Mollie's, the brainchild of Soho House founder Nick Jones MBE and his design team, brings the spirit of classic American roadside motels and drive-in diners to the UK. Since the opening of Mollie's Oxfordshire in 2019 and Bristol in 2021, the brand has become a hit - named the 'Best Budget Hotel' by the Sunday Times Best Places to Stay.
Now, Mollie's is stepping up their game with the opening of their biggest property yet - 100,000 sq. ft in Manchester's former Granada TV studios. And that's not all - there are 10 more locations in the pipeline.
Managing Director Darren Sweetland and his team have undergone digital transformation as they expand their business, prioritising a scalable tech stack and cloud-native infrastructure that puts guests first. With this new focus, Mollie's is set to stay ahead of the game and continue to provide top-notch stays for years to come.
Challenge: Lack of connectivity for newly selected digital applications
Darren and his team sought to improve their guests' experience by identifying areas where they could refine existing processes. However, they faced a challenge in bringing together all their recently selected applications and ensuring a seamless journey for guests. Through careful evaluation and planning, they aimed to find a solution that could adapt to ever-changing market conditions while innovating the guest experience.
“Technology never stands still, but with the right cloud-based infrastructure in place, hotel companies can scale more rapidly and embrace new innovations.” said Darren.
“Our vision was to curate a memorable experience for our guests; an effortless digital-led experience, without losing the warmth and engagement of traditional hospitality, that embraces technology and innovation to enhance the customer experience and to cater for the needs of the modern traveller. In an industry that’s fast paced and constantly evolving, we want to continue to invest in the very best, forward-thinking technology that can deliver this vision.”
Solution: A powerful property management platform that is fully accessible via APIs
Mollie’s has chosen Apaleo as its API-first open property management platform, allowing for easy integration of third-party apps and a scalable, cloud-native infrastructure. With Apaleo's core PMS functionality, maintaining rates, channels, rooms, and services has never been quicker or easier. What's more, Mollie has taken advantage of the API-first approach to build a seamless tech stack, giving back more control to their management and proving to be cost-efficient in the long run.
According to Darren, Mollie’s goal was clear from the start: “Mollie’s mission is to deliver a premium experience at a great price for a broad customer base, using the very best design and tech to make this dream into a reality.” To achieve this ambitious goal, Mollie's uses a cloud-native infrastructure built on MACH architecture, provided by Apaleo. By adopting a best-of-breed strategy, Mollie's partners with the best tech vendors available on the market and stays ahead of constantly evolving trends.
Result: Mollie’s made a saving of 30% off the previous PMS service charges
Darren and his team were pleased to see a 30% reduction in previous PMS service charges in addition to the limitless opportunities of building personalised experiences for their guests. An API-first infrastructure that emphasises modularity and is fully accessible via APIs can make all relevant functionality available for their apps. Therefore, Mollie's only pays for the features they use, while legacy hotel PMS systems charge for unused features.
Challenge: Guest-centric staff communication is hindered by manual operations
Mollie's team faced the challenge of executing on a seamless, fully automated guest journey. The team's objective was to ensure that the various connected applications communicated with one another in real-time, preventing the siloing of the guest data. This would empower the staff to cultivate impactful guest relationships and prioritise their needs.
Mollie's sought to combine all business outcomes onto a single consolidated platform. Their goal was to drive sales, marketing, finance, and operations, all from a single location to streamline their processes and increase overall efficiency.
Solution: Fully automated end-to-end guest journey
Building a new hotel tech stack can be an overwhelming process. However, Mollie's was able to fully digitalise their guest and staff journey strategy by connecting all their 3rd party applications to the Apaleo platform.
Mollie's team managed to create a success story according to Darren: “several principles were agreed on right from the start: to always put the guest experience first; to favour cloud-based systems and solutions with centralised remote support; to prioritise mobile over desktop; and to work with forward-looking partners with the same brand values as Mollie’s.”
The new tech stack includes several notable components that are linked directly to Apaleo. For instance, an easy-to-use housekeeping app allows staff to promptly update room status, which triggers a notification to guests. Through cloud-native infrastructure, Mollie's has unhindered and unlimited access to property data, eliminating data silos and ensuring democratized data access across all third-party apps.
Result: Mollie’s team devotes more time to in-person customer service
By choosing the best available applications on the market and implementing a best-of-breed strategy, Mollie’s was able to significantly reduce queues and waiting times, resulting in higher customer satisfaction ratings. Thanks to this, Mollie's team now has additional time to devote to in-person customer service, freeing up valuable time for the reservation staff.
Challenge: Painful reconciliation with manual financial reporting
Data silos can make the process of reconciliation much more difficult than it needs to be. Due to the lack of robust data access Mollie's struggled with the ability to generate financial statements such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.
Solution: Accurate & consistent data access via API connection Mollie's managed to seamlessly connect their accounting ERP to Apaleo via API connection and gain data accuracy for their reconciliation reports. Apaleo enables double-entry accounting in real-time, hence each transaction is recorded in at least two accounts, which ensures that the accounts are balanced, and that the transactions are accurately recorded. This makes it less likely for errors or fraud to go undetected, providing a higher level of accuracy in financial reporting for Mollie's.
Result: Improved operational efficiency leads to significant time savings for employees
Darren concludes: "The output is second to none." His team spends less time on data entry and can access crucial financial data in seconds, thanks to the implementation of operational automation.
As part of their plan, Mollie’s identified an additional ten locations for immediate expansion. The case of Mollie’s is a great example of how composable technology with an API-first platform approach can enable scalability and support the expansion plan of the brand. All with total alignment with the brand concept of Mollie’s.
“The Mollie’s brand is inspired by a belief that style and comfort can be affordable, and the guest experience should be warm, engaging and seamless. Mollie’s mission is to deliver a premium experience at a great price for a broad customer base, using the very best design and tech to make this dream a reality. The whole customer journey has been carefully thought through, with an effortless digital-led experience. Mollie’s have partnered with Apaleo as part of our integrated ecosystem that is guest-focused, data-driven and operationally seamless whilst commercially affordable as Mollie’s scales its business.” - added Darren.
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