Little Hotelier’s expert partner series: Edition two with TopGahn

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Welcome to Little Hotelier’s expert partner series, where we speak to our most knowledgeable partners in the industry to give accommodation managers lessons and tips on how to succeed across various topics.

In edition two we spoke to Martin Gahn of TopGahn about how hoteliers can succeed in the modern day, particularly in terms of operations and revenue management. Let’s get started!

A mind set on filling knowledge gaps

TopGahn, led by Martin Gahn, is a specialist hotel consulting and coaching business focused on bringing hoteliers into the 21st century by providing necessary structures and implementing them to help hoteliers make effective business decisions.

Those are the words from the man himself, who said he is well served to offer expert services after decades of hotel and hospitality experience.

“My first goal was to work in all kinds of hotels; I’ve worked in conference hotels, traditional city hotels, as well as luxury boutique hotels and resorts – all internationally,” Martin explained.

This experience has given him rare insight into what hotels do well and what they need to do better. 

“My last stop was to work for hotel groups which were interested in marketing and online distribution. That experience taught me there are certain gaps in knowledge,” he said.

“Because it was clear to me that this did not only affect private hotels but also luxury hotel brands, I decided to start my own business and to offer my decades-long experience in system optimisation and revenue management. In addition, we optimise existing systems, train and coach staff and, in doing so, create the foundation for a successful future.”

With this mission passing its 12th year, Martin likes to find ways to escape and find perspective.

“I like nature,” he mentioned. “It gives me the necessary balance to daily electronic stress and madness. I like going skiing and hiking; I do that wherever it’s possible. The world is my home and I like to travel. I’ve been particularly charmed by Montenegro.”

Breaking old habits and asking the right questions key to hotelier success

Few industries change as quickly as the travel and hotel industries. This is because human behaviour dominates the trends. Changing guest preferences and motivations drive accommodation providers to adapt and respond to meet growing demands. There are certainly dangers for small businesses, as they try not to be left behind.

“Every responsible hotel manager has realised by now that it’s time to break old habits and take advantage of new opportunities to make profits,” Martin said. “It’s important to evaluate technical solutions regularly to see if there are alternatives and, if so, what conditions they require.”

“Our strength lies in offering hoteliers a professional opinion and help them understand the best course of action – something they don’t have the time or resources to do themselves. We aim to get businesses running smoothly, so they can go the distance.”

What does this mean exactly? Well it all starts with internal reflection according to Martin. Hoteliers need to know the strengths and weaknesses of their own business before they can implement effective strategies.

“Hotel managers need to ask themselves why people book with them more often,” he explained. “Many don’t realise what it is that sets them apart from the competition and makes their business unique.”

“At TopGahn, we assess everything about the business and flag whatever is relevant for the guest. Based on that we create content and develop it, with images playing an important role. Following that we optimise the booking channels including the hotel’s own booking system, that is, the website. After that we turn our attention to developing customer-friendly and yet profitable and dynamic rate structures. We often already see an increase in bookings after the first little steps have been taken.”

In the modern era, it should be recognised as a necessity that small property managers are using tech to run their hotel. Not only does it save time and make life easier, it greatly increases revenue opportunities. All accommodation providers need to ensure their tech solutions are delivering everything the business needs.

For an example of how a hotel technology platform can help your small business thrive, watch a demo of what Little Hotelier can offer…

Establishing credibility should be a key focus for small properties in 2022

With consumers increasingly engaging with digital technology across all aspects of their lives, accommodation providers who fail to operate on the same level can often lose touch with potential guests. Martin said this is the biggest priority for small properties in 2022.

“I think it’s important for hotel managers to be credible to customers,” he emphasised. “Customer behaviour has completely changed – they are now used to certain processes being handled digitally.”

“If hoteliers mirror this attitude, it will give them more time for what they do best anyway, which is to tend to their guests.”

That isn’t to say hoteliers should take the approach that any tech solution is a great tech solution. There are always best practices when it comes to researching and investing in software providers. For Martin, a big part of this is ensuring the provider you are looking at is suited to your particular property.

“Before selecting a solution you should always ask for customer testimonies that make sense for your business type,” he explained. “You usually get an honest answer and sometimes even the opportunity to take a look at how the technology is actually used.”

“You need to feel at ease using the system because, in the end, a system is only ever as good as the person using it. But one thing needs to be clear: the perfect system does not exist. If it did, everyone would be using it. Differences usually emerge when you have existing systems into which a solution has to be integrated, when certain parts are already in place and should not be changed.”

Thank you for the chat and the expertise Martin. Keep up the great work at TopGahn!

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