Realizing the advantages of expertise on resort operations

Karen Stephens: Howdy and welcome everybody to the Resort Second podcast. I’m your host, Karen Stephens, the Chief Income Officer of Revinate. And right now I’m excited to be joined by Tobias Koehler, who’s the Chief Industrial Officer for BIG MAMA Resorts. Hello Tobias. How are you?

Tobias Koehler: Hello Karen. Thanks for having me. I’m excellent. How are you?

Karen Stephens: I’m fantastic. I’m so excited to see you. We’ve, we’ve had a previous historical past along with another manufacturers that you just labored for, most notably Ruby Resorts in Germany, and I’ve all the time thought of you any person who’s on the forefront, the forefront of type of the digital transformation inside hospitality. So it’s a real pleasure.

Tobias Koehler: Thanks a lot. That is actually type of you.

Karen Stephens: Oh, glorious. After all, after all. So earlier than we get going, I’ve just a few questions that I ask all of my friends simply to heat us up. So I’ve obtained 5 questions. They’re very easy, you’ll know all of the solutions, so we’ll begin with the primary one, which was, when did you begin working within the hospitality trade, and do you keep in mind your first day on the job?

Tobias Koehler: Effectively, I actually needed to, to consider it as a result of I already began working, um, within the hospitality trade throughout my college time as a result of sooner or later, we determined to make– we wish to make a visit with out academics, with out mother and father or something. So I mentioned, okay, let’s simply manage it ourselves. And so I put collectively a snowboarding journey for, yeah, to begin with, 20 colleagues of mine and pals. And this has grown through the years to an occasion with as much as 120 individuals and I constructed my very own, uh, reserving web site in 2001.

Karen Stephens: Oh my gosh.

Tobias Koehler: And that’s how I, yeah, began to study. I actually like to create experiences and likewise mixed with expertise. And since I’m truly actually lazy, so I all the time wish to make it simple for myself and, utilizing expertise for that’s tremendous useful and, yeah, saves me quite a lot of time.

Karen Stephens: That’s nice. So the mix of expertise and visitor expertise. That’s excellent.

Tobias Koehler: Easy. Yeah. And from that on, I, I all the time tried to, yeah, work in bars and, um, discovered, yeah, occasion administration is fairly cool. And, yeah, took some internships at a, airline for instance, and, needed to study extra. That’s why I studied tourism administration in my grasp’s diploma as effectively. And yeah, one way or the other, stopped, uh, on the accommodations and yeah, discovered that is actually an important place to, to work and, for me, mixed so many issues with, hospitality, expertise and, um, yeah.

Karen Stephens: That’s nice. That’s glorious. Okay. Query quantity 2. What was probably the most uplifting second up to now in your profession?

Tobias Koehler: Oh yeah, there have been so many loopy moments and um, so many experiences. And what I discovered for myself is that opening a brand new resort is all the time very particular, particularly, you realize, whenever you begin fascinated with the place you’ll be able to truly place a resort or, uh, the place you’ll be able to signal a resort and begin with the preliminary supply and go into, uh, the development website, after which seeing it crammed with individuals, crammed with the furnishings and, the primary visitor arriving.

That is tremendous particular. And, yeah, for me additionally very fascinating and comparable with, constructing, um, new expertise. Um, issues within the background. Like for instance, uh, at Ruby, we switched to a, a brand new PMS which was a mission of virtually 3 years, and till we had a rollout, rolled out for all these accommodations.

And it’s nice to create one thing after which seeing it’s dropped at life. Um, or being crammed with life, with the friends, for instance.

Karen Stephens: Sure, these are enormous initiatives, in order that’s thrilling. Um, we do lots over right here at Revinate as effectively. So the large, huge mission launches, which require quite a lot of coordination throughout quite a lot of groups. Yeah, that’s thrilling. Okay, so the third query. That is extra private now. So what’s the most placing expertise up to now by way of a private meals expertise or vacation or keep?

Tobias Koehler: Yeah, that may be a actually good query as a result of, um, I traveled lots, and since I like touring, I like experiencing different cultures and, um, had some stops at some fantastic accommodations in my previous. Additionally, I wish to assume again to the Honeymoon Resort the place we stayed in roads on, uh, on an island in Greece. Nevertheless, what struck me probably the most is the hospitality that folks give to their friends that don’t have a lot. Like, for instance, I, what I skilled in Cambodia or Indonesia, the place, I used to be, uh, in occasions earlier than Airbnb, yeah, there was, there was, um, a platform known as Sofa Browsing. And, um, I used to be, uh, hosted by a pleasant individual. And he confirmed me round. He introduced me to his household gathering. He, he introduced me to a ceremony, uh, which was superior, and so uplifting to see with how little issues, fantastic experiences could be created. And um, yeah, that is one thing we are inclined to neglect with all these materials stunning, shiny issues we, now we have.

And, um, thanks for bringing again this reminiscence.

Karen Stephens: Yeah. And the place was this in Indonesia? The place was it in Bali?

Tobias Koehler: That was in, in Bali, proper. In, uh, close to Ubud.

Karen Stephens: Sure. Ah, that’s a magical a part of the planet. What a cool story. That’s nice. Okay, so quantity 4. Have you ever met any celebrities when you’ve been within the trenches working in accommodations?

Tobias Koehler: Effectively, realizing you, you’re from the U.S. you, you may not know them.

Karen Stephens: Okay. That’s okay. We are able to take it.

Tobias Koehler: They’re, in order that they’re, they’re, they’re, soccer gamers. Uh, soccer, uh, you’d say.

Karen Stephens: Yeah, now we have a, you realize what? We have now an workplace in Amsterdam and quite a lot of European clients, so let’s go.

Tobias Koehler: SLo I met, so I met Lothar Matthäus and Rudy Feller, that are, um, I feel they, they gained the, uh, world Championship in 1990, uh, throughout my time at Jumeirah and Frankfurt, the place we hosted them. And, um, yeah, the place I had a, the place I did have a fast chat with them and was type of shy, but additionally irritated as a result of they have been actually small compared to what I used to be anticipating from the, the images on the TV and so forth.

Karen Stephens: Oh wow. Okay. Very cool. That’s good. All proper, effectively, we’ll give a shout-out to all of our European friends who’re impressed or impressed by that, in order that’s good. Okay. After which the final query, who’re the ladies at work you’ve got been most, impressed by?

Tobias Koehler: Excellent query, and I actually love that you just’re, uh, making an attempt to indicate feminine individuals in, in our trade actually make a distinction. And for me, um, I didn’t should assume lengthy about this, uh, is, Isabella Owen, which is or was my Director of Gross sales and Advertising and marketing throughout my time in at Jumeirah. And I realized a lot, uh, from her by way of advertising and marketing, branding, but additionally the right way to hustle. You realize, once I thought, “I’m getting up so early right now, no one else is within the workplace. I’ll be the primary one.”, she was already sitting there. And, since, yeah, Jumeirah was mainly my first resort job. I actually had quite a lot of questions and I can think about they weren’t all the time the neatest, and she or he all the time took the time to, um, clarify me all the things.

And, yeah, it actually made a distinction. And within the, by way of considering, by way of, um, the right way to strategy advertising and marketing and, I’ve been taking quite a lot of that from that have. And yeah, there’s so many different girls I’ve labored with, it’s, it’s arduous to say all of them. I do wish to point out additionally Anna Hoyer. Um, she’s the CEO if you’ll, from, the HSMA affiliation in Germany. She’s doing such an important job in bringing collectively the trade. She’s all the time tremendous optimistic and, and an excellent sensible mind. Um, yeah, I realized additionally lots from her the right way to counter arduous experiences or um, not-so-friendly individuals in a really optimistic approach.

Karen Stephens: Yeah, diplomacy. That’s proper, that’s proper. Wow. And we’ve definitely seen our fair proportion of, of fascinating occasions, significantly within the DACH area, you realize, not solely with Covid, however now with all the things that’s occurring with with heating bills and their vitality and all of that. So, and we’re gonna speak just a little bit about HSMA right here in a minute, however earlier than we get onto that, I wanna discuss BIG MAMA Resorts. Cuz, to begin with, I like the identify. I imply, proper out of the gate, what a model, however are you able to inform us just a little bit about what the model is, and the place the accommodations are, and all that great things?

Tobias Koehler: Positive. Uh, so, I joined BIG MAMA Resorts about one and a half years in the past, and, um, David, one of many founders, um, approached me as a result of he needs to, um, develop. And with BIG MAMA Resorts–BIG MAMA is a Berlin-founded household resort truly. So that they, they have been based in 2013, mainly with the concept to make a hostel and resort out of this constructing right here in a possibly not-so-friendly neighborhood in Berlin, and let’s take it from there. And, yeah, what they’ve created is a very cool place to, to get collectively, to expertise a very good time as a result of, what’s on the forefront of all the things in, in there, is the expertise with individuals.

the design of the place can also be very fascinating. Um, you get quite a lot of impressions, uh, within the public areas, uh, the place you’ll be able to discuss. However you meet so many nice individuals ranging from the receptionists over to the housekeepers. All people has their very own story to inform and are so pleasant and glad to share their private experiences with you as a visitor within the vacation spot.

And 2019, they, um, took over one other resort in Leipzig, which is in Jap Germany. And simply this yr we opened one other resort in Dortmund, in Jap Germany. A few of you would possibly know the, um, soccer membership, Borussia Dortmund.

Karen Stephens: Okay. Very cool. Yeah, effectively I’ve to say Berlin is considered one of my favourite cities simply cuz it’s so cool and eclectic. And I’ve had the consideration of being there a number of occasions for ITB, which hopefully it’s again this yr–ITB Berlin. I hope it’s gonna be an enormous present. We’re actually excited to be there yeah, however what an important metropolis. It’s, it’s all hours. It’s quite a lot of nice individuals. So I can see how um, a resort that’s a resort hostel, you realize, quite a lot of totally different varieties of individuals coming by way of can be a very nice expertise.

Tobias Koehler: Yeah. Yeah. And the identify by itself is, uh, derived from David’s mom, uh, Clarissa. She’s, uh, the OG “huge mama”, if you’ll.

Karen Stephens: That’s so cool.

Tobias Koehler: That began with a nickname, you realize, um, she’s, uh, having, uh, throughout the nook of the resort there’s additionally, uh, ho, dwelling for aged individuals, which she managed. And, her nickname is, Massive Mama and, whereas they have been brainstorming in regards to the identify of the resort, and requested so many individuals, sooner or later you simply determined, let’s simply name it BIG MAMA.

Karen Stephens: I like it. Effectively right here, shout out to Clarissa, the, the OG huge mama. I like it. I like it. Okay, so that you talked about earlier than the Hospitality Gross sales and Advertising and marketing Affiliation, so HSMA in Germany. Are you able to give our listeners a greater concept of what sort of work HSMA does and why hoteliers ought to have HSMA of their toolkits.

Tobias Koehler: Positive. So HSMA is an affiliation, uh, the place you may get a member, uh, or turn out to be a member and, be a part of, sharing information and, bringing information to, to our trade. Um, the beauty of HSMA is I feel, that not solely accommodations sure, uh, can turn out to be a member, but additionally, um, companions from the trade.

Like I do know that Revinate, for instance, is a accomplice as effectively, and is a part of HSMA, and HSMA, uh, lifts most of it from the occasions, and bringing individuals collectively. Um, for instance, on the yearly HSMA day, whereas a giant, congress, um, with fascinating keynotes, with, uh, workshops, with all types of, um, details about the trade, about expertise.

And, what we try to do is, um, collect information and to all people. And that’s possibly an essential factor to know, um, Germany or the German-speaking areas, additionally in Austria and, uh, Switzerland is, pushed by small and medium-sized, resort firms relatively than within the US, so far as I do know, most of them are huge manufacturers. And all these small chains, all these family-run companies, they really want some extra enter by way of expertise, by way of the right way to do gross sales, possibly by way of the right way to do advertising and marketing or only a place to alternate info, to alternate concepts. And, that’s the place HSMA brings all people collectively.

Karen Stephens: I simply needed to say, you realize, I feel that’s so essential as a result of you realize, as we type of highlighted on the prime of this, you’ve had a, a deep love for expertise from the bounce in addition to experiences in, in hospitality. However quite a lot of, whenever you’re speaking about smaller to medium-sized, both single accommodations or smaller teams, in some areas they’re actually simply hospitality centered.

They is perhaps household operated, in order that they haven’t had sufficient publicity. And to have a company the place you’ve obtained accomplice accommodations that may are available and do some training, and naturally, distributors are there as effectively. However, you realize, I feel hoteliers wanna have the complete scope.

And I do know that you just just lately gave a presentation there. Are you able to speak just a little bit in regards to the, the publication that you just did by way of the group about digitization and stepping into that fashionable place?

Tobias Koehler: So, so what, what we’ve, put collectively, uh, over the last, uh, 3, 4 years are so-called “knowledgeable circles”-uh, the place we attempt to collect specialists, for instance, from HR, from gross sales, from distribution, e-commerce. And one half can also be the knowledgeable group expertise that I’m a part of.

And what we’ve been engaged on during the last yr or half yr is, a mission that we name “again workplace automation”, the place we wish to put a deal with the final digitization of this time, not the client, visitor, or the visitor journey, relatively than what’s occurring at the back of the resort. Like what’s occurring in HR, what’s occurring in housekeeping, and so forth, and the way can digitization assist to enhance processes and, uh, prices or, um, a number of different issues as effectively.

Karen Stephens: Yeah. And that’s nice. And I feel what was fascinating once I was type of going by way of the presentation itself is that this actually improves not solely the effectivity of the resort, but additionally the satisfaction of the employees. Proper? As a result of it helps to eiminate a number of the monotonous tasked issues that they’re doing and transfer that into extra, you realize, I feel they may focus extra on the extra enjoyable components of their job, which should do with friends.

Tobias Koehler: Completely. That is, that is one thing, I feel Covid taught us the arduous approach, that, we have to make area for our colleagues to essentially care for the friends, to take care, or to, benefit from the enjoyable a part of our jobs higher. And, additionally , um, how many individuals left our trade throughout these arduous occasions. Folks don’t have an excessive amount of time on their fingers anymore, and it helps to have a look at all these processes, and the right way to make them simpler, to make them possibly sooner, or to even eradicate them with the assistance of expertise.

Karen Stephens: Completely. Completely. So I do know that we’re, we’re speaking lots about, you realize, even simply primary tech adoption, which is one thing all of us hope to return alongside, carry by way of the trade, however then, you realize, it’s altering very quick, and getting very superior in a short time. So the place do you assume AI is gonna take us within the new world? So possibly speak just a little bit about what AI is, after which the place do you see that going, as we begin to type of come into 2023 and past?

Tobias Koehler: Excellent query. I imply, um, that is the subject of the yr I’d say or since, uh, and even final yr since ChatGPT, um, was launched. And all people’s now speaking about, uh, OpenAI. Now all these crypto guys have one thing new to speak about. And, what I actually respect is how all people’s actually concentrating now on how can AI truly assist us.

Sure, there are some individuals who questioning the entire function of AI typically. Nevertheless, let’s shortly take a look at what AI can do for us within the resort trade. So, synthetic intelligence is one thing that may study from patterns, that may study from textual content, that may study from all types of enter and create their very own concepts out of it. So if we’re our trade within the resort trade, and in addition to, on the shortage of employees, we are able to, for instance, have so many cool, um, makes use of of AI. Um, let’s simply say after we speak in regards to the again workplace, um, in income administration, for instance–AI can simply establish, and I do know that a number of the, um, income administration methods already do that, um, at what date, um, there’s a excessive demand, and possibly to boost costs, or to possibly do one thing, um, for a particular goal group. And in addition by way of CRM to then, if the income administration system realizes, “hey, we do have a necessity of, extra bookings throughout this and that point?”, possibly ask the AI to create a publication about this.

So possibly solely an individual just like the advertising and marketing division or um, can take a look at it and say, “yeah, that sounds good.” Perhaps right here and there just a little tweak, after which go for it and ship out a publication that’s– for instance, one factor, uh, we’re at the moment making an attempt, with BIG MAMA to utilize ChatGPT, and create publication focused to totally different goal teams. Additionally, have it create touchdown pages which might be matching

Karen Stephens: Customized.

Tobias Koehler: …what is claimed within the, within the publication. Precisely. And, for me, as at the moment, since we’re at BIG MAMA for instance, engaged on a, a really lean construction, that means that we’re solely 2 guys in advertising and marketing in the mean time, and operating 3 accommodations, and have quite a lot of different issues on the plate, this helps us lots, uh, to show. So we recreate already some prompts, that the synthetic intelligence already can write in a approach that we’d. Not solely, uh, does it point out, yeah, do that, and that, and that; it says, it says no matter it has to say in our tone of voice that we created for a BIG MAMA and with each different immediate, with each different tweak, we inform it, it’s getting higher and higher.

And so, we save quite a lot of time. Additionally, for instance, uh, what we’re utilizing it for is, in the mean time, we’re translating our web site to French. And sure, we did have any person translate it to French, however the individual didn’t, um, translate sale related, um, tags,for instance, or key phrases or, the sentence that’s proven then in Google whenever you seek for, I don’t know, BIG MAMA Resorts group bookings. And that’s the place ChatGPT helps us to create a, a duplicate for one thing in, in seconds, which I must make my thoughts up, uh, for just a little bit longer.

Karen Stephens: Proper. Yeah. Yeah. It takes a minute. Wow. That’s actually thrilling. This what I’m speaking about. You’re on the forefront. You’re actually cutting-edge with these items. And I mentioned it earlier than, jokingly after we talked just a few years in the past, that, you realize, you may need a job at Revinate sometime. I’m simply saying in case you ever, in case you ever wanna come to the darkish aspect, come into expertise over right here. Uh, we additionally leverage quite a lot of machine studying and AI and have quite a lot of thrilling issues coming. As you mentioned, it’s thrilling as a result of quite a lot of these platforms are open now, so in case you, you realize, in case you’re not afraid to type of bounce in and roll up your sleeves and, and, and tinker round, you realize, you may get quite a lot of issues performed.

Tobias Koehler: Precisely. That’s, that’s the primary level. I might counsel to all people to simply mess around. Strive issues out. You may’t break something. That’s what I’m telling my colleagues. At all times. within the occasions of, backups or whatnot, it’s actually arduous to interrupt issues, and I’d relatively restore one thing, one way or the other, uh, than you didn’t check it.

And, um, so. Yeah, I feel that’s one thing that needs to be performed by much more. Not all the time saying, “yeah, I don’t have time to do this new factor.” It’s all the time good to strive new issues. Sure, generally it’s a waste of time, however, um, from my expertise, you, all the time study impartial of the outcomes truly. After which, you realize, it’s nothing for you.

Karen Stephens: Proper. Precisely. Yeah. At the least you realize what you’re doing. You realize, it’s fascinating cuz I feel all people is so busy, but when we carve out time in our day to assume strategically or you realize, simply get a while away to, you realize, out of what you do day-to-day, and check and try to poke round And, and likewise hunt down organizations like HSMA, whether or not you’re within the DACH area, or in different areas, discovering organizations the place you’ve got colleagues—individuals in your subject who’re prepared to share that info. It’s actually price your time.

Tobias Koehler: Completely. No, I feel, um, that’s precisely the purpose we’re, we’re not competing, um, in these phrases. And I feel there are sufficient friends on the market. Uh, so we are able to solely study from one another. And, um, it’s all the time nice to, as a result of I’m actually tremendous keen about all these issues, and I’m making an attempt them out. And it’s all the time additionally good to then focus on this with individuals, they usually’re like, “Hey, have you considered uh, phrases, I don’t know, privateness or one thing? Perhaps not, however good that you just’re imagining it!”

Karen Stephens: Yeah.

Tobias Koehler: Yeah.

Karen Stephens: I like it. I like it. Effectively, hey Tobias, this has been superior. So, so simply so our listeners know, the place can they discover extra info on BIG MAMA Resorts? What’s the URL for that?

Tobias Koehler: So go to us on, uh, or be a part of us on Instagram. That’s our most energetic channel there. And, hit us up on LinkedIn. I feel all of us are glad to reply any type of questions or attain, uh, out to something. Um, it’ll be nice to remain in contact.

Karen Stephens: Completely. This has been a delight. Thanks a lot Tobias, and I want you, an important 2023 and have enjoyable in Berlin at ITB. Hope to see all people there.

Tobias Koehler: Yeah, thanks.

Karen Stephens: Completely, thanks.

Tobias Koehler: Thanks for having me. Bye-bye.