Providing a simple all-in-one solution for serviced apartment & small hotel operators, meet Herman SzabolcsBy Thibault Gence , Co-founder @ Hotelhero
SabeeApp offers an all-in-one property management system including a booking engine, channel manager and guest facing technologies.
We had a chat with the company's founder & CEO, Herman Szabolcs, to know more about their story and product.
Let’s get started Herman! Before we talk about your product, tell us a bit about your story and how you got into the hotel industry?
Since 2011 we have been working hard to develop the tools that simplify the everyday life of a hospitality business. Back then, I realized that there was something missing in the hospitality industry. I was running an apartment rental business myself and had to deal with several different systems in order to keep the job done. I came up with the idea of developing my own software and using it just for my own needs. So I found a group of developers that helped me create a primary version of SabeeApp. Soon the idea of SabeeApp spread and word of a new system got out. In 2013, the product was launched for the public and it didn’t take much for it to conquer the hearts of hoteliers. For the first year, we had just 2 people working at Sabee (besides the developers), but now we can be proud of our big and amazing team.
So tell us about your product? Why did you decide to build this or what problem are you trying to solve?
As mentioned earlier, the main idea was to join multiple systems’ features under one product. It was very much time consuming to maintain and monitor several different platforms (for availability, for invoicing, for synchronisation). So the main idea of SabeeApp was to simplify the everyday tasks of the hoteliers. We just wanted to provide an all-in-one solution which back in those times was still missing or very expensive.
As time was passing our vision shifted from lowering the administration tasks to fully automate the hotel operations. We are making steady progress towards our vision by developing mobile applications for guests, housekeepers and maintenance. We recently introduced online check-in which helps to get closer to our ultimate vision.
Simplifying the administration work at the hotel is nice, but we realised that SabeeApp will be even stronger if we would use our technology to help hoteliers increase their revenue. It’s a secret yet, but we are very excited to shortly launch our own pricing intelligence tool.
What type of properties use SabeeApp? Can you tell us a bit about the different accommodation providers your product caters for?
SabeeApp is an ideal solution for all types of accommodations, but our passion is to help independent properties, like hotels, hostels, BnBs or apartment rentals. Each accommodation type is having different needs.
Hostels are focusing on fast check-in and check-out processes and simple ways to deal with big groups of guests. Apartment rentals need a keyless check-in option and possibility for their guests to do as many tasks as possible on their own. Hotels are interested in more detailed reporting and additional up-selling possibilities. Doesn’t matter which property type is reaching out to us - we can offer the right solution to the majority of them!
How is your product different from what is already existing in the market? Any key differentiators or USPs?
Our key differentiator on the hospitality SaaS market is providing an all-in-one solution where all the core features are developed in-house, seamlessly integrated together. This greatly benefits our users, who can work together on a team level on a single interface without any interruption or having to integrate multiple systems together.
As an all in one solution we are in position to offer a tool for everybody involved in a hotels life, including owners, managers, front-desk, housekeeping, maintenance and even guests. These people work together with our tools, having one goal to full-fill: create exceptional guest experience.
Since we are cloud-based we can frequently release software updates or fixes based on client feedback, industry changes and our own ideas, making SabeeApp a future-proof choice. Hospitality professionals should have constant access to their hotel data regardless of where they are or what smart device they have with them. We believe that the restraints of an on-site installed, legacy type hotel system is in the past. Web-based and responsive is the future.
We have a personalised on-boarding process for all new clients, where they receive one-on-one training series and support from a dedicated customer coach. Our coach almost becomes an advisor for the hoteliers, assisting them in mastering the basics and becoming proficient users of SabeeApp.
Amongst all others, what is one of the key features your customers love the most?
The Channel Manager is definitely our #1 feature. It is fully integrated with the rest of the system so it saves a lot of time when updating inventory or pricing to all sales partners. After the connections are made, no extra work is needed at all, unlike other standalone channel management solutions.
GuestAdvisor’s popularity is growing very fast. This tool works as a virtual concierge to help you automatise your hotel.
SabeePay is also becoming a popular feature as it gives our customers a chance to charge their guests directly via the SabeeApp system. It is a very appreciated feature in those properties, which don’t have a bank terminal or don’t want to deal with bank transfers. They simply collect money for reservations via our SabeePay feature.
What were some of the biggest challenges while building the product early on and how did you solve them?
When we introduced the system to the world, I think it had, maybe, 1/5 of all the features we have now. We grew together with our customers. As their needs were growing, we had to listen to them and also adjust the system accordingly. We constantly collect feedback from them, and it is always hard to prioritise them.
Nowadays when it comes to prioritising, we check the feature requests, and see if they would be beneficial for other customers too. If so, then we include them in our development roadmap.
To wrap things up, we are in an industry where collaboration and partnerships are crucial. Is there any specific 3rd party software that brings most value to your clients? Or is there a product on the market that really caught your eye?
We have an ongoing collaboration with NUKI, a company offering innovative smart lock solutions primarily for vacation rentals. With the help of our GuestAdvisor mobile application guests can easily lock and unlock the door using their smartphone. To offer a similar smart solution for our hotel partners, we are working on an integration with the biggest door lock company called Assa Abloy.
Our channel manager could not exist without connection with online travel agencies, thus maintaining a good technical and personal relation is crucial. Here I would like to highlight a couple of connections we are proud to offer, being preferred connectivity partners of Booking.com and Airbnb.
About the Author
Thibault is Co-Founder of Hotelhero and a graduate of École Hoteliere de Lausanne. Passionate about hotels, service excellence & technology Hotelhero is built on the belief that independent & small chain operators should be leveraging technology for the better. Our platform and services strive to give every hotelier a chance to compete in this highly competitive market by implementing the right technology.