Alfred Eeltink: Traditionally, hotels have looked to either outsource services or keep them in-house. Our concept is different from a traditional outsourcing service in that we add a layer on top of it, by making sure we provide professionalism, consistency and scalability. We commit to certain high standards and deliver them across the globe. That is something that makes us stand out. In our role as a strategic partner, HFC helps hoteliers improve their operational leverage and bottom line, something we call 'integrated facility management'. In practice, we offer a huge range of services to clients, from suggesting furniture for rooms to training cleaners and making cleaning more ergonomic.
Many hotel investors and operators are looking for new ways to scale across cities and countries. Time to market is crucial as competition is fierce. It is therefore vital to partner with someone who understands your business, ambitions and DNA, and can act in a quick, professional and consistent way internationally. We are able to do this - once we understand your vision and your priorities, we can deliver pretty much anywhere in the world. Hoteliers don't need to waste time getting into discussions with suppliers over and over again, explaining what they want.
Our first customer was the citizenM hotel chain, when it was designing its Amsterdam Airport property. When it launched the concept about ten years ago, the aim was to redesign the whole hotel concept, including workflow and processes. The company agreed internally that it would focus on the guest interface itself: the front office, the bar and restaurants. Conversely, it decided to outsource everything else, but wanted to work with partners, not suppliers. In that respect, it was looking for a company that could take over the whole back-of-house system. This is where we came in. It has been a successful partnership; guest satisfaction is up, while costs are down. Guests seem to agree, too. After all, citizenM hotels now have top ratings on OTAs across the globe.
There is no real competition at the moment. In comparison to traditional outsourcing companies, HFC adds an extra layer between the hotelier and the outsourcing partners.
We are quite a unique company in terms of how we offer our services. You could probably access the services we provide from other companies, but not in an integrated way. Unlike other companies, we offer an all-in price for each room booked or sold. To put it another way, we have 'skin in the game'. To give you a specific example from our work with citizenM, we had a conversation with them, where they said, 'Well, if you provide all the facility management services at a fixed price per room, and if we don't fill the room, we don't pay you.' In other words, there is a mutual benefit to deliver the highest possible quality, as that's the main driver for occupancy. Whether we have 50 or 300% occupancy, we make it work.
We currently have operations in the Netherlands, the UK, France and the US. Our goal is a further roll-out across continental Europe and the US. Moreover, we're looking at areas where there are high labour costs, because customers could potentially save a lot by working with us. This involves looking at places like Switzerland and Scandinavia.