• EasyWay

Meet Hotel i31 Berlin

The privately-owned Boutique Hotel i31 debuted in 2013 in Berlin’s Mitte district. Its modern design spans seven stories with individual rooms featuring flat-screen smart TVs, free WiFi, media hubs, and lots of green spaces including a few exclusive Comfort Container rooms made from shipping containers that have their own private green terraces. Branding is a big deal for i31, both in Berlin specifically and Germany as a whole. They have no official partners, relying on their word-of-mouth advertising and loyal customer base to stay busy in one of the most active parts of Berlin.

The Challenge

On the whole, Germany has been one of the most remarkable success stories of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 with 316,000 reported cases as of early October, but just 9,545 deaths. But the country shut down early and strictly in March and was successfully flattened the curve to being opening up in late June. Despite the optimism, the shutdown had a crippling effect on the hotel industry and left i31 Berlin seeking solutions to minimize guests’ necessary interaction with hotel personnel while still delivering the same level of care, comfort, and service. “We are trying to bring the hotel industry into a new era” said Zeev Rosenberg, i31 Berlin’s Hotel Director. “We think all the time on how to improve the guest experience without pushing too much.”

As an independent hotel, i31 is approached frequently by tech startups looking to sell their wares to a solo operation, knowing they don’t have to go into an endless array of corporate board rooms to try and get approval. That allows Rosenberg to see some cutting edge stuff at the beginning of its life cycle, but also tends to mean more work cutting through the muck to find the opportunities that really make sense for his staff, guests, and brand.

“We are open-minded, but it has to be win-win for everyone - guests, us and the startup,” says Rosenberg. “What do we need? Is it too complicated for us? Does it need to integrate with our Property Management System (PMS)? If yes, how much will it cost? By asking these questions we usually know if this product fits us.”

Even beyond picking from the bevy of companies out there, i31 Berlin’s management has to continue the issues that all online businesses in the EU now face after the passage of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into force in 2018. Every business that engages with consumers has to make sure it is in compliance with these laws, even if it means they’re having to drive up costs in other forward-facing ventures to offset the loss of low-level data that was previously used to stoke the fires of advertising.

“It significantly improves the guest journey. The communication with the guest is greater and closer than ever before. This is how it should be and how it will be in the future.”

The Solution

It’s not just the product, it’s the dialogue. I31 Berlin stresses good communication with any potential vendor because at the end of the day that personal level is what makes the difference.

“If it’s too complicated, we won’t take it. We bring real and honest feedback and people learn to appreciate it. If there is no personal relationship or they aren’t ready for a partnership, it won’t work.”

Hotels operate on a tight profit margin as it is, and the effects of COVID-19 has made that even tighter. There has to be guaranteed, sustainable value for a tech product to be put into play. Wanting to give their guests as much access as possible means allowing them to use technology to emulate real-time conversations and requests, the kind that hotel guests have with front-desk personnel, cleaning staff, food workers, and concierge desks 24 hours a day. But the hotel had to match that with technology that could accommodate visitors from literally anywhere in the world. Germany is the EU’s largest and most powerful economy and has businesspeople and tourists from the rest of the world streaming in and out daily. Therefore the technology needed to be universally understood and adaptable to a great host of different languages.

That’s when i31 Berlin connected with EasyWay, which lets guests text back and forth with hotel staff as much as they want to on literally any subject from anywhere in the world.

Since implementation, more than 50% of i31’s guests have used the product, asking about everything from check-in times to what’s on the breakfast menu. By using a universal messenger system, the hotel can cater to travelers who have bought data but not minutes on a SIM card for their stay in Berlin. No more searching the room for the index of what number to call for what hotel service; it’s all in one place on the EasyWay app.

“They are always there for you,” Rosenberg says. “When you have problems and when you have needs. “

Why EasyWay?

“Our staff loves the product. The translation feature helps them a lot. They know it improves the communication with the guest and the guest journey, this is a great thing,” Rosenberg says. “It significantly improves the guest journey. The communication with the guest is greater and closer than ever before. This is how it should be and how it will be in the future.”

The messenger system is also less intrusive than the constant ringing of a call at either end, and it’s easier to multi-task and type a message than to have your attention divided between a phone call and what’s in front of you. EasyWay’s commitment to following GDPR rules make for a far easier integration timeline as well.

The cherry on top is EasyWay’s 24/7 support system to ensure that the hotel does not look inept if the system goes down at 3 a.m. right when guests are returning from a night out or have a craving for a late-night snack.

“They are always there for you,” Rosenberg says. “When you have problems and when you have needs. “

232 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All