How Carpe Diem Santorini and Future Hotels leverage modern hotel technology to offer the ultimate guest experience during market recovery and beyond.
It’s hardly a secret that the pandemic has had a far-reaching impact on the hospitality industry. However, apart from the many dire consequences it has had, Covid-19 also pushed the industry to grow and evolve.
Tech adoption soared as properties implemented contactless services and looked for ways to offer top-class service with minimal personal contact.
The Carpe Diem Santorini is a property that pioneered this development even before the pandemic. We recently spoke to its owner and managing director, Sotiris Kopatsaris, about the importance of embracing hotel technology and how he plans to help more hotels do so.
A quick introduction to Carpe Diem Santorini and Future Hotels
Carpe Diem Santorini is an ultra-luxury resort on the Greek island of Santorini. With only ten suites, it caters to an exclusive clientele that often includes royalty and heads of state. On site, guests can enjoy their villa’s private pool, savor meals at the private restaurant and relax at the spa. In recent years, the Carpe Diem has made a name for itself not only because of its high-end service. It also became known in the industry for its forward-looking approach to adopting hotel technology.
Inspired by this success, Sotiris Kopatsaris recently launched his newest project, The Future Hotels. This cooperation of innovative hotels embraces the latest technology and aims to maximize its impact on hospitality businesses and the visitor experience.
We find out more about this exciting vision and the role Atomize will play in it from Sotiris.
What does the hotel of the future look like?
When you hear ‘hotel of the future’ you may imagine floating robot waiters and interiors like in Sci-Fi spaceships. But we don’t need to take things to that extreme.
Instead, Sotiris explains a much more appealing vision:
“For me, the hotel of the future is an interconnected property with simplified, automated operations using Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and other cutting-edge technologies to create a safe, seamless, personalized and interactive guest experience.”
While this may sound futuristic and far-fetched to some, this vision is taking shape at properties like Carpe Diem. In recent years, Sotiris and his management team have invested heavily in the latest hotel technology. Today, they’ve gone paperless, and guest interactions like check-in and check-out run via tablets instead of bulky desktop computers. The team continues to research and test tools that will make operations more efficient and improve the guest experience.
Technology and automation – the basis of improved guest service and post-pandemic recovery
Apart from taking up less space and looking better, Carpe Diem’s tablets also bring increased flexibility. They allow for stress-free check-in during airport pick-up, in the room, at reception or the bar – wherever guests prefer. Mews, Carpe Diem’s cloud-based PMS, makes this possible. For guests, this means a more personalized arrival experience and increased privacy and security. Now they can skip public areas altogether and head straight to their suite upon arrival. The use of the guest messaging platform Bookboost is another great example of contactless technology. Through a unified communication tool Carpe Diem Santorini bring efficiency to their guest communication through personalized messaging and live-chat automation.
Especially in times of Covid, tools which make contactless guest interactions simple and intuitive bring hotels many advantages. First, contactless service can make guests feel more comfortable and secure. Second, it keeps staff and guests safe from infection. Finally, hotels can advertise contactless services to attract guests who value these measures. This can give a property a valuable leg up on the competition in a hyper-competitive recovery phase.
Apart from helping Carpe Diem improve the guest experience, its tech tools also allow staff to automate repetitive tasks.
“By automating processes, we free up our teams, so they can spend more meaningful time with our guests and add value to their stay. This approach allows us to adapt hotel operations and the guest experience to the needs of the post-pandemic world that is dawning upon us.”
According to Sotiris, adopting new technology has another immediate and important benefit on top of improving the guest experience:
“I saw hotels that have implemented smart technologies and sustainability practices recover far more impressively compared to the properties that have not embraced technology. Our Future Hotel cooperation is here to help more hotels take this step and get ready for the recovery phase.”
Revenue management’s role at the hotel of the future
During the pandemic price sensitivity fell due to travel restrictions and peoples’ fear of contracting Covid-19 on their trip. As a result, even if hotels dropped their rates, they didn’t attract more business.
Instead, properties risked upsetting their positioning and falling into segments where rate-based competition could force them to further reduce prices. While this problem arose in the pandemic’s early days, it could flare up again during a competitive recovery phase.
Like many others, Sotiris has seen this happen first-hand and emphasizes hoteliers’ challenges:
“As the world is getting ready for recovery, demand will start to return. However, the extent of its elasticity is up for a long debate. Most hotel executives don’t know how to price to attract business, see RevPAR increase again, and return to profitability. Many hoteliers will slash rates even below their break-even point hoping to sell ancillary services to the guests later. Is this sustainable for the industry? Are we dropping the prices too much? Are we missing out because we could sell at higher rates?”
No doubt, these questions are on many revenue managers’ minds these days. Luckily, there’s a way to answer them:
“I think machine learning algorithms which can crunch through an incredible amount of data are the solution. They must be part of every effective post-pandemic recovery strategy and will play a big role in revenue management in the future,” Sotiris says.
The revenue management solution of the future
Markets have changed unpredictably and hoteliers can’t rely on past travel patterns to forecast demand anymore. Today, a forward-looking data-driven approach has become necessary.
“Historical reference points don’t offer the guidance they once did. Hotel forecasting is extremely challenging in these times but looking into the future and planning for it has never been more important. Revenue managers must focus more on current and forward-looking data to predict demand and adjust pricing at the right time. Understanding true demand data in the future, like for example the intent to travel, will allow revenue managers to create realistic forecasts which will no longer be based on historical on-the-books data,” says Alexander Edström, CEO at Atomize.
When Sotiris was looking for an RMS for Carpe Diem, Atomize caught his eye. The promise of automated, data-driven rate suggestions and optimization were among Atomize’s features that convinced him. After using the RMS during the past turbulent months, Sotiris is still satisfied with his choice.
“Atomize is an incredibly powerful RMS that relies very little on human input. This eliminates the risk of human error and makes it stand out from other tools. Its artificial intelligence algorithms allow it to understand the market and sell at its current sweet spot without dropping or raising rates excessively,” Sotiris says about his experience with Atomize.
The power of real-time, data-driven rate updates
Given the market’s volatile state, Sotiris stressed that an automated RMS is more important now than ever before:
“With customer behavior and booking windows completely changed by the pandemic, we cannot continue doing sales as usual. Only a tool like Atomize can help hotels recover faster by pricing the right way at the right time.”
To determine the correct price in real time, Atomize leverages vast data sets. They include local holidays and events, market trends, on-the-books data and more. For an even more precise result, the RMS is the first ever to incorporate forward-looking demand data from OTA Insight’s Market Insight business intelligence tool.
“No sales or revenue team would be able to analyze all of this data fast enough to make real-time rate updates like Atomize. This gives us a unique advantage. On top of that, its smart algorithm will keep developing so it can discover new, unforeseen demand patterns. We can then take advantage of these patterns way before our competition,” Sotiris explains.
“Atomize has been a truly amazing partner to Future Hotels. With their support, we’re helping our members recover faster than the rest of the industry. Right now, we’re just scratching the surface of what we can do together, so I’m excited about our future,” Sotiris concludes.
The democratization of hotel technology
In the past, high set-up costs and monthly fees discouraged many independent hoteliers from adopting tools like advanced RMSs. Today, hotel technology is more accessible than ever before.
New tech providers are emerging, and they’re offering intuitive tools that are ready to use within days instead of weeks. The costs are also lower than in the past. This makes a cloud-based PMS like Mews, a real-time RMS like Atomize, or automated upselling tools like Oaky accessible and easy to implement for properties of all styles and sizes.
“Large chains no longer have a monopoly on advanced technology. This levels the playing field for smaller independent hotels. If they take advantage of this development, it will help them recover more quickly and compete better in the future,” says Sotiris.
The Future Hotel’s tech-focused mission
The Future Hotels’ goal is to make it easier for hotels to take the leap into the future by providing access to the best technology and helping them implement industry best practices. For this, they work with industry-leading innovators like Atomize and Mews, among others. On top of that, they will coordinate global marketing campaigns and sales support to showcase their hotel community and help it stand out.
As the creative mind behind The Future Hotel, Sotiris sees his personal role as inspiring as many hotels as possible to implement technology at their properties.
“We must change our business model and adapt to the new realities and the shifting needs of our guests. If we don’t, we risk becoming irrelevant and obsolete. Now is the time to transition to a pandemic-proof, contactless, smart hotel experience. I’m here to help hoteliers do this,” Sotiris says about his mission.
Now that you know more about the value tech can add to your hotel and the benefits it offers during recovery, it’s time to get to work. Which is the first step you want to take?
If you’d like to learn more about Atomize, reach out to our team now and we’ll support you with finding the option for your property during and after the recovery phase.