The adoption of new technologies, including STAAH’s channel manager and booking engine helped the Ambassador Hotels Group achieve phenomenal online success.
India’s Ambassador Hotels Group attributes its phenomenal Online Revenue Growth to STAAH’s channel manager and booking engine. We spoke to Pramod Kulkarni, The Ambassador Group’s Corporate Vice President, who has been making the most of technology to increase revenue and improve guest experience.
Tell us a bit about The Ambassador Group
Our group owns three upscale properties in Mumbai, Aurangabad and Chennai. Each of our properties is steeped in history. From our interiors that boast an envious collection of antiques to long-serving staff that have been welcoming guests for generations, we stand for all that’s great about the Indian culture and hospitality.
What is the profile of guests each of your properties welcomes? Has it changed over time?
All our properties are located in very strategic locations.
Located in the business hub of the city, on Marine Drive, the guest profile in our Mumbai property is skewed towards business travellers on weekdays. Weekends are full with leisure travellers looking to explore the Queen’s Necklace (Marine Drive) and beyond.
Guests today are definitely well travelled and their expectations for amenities and service standards are very high. They’re also very tech-savvy and facilities such as free wi-fi and secure and easy online booking system are now mandatory. Although we are more focused towards heritage and the Indian culture, our hotels are well equipped with all modern amenities and latest technology to make our guests’ stay memorable.
That brings us to our next question. How has use of technology changed your business?
I joined this group in January 2016 and that time it was apparent to us that in order to remain relevant to our guests and boost revenue, we had to step up and adopt new technologies, including a channel manager and a booking engine. Manually managing listings on OTAs (almost a must in distribution now!) was becoming cumbersome, ridden with errors and very inefficient.
STAAH’s Instant Channel Manager combined with setting up a revenue management team and installing the ConvertDirect Booking Engine has changed all that. Revamping of Website was necessity which was followed. In addition to freeing up precious staff time spent managing distribution channels, we’ve saw a massive lift in online sales (237%) within just six months of installing Instant Channel Manager.
What made you choose STAAH’s Instant Channel Manager and ConvertDirect Booking Engine?
In my past experience some channel managers can have major connectivity and disparity issues with OTAs. The delay in pushing updates meant we were getting bookings on lower rate or on sold-out date which impact negatively on hotel’s RevPAR.
STAAH is different. It is well-known in the industry for its cutting-edge technology that provides speedy, real-time updates and super fast connectivity with OTAs. In addition to this, the basic revenue analytics and trend analysis simplifies the life of the revenue manager, making it easy to derive online rates for optimum yield.
With its intuitive design and easy interface, managing and time spent training staff on it is a breeze. It also helps that they have a fantastic tech-team to support 24/7 on hand. They’ve helped us customise the products to fit our unique needs.
What features of the two STAAH products that you’re using do you find most useful? Why?
The dashboard and booking statistics gives real time analytics for the revenue management team. For updates I like the Master Rate Plan feature which interlinks to all rate plans as well as room categories, making it easy to adapt a dynamic rate strategy.
What’s next for the Ambassador Group?
The Ambassador Group has been upholding high hospitality standards and been associated with the promotion of Indian art, history and culture for almost six decades.
In our next phase of growth, we would like to establish a chain of four-star hotels across India. In addition to expansion in the consumer sector, we are boosting our B2B network by adding three sales offices, taking our total number of sales offices to nine.
We are excited to increase our hotels network pan India and promote our hotel operations under The Ambassador Hotels Brand.