After witnessing the role of technology in hospitality increasing in 2004, Mark Lewis is Founder and Managing Director at HotelREZ, seized the opportunity to create a business that would bridge the gap between people and technology, and HotelREZ was born with a personal, family-type approach, at its core. Today, the brand is one of the largest and most highly awarded hotel representation and distribution companies. In this exclusive interview, we share details on how the brand can seamlessly fit into your hotel.

What is the overall aim of HotelREZ and how can the brand seamlessly fit into a hotel’s strategy?

Akin to our origins, our vision is to provide hotels with market-leading sales and marketing representation, combined with cutting-edge technology to help them achieve their commercial potential. We work closely with our partners and clients; it’s about remaining flexible as no one hotel is the same, nor are tech stack needs.  

It’s not just about offering consultancy: we live and breathe the world of hotels, and work with our customers to produce high-rated and incremental revenue from the most suitable target markets at an attractive cost of sale. We open up possibilities by having our clients on the same platforms as franchises and big global brands, we also operate as a global brand on these platforms whilst reinforcing the unique identity of our members. 

This year marks two decades since the launch of the company. Can you share details on the growth of the business in terms of revenue and customers?

Today, we are one of the largest hotel collections in the world working with more than 2,500 independent hotels and aparthotels in over 100 countries. We are seeing growth in all sectors and all markets – and that’s largely down to providing excellent operational support and account management and being able to leverage our global brand positioning with key global agencies – we also deliver on our promises. Last year alone we achieved a 52% revenue growth with reservations up by over 42%, and our portfolio grew by more than 20%. Through a multichannel approach, we have enabled our clients to increase reservations through their direct booking engine by 31%, while driving valuable business through the GDS (+44%) and Channel Connect (+50%).

How can HotelREZ work to provide hotels with direct bookings to reduce the cost per sale and, in turn, improve profitability?

We focus on driving more direct business through acquisition, engagement and conversion. In the coming year we’ll be rolling out WebServices to drive more direct business at an attractive cost of sale. 

The market is clearly evolving: 51% of traffic is mobile and 65% of same-day arrivals are booked via smartphone. Our distribution strategy has led to an increase in a hotel’s direct website traffic, six times the collection of vital data, and around a 25% increase in direct revenue. This reduces members’ cost of sale and improves their margins. 

It’s easy for hotels to forget that direct business can come from a multitude of sources – especially repeat guests. As such, as well as working on their direct booking strategies, we’re also continually investing in technology and improving GDS presence with key TMC and consortia partners to boost both short- and long-term commercial results for our clients.  

The introduction of technology in hotels is now seen as paramount for guests and hoteliers alike. How can your services fit into independent hotels as well as the larger scale groups?

Independent groups and hotels walk a tightrope – they need to compete with the big players and key industry trends, but retain their uniqueness, on a fraction of the budgets the big brands have. Our hotels however are truly independent and unique versus a proliferation of new seemingly independent brands that are in effect part of the global chains.

We work with a fantastic portfolio of independent accommodation providers as well as sizable groups including StayCity, Greene King, Dorint Hotels & Resorts, and Queensway/Point A Group. Our services contribute to greater team efficiency, improved bookings, and by using our experience and expertise staff have the time to provide greater customer service and focus on guest engagement. 

Can you give us examples of how HotelREZ can improve marketing capabilities, specifically in niche areas?

We have two hotel consortia: Best Loved Hotels, a collection of unique global individual properties aimed at high-end leisure travellers and agents; and World Rainbow Hotels, the world’s only GDS Enabled LGBTQ+ global hotel consortium. This enables hotels to position themselves within these target audiences.

We also have a team that generates MICE opportunities, with complimentary access to the top main consortia/TMC programmes, saving a property around £20,000 per annum in participation subscription fees and harnessing increased exposure to the corporate market to generate greater income with no risk of investment.

We offer all our hotel clients complimentary access to our unique and proprietary REZtoMarket tool, which acts as a central content hub to push property assets out to hundreds of connected channels such as the GDS and OTAs.