The hotel business is a tough business. External circumstances that can sometimes hit business like a bolt from the blue, and customers who demand better and more personalized service, make this business highly unpredictable but at the same time challenging and dynamic. For Jadranka Hotels, a hotel chain business that has been on the market for more than 70 years, these circumstances are everyday reality.
Beautiful facilities in the midst of shady pine forests by the clear blue Adriatic Sea
Jadranka Hotels are one of the largest hotel chains in Croatia. The company owns and manages three 4-star hotels and two 5-star hotels, along with luxury villas on the beautiful Croatian island of Lošinj, which is renowned for its beautiful nature, crystal clear water and healthy climate. In addition to that the company manages four campsites, many high quality restaurants and more than 20 shops. With an annual turnover of €60 million, the company is the biggest hotel and trading company in Croatia.
As with any other company in the industry, Jadranka Hotels faces many challenges, both internal and external. The management strongly believe that the two most important challenges that will shape the future of their business are increasing customer demands and high seasonality of business, and as a result they are highly focused on these two factors.
Our growth is conditioned by our ability to satisfy demand. With our investments in new properties, new jobs arise; from sales, marketing, operations, food & beverage to maintenance and IT related jobs. Since we cannot find sufficient numbers of workers, our business success relies heavily on process automation and efficiency.
Marko Lukičić, Member of the Board, Jadranka Hotels
Making guests happy is the top priority and challenge
Customers are always at the heart of their business and this is probably why the company has been on the market for 70 years, growing and developing each year, investing in new properties and upgrading services. Evolving customer demands over the years are best described by Marko Lukičić, Member of the board at Jadranka Hotels:
Long gone are the days when customers were happy when they received just a “Welcome” and “Thank you” from staff. In our industry customers pay a great deal of attention to the type of service they receive – it is vital for our business to make customers happy and not only to meet, but to exceed their expectations.
Seasonality of the business is a big challenge
If increasing customer demands are the number one priority for the business, seasonality is the number one challenge for the company. Seasonality of business and the problems this brings means that over 80% of total income is received in only 4 months, from June to September, with the peak season months being July and August. It is therefore vital for the company to ensure high standards of seasonal workers. Good workers are not only necessary for the business to operate, but in the hospitality industry good workers are one more factor that can contribute to overall high quality service performance.
Specific to the Adriatic region are geopolitical changes which additionally add to the uncertainty of business. Yearly business is also unpredictable due to this external and uncontrollable factor.
The search for modern CRM that will automate processes and contribute to better service
The company invests in new IT equipment and software constantly and runs its business, as is typical for the hospitality industry, using many different software solutions and applications. Having a clear roadmap, investment policy and priorities is therefore a necessity to support business with appropriate software.
Reflecting the old-fashion way of working in hotels, the company did not have proper CRM software. Putting the customer at the forefront of the business required a modern CRM solution, so the company started looking for a solution that could cover as many of the requirements as possible.
About the selection process, Lukičić went on to say
For us, the most important selection criteria was technological fit, the ability to understand our business and needs, and excellent project management skills. During the selection process we interviewed three types of vendors; large CRM platforms, hospitality CRM providers and customized CRM solutions. After 6 months we selected BE-terna and their Hospitality.CRM solution on the Microsoft Dynamics platform, because BE-terna was really hearing our business problems.
The Hospitality.CRM solution runs on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform and already has pre-developed functionalities for the hospitality industry. However, as it turned out during the implementation, the ability to really understand clients’ business needs and requirements and to adapt the system accordingly was crucial for the project to be completed.
Automated processes for sales and marketing for improved efficiency and better service
During the first phase of the project, four modules were implemented, where the integration with the Property Management System was by the far the biggest challenge. In this phase the following modules were implemented:
- Module for Central Reservation Office and Call Centre;
- Module for digital marketing campaigns using ClickDimension marketing automation tool;
- Module for B2B sales automation;
- Integration with the Front-Desk system;
Special integrations were also performed: integration with the central property management system Oracle Micros Opera and with the phone system Unify HiPath. The main goal of the new solution was to automate the processes and improve efficiency of the sales and marketing teams. With the Hospitality.CRM solution the sales and marketing teams are now empowered with automated procedures, templates and adequate information to perform their jobs more efficiently and provide their customers with higher quality service.
Making guests happy will remain the top priority for the future
Our plans for the future are big. We are in the middle of the investment cycle, investing primarily in 5-star properties. And of course we are investing in new technology, which will help us to further improve our customer service. In the next CRM upgrade we want to connect our own developed Amenity Recommender System, which identifies guests' interests, with the CRM solution, thus making guest data available for our sales and marketing teams.
Lukičić explained about their future plans.
With this integration, the sales and marketing teams would really be able to make a big step towards personalized offers and marketing, which will further strengthen Jadranka Hotels' ability to provide their guests with a memorable stay and to secure future business in this unpredictable and dynamic industry.
The company's goal is to make their guests happy. They are aware that happy guests are the best business promoters, will be more likely to return and spread the company's good reputation.
Making our guests happy will remain our top priority for the future.
Marko Lukičić, Member of the Board, Jadranka Hotels