Today we launch a new series of interviews with entrepreneurs who have already had their team learn how to use data technologies. They will tell us how their companies have profited from this investment and how it makes a difference in today’s market.
We kick off with our first guest Krista Boschian, owner and manager of Kjan Hotels in North-East Italy. She has seen the potential of data technologies, particularly in e-commerce, since a few years and she does not regret investing time and resources in it, as they have proven essential during the current crisis.
Krista, thank you for joining us today. Tell us, what pushed your decision to develop the e-commerce part of your business?
It enabled us to be more competitive. We have started our experience with e-commerce since a few years now, and it really something we could no longer do without.
It gave us an edge over our competitors, and it is what the market wants. It has revealed to be even more valuable today, in light of the forced closures during the pandemic.
Furthermore, it has opened us new doors by allowing to diversify our offer in a quite the broad way: we are no longer just selling individual rooms, but also new products, like our traditional conserves, and specialised experiences like bike trips. We even have an idea for a home-based hotel breakfast experience that we could sell online!
Moreover it also allowed us to stay in touch with our past guests, which have become affectionate customers of the other products we now sell.
Did it require a lot resources and time to implement?
Yes, it did as we were not prepared. We had to upgrade out IT system and our internet connection, as well as our website and payment systems. And we had to train our team, so that they could help reach our goal.
Furthermore we really had to build clients’ trust towards the new system, as benefits had to be clear to us but also to them. Some had some unfounded doubts on its security, but we quickly dispelled them.
We also had to work on online reviews, ensuring our clients would find good results when searching.
How did you train your team in the data technologies you are using?
Training our team was key to our success, as they are now fully able to respond to the need of our e-commerce clients.
We never excluded anyone, either young or more experienced, as they all brought something to the table while also missing something, like job experience or lack of basic digital skills.
We had to explain our goal and provide them with training material. We even bought them the equipment they can now use, so that they can interact even when working at home without relying on their own resources while at the same time we are sure they use equipment with the highest standards of performance and safety.
But the training is not the end of it, we keep reviewing and planning how we can further improve, with great results.
Did your investments deliver the expected return?
Absolutely, we already had a great return through the years, particularly as not only it delivered a profit but also helped us cut other costs, like phone communication.
Another great added-value is the chance to get to know your clients better through data collection, of course done in compliance with privacy rules. It really helped optimise our production and stocks and find out which of our services had the best returns when it came down to clients’ preferences. It even helped shifts our marketing focus in some seasons.
It is the gift that keeps on giving, as we are constantly learning new things that help our business. This went well beyond our initial expectations. Moreover it really helps me believe in the future of my company even in today’s dire circumstances.
We strongly advice other companies to adopt e-commerce solutions, as we believe it will be mandatory in the future to be successful. It is important to learn to use it not just for direct sales, but also to be trained, or to train yourself, to use it to organise your business in the most profitable way.