With locations in 15 of Europe’s most lively cities including Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna & Milan, numa offers the ultimate alternative accommodation experience, replacing the unnecessary hassle from traditional hotels with simplicity and delight. Guests appreciate the brand for providing local-like living with the comforts of home and the quality of a trendy boutique hotel, whether to escape for the weekend or unwind during a business trip.
Being one of the fastest-growing serviced apartment brands throughout Europe, with a high focus on technology, numa needed a property management platform which enabled it to build proprietary solutions at scale. Traditional PMSs never providing extensive APIs, numa selected Apaleo as its core property management data infrastructure.
We sat down with Julius Anders, Operations Manager, to discuss how Apaleo enables numa to deliver on its promise and how the business looks like 4 years in.
Numa is now a three-year-old Berlin-based hospitality tech startup, which uses the opportunity of operating alternative accommodation spaces, from classic hospitality units to apartments, which have a more Airbnb-focused feel.
We are targeting a younger generation of travellers in generations X and Y,. and are able to offer a better value proposition to all the stakeholders in the journey, through the effective use of technology.
Apaleo enables us to grow much quicker because we basically use the platform as our property management and payment provider. Around these 2 core elements, we were then able to build our entire technology stack at scale, making use of off-the-shelf solutions as well as proprietary custom solutions, which enabled us to kickstart and accelerate our growth.
As we started from the beginning on Apaleo, there was not much change. But having worked in classic hotels myself, I can see that the open API-first approach Apaleo provides, really makes it much (much) easier for an operation or for a hotel owner to try other systems, plug them in, try them out, change them.
So that hurdle or barrier, of trying a new solution, of changing your processes, which I think is a vital part of improving your business, is much lower using Apaleo.
My main advice when you want to change a PMS in a hotel is: don't be afraid! It's not that difficult anymore. And as more and more PMSs are in the cloud, it's really a matter of days, sometimes even hours to set something up. At numa, launching a new property from an Apaleo set-up side is done within a couple of hours. If the right preparation is done, it's straightforward.
We have taken over properties which are running on their old PMS from previous operators. The guest checked in on the old PMS in the evening and checked out on Apaleo, the new PMS, in the morning. And that happened overnight while the guest received the correct invoice, etc… So there was no negative impact on the guest experience at the end.
We have automated 80% to 90% of the operational processes, mainly in the back office. Besides our guest-related administrative tasks, we’ve automated things like credit card reconciliation from a financial perspective through to using guest data and booking forecasts to trigger any purchasing consumption orders on our purchasing system.
We’re also able to automate other simple information flows on property via our proprietary housekeeping and operations app, where live room status updates are received by the staff members servicing rooms which enables them to know in which order they need to be cleaned. All this automations create synergy effects. There's no one running around with a clipboard and text marker saying “this room is checked and this one is cleaned” or calling reception. All those processes are completely automated and:
reduce pain for the guest because they get properly communicated with and treated in priority according to the estimated arrival times.
they are efficiency gains for the housekeepers. We're working with a lot of outsourced housekeepers, so even our external partners see benefits with our model.
And I think this links back to the statement of our technology, really, and the digitalization of processes serving all the stakeholders.
To dive into our guest journey, we, first of all, have two guests out of three not really getting in contact with us, enjoying the entire guest journey, completely autonomously. They also hopefully book on our website numstays.com.
Guests will be able to do the online registration or pre-check-in at the time of booking instead of on the day of arrival, which gives us the advantage of having all the details in advance. They will also be able to pay in advance for the accommodation. Only when the credit card is really valid and charged is the booking is really confirmed in our system. This gives us a great advantage as well.
The next step happens on the day of arrival. The guest will receive a communication via email or WhatsApp, as I prefer advising them, providing things like their room number on door pin as well as the checkout time. And then, thanks to the technology, we are able to provide an automated push notification to the guest indicating that the room is ready, even though it's maybe 10am or 11am in the morning. When the room is marked as ready in our operations app, the new pin code is activated. t's all automated. So the business traveller who had a late night flight or came in early in the morning can already access the room earlier. Why should the business traveller hang out in the city with his luggage while having an empty hotel room? I think that's a win-win for both sides also and it takes a lot of stress off the staff getting the room ready.
Guest enjoys the stay, and if they need us, we provide 24/7 support in four languages. On the checkout day, guests receive a WhatsApp message where they can either check out by just confirming the link, or we have a QR code on the inside of the room door which they can scan when they're leaving the room and check out that way, verify the address for the invoice, and then automatically get the invoice sent.
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