- Company: SUHA Hospitality
- Location: Dubai, UAE
- Type of property: Luxury serviced apartments
- Properties/Rooms: 4 properties/415 rooms
- Website: www.suhahospitality.com
Recently, we spoke with Rahul Sati, Cluster Director of Revenue and Walid Mussa, Head of Sales and Marketing at SUHA Hospitality. As the leaders of the group’s commercial departments, they shared how SUHA Hospitality navigated the pandemic and how the company is leveraging innovative technology to refine its strategies and drive sales.
About SUHA Hospitality
SUHA Hospitality offers stylish and modern accommodations for those traveling to Dubai on holiday or business. Their luxurious hotel apartments are ideally located throughout Dubai. This ensures guests have easy access to the city’s top business, entertainment and lifestyle venues. Given the brand’s ongoing success, several new projects are already in the pipeline.
Surviving the pandemic and navigating recovery era challenges
Like many other hospitality businesses, SUHA Hospitality’s team was forced to shift from a growth mindset to staying afloat when the pandemic caused business to slow dramatically.
“Suddenly we were in an entirely new situation which forced us to rethink our short-term goals. For the time being, the main objective became to simply generate enough revenue to maintain our properties and staff, so that we’d be ready to go once recovery set in,” Rahul recounts.
Overall, SUHA Hospitality’s team was well-prepared for demand to pick up again. However, they still faced common challenges such as having to operate with a reduced workforce. This impacted all departments, from operations to commercial.
“Everyone had to help where they could, be it managers or line staff. Our front office manager supported the housekeeping team on high-turnover days. In my case, I began doing sales calls and taking on some marketing duties on top of my revenue tasks. This cross-departmental teamwork got us through tough times. But it also showed us that we had to become more efficient. The next logical step for us was to look for ways to automate processes and cut down on manual tasks,” Rahul elaborates.
Since Rahul had already worked with revenue management systems (RMS) in the past, he knew of their potential for his department.
“I began looking for an RMS with a high level of automation. Our PMS provider, HotelTime, recommended some of their integration partners, one of which was Atomize. After seeing their demo, I was convinced that Atomize was the best fit. It looked like the most user-friendly tool with solid support and the best value for money,” says Rahul.
Shifting the focus to generating direct business
Thanks to their great locations and luxury furnishing, SUHA Hospitality’s properties have always been able to easily attract long-stay guests. However, in light of the pandemic, booking patterns began to shift. Where guests used to book spontaneously or even come as walk-ins, they now research more carefully and book further in advance.
“Today, travelers want to stay in a place they know they can rely on in terms of cleanliness and safety. That creates a few opportunities for us. First, we can generate more repeat bookings from guests who already know the level of quality we offer. Second, we can better highlight our value proposition on our website to get more people to book direct. Focusing on these two aspects has allowed us to reduce our dependence on OTAs and increase profitability. Other digital marketing efforts like geo-targeted ads and content creation are giving us extra traction among our target markets,” Walid outlines.
Automatic real-time rate updates in a highly dynamic market
Dubai has always been a highly dynamic market which requires revenue managers to frequently update their rates to stay competitive. This got magnified when the pandemic upset well-established booking patterns and caused frequent unexpected demand shifts. Consequently, it became extremely challenging to keep up with manually checking demand and updating rates for all SUHA’s hotels.
“Things move so quickly in Dubai. There’s not a single day without changes. If you want to stay on top of it all and ensure your hotels are always priced properly, an RMS is a must. That’s where Atomize has been a big help for us,” Rahul states.
When he implemented the RMS, he got a practical solution to this issue. Atomize evaluates real-time and forward-looking market data to automatically adjust rates whenever necessary. As a result, the prices for all properties now reflect the latest market shifts 24/7.
“When we first implemented Atomize, the system took a moment to learn about our market. We had to make a few manual adjustments to the recommended rates in the beginning. But now, the automatic price updates work well enough for me to fully trust the system. It adjusts to all demand variations round the clock in a way we wouldn’t be able to do on our own. After all, even hoteliers need breaks,” he goes on to say.
Pricing automation creates more time for strategic planning
Now, Rahul saves three hours a day by using the RMS to automate data collection and pricing. This leaves him and his team more time for other important tasks such as long-term and strategic planning.
“Pricing is only one small part of revenue management. Now that the system handles it, we can focus on the other elements. We can spend more time analyzing our performance, understanding our target markets and optimizing our digital marketing. That helps us drive more direct bookings and get the most out of every market condition,” says Rahul.
Staying ahead of the competition during recovery
As global travel began picking up again, Dubai’s hotel market quickly saw demand return. Of course, SUHA Hospitality is also benefiting from this. However, the brand has been able to consistently outperform its competitors in terms of ADR since implementing Atomize.
“Thanks to Atomize, we were able to adapt to demand shifts in real time. That allowed us to seize revenue opportunities we would have likely missed in the past because we weren’t able to update our rates fast enough. Now, we can be sure that our prices are always in line with demand, be it for last-minute bookings or above-average lead times. This has resulted in us continuously outperforming our compset’s ADR since using Atomize,” Rahul explains.
A reliable partner who is invested in our success
From the moment Rahul met the Atomize team, he appreciated their support and service.
“Atomize is a smaller company than some other hotel tech providers. That gives them the ability to adapt to their clients and create a more tailored solution. For example, it’s extremely important to get the category supplement right for our properties. If we don’t, we lose ADR. We discussed this need with the Atomize team and are glad that they took our input to heart.”
SUHA Hospitality is also pleased with the onboarding and customer support experience.
“The support has been phenomenal. I hardly had to do anything during the onboarding process, apart from providing some data. The Atomize team handled most of it. And now, if we have a doubt or an issue, we can call the support team and get a quick response. The best thing is that they not only understand and answer my questions. They also think ahead to find comprehensive solutions that go beyond my original query,” Rahul highlights.
A fully automated tech stack for a digital guest journey
Like many forward-looking hospitality brands, SUHA is also examining ways to future-proof its business. Automation and advanced hotel technology have become a key area of focus in this regard.
“Today, we’re working on creating a fully tech-based set-up. We want to minimize manual work and automate as many processes as possible in all departments, be it operations, sales or revenue. That will make us more efficient and profitable, but it will also allow us to adapt to the new digital guest journey. Nowadays, travelers expect digital content and a tech-driven experience at every stage of their trip. And we want to provide that from the moment someone thinks about visiting Dubai until they’re back home. With that in mind, we’re continuously enhancing our tech stack,” Walid summarizes.
Are you interested in learning more about Atomize customers in the Middle East, look here >