Anyone who runs a hotel will no longer have enough of a website alone. The train of digitization has reached a next stop: that of the apps. The Belgian hotelapp Throdi helps hoteliers win a place on the smartphone of their customers.
Since a city trip to Paris, Pascal Hochedé is captivated by hotel apps. “We were able to order room service via the app and found all the information, such as breakfast hours and the wifi password, which I wanted for my own hotel in Knokke.” The only problem for the hotelier was that the use of the Paris app would cost him € 18,000. He decided to tackle it differently. “At the school gate I got to know the game developer Tim Van der Moer”, says Hochedé. “He introduced me to his Polish partner, and not much later we had the company Horeca Club Sp.zoo, which is a Polish company form for the nv.”
Three years later, the trio invested 240,000 euros and their Throdi app is ready. The Belgian-Polish company is now on the verge of conquest. It wants to connect as many Belgian hotels as possible as quickly as possible. According to Horeca Vlaanderen, there are already hoteliers who would like to offer the app to their customers. Francis Bosschem, the owner of Hotel Louisa in Ostend and chairman of the coastal hotels, is still interested. “People live today with their smartphones,” Bosschem realizes. “People book a hotel more and more online, demanding fast service, easy and simple operation and a clear confirmation of their booking.” The Booking.com of this world already offer that. But for a hotelier it is also interesting to offer the same via his own website and with his own app. ”
Not too expensive
Such hotel apps seem to us to be particularly interesting to automatically inform guests about the booking, the restaurants, the city in which they reside, activities, room service, explains Francis Bosschem: “Apps become an important communication channel with and for customers. not too high for the hotelier. ” Throdi is now responding to that. “A hotel pays 2.75 to 5 euros per room per month,” says Hochedé. “This makes us the cheapest app, but we are also the most extensive in our segment: guests can arrange their booking through the app, order a coffee, read the paper, consult information about the region, open their room door, or even play a song in the lounge of the hotel. ”
Expertise about the needs and requirements of a hotelier, Hochedé gets out of his own life. Together with his wife, he runs Hotel Les Arcades in Knokke-Heist, a hotel with thirteen rooms that has been changing from mother to daughter since 1932.He now combines his work for the hotel with his app company. “Now that the tourist season on the coast is over, I can go on the job,” says the entrepreneur. “Talk to hoteliers, sell the product and negotiate features that they want.” During those sales visits, Throdi must compete against apps that have already proven themselves internationally. Because hoteliers have plenty of choice.
For example, Mews is most like Throdi. It integrates many services from 6.99 euros per room per month. Another competitor is Handy Travel. That is not an app, but a smartphone per room, which offers hotel guests a few services and for which the hotelier pays at least 1 dollar per room per day. The third competitor is Hotelogix Mobile Hotel, an app that focuses on managing a hotel. With the smartphone you send the cleaning service from 5.39 dollars per month per room, place your rooms on booking platforms and check guests in and out. The Dutch Guest Convenience app allows hoteliers to build their own app. He or she fills in photos, facilities, activities and so on. From 17.5 euros per month, up to 24 accommodations. Conichi finally arranges the reservation, checking in and out, paying, the room key and more in more than 400 hotels. Nice is that the reception gives a picture of the guest. The price is not known.
So there are quite a few hijackers on the coast, although the rise of apps in the hotel industry may also be in favor of the little Throdi. Hoteliers realize that they now have to jump on the digital train. “The first month after the launch of Throdi in October, seven hotels have signed up, going from a hotel with ten rooms to a hotel with 265 rooms”, says Hochedé. “If we have ten hotels by the end of 2018, we are satisfied.”
It is noteworthy that Hochedé does not immediately strive for profit. “I think it would be fantastic if we recoup our costs, Hochedé looks at it day by day.” We see that things are going in the right direction. On LinkedIn we reached 20,000 clicks in a short time. Hoteliers contact me for more information and at the end of December I speak for hoteliers in Knokke. ”
Five indispensable functions for a hotel app
What does a hotelier ask of an app? In particular, it must fulfill five important functions.
- A good hotel app can be adapted to your hotel via a user-friendly system on the computer.This way the hotelier makes the app as personal as your reception.
- Guests can order extra services more easily, a drink at the bar, room service, a table in the restaurant, … That can increase sales.
- The hotelier wants to be able to inform guests via the app about the hotel, the services, planned activities, the map of the city and events in the area.Their smartphone becomes a receptionist in their pocket.
- An app must make the manual follow-up of administration and logistical matters superfluous.Done with waiting at the counter to check in or out, emails to confirm the reservation, a key for the hotel room, the telephone for room service, a newspaper in the lobby, brochures and hiking maps.
- An efficient system collects data about the preferences and habits of the customers.This way the hotelier knows quickly which activities are popular, when which rooms are best cleaned, on which days he has to have extra waiters in the restaurant and so on.