stayFritz operates a collection of servided apartments in various holiday destinations ranging from the German mountains to Italy, Croatia and Spain.
We had a chat with founder, Thomas Langenberg, to hear about his on-boarding experience, favourite software piece and recommendations during COVID-19
Can you tell us something about yourself and your Serviced Apartments?
stayFritz operates apartments, vacation homes and guest houses in the Schliersee and Tegernsee area south of Munich, all in the area of short-term rentals for tourist and business travelers. We have the privilege to work where others spend their vacations. Here in the countryside we don't really know the term Serviced Apartments yet. stayFritz is therefore considered something of an exotic, which makes everything different from all the others :-) Surely our mountain bike trips in the lunch break or ski tours before the start of the service are part of it.
What is your favorite aspect of Apaleo?
It may sound a bit strange in these days, but for us it's actually the mobile usability. Because we are a very compact organization and at the same time we are on the road a lot, we have to be able to react to questions from guests, partners or from the organization at any time. No matter if on the computer, in the office or on the road from a smartphone. We have tried some other tools, but they were completely unsuitable for our requirement of "mobile operability".
How did you perceive the onboarding and implementation process?
I find the question exciting, because we didn't even notice a real onboarding process. Everything went so "smooth", it felt de facto natural. Maybe it's something to do with the tech background our team has, so we were able to familiarize ourselves with the tool very quickly. The Apaleo team was always there to help us. The buttons are exactly where we expected them to be as users. Even the implementation of the booking engine, the connection of a channel manager or the integration with Adyen went super easy. No matter when and where we had questions, Apaleo always had an answer ready within 2-3 hours. That was very pleasant.
Have you been working on COVID-19 and are you planning to implement new technologies right now?
At the end of the day, the tech focus is exactly what distinguishes us from all our competitors here in the country. stayFritz is completely owner-managed and grows from its own resources. This means we cannot afford to build up thick (cost) structures, because we prefer to invest the money in our units. Therefore we try to set up all processes very digital, very automated and scalable to keep the fixed costs per overnight stay as low as possible. In times of Covid-19 this gives us the opportunity to work well even in a de facto "dead" market for tourist overnight stays. We are not slowing down in the current lockdown, but are using the "time" to continue working on automation and optimization so that we are ready when the lockdown ends and the mail goes out again.
Besides Apaleo, what is your favorite hotel technology?
Actually it's Zendesk for guest communication via WhatsApp. We have found that in the private travel context, i.e. not business trips but private trips, emails are de facto no longer read. But WhatsApp messages are 100% read. This of course presents us with challenges when we send all information about check-in and stay by email as standard. Here we had to react and with Zendesk we found a good and open platform with which we will be able to implement a lot more.
What message do you have for the serviced apartment industry to overcome these difficult times now and after COVID-19?
We can remain calm. We can use these "rest periods" to eliminate weaknesses and continue to invest in technology and automation. The Covid-19 crisis is not a structural crisis, i.e. the business model of the industry is still valid. The demand for great accommodations in good locations, whether in the city or in the country, with a "digital" touch is still there and will remain so. And Apaleo is a very important element in this. In this sense, just take a step back, see the big picture and then continue at full throttle :-)
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