Peter Gal, CEO & Founder of Event Intelligence tells us about helping hotels maximize their revenue.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Peter Gal: Thankfully, we are well; we were lucky not to have any cases of COVID-19 in my family so far. My thoughts go out to all the people affected by the pandemic.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Event Intelligence.
Peter Gal: From my teenage years, I always wanted to work in hotels/hospitality; I really liked the fact that hotels are elegant places where international people meet, gather, and stay. After a BSc. in hotel and tourism management and an MSc. in business development, I worked in various hotels in London and Budapest and joined BDO Hungary as a hotel and real estate consultant in 2010. It was during my time there that we had an idea with my ex-cofounder to put together a rate comparison tool for hotels, which we tested with some hotels of the Mellow Mood Group, and when the whole group signed up (2015), we decided that this side-project is probably worth doing full-time. Shortly after that, we received market feedback that a feature of our product (event data) could be even more exciting than the Rate Shopper, so we started to develop that as a standalone product in 2016, which launched as Event Intelligence the same year.
Right now we have 2 main products:
1. Event Intelligence:
– Used by hotels sales teams to identify new business proactively through forward-looking data (e.g., a Marriott hotel identifies an event in another hotel a block away and contacts the organizer to try to that event for next year)
– Used by hotel revenue managers to identify periods where events cause a spike in demand (e.g., a revenue manager in a Hilton sees that a new major medical conference is coming to the city on the 10th of March next year and, as a result, can increase their prices for that period and/or put in place minimum nights of stay restrictions)
2. Rate Shopper:
– Used by hotels to make sure their hotel is priced right compared to their competitors (e.g., a client of ours can see if they are €50 underpriced/overpriced on certain dates and can make adjustments to generate more bookings)
We are proud to have clients from the majority of international brands (some examples include Marriott, InterContinental, Hilton, Kempinski, among others).
How does Event Intelligence innovate?
Peter Gal: We are very heavily customer and business case-focused. We always add features based on customer feedback and the pain points that we could solve for them.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Peter Gal: I had experience in being in tough liquidity situations in the past years due to various circumstances, so my immediate reaction was to minimize all spending and cut all unnecessary costs as soon as the lockdown began in the UK.
As the hotel industry was among the hardest hit by the pandemic, a number of our clients asked if their subscriptions can be frozen, which we were happy to do for them.
As events start to return, we expect an unprecedented opportunity for hotels to target events and event organizers and to capitalize on the pent-up demand for events and face-to-face meetings.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Peter Gal: Fortunately not, we managed to keep the core team together.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Peter Gal: We use the in-app chat in our SaaS tool, and we are proactively in contact with our client base via telephone and email.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Peter Gal: We applied for the BBLS and the furlough scheme as well, both of which have been very helpful.
Your final thoughts?
Peter Gal: The pandemic forced us to look into areas on which we knew that we have to put a bigger focus. Our main sales channel was direct sales (long-tail and enterprise) and probably didn’t dedicate as much focus to online marketing and sales automation as we should have. We have started to work on this, and we believe that inbound and flywheel types of sales and marketing are the future for us.