotel in April 2017, we have been able to increase total sales by a total of 75 percent. Even if not all of this is attributable to the rooms, this development would not have been possible without IDeaS G3 RMS.”
If you follow the IDeaS demand forecast, you automatically change your business model. We are optimising our processes and using the newly gained knowledge to be able to react better to situations and also to develop new business opportunities.