About The Zetter Group
The Zetter Hotel opened its doors in Clerkenwell in 2004 and claimed to be London’s first boutique hotel to be designed and built using environmental principles, including its own 1,500 foot bore-hole which supplies the hotel with all of its water.
The Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell followed in 2011, a quirky 13-bedroom Georgian Townhouse. This was a departure from The Zetter Hotel concept and more like the private home of an ‘eccentric Great Aunt’ with a popular cocktail lounge on the ground floor.
The 24-bedroom Marylebone Zetter Townhouse opened in 2015.
Adopting an agile mindset to kickstart launch across Europe
Just imagine, as a hotelier you’ve acquired a new property, have done all the legwork, and are hoping for a successful re-opening day. Months of planning, along with the time and resource investment, have gone into the vision your team hopes to successfully execute, only to fall short of expectations on the grand re-opening day; resulting in losses and delays.
This was an all too familiar experience for the Managing Director of The Zetter Group, Liutauras Vaitkevicius. Known for a unique approach to their hotel concept, the hotel group has earned a reputation for unique, boutique properties with rich character. They pay attention to the finer details and provide an exceptional guest experience that sets their properties apart. In the first quarter of this year, The Zetter Group announced that it has switched from Protel, one of the main legacy PMSs, to the open hospitality platform: apaleo.
Shortly following its acquisition of The Zetter Group in March this year, Siggis Capital (appointed asset managers) and Orca Holding announced the intent to develop and grow the Zetter Townhouse hotel brand further across other European gateway cities like Madrid, Amsterdam, and Paris. In order to support their growth, a new approach was needed for managing the Zetter Hotel, Townhouse Clerkenwell, and Townhouse Maylebone properties.
The main objective and top priority for the group this year was to digitize and automate their daily operations at the properties in order to keep workflows running smoothly and provide guests with the ideal experience.
‘’We worked with all of the different types of PMSs in the past, so by now we know what works best,” adds Arnold Linares, Group Revenue & Distribution Manager of Zetter. “To kickstart operations and grow the existing brand, we knew we wanted to move away from the traditional providers like Protel and OPERA because these legacy systems take months when undergoing migrations. Setting up our technology stack with apaleo was quick and seamless.’’
Choosing the right operations systems
Previously the team was working with phone-based communication, sticky notes, print outs, and checklists generated from a legacy PMS. These solutions were inefficient, left a large margin for human error and often resulted in miscommunications, losses, and delays. The team decided it was time to automate more processes and improve their workflows.
Liutauras and Arnold further explain why The Zetter Group chose to digitize and automate more processes across their properties as the brand came into new ownership.
‘‘Without the right system, all of your operations fall apart. We have launched plenty of new properties and there are traditionally always three main obstacles to overcome. The first one has to do with physical assets including the building and everything in it. Second, you have to assemble a team that represents your brand. The third obstacle is the technology that enables your operational excellence. In our collective experience, we have encountered that the management of the assets and team always goes more or less according to plan. However, when it comes to the tech and operational systems, frequently there are issues that arise in the process that result in unanticipated delays... Throughout the onboarding process with apaleo, we didn’t encounter these setbacks; in fact, we were able to migrate in record time without even needing to have anyone on site.’’ - Liutauras Vaitkevicius, Managing Director - The Zetter Group.
Time to ditch outdated software: a complete migration of all properties within 3 days
Established in 2004, The Zetter Group came into new ownership at an unprecedented moment this year when much was uncertain for those in the hospitality industry. Some chose to see the COVID-19 pandemic as a burden to their operations, but with the highly experienced ownership of Orca Holding, the Zetter team opted to take full advantage of the temporary closures at their properties and implement the apaleo platform.
‘’With apaleo, the complete migration took under three days for all of our properties. Moving away from Protel, what we found is that the older PMS tools in the industry are not evolving and are stuck in the past. We want to be innovative and we don’t want to get stuck in the past or blocked from being agile and moving forward,’’ says Arnold.
Liutauras also mentions there are a selection of older PMS on the market trying to adapt and come out with improved products and cloud services, but he says these are not PMS tools his team finds practical with how the industry is evolving. ‘’The traditional PMSs are not evolving at the same pace as we are. But we find that apaleo is quickly evolving and ahead of what is happening in the industry.’’
Arnold adds, ‘’There are a vast majority of professionals with twenty or thirty years of experience working in the industry and they are accustomed to seeing the same few PMS solutions on the market. But with these legacy systems that have been around for so many years, you cannot even do simple updates. apaleo releases updates every month – that’s different.’’
The Zetter Group Tech Stack
The ideal tech stack for every unique property under the same brand
‘’apaleo is at the epicenter of our tech stack. We now feel that we have the freedom to create our own tech stack and practice a lot of trial and error without risking too much, and we really like that,’’ says Arnold.
Beyond apaleo’s cloud services, The Zetter Group takes advantage of the apaleo Store by choosing an ideal tech stack, including:
CODE2ORDER - digital guest journey management system, which allows Zetter team to effectively communicate prior and during arrival stages, allows pre-check in thus simplifying whole experience.
ForSight - cloud-based CRM that connects to majority of Zetter’s other systems and allows to deliver best customer customization for current and future guests.
Guestrevu - cloud-based guest feedback management software that allows us to get guest satisfaction scores in real time, analyse and understand those needs to continuously improve Zetter's services.
Flexkeeping - cloud-based facility management and operational analytics tool that allows us to control and manage all maintenance and housekeeping operations remotely, thus minimising paperwork and miscommunication.
Lightspeed POS - cloud-based POS for all F&B needs. Fully integrated with payment merchant.
Xero - cloud-based software with powerful add-ons that allows Zetter team to see financials in real time.
Pace Revenue – modern, cloud based RMS that helps Zetter team analyze data, trends and make pricing decisions in real time.
Siteminder – cloud-based channel manager that allows Zetter team to connect and distribute to almost all third-party channels.
Upbooking engine - efficient and effective booking engine that fully integrates with Zetter team’s PMS, apaleo.
While there are many solutions on the market to cater to each hotel’s specific needs, The Zetter Group speaks more here about the ideal solutions and integrations they have chosen and how their ideal tech stack helps improve the daily communication across their properties.
Expansion across Europe
As The Zetter Group prepares to expand across Europe, it is clear they are keen to take their agile mindset with them as they implement their ideal tech stack at each property outside of London and beyond.
‘’We see that apaleo is constantly focusing on developing the core product further, which tells us that they are an agile team and moving far ahead of the industry – and that’s where we want to be as well,’’ says Liutauras.
Posted byChristina Quintanilla