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H-Hotels: Using Automation By Schedule

H-Hotels, headquartered in Germany and with hotels across Europe, has been using Duetto’s latest feature, AutoPilot Schedule, to help navigate through the current pandemic.

The family-owned hotel group, which operates properties under its Hyperion, H4 Hotels, H2 Hotels, H+ Hotels and H.ostels brand, is one of the largest hotel operators in the DACH region of Europe.

H-Hotels has been working with Duetto since 2018, using the entire suite of applications in our Revenue Strategy Platform.

Turning Off Automation

The H-Hotels revenue team was using Autopilot extensively across its portfolio prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, when the crisis hit, the team had to pivot its revenue strategy and paused automation while this took place.

“We had to switch off AutoPilot because of the COVID situation. And then we saw that it's not really possible to check all the dates, compile future forecasts and also handle all the other daily business going on,” explained Victoria Fischer, regional revenue manager at H-Hotels in Germany.

“We realized that if a revenue manager wants to come close to managing the kind of information the system has, it’s a full time job. The revenue manager should not be focusing on daily pricing, they should be focused on strategy,” she said.

Delivering Controlled Automation

The product team at Duetto soon realized that, during a pandemic, on/off automation was not the solution and began working on functionality that would enable a more granular level of automation. The aim was to give more control to teams while also enabling them to automate certain segments of business as they worked hard to do more with less.

Launched in our September Release, the new Autopilot Schedule functionality in Duetto GameChanger allows revenue managers to choose which segments are on AutoPilot and when. Users can automate segments based on:

  •       Date Range
  •       Days Before Arrival
  •       Days of the Week
  •       Committed Occupancy
  •       Demand Occupancy
  •       or any combination of the five.

“Our new Autopilot Schedule functionality offers unparalleled granular control over automation and provides strained revenue teams with the ability to focus attention where it is most needed, such as on capturing volatile short-term demand while automating a long-term pricing strategy,” explained Cheryl Chavez, chief product officer at Duetto, in her latest blog post: Hoteliers Need New Tools To Optimize Every Opportunity.

As a keen advocate of automation, H-Hotels was the perfect partner to trial our new AutoPilot Schedule feature and ran this on beta for two hotels for two weeks in July before taking the decision to roll it out across the whole portfolio of 60 hotels.

“With this option we can have the AutoPilot on or not depending on what we are seeing in the future. For example, we can set it up for a 30 or 60 day booking window, outside of that we are controlling the rate recommendations manually for our hotels. We can control that short-term pick up, but for all the dates that are in advance of that 30 or 60 day window Duetto AutoPilot is on. It's making things so much easier,” explained Fischer.

With short-term booking windows increasingly common as travelers often look to book in the week for the week, Scheduled AutoPilot enables revenue teams to focus their attention where it matters most while not losing opportunities that are further out.

“If there's something happening Duetto can see it and we don't have to be focused on it the whole time as we would have to be if we did not use AutoPilot,” explained Fischer.

“We had a situation where exhibitions and fairs were rescheduled for another date for next year. If we had the AutoPilot off, for example because of this situation with the short term pick up, we wouldn't have seen the pick up which was coming for these future dates. The exhibitors were getting information before we got it, but Duetto saw the spike in demand and reacted.”

Time Saver

H-Hotels operates a centralized revenue function from its head office in Berlin. A team of 15 revenue experts handle pricing and strategy for 60 hotels. Due to COVID-19, the team are currently working reduced hours and so they need to manage the time they are in the office very carefully. Even working with the early AutoPilot Schedule beta, the benefits were immediate.

“At the moment, it’s really important that we are saving our time wherever we can. The AutoPilot Schedule feature is important because it’s not possible to check all the future dates and also have all the other daily business going on. With Autopilot Schedule we are able to really concentrate on the dates that need our attention,” Fischer said.

Unlike other systems, Duetto is not a simple on/off automation. It offers controlled automation, giving revenue teams confidence to focus on business today and what may come after the pandemic.

“Everything is based on how we are setting up the system. With AutoPilot Schedule, we are giving it more information, which we were not able to give on other platforms. It makes managing pricing more efficient and simpler,” Fischer remarked.

Discover more about H-Hotels is using Controlled Automation to shape its revenue strategy today in our upcoming One World Webinar, Revenue Survival: Deciding When and What To Automate. Reserve your seat here:

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Sarah McCay Tams, Director of Marketing Communications

Sarah joined Duetto in 2015 as a contributing editor covering Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA). In 2017, she was promoted to Director of Content, EMEA, and in 2022 promoted to Director of Marketing Communications. An experienced B2B travel industry journalist, Sarah spent 14 years working in the Middle East, most notably as senior editor – hospitality for ITP Publishing Group in Dubai, where she headed up the editorial teams on Hotelier Middle East, Caterer Middle East and Arabian Travel News. Sarah is now based back in the UK.

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