Generator & Freehand Hotels are two of the world’s leading design-led shared accommodation providers, offering stylish communal spaces in popular destinations such as Amsterdam, Paris, New York and Miami.
The company recently moved its entire portfolio of 19 properties onto Duetto with a quick and efficient integration went from contract to go-live in only six weeks.
What made this possible was the market-leading partnership between Duetto and cloud-based property management system Mews. Together, the two SaaS brands created a customer-led data provisioning process, with exceptional data granularity and a data validation toolkit that accelerated the whole process.
“The Duetto integrations team, led by Gary Torres, have been a pleasure to work with. The level of customer service and the understanding that the team has of our unique business model has been very impressive,” explained Edward Pinchard, Chief Commercial Officer, Generator & Freehand Hotels.
Targeting the 18-30 young traveler demographic by delivering a smart and trendy environment that is conducive to group travel and meeting new people, the two brands have seen amazing success. Pre-COVID, Generator and Freehand have been running at average occupancy around 90% annually.
“That basically means we were full for most of the year, so a holistic revenue management requirement was absolutely critical for us,” explained Pinchard.
Optimized pricing, efficient forecasting and transparent reporting were the main requisites Generator was looking for in an RMS.
“We had been with an existing pricing tool for 18 months and were looking to move to a revenue strategy platform,” Pinchard said.
“There was a clear difference between what we had and what Duetto provides. The analytics and reporting in Duetto is very impressive.”
Generator and Freehand is now optimising every booking with GameChanger, and benefiting from increased efficiencies by using ScoreBoard for reporting and forecasting.
“We are very impressed by the forecasting capability of Duetto. One of our biggest pain points in the business was not just our ability to forecast, but how long that took based on the internal legacy systems that we had,” Pinchard remarked.
Total Tech Investment
In a brave move, the team has used the COVID lockdown to look at its system requirements across both brands since the purchase of Freehand hotels in October 2019 with the aim to consolidate their technology onto one central platform for both brands.
“We're going to come out of the pandemic as a very different organization,” said Pinchard. “We're much leaner now. And given the fact that demand is currently low, that allows us to make these changes with minimum financial disruption in the short term.”
Doing More With Less
What sets Generator apart is that the brand targets unique and interesting buildings in vibrant urban settings. For example, Generator Amsterdam used to be the Science Faculty for the University of Amsterdam.
“We find fantastic buildings and turn those into hotels very much built on the whole concept of community travel. Pretty much everyone that checks into Generator is there to meet people. In these social spaces we're trying to get people to get together and share travel experiences.” Pinchard explained.
The company has had to alter its offering in the wake of COVID-19.
“We're working with the local authorities in every city that we are in, because every country has slightly different requirements. But on a general level, every other bed in shared accommodation is left vacant and social distancing is adhered to throughout the hotels,” said Pinchard.
Generator has also partnered with Ecolab, conducted staff training with Lobster Ink, and been certified as a Safe Tourism brand by WTTC.
As with many hospitality providers, the revenue team at Generator Hostels also finds itself doing more with less.
“The revenue team that we now have is half the size of what it was back in February and manages the global portfolio from London HQ. We wanted to make sure that we had a solution that not only our revenue managers were happy and comfortable using but also that gave our general managers and senior leadership visibility into what is going on in the business,” said Pinchard.
The majority of Generator and Freehand properties are now open again and beginning to see some really exciting figures once more.
“The joy for us, and not just for our brand but for the sector in general, is that there is this clear pent up demand for youth travel. Everyone's been locked up at home for months, they’re keen to get out and travel,” Pinchard said.
This pent-up demand is translating into bookings, albeit at a different pace to pre-COVID.
“Weekends have been encouraging in some European and US destinations albeit picking up very last minute. What’s also encouraging is that we're seeing more group business confirming for Q4 this year,” Pinchard said.