With nine distinctive brands and more than 1500 hotels worldwide in operation and development, Radisson Hotel Group is one of the largest hotel chains in the world. As part of its strategic five-year plan, the company is in the midst of a transformation, in which a number of key functions are being unified in centers of excellence. One of those centers of excellence focuses on revenue management. The Revenue Systems Hub for 400 hotels in Europe and Africa is located in Madrid. It has recently started working with Freshservice to manage the team's workflow in an efficient manner
Benjamin Muratet leads the Revenue Technology and Distribution team (part of the wider Revenue Management organisation) as Vice President of RevTech and Distribution. He explains: "Revenue Management is a discipline that aims to optimise the price and occupancy of hotels by presenting the right price to the right customer at the right time and through the right channel. Those distribution channels are highly diverse. Customers can book through our own website, but also through platforms such as Booking.com or Expedia or by phone. Business customers who want to rent a room or organise a conference at one of our venues first request a quote. In other words, quite a few IT systems are involved in the background when determining the right price. It’s our responsibility to make sure all those systems are connected seamlessly. By this I mean that our hotels must be easy to find on booking websites, that all the systems are supplied with the correct availability information in real time, that customers are presented with the same price through the various channels, etc. We are not only responsible for the management of this systems' universe, but we are also involved in the implementation of new software, and we provide training to the staff in the hotels teams who will be working with this software."
The Revenue Systems Hub for EMEA receives forty to fifty service requests per day. These can be simple requests about how to use an application, but can also be about technically complex challenges that take the team a week to work through. To gain more insight into the workload and also to better distribute the work between the twenty specialists in the team, there was a clear need for a tool-supported process. Revenue Systems Supervisor Aitor Selgas explains: "Previously, requests were submitted to us by email. The context of the requests was not always immediately clear, which resulted in a lengthy email exchange. Before you know it, you have hundreds of emails each day and lose sight of the big picture. It's impossible to set priorities, or to properly distribute the workload across the team. We decided to find a tool that could help us structure the assistance process to our main clients: the hotels."
An internet search yielded a list of possible vendors and applications. Freshworks immediately stood out. "They instantly caught our eye because, from the very first contact online, they already began actively asking questions about what exactly we were looking for and where our challenges lay," says Muratet. Freshservice’s flexibility made it very well suited to the purpose Radisson Hotel Group had in mind. The price-performance ratio was also spot on.
“We were looking for an ITSM-like tool, but not for a use-case in a typical ITSM environment. We deviate from the standard customer and they understood that very well."”
"In addition, I heard from some people in my network that Freshworks is an excellent partner to work with. I think that’s important. We are not just buying a subscription for a SaaS tool, we are entering into a partnership with the vendor," says Muratet. That partnership is what Freshworks is all about, Selgas explains: "For example, we have a bi-monthly call with the Freshworks team where we discuss how to get even more out of the application. Freshworks sees how often we use certain functionalities, and what opportunities we leave under-utilized. They then coach us on these. That’s great because there's so much you can do with the tool."
The implementation of the tool was easy and quick. In advance, the Freshworks team had prepared in advance an analysis of all the service requests over the last six months. These are classified into 23 categories. For each category, Selgas has designed a form in Freshservice that hotels can use to submit their service requests.
This saved the team a lot of work, as Selgas explains, "We are now receiving the information in a structured and complete manner right from the start. We no longer have to email back and forth before we have all the data right from the start. We already see a steep improvement in turnaround time for service requests."
The team sees at a glance what types of requests are coming in and can therefore distribute the work much more quickly to the appropriate specialists. "Our response time now averages between two and three days. That’s a lot shorter than it used to be. Easy requests we handle during the same day, complicated jobs can take a week," says Selgas. "Our goal is to reduce the response time to a maximum of two days. With the automation services in Freshservice, I'm sure we will reach this goal. Further improvements in the turnaround time will be achieved through cross-checking with previous solutions and by automating our response library. For example, we want to build a library of information we have used before, so that we can find the right answer much more quickly."
Muratet is pleased with this move to support his expert team with automation and focus on value-added tasks. The efficiency advantage helped the team with the new working conditions imposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic. "The emphasis is now on efficiency, even more than it was before. In addition, most of the team is working from home. If you want to organise the work well, transparency and structure is a prerequisite. Freshservice offers us that transparency. We no longer need face-to-face work meetings to distribute the workload, we do it in Freshservice."
As travel starts to recover, it is even more important for hotels to provide a smooth booking experience on the RadissonHotels.com website or to be found easily on various booking platforms. This means that revenue management has become even more important.
“We started implementation of this tool just in time. In the current situation, shortening the response time and providing optimal service to our hotels is essential, and Freshservice is making a significant contribution to that.”
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