Posted on March 2015
We love hearing from Amadeus LinkHotel customers about how business is growing and what they like and need from their membership with us. It is this first-hand feedback that helps us evolve and improve Amadeus LinkHotel, to make us an even better distribution partner for your GDS business. In this interview, we went to Germany to interview Reiner Bauch - CEO of Star Inn Hotels, who is passionate both about the hotel industry and the chain he runs. He has some excellent advice to offer fellow hoteliers as we reveal in the following interview.
Star Inn Hotels was born in 2004 with our first property opening in Regensburg in Bavaria, Germany. We have progressively grown our family of hotels and by the end of June this year, Star Inn Hotels will have 16 properties across Germany, Austria and Hungary. We are predominantly a 3 star brand, although we pride ourselves on offering ' four star quality at two star prices', which explains our excellent retention rate and the fact that our hotels achieve 67% occupancy throughout the year.
Across the Star Inn group, we have a very healthy mix of 60% corporate and 40% leisure, although this of course varies from hotel to hotel, depending on the location of the property. The majority of our corporate business comes through Amadeus LinkHotel, with online travel agencies bringing most of our leisure and weekend guests.
Working for Star Inn is really like being part of a close-knit family and we treat every one of our guests in a unique and special way. To give you an example, we had mattresses especially commissioned by a German company that were rigorously tested and adjusted over a 12 month period until we found the perfect one that we and our guests were happy with. After all, everyone comes for a good night's sleep, don't they?! We also have much larger than average bedrooms and bathrooms so our guests get a real feeling of space and comfort, whether it's a standard, superior, family room or suite. To help us constantly improve our service, we take guest feedback very seriously, and when opening a new hotel, we ask for their advice on what we could do to enhance their stay and make it an experience they'll want to repeat.
As soon as our first property was built, we approached Amadeus LinkHotel to be our distribution partner. Having worked in the hotel industry for several years, many of the Star Inn management team already knew and trusted the Amadeus brand, so it was an easy choice. We've been a member for 10 years now and we're still very happy with our decision to work with Amadeus LinkHotel!
I have to say, it is so much easier to use than the previous platform. We can load room types with their corresponding rates quicker, and view all the changes we have made on one screen. It's so simple and our GMs are all expert users in managing our rates and inventory to get the best possible yield all year round. It really is a great tool!
Yes, we have 5 hotels using the Lanyon product to date and we have 24 corporate contracts with multinational, local and global companies, so we are delighted to be capturing this high value business. With the help of our Account Manager - Tim Koch - we plan to get all our properties using the Lanyon tool in time for 2016 contracting season, as this approach has really worked well at helping us to grow our corporate business. With regard to our public rates, we very much promote 'rate parity', so whatever the channel or season, our rates will always be the same per room type.
We ran a 6 month Amadeus Instant Preference campaign for our Star Inn Munich Nord property during the second half of 2013. Within a few weeks, we noticed we were getting business from brand new customers - even leading us to sign new corporate agreements, so it was excellent at driving awareness of the Star Inn brand to the global community of Amadeus travel agents. In terms of results, we saw a 31% increase in sales revenue and 22% increase in bookings versus the previous year, which we most definitely can attribute in part, to our marketing campaign. In fact, we have booked additional AIP slots for our new Stuttgart and Munich properties, so we'll get back to Tim with the results of those campaigns in due course!
Most definitely. Given the huge exposure hotels receive from being part of a corporate programme and achieving priority listing on the hotel availability display with Amadeus Instant Preference, I'd say it is essential that: rates are loaded and are competitively priced, and for corporations, hotels must be able to offer last room availability and flexible cancellation policies. We also make sure that our guests receive a little more than they bargained for such as free breakfast or WIFI, so we can exceed their expectations.
First of all we have the best Account Manager we could wish for! Tim Koch makes us feel like we are the only chain he looks after - we can approach him for anything we need, at any time and that level of service is much appreciated. Secondly, Amadeus LinkHotel offer us tremendous reach that we could never achieve without such a wide distribution network, and this has resulted in bookings coming from far and wide. Lastly, we are of course very impressed with Amadeus's sophisticated technology which we see across the CRS, booking reports and marketing tools. In summary, we've found a partner that works for us both globally - bringing Star Inn Hotels to every corner of the earth, and locally - by enabling us to automate business, even with our closest customers.
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