In an interview by Hostelsur, at the recent FITUR 2017, Idiso’s Chairman, Luis del Olmo, analyses the challenges Spanish hoteliers are facing when trying to improve revenue, as well as the challenges the sector can expect during 2017. He also gives some tips on how Idiso can add value by helping hoteliers improve their bottom line.
What was 2016 like for Idiso?
It was Idiso’s best year for two reasons: the natural growth within our existing clients, as well as the new clients that joined us, both from the Hispanic speaking market and from our new international market. The efforts made at a sales level in Germany, England and the Caribbean, as well as the inroads we have made into the USA, have made this a wonderful year, precisely because our new philosophy involves increasing our client’s value.
Last year you implemented your strategic plan for 2016-2018, aiming to become “Your Global Hotel Sales Partner”, how did the first year go?
The plan’s foundations at an operative, cultural and company level are based on new technologies. We tend to say we are the oldest, but the truth is that every year we are born again, because the amount invested means that this year we will be the youngest on the market yet again. We have the great capacity of constantly updating the technology we use, this is endorsed by the fact that we are number one cloud operators, both in Europe and at a global level. Last year we made 9 billion transactions, in 2015 we made 6 billion, so that’s a 50% increase. We have also increased sales to about 700 million euros. We earned this amount because we provide something different from our competitors. Another important element is our ability to adapt to the business’ growth.
What’s new for Idiso this year?
Basically, there are two new lines of technological development: Idiso Revenue and Idiso Insights. The first is a tool we created ourselves to predict demand and recommend the best price to maximise income. Judging by the trials we are carrying out; it is proving to be very competitive. It is a new model of business knowledge that is being well received. We have covered a very important gap as it reinforces client knowledge and assures that you will sell the room to the highest bidder. Insights, the other tool, was set up because we realised that it is hard to explain the technology we have, our clients don’t understand it. We have turned our system around so now technology is the foundation, but knowledge, consulting and digital strategy are the strategy. It allows you to see everything that is going on in your hotel so you can make the best decisions. That’s where the difference lies.
How is the consulting service you announced last year working?
We started in 2016, but mainly as a backup to the technological implantation. We realised that it is very hard to provide technological solutions if we don’t know what the client needs. We began to implement it last year, but the real launch has just taken place, it’s as if we were your marketing department to help you with that lack of knowledge.
What technological challenges must the hotel sector still face?
One challenge that may seem surreal, but we are already facing, is artificial intelligence. This will grow significantly, endorsed by the development of new cognitive software. This way of searching is totally different to what we know, when you get a result of a million Google pages and you search for the one most suited to what you need. With the new model, they know more about you, this means that you get a result closer to what you are searching for.
What will hotels need to do to adapt to this?
I don’t think they’ve thought of this yet. What will happen is that the need to adapt will be so great that either you don’t buy or you let yourself be guided and helped by specialists such as ourselves. There is further pending development for the sector, such as applied robotics, the internet of things or client personalization.
What prospects does the company have for 2017?
I see 2017 as a year for growth, our international marketing teams will be working around the clock and Spain will be growing. For the hotelier market, the increase will be double digit if they can work on their revenue, because the problem in Spain is no longer occupancy but income. So, your success will depend on being technologically prepared.
How are Spanish hotels failing when it comes to revenue?
We have always been single client oriented, centred on the tour operator, which was a great strategy for many years, but consumers have changed and don’t think like that anymore, many hoteliers have still not realised this. This change has been easily interpreted and now we’ve switched from tour operator to intermediary, this means you can control distribution better. But it doesn’t have the same advantages as being able to manage all the channels. If you get yourself properly organised to meet all channel requirements, you can then choose what’s best for you.