A relationship of 2 decades and going strong
In the middle of the picturesque Swedish fishing village of Fjällbacka lies Stora Hotellet (meaning “The Big Hotel”), a charming boutique hotel that opened way back in 1834. When the business started, it was as an inn and a trading shed, which later turned into a hotel. Today, it’s a 3.5 star, family business that is jointly owned by 70 families in Fjällbacka, Sweden.
The hotel offers 23 rooms that are inspired by the great Captain Klassen’s many trips around the world, enhanced with a modern touch. Each room has special features directly imported from the country that the room represents; for example, they have tiles from Morocco, fabrics from India and interior details from the Caribbean. How about spending a night in Mombasa or Yokohama?
Stora Hotellet strives to offer memorable stays, with a strong focus on dining experience. The building houses three restaurants where the food is prepared from locally produced ingredients. Also, they offer several experience packages such as lobster fishing in the beautiful archipelago, or take some culinary lessons from Sweden’s top award-winning chef Thomas Sjögren. Those looking for relaxation can enjoy an afternoon in the piano bar with a fantastic view of the North Sea.
|Daniel Gustafsson, Hotel Manager at Stora Hotellet, said: “When I started as a Hotel Manager here, my vision was to make Stora Hotellet, a living room for all of Fjällbacka. We maintain a high level of service for our guests and attach great importance to creating a cozy atmosphere. The local residents of Fjällbacka come here to enjoy a coffee or to read the newspaper, have a meeting or simply to relax.”||
In spring 2020 when the corona pandemic struck, the hotel like many others, suffered from booking cancellations. They wanted to find a way to conserve cash and balance cashflow during the difficult times and started looking for a gift card solution.
Another requirement was to be able to provide guests with information via a screen in the lobby and on the TV screens in the hotel rooms. The incumbent system did not give them enough control over the content so it could be in line with the brand and the traditional vibe of the hotel.
Gift Card Solution
Exploring the possibilities with Hoist Group was a natural starting point due to the long-standing relationship between the two businesses. After all, Stora Hotellet in Fjällbacka has been using Hoist Group’s HotSoft PMS for nearly 2 decades and love it, thanks to its flexibility and availability of inhouse support. Moreover, the initiative was boosted by Hoist Group’s recently launched Program Phoenix – a major investment to help hotels overcome the impact of the pandemic through technology.
One of the solutions packaged within the Program Phoenix was Givito – a complete and flexible gift card solution for hotels and restaurants of all sizes. It nicely met Stora Hotellet’s need to start gift card sales quickly and easily.
Selling gift cards with Givito is a smart way to protect revenue and balance cash flows that are strained as a result of the pandemic. For example, it allows hotels to offer gift cards as an alternative to refunds and generate new revenue by selling future-dated gift cards online for special occasions. Of course, they can also be used for their traditional purpose i.e. to be sold as a gift.
Stora Hotellet also went ahead with Hoist Group’s Digital Signage solution. They saw the opportunity to easily reach out to their guests with timely information and promotional offers via screens in common areas as well as via guests’ in-room TVs.
|Andreas Larsson, Managing Director of Hoist Group Sweden, commented: “The goal of the Phoenix program was to offer guidance and technology that could help hotels during and after the crisis. We are happy that Stora Hotellet in Fjällbacka put their trust in us. They have been a loyal customer for many years and we’re happy to now deepen our relationship. It is always a pleasure to work with the hotel and we look forward to a long relationship.”||
With Givito, Stora Hotellet quickly and easily had a gift card shop set up on their website. Thanks to Givito’s ready-made webshop template, the page could be customized to follow Stora Hotellet’s brand identity which makes it a natural extension of the website. Shortly after the shop went live, people began shopping.
Speaking of the benefits of Givito, Gustafsson said, “Givito has been a fantastic solution. We don’t need to create our own gift cards, instead everything is handled by Givito. I even get a notification when someone has bought a gift card. It is easy for guests to buy the gift cards online. It’s nice that everything has worked so smoothly from start to finish.”
They are also looking forward to getting Digital Signage up and running at the hotel. Through this solution, the hotel will be able to display answers to commonly asked questions by their guests, for example breakfast times and a passcode for WiFi. This will help reduce the staff’s peak-time workload. Digital Signage will also allow them to customize the information displayed according to the time of day. For examples, during peak guest check-in window, the hotel can promote their restaurants, and during other times they can recommend gift cards, lobster fishing etc.
Daniel Gustafsson concluded: ”Our business relationship with Hoist Group has worked very well for nearly two decades. We have a wonderful contact person who always helps us if we have questions or encounter problems. It has been a challenging year for everyone, but we are optimistic about the future. Givito gives us the opportunity to offer gift cards instead of refunds and we see enormous benefits of Digital Signage in terms of advertising.”