This week we’ve been discussing hotel management and the difficulties inherent during these unprecedented times. A story I wrote showcasing the need for travel and hospitality operations which are resilient, revealed what is business as usual for some, and a new paradigm. In the post-pandemic world, the niche markets will probably reveal more about the future of travel and hospitality, than the gigantic corporate interests will. One niche operation in Tanzania, Sevi Boutique Hotel Zanzibar, has deployed new marketing strategies developed by the founders of the holistic revenue enhancement system RevitUp.
Sevi Boutique Hotel in Zanzibar may be a perfect case for understanding how travelers will get the best experiences in the future, and for how hoteliers can make the shift to post-COVID efficiencies while adapting to the new normal. This small resort hotel success story reveals a partnership between a progressive and innovative manager and a new-age revenue optimization service developed by longtime marketing and sales experts from Greece and Cyprus.
The manager who deployed RevitUp to enhance his already proactive marketing efforts is George Kotronis. One look at Sevi Boutique’s Facebook or Instagram tells me Zanzibar is not behind pigeons digitally, and RevitUp is one of the most advanced revenue enhancement tools ever created. To show you what I mean, look at some of Sevi Boutique Hotel Tanzania numbers. Take into consideration this hotel is a revamped operation taken over by new owners who put Kotronis in charge. Previously the remote hotel only got a passing business, which was a shame given the location and potential of the property. And believe me, Kotronis has done an astounding job of revamping the guest experience there on the front beach in Zanzibar.
A colleague of mine visited Sevi Boutique right after Kotronis took over the operation. Marina is a Marketing & Communications professional who divides her time up in increments of foodie travel, bragged about how the Sevi Boutique team were so interested in feedback, and how Kotronis was so focused on the experience she and other guests had.
As for Kotronis’ RevitUp decision, an astonishing 40:1 return on advertising spend shows the technology and expertise behind the system works. The tree graphic above shows the holistic approach in use by so many award-winning hotels including Sevi Boutique Hotel Zanzibar.
After my story about COVID hospitality survivors earlier this week, I took the time to contact EyeWide Digital Marketing’s Minas Liapakis, one of the founders of RevitUP to ask about the riveting success of Sevi Boutique Hotel in such a competitive market. Here’s what the veteran hotel marketer had to say:
“For years we worked to develop a tool that would advance digital hospitality sales and marketing to the next level. The technical hurdles were substantial, but one thing we really needed was cooperation from hoteliers willing to be proactive in their thinking. George Kotronis gave us a free hand to integrate RevitUp with his own efforts. Now we are seeing the mutual benefits of the partnership and the potential for the future.”
With the help of RevitUp, Sevi Boutique Hotel has nearly doubled its native website visits, and direct bookings revenue is up 130% according to Liapakis. All this success is due to RevitUp’s combining digital marketing with the power of skilled client agents backed by very powerful data analytics, SEO, SEM, and branding expertise. In other words, the “holistic” concept comes to life in the RevitUp system.
Interestingly, RevitUp was first developed to service 5-star resorts, but the level of cooperation and integration with those systems made the system ideal for smaller independent operations too. In a previous discussion with RevitUp Business Development Director, Nikos Giokas for HospitalityNet at the company’s launch, the veteran hospitality executive answered the only question I felt was relevant with regard to a true revenue optimizer. I asked Giokas if his company could guarantee revenue gain. Here’s what he said back then:
“RevitUp’s primary goal is to maximize profit mainly through retail. But this has a direct bearing on the design and implementation of wholesale. So, if there is an overall sales & marketing plan, then yes we can guarantee success.”
Giokas also said a key to success would be the level of cooperation and implementation of the platform would dictate success. This is why George Kotronis’ cooperation and experience were essential to achieve the results we see today. Also, Sevi Boutique Hotel Zanzibar is just one of the huge success stories from RevitUp. The five-start Aegean Melathon resort in Halkidiki saw bookings almost double between 2018 and 2019 in part due to RevitUp’s efficiency. The luxury resorts revenue nearly doubled, as well. Another example, SeaScape Luxury Residences on Crete saw revenues jump almost fivefold along with a 500% bookings increase for 2019 over 2018 numbers.
My good friend Brain Solis (above in São Paulo, Brazil), who’s the world’s foremost evangelist of the age of digital Darwinism. He says one important way to gain a leadership position in the digitally transformed arena is to “create a culture of change to earn trust, influence, and significance among connected customers.” I mention this here because it will take people like Sevi Boutique Hotel’s manager and owners in order to implement these cultural/trust changes. And the partnerships and cooperation behind the scenes dictate this cultural shift as well. Brian, who is now the Global Innovation Evangelist @ Salesforce, offers this bit of advice on the current state of disruption and the future of business:
“While there’s an inherent drive to return to normal, quickly, we cannot allow ourselves do so for our own good and our own prospects just because it’s familiar, convenient, or because we fear the unknown. Many aspects of normal were part of the deeply systemic problems across every facet of society. There’s not only room for improvement, there’s need for reinvention and invention.”
The operators of Sevi Boutique Hotel Zanzibar cannot control the influx of travelers or the regulatory measures currently being used to combat a pandemic. What can be controlled is the culture and the strategy for doing business in the wake of the pandemic. As I said in my previous article title “Resilient Business Ecosystems: The Only Vaccine for Travel & Hospitality”, and Sevi Boutique Hotel Zanzibar has is now part of a very resilient ecosystem for revenue optimization.