Dirk Loeb from Adina Apartment Hotels joined us in our offices to talk about technology, social media and why they target certain locations in Europe.
How has technology influenced your booking process?
Being an aparthotel we’ve worked with online travel agents who use GDS and email, but the traditional phone calls still come through for bookings. With SilverDoor attracting longer stays it’s more challenging to manage these over such a rigid booking tool. Face to face communication is always most important because we then know what our customer wants and we can be flexible with what we provide. Without that human factor you get what the computer gives you rather than an honest and personal opinion. It may take longer but it’s ultimately more likely to suit the client.
Do you think technology is evolving in the serviced apartment industry?
It will! It’s something we all need to look at. If you look at hotel bookings they’re growing rapidly. Having more corporate access from mobile devices with the help of apps etc., people are booking their corporate rates online because of such ease and time efficiency. But for extended stays the personal touch is still desired by many. For example, if you have a 30 day enquiry and on one day within that time frame you’re fully booked, the computer will tell you the stay isn’t possible. That’s why it’s important to know where and how to implement an online booking tool.
How do you approach social media?
Admittedly, we’re in the early stages. We know it’s the way forward and ridiculously important to us and we do get a lot of guest comments and feedback from places like TripAdvisor. The feedback from this is very positive and does generate more business. Every one of our hotels in Europe in each city is in the top 10 . We have three hotels in Berlin, which are all in the top 10. Trip Advisor is significant for us and we understand the importance to be proactive with it.
Why specifically target Denmark, Hungary and Germany?
Hungary is one of the first hotels we’ve had in Europe. We’ve been a private company for a long time and recently became a joint venture with Far East Orchard who’s a big investor from Singapore. We’re doing this to expand on the European market with a focus on Germany. This is a very interesting market with just 3% of hotels equating to an aparthotel. In Australia the figure is 20% and in London it’s close but not quite there. This is why our focus is Germany, as we know we can develop a lot there.