The Exhibitor Edit: Tymen van Dyl, Founder of RoomRaccoon
The Independent Hotel Show Team was invited over to the RoomRaccoon HQ in Breda and met with the Founder and CEO, Tymen van Dyl to find out about their mission to empower independent hoteliers across the world, how they aim to serve the industry with their innovative all-in-one Hotel Management System and why Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam has been a firm favourite in their diary since the beginning.
Can you introduce yourself and give us an overview of your background in Hospitality?
My name is Tymen, and I am the Founder and CEO of RoomRaccoon. We founded RoomRaccoon exactly six years ago and celebrated our 6th anniversary with the whole company in Cape Town, South Africa! We flew everybody in to celebrate and reflect on our journey and successes.
I founded RoomRaccoon with Nadja Buckenberger. At the time, she was running the Bliss Boutique Hotel here in Breda and we noticed that the hotel industry was relatively traditional with low technology adoption. From there, we developed the vision and dream to empower independent hoteliers around the world with smart technology to make them more successful.
What’s RoomRaccoon’s mission to serve the hotel industry?
We couldn’t accept that things were the way they were in hotel operations. When we were starting up, we spoke to many hoteliers and asked them: “How are your operations? Are you happy with them?”. Most people seemed satisfied, but when we showed them what their operations could look like with the adoption of RoomRaccoon, it excited them, and their eyes would start sparkling. The possibility to help change the industry and deliver so much value to all these hoteliers and their guests really fuelled our mission and our drive to create RoomRaccoon.
What are some things that sets RoomRaccoon aside from any competitors?
Firstly, we are the most complete solution for hotels with the most complete operating system on the market. When we started this journey with RoomRaccoon, there was existing hotel technology that helped hotels manage booking channels, reservations or room pricing. Still, typically we saw a very low adoption of it amongst independent hotels because it was altogether too complicated, too expensive and therefore not accessible. Working with multiple systems from different vendors was difficult. Bigger hotels were willing and financially capable of building those software stacks and using them to their advantage; however, the independent hoteliers needed more resources.
Another thing that sets us apart from our competitors is that we challenge ourselves to continuously find new opportunities where our system can add value to hotel processes. It doesn't matter whether that is housekeeping, room pricing, distribution, or the guest journey.
We're the only system in the world that combines everything for independent hotels, from distribution, booking channels, housekeeping management, and payments, to smart and dynamic room pricing - we have everything on autopilot. By making the hotel much ‘smarter’ in their systems, we can help them be much more successful and keep hoteliers' hands free to focus on the guests instead of repetitive automation tasks.
What are some of the newest features on the system?
We are currently releasing some cool things to smaller groups of hoteliers to fine-tune them. Some of this new functionality will be showcased at the Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam in March!
A few things that we're working on include online checkouts. This functionality allows guests to check out themselves, provide details, settle any bill, and walk out of the hotel at their convenience. This offers a big improvement on the guest journey!
At RoomRaccoon, we try to recognise individual guests' preferences and meet those accordingly. I don't believe that technology like online check-in or online checkout is a substitute for the traditional, physical check-in at the front desk, but it does serve some guests, like the younger generations.
Ultimately, we want to empower our hoteliers to have the option to cater to different guests and make their guests' lives easier. Additionally, we're working on what we call ‘room allotments’. This makes it easier for hotels to manage group bookings by designating a certain block of pre-negotiated rooms to a wholesaler, tour operator, or travel agent.
Why do you think your service is specifically catered to Independent Hotels?
As I mentioned, independent hotels don’t have the full tech teams that hotel chains might have to build, support and maintain the stacks of different technological tools, making it really challenging for them to move forward. This is why we built RoomRaccoon! We ensure that this complicated way of acquiring hotel technology is eliminated and, instead, help independent hotels make sure that everything is running smoothly in one system.
What do you enjoy about the Independent Hotel Show?
It’s a unique opportunity to be in a room saturated with independent hoteliers. There are a lot of different trade shows worldwide for hoteliers, but it’s a much broader audience which is not often relevant to us. We value the niche audience of the Independent Hotel Show and it’s an excellent match for RoomRaccoon! We’ve participated in the show since its first edition and have been involved in the London show too.
What can our hoteliers expect to see and experience on your stands in March?
Our stand will again be bigger and better! We have some cool ideas that I can’t yet share, so come and visit us at stand C51 if you want to see what we have in store. We’ll introduce new feature releases, including the ones I just touched upon, and both myself and Adam, our VP of Sales and Marketing, will be on stage at the show. We'll be touching on topics we know hoteliers are curious about, such as direct bookings and pricing-related topics.
We are very passionate about empowering hoteliers and from our experience of proudly serving now over 1700 hoteliers around the world, I’d like to believe that we have some good ideas to share on how they can improve their business!
Any last comments?
I think just that we are not taking this opportunity for granted! We almost forget about the tough period of going so long without meeting each other in person. But I’m still extra fuelled and hyped after the pandemic to reconnect with everyone and showcase what we have to offer. For me, I like to attend the Independent Hotel Show because I am usually more of a ‘behind the scenes’ guy within the company and even though I try to make time to meet with hoteliers, it’s great to see them all in one place and overall, it’s very exciting and energising for me to have these catch ups.
Photo 1 - Tymen van Dyl, Founder and CEO of RoomRaccoon https://roomraccoon.nl/ and Lieke Bodelier, Commercial Executive of Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam
Photo 2 - Ingenhousz https://www.ingenhouszbreda.nl/en
Photo 3 - Plantage Rococo Eco Hotel https://plantagerococo.nl/