Adapting to changing demand landscapes and creating more efficient processes is essential for a hotel to thrive in today’s challenging environment. In this case study we’ll take a look at how the Arcade Hotel in Amsterdam modernized its operations and leveraged automated pricing from Atomize RMS to boost its ADR by 35% compared to 2019.
About the Arcade Hotel
- Company: Arcade Hotel
- Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Type of property: City center gaming hotel
- Properties/Rooms: 42 rooms
- Website: www.arcadehotel.nl
While its location in downtown Amsterdam is quite a draw, the Arcade Hotel’s true USP is entirely unrelated to the city’s history or architecture. As you might have guessed from the name, this property offers guests the chance to get in some gaming even while on the road.
In fact, the Arcade Hotel was the world’s first video game hotel when it opened in 2016. Here, each of the 42 rooms is equipped with gaming consoles. Depending on the room, that could be Nintendo’s first-ever entertainment system, the latest Nintendo Switch or a PlayStation. But even those who haven’t booked a stay can enjoy arcade, video and board games in the hotel’s public gaming areas.
Despite this concept striking a chord with the target market from the opening, the property wasn’t immune to the difficulties of the past few years. We recently spoke with Steve Croese, the Arcade Hotel’s general manager, to learn how he navigated these challenges and achieved outstanding results from the moment recovery began.
Adjusting to a new reality
Post-pandemic recovery revives Amsterdam’s hospitality market
Amsterdam has always been a magnet for travelers and often the supply of hotel rooms couldn’t fully match the demand. This is even more true since all restrictions were lifted in early 2022.
“Since then, we’ve seen a quick rebound and ongoing high demand in the city. People want to make up for missed experiences and finally travel to destinations on their bucket lists. They plan their trips further in advance now and not even the cost-of-living crisis can deter them. As of early May, we already have 75% on the books for June,” Steve says.
Current data from STR reflects Steve’s observation. In April 2023, the city saw an average occupancy rate of 83.9% which is 13.6% higher than in April 2022. The city-wide ADR also increased substantially, beating last year’s values by over 30%.
“Of course, these numbers make us optimistic. We’re excited that things have picked up again, but the quick demand shifts brought challenges, too. In this situation it’s been great to have a partner like Atomize to help us make the most of every revenue opportunity,” he continues.
Creating a leaner operation and focusing on tech adoption
The pandemic forced the team at the Arcade Hotel to rethink their operation. Contact restrictions and the loss of staff meant that they needed to find new ways to guarantee a great guest experience.
“One of the first things we did was switch from a breakfast buffet to a pre-packed breakfast bag. That proved popular among travelers, so we’ve stuck with that”, Steve tells us.
Next, he began looking into tech solutions that would streamline the guest journey and help the now smaller team cope with the workload. For example, the hotel is evaluating an upselling solution that automatically sends offers via direct messaging. This means guests can book extras and personalize their stay without needing help from a person.
This type of communication platform can make it possible to check in online and communicate with the team on WhatsApp. As a result, their guests would not have to personally go to the reception desk anymore unless they want to. The latest project that Arcade Hotel will implement is new door locks which guests can open with a mobile room key on their phones.
“We decided to create our own hotel 3.0 here and have some fun with new technology. From pre-arrival formalities to check-out, we wanted everything to be possible via the smartphone. That makes for a smoother guest journey, and it saves valuable time for our staff. It has also transformed the front desk from an admin center to a place where our guests can genuinely engage with our team,” he elaborates.
But the Arcade Hotel didn’t just implement new guest-facing technology. They also invested in a revenue management system (RMS) which was seamlessly integrated with MEWS, their property management system (PMS).
Harnessing the power of the fully automated Atomize RMS at the Arcade Hotel
Shifting from manual rate updates to fully automated pricing
Prior to implementing an RMS, Steve handled market research and rate updates manually. That meant checking OTAs and competitor websites for price changes, determining new rates and adding them to his channel manager by hand.
“This was doable, but it wasn’t the most efficient or effective way to manage our pricing. That led me to research RMS providers and eventually, I tried three solutions. Each one had its strengths but Atomize stood out to me for two reasons. First, it was so intuitive and straightforward, I could work with it right away. Second, the real-time autopilot function was exactly what I wanted. It’s reliable, updates my rates 24/7 and frees up time for other tasks,” Steve explains.
Creating a time-saving, effective revenue management process
Steve admits that in the past he didn’t have a very structured approach to revenue management: “I usually only had time to thoroughly check our positioning and update our rates once or twice a week. Sometimes I’d see a new opportunity present itself and quickly make a change. But often I couldn’t react fast enough because I was also handling a lot of operational tasks.”
That led to a lot of missed revenue opportunities and Steve knew it was time for a new solution.
“Implementing Atomize was a game-changer. The system updates our rates whenever it’s necessary so we can make the most of every demand shift. All this happens without me having to log in. That saves me between four to eight hours of work per week,” he says.
Of course, Steve still keeps an eye on the results. He occasionally tweaks the settings so the pricing and positioning perfectly align with the hotel’s strategy.
“In Atomize we found a trustworthy tool that allows us to respond to last-minute demand shifts and new booking patterns without having to spend hours on market research and rate changes. That has played a big part in the fantastic performance we’ve seen since the recovery phase began.”
KPI increases at The Arcade Hotel resulting from price automation
The volatile post-lockdown market created many opportunities for Atomize RMS to maximize revenue at the Arcade Hotel through dynamic price automation.
“Our results from using Atomize have been amazing. Despite the hotel still being closed in Q1 2022, our overall ADR in 2022 was 12% higher than in 2019. Our 2022 RevPAR also beat our 2019 outcome. And now in 2023, our year-to-date ADR is 25% above the same period in 2022 and 35% higher than in 2019. That’s all because Atomize helps us take full advantage of every new development in the market!” Steve concludes.