Six months in, apaleo has the pleasure of interviewing Murshil Ünver, CEO & CoFounder of Vivere Stays, to discuss rapid expansion, scalability, and the journey from onboarding the first property within one week to currently running over 25 properties. Vivere Stays is a “new concept” accommodation provider who is making waves in Germany and Spain with its rapid expansion during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is especially important to share stories of success to encourage and advise struggling properties to navigate the current challenges.
After graduating from one of Germany’s prestigious business schools and first experience with Google, Murshil launched his first start-up together with his brothers within the executive recruiting sector. Four years later, the company had successfully reached a team size of 60 employees. While his brothers stayedon board, Murshil then got the offer to join the high-growth start-up project and launched OyO in Germany.
He brought the first couple of hotels live with a MoM growth over 100% and recruited the finest talent from the hospitality industry. Vivere Stays is Murshil’s third venture in his early 30ies. Convinced that OyO business model is built for the future, he believes it could be even better with the right technology and work-ethics. Together with Berta Vilardell and Mauricio Lezama, he has co-founded a similar venture on the German and Spanish market – to start with.
Let’s jump right into the interview:
Nicholas (apaleo): It’s always good to start at the beginning, could you start by telling us a little bit more about how Vivere Stays got started?
Murshil (Vivere Stays): My CoFounders Berta Vilardell (former Head of Revenue, OyO Europe), Mauricio Lezama (former Head of Sales, OyO Spain) and I (MD, OyO Germany) met at the Indian unicorn which became the third-largest hotel group worldwide. We had two things in common: We truly believed in the business model and wanted to serve our hotels in order to help them outperform the market. Moreover, we were like-minded - we developed mutual trust and enjoyed working with each other - from the very beginning. We consider us, including our hotel partners, as family.
Early 2020, the three of us met in a coffee-place in Berlin - and the idea to re-work this business model and adapt it to Western requirements was born. Since, we all bring invaluable experiences from the hospitality industry and other technology companies (Booking.com, Google, etc.) as well as our own founding experiences, I am not surprised we surpassed OyO already in terms of the number of hotels in both markets.
Nicholas: How has your rapid expansion impacted your team?
Murshil: We are a team of around 10 people. The rapid expansion did not affect the size of the team as we compensated with top-notch technology such as apaleo. This allowed us to scale with little impact on cost.
Nicholas: Very impressive, what do you consider the key to success for your rapid expansion?
Murshil: It's impossible to choose only one. Apart from the DNA of our team, it is industry knowledge, trust & harmony, and our tech-stack – thanks to apaleo’s platform approach. If you take a look at our services, we are able to provide dynamic pricing, distribution, digital transformation, and innovative ways for a property to increase revenues.
We are living our vision to help hotels achieve their goals and modernize their business operations and reputations.
Nicholas: I’d love to know if you’ve been able to see improvements after onboarding new properties?
Murshil: Absolutely, we are incredibly proud of the KPIs we have been able to achieve. First, despite the pandemia, our properties have seen over ~75% occupancy levels – a feat most hotels from the same area can only imagine. Second, we convert 30% of our guests into recurring happy customers. In parallel, our hotels have seen their review levels increase by 50 points on average. Moreover, our first property in Germany, Hotel Bohemia, showed a 500% revenue increase within the first two weeks after partnering with Vivere Stays.
Every Vivere Stays hotel serves as a testimonial thanks to the level of trust we share and the value we add. It’s a win-win-win. Churn is 0 as of today. Every hotel is a part of the family.
Nicholas: We love that you’re able to showcase these outstanding results. Is there a specific type of property that you look for when expanding?
Murshil: Vivere Stays manages budget hotels of different sizes & shapes. We even have a newly opened design motel made out of cargo containers (Motel Home Berlin) as well as a 3-Star hotel with 125+ rooms. However, our main focus is on hotels that equal 3-Star or lower with fewer than 100 rooms.
We have big plans to continue our European expansion as organically as possible, Portugal, Italy, and Benelux being next, to avoid the pitfalls that we experienced working with an inflexible global, brand. That is why we have an affinity for European-owned technology, which aligns with our growth strategy!
Nicholas: You’ve given us plenty of very detailed insight so far. Before we wrap up, can you get into any more specific details about your future plans?
Murshil: We continue to grow 50% per month in both markets. Very soon, we will be announcing the launches of two more markets, which we already have our eyes on. In the end, our final goal is to have both, happy hoteliers and happy guests, while keeping everyone sound and safe during the pandemic. The respect of the hygienic measure in our hotels is key for our future growth.
Posted byNicholas Johnson