Its founder and MD, Kai Schömann, talks to Sydney PauldenHotel Republic Ltd has been selling to the UK MICE market for 12 years on behalf of international hotel groups. Its founder, Kai Schömann, is proud to tell me that 2016 was its best year to date. ‘We confirmed over 200 conferences for our hotel clients.’
Is there a reason for this success? Yes, a simple one. The Hotel Republic team uses a variety of different approaches to keep in touch with the event organisers in the UK, works very hard to ensure they get a good and prompt service and ensures, at the same time, that communications with the hotel personnel are rapid, reliable and well focussed.
‘It is vital’, emphasises Kai, ‘to pay attention to both sides of the sales equation. I personally worked as a member of the events team in a hotel for seven years in Germany. I know the role they have to play in servicing the client organisers. When Hotel Republic takes on a new hotel client, we get to know not only its management, but also the staff of its events department and often we invite them over to our offices in London to establish relations with our own team and to become familiar with the way we work and the high standards we expect as normal.’
The result is that a request for a quotation is serviced within 24 hours. Hotel Republic represents hotels in many favoured destinations and can assist an organiser in identifying the best venue for a project and is also aware of availability so can recommend other options if there is no vacancy.
‘We make effective use’, Kai points out, ‘of networking events in the UK where buyers meet executives from our hotels and of Fam Trips, so that buyers can see the hotel facilities for themselves.’ ‘Furthermore,’ he emphasises, ‘we get more mileage from these by investing in videos of them and then using videos to show not only potential buyers but also hotel clients what we can do for them.’
Of course, Hotel Republic is not resting on its laurels. ‘Through 2017’, Kai says, ‘we will be organising networking events for Robinson Clubs, Sunborn Yacht Hotels, the British country house hotel Down Hall, Ilunion Hotels, Mövenpick Hotels, SANA Hotels, Kimpton Hotels and PortAventura and their new Ferrari land that is opening in 2017. We are also working on our hosted buyer programme for The Meetings Show in London in June.’
Kai agrees that politics and terrorism developments in the world today have created serious problems within the MICE sector. Very popular destinations have suffered because of safety questions and the restrictions suddenly imposed on entry into the USA are bound, he believes, to affect decisions on holding conferences there. ‘Hotel Republic is fortunate’, he goes on, ‘in having such a wide range of destinations to offer. Portugal and Spain are booming at the moment and we are very well set in those countries. We produce a lot of business for our hotels throughout Europe.’
Kai Schömann can prove that in spite of all kinds of global problems, with the right marketing ideas and with hard work business can be achieved in the MICE sector. He shows that Hotel Republic can live up to its slogan of ‘Unlocking the UK market’.