With long stretches of picture-perfect beaches as far as the eye can wander and also known for its therapeutic air quality and a landscape perfectly fit for both active and luxuriously relaxing holidays, it’s no wonder that the North Sea is a top spot for national and international tourists of Germany.
On track with present-day tourism trends, vacation destinations that can be reached in a few hours by train or car are a sustainable and popular option for conscious travelers. Salt & Rocks Management and Licensing Company is specialized in the development of special vacation real estates at both established estates, and at up-and-coming vacation resorts in Germany.
Neatly tucked away in St.Peter-Ording, sits the 4-star hotel Landhaus an de Dün and the neighbouring apartment house Dünen-Stuuv – both operated by Salt & Rocks.
With its digitalization approach, the operating company has brought a breath of fresh air to the established accommodations, which together comprise 30 rooms. Even in a top destination with high competition, both houses achieve above-average occupancy and rates. Forming the backbone for this success is the open cloud system, Apaleo, showcasing what smart hospitality can really do.
"Our owner-operator approach and a high level of digitization are the supporting pillars," explains CEO and hospitality expert Marc O. Benkert. The first projects emerged in the fall of 2019 on the North Sea and Baltic Sea. "The central platform approach of Apaleo and the high degree of digitalization bring us transparency and agility in the management of operational decisions in the houses." Result: since taking over the houses, sales have been rising steadily. "A first case that confirms our concept," says Benkert. "Salt & Rocks is not a hotel brand. We manage individual brands and houses that fit the region or a target group. Each property is different. Apaleo, as a highly flexible system, is our backbone."
Imagine a platform that connects all systems quickly and seamlessly with just one click for managing properties in multi-property mode – this is Apaleo. A wide range of hospitality apps as well as your own individually developed apps, are quickly and easily connected to the Apaleo interface, and the open API´s allow for unlimited customization options.
The North Sea houses can even be managed by Salt & Rocks CEO Marc O. Benkert from his office in the city of Hamburg – but how is this possible? For the overall management of processes, Apaleo provides hoteliers with a cloud-based user interface that runs on any browser and on any device, regardless whether it is a hotel group or the management of individual establishments. Even smaller units can run profitably with it, as it allows back-office processes to be managed and optimized from one place, rather than each property reporting in tenacious processes and at intervals, or providing feedback only when requested by the head office.
"Without Apaleo, our business model would not work at all," Benkert clarifies. "When we were looking for a suitable solution, it was clear to us from the very beginning that it had to be cloud-based software. But where Apaleo stood out from the competition was the simplicity of connecting the interfaces, and completely without additional fees. This made it easy to decide on the right provider, because no one else in the market is able to do that to this extent, except Apaleo."
With Apaleo as the core system, Salt & Rocks has the CODE2ORDER app in use in its hotels, which have optimized the check-in process along the lines of the airlines - without an app download, on their own smartphone. In addition, there is Hotelkit, a collaboration tool which the entire team in the hotel can work together with via computer, tablet and smartphone. "Hotelkit has made internal communication easier and more effective for us," Benkert says. "All the apps are easy to use. It's a fun system to work with."
A dive into Salt & Rocks' tech stack:
Channel Manager: RateDistributor by HotelNetSolutions
Booking Engine: OnePageBooking by HotelNetSolutions
Rate shopping & Market/Distribution Intelligence: HQrevenue
Revenue Management System:happyhotel
Staff Collaboration & Housekeeping: hotelkit
Task Management: Traces by Apaleo
Online Check-in & Guest App: straiv by CODE2ORDER
Accounting: Datev Connector by Germn IT Solutions
For revenue management, Salt & Rocks has chosen HQ Revenue, and as a booking engine, HotelNetSolutions is used - which like almost all providers on the Apaleo platform, offers a free trial period and can be cancelled monthly. "In our new house located at Sylt we will soon install a locking system solution, which we will connect to Apaleo," says Benkert. "The fact that we can also program our own application for this was important for our decision from the beginning." Apaleo provides a well and simply documented two-way interface for this.
Since Salt & Rocks also make a relatively high turnover with ancillary products such as pillows and care products, it is now worthwhile to have their own store system, which can also book directly into the PMS via Apaleo. In the near future, the car charging stations of a regional electromobility provider will also be connected to the central hub via the Apaleo cloud. Here, the interface is still missing, but Benkert and his team also want to develop their own solution for this.
Marc O. Benkert originally comes from the advertising industry and has already advised countless companies on digitization: "I see us 50% as a software company. This is an enormously important topic for every hotel today. It is simply no longer possible to run efficiently without software and the associated platforms. Digitization also helps hotels to be perceived as an interesting and innovative employer. When redundant work processes such as check-in, phone calls and payments are handled via apps, then many things become easier. The development continues unstoppably and the service in the hotel will increase as a result, because you have more time for the guest again."
To learn more about how your hotel can benefit from the cloud-based platform, Apaleo, book a demo with our team.
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