We’ve interviewed Matthijs Welle, CEO of our recently joined new member Mews Systems, who shared with us their story and why they decided to build their own PMS (Property Management System).
Tell us your story, how did your business get started?
What are your unique selling points? What makes you different?
One of the founding principles of Mews has always been about giving the best and most personalised support to our customers. From a system point of view, we focus a lot on the design and user experience, which improves the usage of the system and limits the amount of training that’s required. Turnover in our industry is high, and the quicker we can get people trained, the faster you get a return on investment. Because the solution is built in the Cloud, it allowed us to connect with guests directly via the internet, so we built in an online check-in. This means that guests can provide their personal details and preferred payment method before they arrive at the hostel. So that when guests walk through your door, you can create truly personal experiences, rather than focusing on administrative processes.
What are some of your success stories?
Signing on Mosaic House, a 450 unit hostel in Prague within a few months of building the system was a real breakthrough. We quickly learned that hostels are nothing like hotels, and we built features such as Beds, Rooms, Dorms in the back-end, which allow us to sell in dorm as a whole, or break it up into beds, which can be sold individually. Offering reporting on bed-level with specific hostel terminology (RevPab, Average Bed Rate), the option to check-out all beds with the click of a button, group management, etc.
A year later we were lucky enough to on board Urban House, a 1200 unit hostel in Copenhagen, who wanted to take the guest experience to another level. Together with Urban House and Intelecom we built a complete mobile solution, which now fully automates the check-in experience. Guests receive an SMS on the day of arrival with their room number and key, enabling them to bypass a reception. The reviews this hostel is getting on Tripadvisor are incredible, travellers simply love the seamless automation. Another great client is Wombats hostels, a group with 6 location around Europe. This opportunity allowed us to perfect some of our chain-functionality. We now share guest and company profiles across all hotels, ensuring no more duplication of data. Guests who have stayed in a property before, are asked only once to complete their registration card for any of the Wombats hostels, as the data is automatically shared across.
What are your future plans?
The next logical step for us is to further build out the online guest experience, allowing guests to check-out online, have complete access to city guides, message reception, book city tours, etc. We have been running projects around these functions in the last years, and we would like to take these learnings to the next level, allowing guests to connect to their hostel from their personal device at any time. Hostels customers are some of the most connected customers in the world, we estimate that more than 90% of them travel with smartphones, and currently we see that 40% of all guests use our online check-in option. Another part of our innovation is around opening up our platform to outside developers. In the last few months we have released an open API, and we see a large number of systems starting to build integrations (Snapshot, Juyo, Revinate, RoomChecking, LodgIQ, etc). These integrations will bring connections with revenue management, housekeeping and customer relationship management solutions. Hostels have always had low staffing levels, and these integrations allow hosteliers access to tools they never before had access to, as it required too much manual maintenance.
Which trends and challenges do you see in the youth travel sector?
The pace at which technology develops and finds adaption with the youth is much faster than what hostels can keep up with currently. Hostels are sitting on a stack of old systems, which allow them very limited functionality to connect with guests. E-mail is simply not a preferred method of communication for the youth. This pace will only increase and hostels that do not adapt to the new ways in which customers wish to interact with them, will suffer. A few years ago, having free internet was the big discussion, today it’s a minimum requirement for any hostel wanting to stay in business. It will be exciting to see how hostels adapt in the coming years to youth travel and find new ways to communicate with guests. We would love to see customers pay a hotel bill via their chat-app rather than with traditional payment methods, this is the normal way of life in China, but it will still take a few years for the rest of the world to catch up.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
We are a young company with big ideas that we believe will make hostels more connected and fun and hopefully more profitable. WYSE allows us to connect personally with some of the great operators in the industry and learn from these hosteliers personally what they feel are requirements of a system in the 21st century Hostel. We are excited about working with WYSE in the coming decades to come on building our brand and partnerships. For more information about Mews Systems visit www.mewssystems.com.
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