Karen Stephens: Hi there and welcome everybody to the Lodge Second podcast. I’m your host, Karen Stephens, the Chief Income Officer of Revinate. And right now I’m excited to be joined by Tobias Koehler, who’s the Chief Business Officer for BIG MAMA Accommodations. Hello Tobias. How are you?
Tobias Koehler: Hello Karen. Thanks for having me. I’m excellent. How are you?
Karen Stephens: I’m great. I’m so excited to see you. We’ve, we’ve had a previous historical past along with another manufacturers that you just labored for, most notably Ruby Accommodations in Germany, and I’ve all the time thought-about you any individual who’s on the forefront, the forefront of sort of the digital transformation inside hospitality. So it’s a real pleasure.
Tobias Koehler: Thanks a lot. That is actually sort of you.
Karen Stephens: Oh, wonderful. After all, after all. So earlier than we get going, I’ve a number of questions that I ask all of my friends simply to heat us up. So I’ve obtained 5 questions. They’re very easy, you’ll know all of the solutions, so we’ll begin with the primary one, which was, when did you begin working within the hospitality trade, and do you bear in mind your first day on the job?
Tobias Koehler: Properly, I actually needed to, to consider it as a result of I already began working, um, within the hospitality trade throughout my college time as a result of in some unspecified time in the future, we determined to make– we need to make a visit with out lecturers, with out mother and father or something. So I stated, okay, let’s simply manage it ourselves. And so I put collectively a snowboarding journey for, yeah, to start with, 20 colleagues of mine and pals. And this has grown over time to an occasion with as much as 120 individuals and I constructed my very own, uh, reserving web site in 2001.
Karen Stephens: Oh my gosh.
Tobias Koehler: And that’s how I, yeah, began to study. I actually like to create experiences and likewise mixed with expertise. And since I’m really actually lazy, so I all the time need to make it simple for myself and, utilizing expertise for that’s tremendous useful and, yeah, saves me a number of time.
Karen Stephens: That’s nice. So the mix of expertise and visitor expertise. That’s good.
Tobias Koehler: Easy. Yeah. And from that on, I, I all the time tried to, yeah, work in bars and, um, came upon, yeah, occasion administration is fairly cool. And, yeah, took some internships at a, airline for instance, and, wished to study extra. That’s why I studied tourism administration in my grasp’s diploma as effectively. And yeah, in some way, stopped, uh, on the resorts and yeah, came upon that is actually a fantastic place to, to work and, for me, mixed so many issues with, hospitality, expertise and, um, yeah.
Karen Stephens: That’s nice. That’s wonderful. Okay. Query quantity 2. What was probably the most uplifting second to date in your profession?
Tobias Koehler: Oh yeah, there have been so many loopy moments and um, so many experiences. And what I discovered for myself is that opening a brand new resort is all the time very particular, particularly, you realize, whenever you begin interested by the place you possibly can really place a resort or, uh, the place you possibly can signal a resort and begin with the preliminary provide and go into, uh, the development website, after which seeing it full of individuals, full of the furnishings and, the primary visitor arriving.
That is tremendous particular. And, yeah, for me additionally very attention-grabbing and comparable with, constructing, um, new expertise. Um, issues within the background. Like for instance, uh, at Ruby, we switched to a, a brand new PMS which was a venture of just about 3 years, and till we had a rollout, rolled out for all these resorts.
And it’s nice to create one thing after which seeing it’s delivered to life. Um, or being full of life, with the friends, for instance.
Karen Stephens: Sure, these are enormous tasks, in order that’s thrilling. Um, we do loads over right here at Revinate as effectively. So the large, large venture launches, which require a number of coordination throughout a number of groups. Yeah, that’s thrilling. Okay, so the third query. That is extra private now. So what’s the most placing expertise to date when it comes to a private meals expertise or vacation or keep?
Tobias Koehler: Yeah, that could be a actually good query as a result of, um, I traveled loads, and since I like touring, I like experiencing different cultures and, um, had some stops at some great resorts in my previous. Additionally, I prefer to suppose again to the Honeymoon Lodge the place we stayed in roads on, uh, on an island in Greece. Nonetheless, what struck me probably the most is the hospitality that individuals give to their friends that don’t have a lot. Like, for instance, I, what I skilled in Cambodia or Indonesia, the place, I used to be, uh, in instances earlier than Airbnb, yeah, there was, there was, um, a platform known as Sofa Browsing. And, um, I used to be, uh, hosted by a pleasant particular person. And he confirmed me round. He introduced me to his household gathering. He, he introduced me to a ceremony, uh, which was superior, and so uplifting to see with how little issues, great experiences will be created. And um, yeah, that is one thing we are likely to overlook with all these materials lovely, shiny issues we, now we have.
And, um, thanks for bringing again this reminiscence.
Karen Stephens: Yeah. And the place was this in Indonesia? The place was it in Bali?
Tobias Koehler: That was in, in Bali, proper. In, uh, close to Ubud.
Karen Stephens: Sure. Ah, that’s a magical a part of the planet. What a cool story. That’s nice. Okay, so quantity 4. Have you ever met any celebrities whilst you’ve been within the trenches working in resorts?
Tobias Koehler: Properly, understanding you, you’re from the U.S. you, you won’t know them.
Karen Stephens: Okay. That’s okay. We will take it.
Tobias Koehler: They’re, so that they’re, they’re, they’re, soccer gamers. Uh, soccer, uh, you’d say.
Karen Stephens: Yeah, now we have a, you realize what? We’ve an workplace in Amsterdam and a number of European clients, so let’s go.
Tobias Koehler: SLo I met, so I met Lothar Matthäus and Rudy Feller, that are, um, I believe they, they gained the, uh, world Championship in 1990, uh, throughout my time at Jumeirah and Frankfurt, the place we hosted them. And, um, yeah, the place I had a, the place I did have a fast chat with them and was sort of shy, but in addition irritated as a result of they have been actually small compared to what I used to be anticipating from the, the images on the TV and so forth.
Karen Stephens: Oh wow. Okay. Very cool. That’s good. All proper, effectively, we’ll give a shout-out to all of our European friends who’re impressed or impressed by that, in order that’s good. Okay. After which the final query, who’re the ladies at work you could have been most, impressed by?
Tobias Koehler: Superb query, and I actually love that you just’re, uh, making an attempt to point out feminine individuals in, in our trade actually make a distinction. And for me, um, I didn’t must suppose lengthy about this, uh, is, Isabella Owen, which is or was my Director of Gross sales and Advertising throughout my time in at Jumeirah. And I realized a lot, uh, from her when it comes to advertising and marketing, branding, but in addition how one can hustle. You already know, once I thought, “I’m getting up so early right now, no person else is within the workplace. I’ll be the primary one.”, she was already sitting there. And, since, yeah, Jumeirah was principally my first resort job. I actually had a number of questions and I can think about they weren’t all the time the neatest, and she or he all the time took the time to, um, clarify me all the pieces.
And, yeah, it actually made a distinction. And within the, when it comes to pondering, when it comes to, um, how one can strategy advertising and marketing and, I’ve been taking a number of that from that have. And yeah, there’s so many different girls I’ve labored with, it’s, it’s exhausting to say all of them. I do need to point out additionally Anna Hoyer. Um, she’s the CEO if you’ll, from, the HSMA affiliation in Germany. She’s doing such a fantastic job in bringing collectively the trade. She’s all the time tremendous optimistic and, and an excellent good mind. Um, yeah, I realized additionally loads from her how one can counter exhausting experiences or um, not-so-friendly individuals in a really optimistic manner.
Karen Stephens: Yeah, diplomacy. That’s proper, that’s proper. Wow. And we’ve definitely seen our fair proportion of, of attention-grabbing instances, significantly within the DACH area, you realize, not solely with Covid, however now with all the pieces that’s occurring with with heating bills and their power and all of that. So, and we’re gonna discuss a little bit bit about HSMA right here in a minute, however earlier than we get onto that, I wanna speak about BIG MAMA Accommodations. Cuz, to start with, I like the identify. I imply, proper out of the gate, what a model, however are you able to inform us a little bit bit about what the model is, and the place the resorts are, and all that good things?
Tobias Koehler: Positive. Uh, so, I joined BIG MAMA Accommodations about one and a half years in the past, and, um, David, one of many founders, um, approached me as a result of he desires to, um, develop. And with BIG MAMA Accommodations–BIG MAMA is a Berlin-founded household resort really. In order that they, they have been based in 2013, principally with the concept to make a hostel and resort out of this constructing right here in a possibly not-so-friendly neighborhood in Berlin, and let’s take it from there. And, yeah, what they’ve created is a very cool place to, to get collectively, to expertise a very good time as a result of, what’s on the forefront of all the pieces in, in there, is the expertise with individuals.
the design of the place can be very attention-grabbing. Um, you get a number of impressions, uh, within the public areas, uh, the place you possibly can speak about. However you meet so many nice individuals ranging from the receptionists over to the housekeepers. Everyone has their very own story to inform and are so pleasant and completely satisfied to share their private experiences with you as a visitor within the vacation spot.
And 2019, they, um, took over one other resort in Leipzig, which is in Jap Germany. And simply this 12 months we opened one other resort in Dortmund, in Jap Germany. A few of you may know the, um, soccer membership, Borussia Dortmund.
Karen Stephens: Okay. Very cool. Yeah, effectively I’ve to say Berlin is considered one of my favourite cities simply cuz it’s so cool and eclectic. And I’ve had the consideration of being there a number of instances for ITB, which hopefully it’s again this 12 months–ITB Berlin. I hope it’s gonna be an enormous present. We’re actually excited to be there yeah, however what a fantastic metropolis. It’s, it’s all hours. It’s a number of nice individuals. So I can see how um, a resort that’s a resort hostel, you realize, a number of completely different varieties of individuals coming by means of could be a very nice expertise.
Tobias Koehler: Yeah. Yeah. And the identify by itself is, uh, derived from David’s mom, uh, Clarissa. She’s, uh, the OG “large mama”, if you’ll.
Karen Stephens: That’s so cool.
Tobias Koehler: That began with a nickname, you realize, um, she’s, uh, having, uh, throughout the nook of the resort there’s additionally, uh, ho, dwelling for aged individuals, which she managed. And, her nickname is, Large Mama and, whereas they have been brainstorming in regards to the identify of the resort, and requested so many individuals, in some unspecified time in the future you simply determined, let’s simply name it BIG MAMA.
Karen Stephens: I find it irresistible. Properly right here, shout out to Clarissa, the, the OG large mama. I find it irresistible. I find it irresistible. Okay, so that you talked about earlier than the Hospitality Gross sales and Advertising Affiliation, so HSMA in Germany. Are you able to give our listeners a greater thought of what sort of work HSMA does and why hoteliers ought to have HSMA of their toolkits.
Tobias Koehler: Positive. So HSMA is an affiliation, uh, the place you may get a member, uh, or turn out to be a member and, be a part of, sharing information and, bringing information to, to our trade. Um, the beauty of HSMA is I believe, that not solely resorts sure, uh, can turn out to be a member, but in addition, um, companions from the trade.
Like I do know that Revinate, for instance, is a accomplice as effectively, and is a part of HSMA, and HSMA, uh, lifts most of it from the occasions, and bringing individuals collectively. Um, for instance, on the yearly HSMA day, whereas an enormous, congress, um, with attention-grabbing keynotes, with, uh, workshops, with every kind of, um, details about the trade, about expertise.
And, what we try to do is, um, collect information and to everyone. And that’s possibly an essential factor to know, um, Germany or the German-speaking areas, additionally in Austria and, uh, Switzerland is, pushed by small and medium-sized, resort firms somewhat than within the US, so far as I do know, most of them are large manufacturers. And all these small chains, all these family-run companies, they actually need some extra enter when it comes to expertise, when it comes to how one can do gross sales, possibly when it comes to how one can do advertising and marketing or only a place to alternate info, to alternate concepts. And, that’s the place HSMA brings everyone collectively.
Karen Stephens: I simply wished to say, you realize, I believe that’s so essential as a result of you realize, as we sort of highlighted on the high of this, you’ve had a, a deep love for expertise from the soar in addition to experiences in, in hospitality. However a number of, whenever you’re speaking about smaller to medium-sized, both single resorts or smaller teams, in some areas they’re actually simply hospitality targeted.
They could be household operated, so that they haven’t had sufficient publicity. And to have a corporation the place you’ve obtained accomplice resorts that may are available and do some training, and naturally, distributors are there as effectively. However, you realize, I believe hoteliers wanna have the total scope.
And I do know that you just not too long ago gave a presentation there. Are you able to discuss a little bit bit in regards to the, the publication that you just did by means of the group about digitization and moving into that trendy place?
Tobias Koehler: So, so what, what we’ve, put collectively, uh, over the past, uh, 3, 4 years are so-called “knowledgeable circles”-uh, the place we attempt to collect specialists, for instance, from HR, from gross sales, from distribution, e-commerce. And one half can be the knowledgeable group expertise that I’m a part of.
And what we’ve been engaged on during the last 12 months or half 12 months is, a venture that we name “again workplace automation”, the place we need to put a deal with the final digitization of this time, not the client, visitor, or the visitor journey, somewhat than what’s taking place at the back of the resort. Like what’s taking place in HR, what’s taking place in housekeeping, and so forth, and the way can digitization assist to enhance processes and, uh, prices or, um, a number of different issues as effectively.
Karen Stephens: Yeah. And that’s nice. And I believe what was attention-grabbing once I was sort of going by means of the presentation itself is that this actually improves not solely the effectivity of the resort, but in addition the satisfaction of the workers. Proper? As a result of it helps to eiminate among the monotonous tasked issues that they’re doing and transfer that into extra, you realize, I believe they may focus extra on the extra enjoyable components of their job, which must do with friends.
Tobias Koehler: Completely. That is, that is one thing, I believe Covid taught us the exhausting manner, that, we have to make house for our colleagues to essentially care for the friends, to take care, or to, benefit from the enjoyable a part of our jobs higher. And, additionally , um, how many individuals left our trade throughout these exhausting instances. Folks don’t have an excessive amount of time on their fingers anymore, and it helps to have a look at all these processes, and how one can make them simpler, to make them possibly quicker, or to even remove them with the assistance of expertise.
Karen Stephens: Completely. Completely. So I do know that we’re, we’re speaking loads about, you realize, even simply fundamental tech adoption, which is one thing all of us hope to return alongside, carry by means of the trade, however then, you realize, it’s altering very quick, and getting very superior in a short time. So the place do you suppose AI is gonna take us within the new world? So possibly discuss a little bit bit about what AI is, after which the place do you see that going, as we begin to sort of come into 2023 and past?
Tobias Koehler: Superb query. I imply, um, that is the subject of the 12 months I’d say or since, uh, and even final 12 months since ChatGPT, um, was launched. And everyone’s now speaking about, uh, OpenAI. Now all these crypto guys have one thing new to speak about. And, what I actually admire is how everyone’s actually concentrating now on how can AI really assist us.
Sure, there are some individuals who questioning the entire function of AI generally. Nonetheless, let’s shortly take a look at what AI can do for us within the resort trade. So, synthetic intelligence is one thing that may study from patterns, that may study from textual content, that may study from every kind of enter and create their very own concepts out of it. So if we’re our trade within the resort trade, and in addition to, on the dearth of workers, we will, for instance, have so many cool, um, makes use of of AI. Um, let’s simply say once we discuss in regards to the again workplace, um, in income administration, for instance–AI can simply determine, and I do know that among the, um, income administration methods already do that, um, at what date, um, there’s a excessive demand, and possibly to boost costs, or to possibly do one thing, um, for a particular goal group. And in addition when it comes to CRM to then, if the income administration system realizes, “hey, we do have a necessity of, extra bookings throughout this and that point?”, possibly ask the AI to create a publication about this.
So possibly solely an individual just like the advertising and marketing division or um, can take a look at it and say, “yeah, that sounds good.” Perhaps right here and there a little bit tweak, after which go for it and ship out a publication that’s– for instance, one factor, uh, we’re at the moment making an attempt, with BIG MAMA to utilize ChatGPT, and create publication focused to completely different goal teams. Additionally, have it create touchdown pages which are matching
Karen Stephens: Customized.
Tobias Koehler: …what is alleged within the, within the publication. Precisely. And, for me, as at the moment, since we’re at BIG MAMA for instance, engaged on a, a really lean construction, which means that we’re solely 2 guys in advertising and marketing in the intervening time, and operating 3 resorts, and have a number of different issues on the plate, this helps us loads, uh, to show. So we recreate already some prompts, that the substitute intelligence already can write in a manner that we’d. Not solely, uh, does it point out, yeah, do that, and that, and that; it says, it says no matter it has to say in our tone of voice that we created for a BIG MAMA and with each different immediate, with each different tweak, we inform it, it’s getting higher and higher.
And so, we save a number of time. Additionally, for instance, uh, what we’re utilizing it for is, in the intervening time, we’re translating our web site to French. And sure, we did have any individual translate it to French, however the particular person didn’t, um, translate sale related, um, tags,for instance, or key phrases or, the sentence that’s proven then in Google whenever you seek for, I don’t know, BIG MAMA Accommodations group bookings. And that’s the place ChatGPT helps us to create a, a duplicate for one thing in, in seconds, which I must make my thoughts up, uh, for a little bit bit longer.
Karen Stephens: Proper. Yeah. Yeah. It takes a minute. Wow. That’s actually thrilling. This what I’m speaking about. You’re on the forefront. You’re actually cutting-edge with these things. And I stated it earlier than, jokingly once we talked a number of years in the past, that, you realize, you may need a job at Revinate sometime. I’m simply saying for those who ever, for those who ever wanna come to the darkish aspect, come into expertise over right here. Uh, we additionally leverage a number of machine studying and AI and have a number of thrilling issues coming. As you stated, it’s thrilling as a result of a number of these platforms are open now, so for those who, you realize, for those who’re not afraid to sort of soar in and roll up your sleeves and, and, and tinker round, you realize, you may get a number of issues finished.
Tobias Koehler: Precisely. That’s, that’s the principle level. I might recommend to everyone to only mess around. Attempt issues out. You may’t break something. That’s what I’m telling my colleagues. All the time. within the instances of, backups or whatnot, it’s actually exhausting to interrupt issues, and I’d somewhat restore one thing, in some way, uh, than you didn’t take a look at it.
And, um, so. Yeah, I believe that’s one thing that must be finished by much more. Not all the time saying, “yeah, I don’t have time to do this new factor.” It’s all the time good to strive new issues. Sure, generally it’s a waste of time, however, um, from my expertise, you, all the time study impartial of the outcomes really. After which, you realize, it’s nothing for you.
Karen Stephens: Proper. Precisely. Yeah. At the least you realize what you’re doing. You already know, it’s attention-grabbing cuz I believe everyone is so busy, but when we carve out time in our day to suppose strategically or you realize, simply get a while away to, you realize, out of what you do day-to-day, and take a look at and attempt to poke round And, and likewise hunt down organizations like HSMA, whether or not you’re within the DACH area, or in different areas, discovering organizations the place you could have colleagues—individuals in your subject who’re prepared to share that info. It’s actually value your time.
Tobias Koehler: Completely. No, I believe, um, that’s precisely the purpose we’re, we’re not competing, um, in these phrases. And I believe there are sufficient friends on the market. Uh, so we will solely study from one another. And, um, it’s all the time nice to, as a result of I’m actually tremendous passionate about all these issues, and I’m making an attempt them out. And it’s all the time additionally good to then focus on this with individuals, and so they’re like, “Hey, have you considered uh, phrases, I don’t know, privateness or one thing? Perhaps not, however good that you just’re imagining it!”
Karen Stephens: Yeah.
Tobias Koehler: Yeah.
Karen Stephens: I find it irresistible. I find it irresistible. Properly, hey Tobias, this has been superior. So, so simply so our listeners know, the place can they discover extra info on BIG MAMA Accommodations? What’s the URL for that?
Tobias Koehler: So go to us on, uh, bigmamahotels.com or be a part of us on Instagram. That’s our most energetic channel there. And, hit us up on LinkedIn. I believe all of us are completely satisfied to reply any sort of questions or attain, uh, out to something. Um, it’ll be nice to remain in contact.
Karen Stephens: Completely. This has been a delight. Thanks a lot Tobias, and I want you, a fantastic 2023 and have enjoyable in Berlin at ITB. Hope to see everyone there.
Tobias Koehler: Yeah, thanks.
Karen Stephens: Completely, thanks.
Tobias Koehler: Thanks for having me. Bye-bye.