The Meininger Hotel Amsterdam City West
A talk with Pieter Bas van Litsenburg
The Meininger Hotel Amsterdam City West offers a unique hybrid concept, conveniently located close to the city center. During weekdays, the 320-room hotel offers its services mainly to larger groups while on weekends it primarily attracts families, couples, and groups of friends.
A 24/7 autonomous shop, is never on holiday.
A perfect solution
We caught up with Pieter Bas van Litsenburg, Regional Director at Meininger Hotels, to see how his Wundermart lobby shop is doing. He says he became interested in Wundermart during the COVID period. With 35 employees, the hotel operates a lean and mean model where specifically self-service solutions play an increasingly important role.
‘We have a restaurant and bar, but we did not have a solution for the times these were closed’, he says, ‘so this seemed like a good idea.’ Since he made the decision to add a shop to the hotel lobby, its success has allowed Pieter Bas to re-visit the way the hotel looks at his F&B offering. ‘The shop has influenced how we design the F&B model of the hotel.’
Pieter Bas van Litsenburg
Our sales peakSales peak between midnight and 3 AM
What initially sparked his interest in Wundermart was the basic premise. ‘With a 24/7 autonomous shop that is never on holiday’, he explains, ‘the revenue possibility seemed enormous.’ Without any significant staff involvement, the hotel could sell items all through the day, or night as Pieter explains: ‘Our sales peak between midnight and 3 AM.’
But there are more positive effects of having a shop than its limitless opening hours: ‘We used to sell adapters behind the front desk’, Pieter Bas says, ‘but since they are now more visibly available in the shop, we see that even these items are up in sales.
The actual success of the shop has surprised Pieter Bas. ‘Initially I thought the business case was too positive’, he explains, ‘and I saw a risk in having a retail outlet without supervision’. But both concerns were taken away when he saw the results come in. ‘Losses are lower, and the average spend per guest is higher than expected.’ With Wundermart taking care of the logistics, the impact on staff is minimal. ‘You’d expect the shop to take more time, but in reality, we only use staff for social control and occasional checks on the appearance.’ And this saves his team valuable time. ‘On average looking after the shop takes us less than half an hour a day.’
Looking back, he admits the performance of the shop beats even the most optimistic scenario in the business case. ‘Numbers don’t lie. The app shows what the real time sales are, and this is sometimes incredible to watch. I can see from the sales in the app how busy the hotel is, so I also use it as indicator to check resources at the front desk.’
It really is a no-brainer
Pieter Bas is now actively looking for opportunities to place shops in his other hotels. ‘There is a short list of potential properties’, he says, ‘but it could be that we will even roll out faster than this.’ Based on his positive experience, we ended our chat by asking what he would say to hotel owners who are considering adding a Wundermart lobby shop to their hotel. ‘When I saw the business case, I was sceptical,’ he repeats, ‘the return seemed too good to be true. But the shop does even better than expected.’ And that seems to be the case on all levels. ‘It really is a no-brainer, and if it works in our hotel, it will work in many others.’
About the Meininger Hotel Amsterdam City West
The MEININGER concept is based upon combining the service and comfort of a hotel with the uncomplicated nature of a hostel: central location, high-quality amenities and reasonable prices. People of all ages and backgrounds interact in the spacious public areas such as the guest kitchen, game zone, lounge and bar in an atmosphere of pleasant relaxation. At MEININGER hotels guests have room to enjoy, play and relax.