To Build The Best Software You Have To Surround Yourself With The Best Practitioners In The Market – an interview with HSDS CEO – Adriaan Kleingeld
Adriaan Kleingeld no longer needs an introduction, as he is the CEO of HSDS / Hospitality Software Development Services, a company that develops web applications for some of the world’s leading hospitality players, from leading hotel brands, through OTA’s, to leading application providers in the hospitality industry, applications which are revolutionary and setting new industry standards. Also, he is one of the founding members of the new Revenue Management Alliance.
In this interview we find out more from Adriaan Kleingeld about his company, why they chose the Revenue Management Alliance, what was the most successful project for his company so far, how they dealt with the Coronavirus pandemic, and why is now a good time for hotels to invest in technology, along with some pragmatic insights from the hotel industry.
What is the mission statement and the values of your Company?
This is definitely a very “un-Adriaan like” type of question, whose motto is “action speaks louder than words”. So, we don’t spend a lot of time making noise about “statements”.
That being said, it’s actually quite simple, HSDS is a company focused on using technology to enable hotels to thrive in a world where technology is evolving at an ever faster pace.
Our values are very straight forward towards our clients, total honesty and responsibility in all we do for them and on their behalf, and for the team, to create an environment where everybody can succeed and is appreciated and respected for their input in the company.
What are the services your Company provides?
HSDS, as the name says it, is a software development company focused on the hospitality industry offering “nearshore development capabilities” to companies in the hospitality industry as well as having a division offering its own branded SaaS applications directly to hotels and revenue management companies.
What type of clients does your Company work with?
HSDS works for various hotel brands, hotel management companies, OTA’s, technology providers in hospitality and hotel revenue management companies.
Why did you choose the Revenue Management Alliance?
To build the best software you have to surround yourself with the best “practitioners” in the market. So, for our Revenue Management Software – OutPerform-RMS, the choice was easy and we simply brought our best clients together with the purpose of having the best collaborative development approach. So, having that in mind, the Revenue Management Alliance was created.
Also, we wanted to offer other revenue management companies lots of synergies with like-minded businesses which they may not have approached themselves, were it not for the fact they all use our revenue management platform – OutPerform-RMS.
Which is the most successful project of your Company so far?
How does one define success to start with? Perhaps, if I look at the most challenging project, which is also the most successful in sheer numbers, I would say my collaboration with iP-Hoteles from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
How do you find, and convince a revenue management company on literally the other side of the Globe, to collaborate with you and then make it a huge success?
The success, being that, over 700 Hotels in Lat Am are running on technology (Platforms) built by HSDS and the teams at iP-Hoteles & HSDS, both Support and Development, work seamlessly together. If I think about it now, quite crazy, and super successful at the same time!
What was the biggest challenge for your Company and how did you overcome it?
This is a no brainer, the COVID-19 pandemic as it was/is for the whole Hospitality Industry Worldwide.
You cannot “overcome the Coronavirus” as an individual company, but companies can be pragmatic and disciplined.
As it became apparent that COVID-19 was turning into a pandemic exactly one year ago, I made ten phone calls across the world to my most important business partners and said “how are we going to deal with this, do you need help, do your hotels need help, and let’s use the time wisely”. Then, I spoke to all of my team and we collectively took voluntary pay cuts to safeguard jobs and we made a plan. These challenging times gave us the opportunity to do the work we normally don’t have time for.
I had no idea that it would last this long. We have been in and out of lock downs, varying degrees of “stress” at different times across the different markets where we are present. Strangely enough, in between everything, a bumper record summer in Western Europe driven by domestic tourism and to the present, a lockdown in Western Europe with the question: will Easter be closed or open for hotels?
However, with the multiple vaccines now present, there is a definite sense that one way or another we, “the world”, will get in control of the situation, which manifests itself pragmatically in our clients restarting development projects that had been put on hold, even if many of them in Western Europe are still actually closed.
So, long story short HSDS, and its partners handled it together.
How do you differentiate from your Competitors? What makes your Company’s services unique?
Our people! I have an extraordinary team of talented young energetic people!
As opposed to nearly all, if not all my competitors, HSDS is a software development company, so we work for and with many other hospitality technology suppliers. We build our own branded applications and enjoy a 360-degree view of what is going on in the hospitality industry. Our approach is that software, in general, is simply a tool to resolve problems, automate processes, etc. You don’t buy software to have software, you buy software to do something better, faster, more economically and profitably.
Our approach of collaborative development means, our clients drive exactly what we do. We don’t build and then try to persuade everybody why they need our software. The clients, more or less, design it themselves in a continuous development cycle.
Why is now such a good time to invest in technology?
Most people will say: if your closed (your hotel), you and what’s left of your team, have time to investigate and implement new technologies.
This is obviously true enough, I would, however, say, with everything that has happened in Hospitality due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no hotel can afford not to implement available technologies that will actually save costs (remove all manual repeatable tasks) and bring a crystal clear picture of what is actually going on.
So, revenue management systems and analytics software are even more valuable now than they have ever been!
What are the benefits the RMA brings to its members?
If ever there was a time to realign your operations with the new reality we are going through, it’s now! The RMA/Revenue Management Alliance offers its members and their clients Virtual Revenue Management Cloud Centers across the globe, equipped with complete Hotel Revenue Management Back-Office platforms. Revenue Managers (RMs) and Revenue Management Companies can make use of an established infrastructure of both software, staff and workflows.
The benefit for the revenue managers is that they can deliver more value for their clients by improving their results and reducing the time they spend on back office activities. Scale up and down with your work force as and when required! Equip yourself today for tomorrow and save costs and risks whilst becoming more profitable.