Simon Falkensteiner is one of the founders of the Revenue Management System RateBoard. Grown up in the South Tyrolean family hotel business, the successful young entrepreneur knows exactly what the problems of the hoteliers are. He and Matthias Trenkwalder were particularly interested in the pricing, as price is one of the most important sales levers in the hotel industry.
RateBoard was founded in 2015 in Innsbruck by the two founders Simon Falkensteiner and Matthias Trenkwalder. Having started as successful team founders, the two now manage over 20 employees in Innsbruck and Vienna and follow more than 300 active customers in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) as well as in Italy. Simon Falkensteiner tells us about his experiences in the last years and reveals the future of RateBoard.
1. Simon, what do you think makes RateBoard so special?
What really makes us unique, is the team behind RateBoard. Since almost every one of us has been working in tourism or has a hotel background, we can understand the problems and difficulties of the hotels very well. The practical understanding also allows us to give a service that probably not many software providers are able to provide. I believe that these aspects are the reason why we have been able to develop a very simple and flexible tool, which not only experienced revenue managers like to work with, but also newcomers, who can easily achieve their goals with.
2. What kind of responsibilities do you have in the team?
My job at RateBoard is to supervise everything that concerns the product itself - i.e. the quality of the price recommendations or e.g. the coordination of the further development of the software, adapted to the interests of the business. Fortunately, we have a lot of motivated team members, who on the one hand help me with a lot of operative work and on the other hand bring in many cool new ideas and pass on the wishes of our customers. Our Developers & Data Scientists around our CTO Berthold are the ones who implement these ideas and bring them to life. This gives me enough time to deal with the very diverse administrative issues and to continue working on the strategic development of the company.
3. Did you ever think as founder of giving up at the beginning?
Doubts arise, if things don't work out the way you want them to. But giving up was never an option for us, because we were sure of our approach right from the start. We were, and still are, of the opinion that we can help the hotels dealing with pricing and in turn generate more turnover - and that worked.
4. What impacts will have the revenue management on the tourism industry in the next years, in your opinion?
I think that no hotel will be able to avoid dealing with the pricing, the increase in turnover of our customers proves what a lever a good pricing can have. The market is becoming more and more competitive and the big OTAs have always new tricks in their sleeves (like for example booking basic or the booking sponsored discount) to strengthen their position in the market. Every hotel must deal with its own demand and the market in order to remain competitive. In my opinion, offers and prices have to become more personalized in order to meet the new demands of the guests. We already have some plans to provide more features and additional modules for the hotels to increase their turnover in order to stand up against booking and Google.
5. Like Matthias, we would to like to know from you what your hardest time since the foundation of RateBoard was.
It was the same for both of us, for me it was also the problem with the interfaces. As Matthias already described, we were very dependent on other software providers at the beginning. For us as a young company it was not easy to demand from long-established hotel software providers to send us or receive back their data, some of which they could not export or import beforehand. Fortunately, most of them were very open and even if it took us some time and work, we can now claim to be the best integrated revenue management system provider in Europe with 50+ interface partners.
6. What is your long-term vision for RateBoard and what are the next steps for the development of the company?
Our vision is to provide every hotel, no matter how big it is or what financial resources it has, with a revenue management system that perfectly suits their needs. Having already reached our first major milestone - 300 hotels - our next major goal is to reach 1,000 hotels, which shouldn't take so long. Our long-term goal is to become the top revenue management system provider across Europe. With our very diverse number of interfaces, we have already created a great basis for the future. In the coming years we would also like to take another step further and venture into new markets.