How modern and sophisticated technology lead the way to an 18% revenue increase
Get to know the great mind and strategies behind The Eccleston Square Hotel in London
On a sunny Monday morning I got the chance to meet with the driven and passionate Managing Director Olivia Byrne at her family-owned hotel Eccleston Square Hotel in central London. Olivia has been running the hotel since the young age of 23, when along with her father she opened Eccleston Square Hotel in 2011.
Learn how this family-owned property has developed into one of Europe’s leading, high-tech award-winning luxury boutique hotels. A key factor to success at Eccleston Square Hotel is continuous investment in advanced systems based on modern technology. Atomize, their Revenue Management System (RMS) and MEWS, their Property Management System (PMS) have helped them to automate many parts of their daily operations and free up time for developing a superior guest-experience.
Eccleston Square Hotel in London is a top modern, high-tech, luxury boutique hotel in central London with 39 rooms and 15 employees.
A little bit of family history
Olivia’s father was running a hotel in Paris while Olivia attended the Hotel School in Lausanne. When Olivia graduated, they decided it was time to start a hotel project together, as a family. The family looked at different properties in Belgium, Miami and in other places but it took them about a year to find the right property; a budget hotel in Eccleston Square in London. They bought the budget hotel, did a complete rebuild and refurbishment and rebranded it as Eccleston Square Hotel.
“This is a long-term family project and I have a dream to pass it on to my kids in the future. I am based here in London and run the hotel, nowadays my father is back in Switzerland, but we talk every day and he is a great peer for me to exchange ideas with”, Olivia tells me.
The hotel has a unique location in central London, it is only a 5-minute walk from the central transportation hub Victoria train and tube stations. Situated in a quiet, residential area the hotel sits next to Eccleston Gardens, a wonderful private park which is strictly only to be used by residents of the square and guests of the hotel.
Eccleston Yards, just a short walk from the hotel, is a hip new area where there are already many unique boutiques and restaurants in place and trendy new places are popping up all the time.
“During the week it’s mainly corporate business guests and during the weekend it’s more leisure guests which in terms of revenue management is so much more price sensitive”, Olivia says.
From bar levels to dynamic room price setting
Olivia tells me that Atomize has really helped them in terms of being more aggressive and proactive when it comes to setting their hotel room prices. For example, a properly timed price reduction that lowers a room price by just 2 pounds can make a huge difference in the booking pace. Atomize keeps their pricing hierarchy intact but also allows them to easily override any Atomize price recommendation, so they continue to have full control of their pricing.
“We really like that Atomize is doing revenue management per room category which gives us the chance to work with a more dynamic price setting than before”, Olivia says.
Olivia explains that Thibault, the Revenue Manager for Eccleston Square Hotel, joined the team in September. Before Thibault started managing the hotel’s revenue, they worked with another revenue management company that mostly used fixed pricing based on different bar levels, which constrained their ability to dynamically set their room prices.
After switching their PMS to MEWS in September, Olivia and the Eccleston Square Hotel team also decided to invest in an RMS that would eliminate the limitations of constrained prices and help them to save time. The advanced RMS that they chose to help them achieve their goal was Atomize.
“We let Atomize recommend the prices per room type multiple times per day and since we (by today) only have 6 months of historical data we review some of the price recommendations. Atomize saves us a lot of time and we can tell that the system is really sophisticated and learns quickly over time since we do less and less manual price modifications. When we have 12 months of historical data, with all the season varieties, it will save us even more time.” Olivia says.
“One of the amazing things with using MEWS and Atomize together is that the prices are automatically pushed into the PMS when we approve them in Atomize, we don’t have to spend time putting the prices manually into the PMS and we also eliminate the risk for human error,” she says.
18 % increase in revenue
Since Eccleston Square Hotel started to use Atomize to set their room pricing they are now able to quickly react to the market and dynamically change guest room prices multiple times per day. Because of this advanced technology, they have already realized an increase of 18% in revenue during Q1 in 2019 when compared to Q1 in 2018. Olivia describes that the hotel market in London is similar to last year, with the exception of BREXIT, which has contributed to a slightly higher number of British guests and more UK traffic to their website.
One of Olivia’s main strategies is to automate as much of the business as possible by investing in more sophisticated systems based on modern technologies and machine learning in order to save time that can be spent on increasing the guest experience rather than dealing with manual work behind a computer. In addition to Atomize and MEWS, Olivia also invested in an AI-based chat tool that is used on the Eccleston Square Hotel website to interact with their website visitors. It has freed up time for the receptionists and makes it possible for more time to be spent with the hotel guests face-to-face.
An award-winning top-modern hotel
Eccleston Square Hotel has received a lot of awards and recognition for being a leading modern hotel and Olivia believes one main reason for their success is that they are forward-thinking and not afraid of testing new things.
Olivia has made a lot of changes to the Eccleston Square Hotel infrastructure last year, along with changing the PMS and adding Atomize RMS, she also changed their booking engine to a more modern system.
“Other hoteliers told me to think very carefully before changing the PMS, which in many ways is the core system of a hotel. We changed both our PMS, our booking engine and added Atomize basically at the same time and it has in all ways benefitted us”, says Olivia.
A strong team of experts
Another strategy that has been a success factor for Olivia and Eccleston Square Hotel is to build a strong team of experts around her. Olivia has, for example, her PR Consultant Esther, who has a broad knowledge and personal network within the hospitality industry. She also has her Revenue Manager Consultant, Thibault, as well as an SEO/SEM consultant.
Since Olivia doesn’t have time to go to all conferences, her team of people also function as her gateway into the industry and help to bring new and fresh ideas and insights to the table. Olivia’s role is to put the team together and get them to communicate and bounce ideas off one another.
“The other day during a meeting about online marketing campaigns, it was extremely valuable to have everyone’s different perspectives in the room. It enabled us to better plan for an effective campaign together. Everyone brings something to the table, and we get aligned around the strategies.” Olivia says.
After having spent a whole day with Olivia at her hotel in London, it is very clear to me that her heart and soul lies with the people she works with and that very connection is the backbone of the Eccleston Square Hotel in London. I can see that Olivia’s forward-thinking approach and her willingness to embrace the use of new technology is a key factor in building their ongoing success story.