Hotel Cateys 2022: Best Use of Technology Award – Zetter Hotel Group
Sponsored by Harri
As one judge observed, hospitality is often accused of being behind other industries in terms of technology, but this year's winner has certainly taken that challenge head on.
Zetter Hotel Group has rehauled its entire technology stack, looking at each individual element powering its business in order to integrate, connect and automate its systems.
This year's winner hasn't rolled out QR codes front of house, developed a fancy app or invited guests into the metaverse – in fact, Zetter's technology re-platform will probably go unnoticed by most guests. But internally it has made a world of difference, reflecting on customer service, which – as a boutique luxury lifestyle group – is key for Zetter.
The project included implementing new property management systems, point of sale, customer relationship management (CRM) and revenue management systems, a website, booking engine, facilities management, HR management and accounting systems – all in the cloud and avoiding reliance on heavy and expensive capex costs. No small feat, as any operator will understand.
The real differences are in the efficiencies and costs of running the business, as well as giving the management team an ultra-high level of control and a wealth of data to allow them to make quick and well-informed decisions and keep the group competitive.
Additionally, by digitising and automating tasks such as till counts and shift balancing, front of house teams have been freed up to focus on the guest and deliver a better customer experience. This has been reflected in guest feedback, which has improved across the board, with overwhelmingly positive reviews via social media, online and in-house surveys.
Technologies have been put in place to improve sales capabilities, which for the first five months after implementation in May 2021, the RGI improved in each property by a double-digit margin, which was critical to support cashflow and to attract guests back after the pandemic. Direct booking has increased from 34% pre-pandemic to now above 52%, while a focus on CRM segmentation provides Zetter with the ability to customise its service offering.
The focus on the "invisible" efficiencies has truly paid off for Zetter Group, and not only has it reduced operational and IT costs by around 10%, but it has also reduced its reliance on third-party online travel agents, while increasing top-line revenues.
At a time when costs are ever-tightening for hospitality, Zetter demonstrated an impressive use of technology to really get under the skin of the business and make revenue-driving changes that will impact the hotel group for years to come. This is something every business aspires to do, but as one judge pointed out, few can actually achieve.
What the judges said
"The group looked at the full tech stack, decided it was not fit for purpose, and in one swoop changed it. The amount of teamwork involved in a project of this size is impressive and to have come out the other side is a massive achievement that will future-proof the business for years to come."
Zetter Hotel Group
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