Updating the EMA House Zurich’s tech stack during the pandemic proved to be a wise and profitable decision. It helped the property modernize its workflows, capture more demand and thrive even under difficult conditions. Price optimization from Atomize was one of many important implementations that was made.
In a chat with Jonathan Anthamatten, General Manager at EMA House Zurich we find out which tech solutions he recently invested in and how using a cutting-edge RMS has driven his property’s KPIs through the roof.
About EMA House Zurich
Set in downtown Zurich, EMA House operates a hybrid business model. Its EMA House Hotel Suites boasts 23 elegant and modern suites only a short walk from the city center. Apart from that, the brand offers 70 serviced apartments in five convenient locations throughout the city. While the conveniently located suites are most popular with leisure travelers, the well-equipped and stylish apartments attract international business guests on extended stays in the Swiss business hub.
Understanding the need for change
With the hospitality industry undergoing seismic shifts during the pandemic, many hoteliers understood the need to adapt to survive. The first step for many was to find ways to streamline workflows and reduce their overhead. But it quickly became apparent that this wouldn’t be enough.
New ways to forecast business and optimize pricing and distribution were needed to capture the little demand there was. Luckily, innovative hotel tech solutions can support hoteliers in all these areas today. And those who decided to leverage the power of technology were able to weather the storm more successfully than their reluctant competitors.
“Once you realize the benefits technology has for many areas of your work and your business, you change your thinking. Yes, change is always hard in the beginning because you need to build trust in new solutions before deploying them. Especially when it came to price optimization, I hesitated to an outside partner with such a crucial element of our work. Looking back, I’m happy we decided use Atomize as our revenue management system. Without it, we would have missed many opportunities to maximize our rates and generate much-needed revenue,” Jonathan explains.
Doing more with a lean team
When Jonathan took over at EMA House Zurich in early 2020, the team was already comparatively lean. However, there were still ways to make workflows more efficient by improving the systems they were using. The first step was to upgrade the PMS since the previous one didn’t connect to the channel manager and left a lot of manual work to the front office team.
Once the PMS Mews was set up and linked to the channel manager, Jonathan set his sights on getting access to reliable, real-time business intelligence. For this, he began leveraging OTA Insight’s live and forward-looking market and demand information. He completed his new tech stack with the Atomize RMS which supplies optimized rate suggestions based on real-time future-facing data.
“Upgrading our tech stack has helped us optimize operations across several departments. Our new tools save us many hours of manual work every week and ensure the team can complete all important tasks without stress. Atomize alone saves me up to twenty minutes a day since I can check, approve, or reject its rate suggestions in just a few minutes,” Jonathan elaborates.
The value of forward-looking and accessible market data for pricing decisions
In the past, Jonathan and his team followed the common approach of using historical data and competitor insights to predict future business and set their prices. However, when the pandemic threw all past demand patterns overboard, they had to find a new way to determine optimal rates.
“We understood that we had to shift our focus from studying past trends to looking into the future to detect new demand patterns. Leveraging a business intelligence tool like Market Insight already made that easier. But Atomize had the biggest positive impact on how I approach pricing. Since the RMS continuously evaluates live forward-facing information about the market and emerging demand, I can rely on its price optimization and rate suggestions without doing endless manual research myself,” Jonathan says.
Receiving new rate suggestions whenever the market shifts has given the team at EMA House Zurich a competitive advantage. They now spend less time monitoring the competition, trying to understand and react to their strategies. Instead, Jonathan can get an overview of the hotel’s performance and make necessary rate changes directly via the Atomize dashboard.
“When I manually monitored the markets and our competitors, it always felt like I didn’t have the complete picture. It was also difficult to stay on top of quickly changing demand patterns and always adjust the rates accordingly since I have many other tasks as well. With Atomize, I can update rates in just a few minutes from my computer or even my phone. Now I’m confident we’re always optimally positioned to capture demand at the best rate,” Jonathan explains.
Impressive KPI growth at EMA House Zurich
This ability to react to market shifts quickly has resulted in the EMA House Zurich increasing its RevPAR by 78 % Q4 2021 vs same period 2020. Also looking at pre-pandemic numbers, Atomize has managed to capture more bookings with optimal rates and helped outperform RevPAR by 2 % in Q4 2021 vs Q4 2019.
A strong positive trend can also be seen on the ADR development which has been increasing by 19% in Q4 2021 vs Q4 2020 and 8% compared to pre-pandemic numbers in Q4 2019.
In terms of occupancy, the property is also performing much better than the market overall. While Zurich’s city-wide average occupancy reached around 50% in Q4 2021, EMA House closed their Q4 at 80% occupancy.
“When we started using Atomize, I expected our performance to get better but I was still blown away by the RevPAR increase we saw. What’s best is that we can achieve these amazing results in minimal amounts of time. And if I want to take more time, dive deeper into the data, and refine our overall strategy, that’s possible as well.”
Looking into the future
Currently, Jonathan is still manually reviewing Atomize’s rate suggestions. However, he plans to implement the system’s full autopilot feature soon, knowing that he can always make manual changes if needed.
“I accept most of the system’s rate suggestions already, especially for arrival dates several weeks or months out. However, for closer dates, I sometimes make changes depending on our on-the-books business and our operational capacity. I expect the algorithm will pick up on these patterns and begin applying them as well. That would make the autopilot feature the perfect tool.”
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