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  • Writer's pictureAnu Metsallik

Case Study: SOHO Hotel Secures Competitive Advantage by Adopting HotelBuddy

Updated: May 13

Located in the bustling city of Tartu, Estonia, SOHO Hotel distinguishes itself as a trendsetter in the hospitality industry with its 59 guest rooms and a popular restaurant that draws both hotel guests and locals. 


Soho Hotel in located in the heart of the Old Town of Tartu
Soho Hotel in located in the heart of the Old Town of Tartu

By integrating HotelBuddy, SOHO has revolutionized the role of the front desk, elevating the receptionists from traditional check-in clerks to customer service agents focused on personalized interactions. This innovative approach enhances the guest experience, boosts operational efficiency, and positions SOHO Hotel as a leader in modern hospitality, committed to creating a vibrant, engaging environment for all visitors.



Interview with Egne-Riin Retsnik, Hotel Manager at SOHO Hotel



Q: Were there any specific areas where you felt your hotel was not meeting its full potential? What factors influenced your decision to choose our self-service solution?


A: At SOHO Hotel, we prioritize innovation, particularly catering to the unique needs of busy business clients and introverts who prefer minimal interaction. Our guests can now swiftly access their rooms upon arrival thanks to the Hotelbuddy online check-in service that allows them to check in at their convenience and notifies them when their room is ready. For any inquiries, they can easily chat with reception. 


We aim to transform our hotel into a multi-service hub, moving beyond the traditional hotel model with a conventional reception desk to better meet our guests' diverse and time-sensitive needs. This approach continuously receives positive feedback, confirming its value.


Soho Hotel Tartu guest room
Soho Hotel guest room

Q: Can you describe the specific improvements you've noticed since implementing HotelBuddy?


A: The implementation of HotelBuddy has visibly enriched our guest experience. Our reviews often mention HotelBuddy for the autonomy it provides. Guests appreciate the ability to manage their stay online, without needing to interact directly with staff unless they choose to. The addition of a QR kiosk in the lobby further facilitates self-service, allowing several guests to check in simultaneously and significantly easing the workload at the reception.


Reviewing our last 3 months performance from January 1st to March 31st, which we consider low season here in Tartu: 51% of our guests completed their registration cards online, 33% went through the full online check-in and prepayment process, and 20% used HotelBuddy for their checkout. Additionally, we generated €1,582 in revenue from extra services, underscoring the value and effectiveness of integrating HotelBuddy into our operations.



Q: How has HotelBuddy influenced your hotel’s online ratings and reviews?


A: Our online reputation has seen a positive trend since integrating HotelBuddy, with numerous guests highlighting their satisfaction with its convenience and efficiency. This positive reception is encouraging us to integrate HotelBuddy more prominently in our marketing strategies to educate more guests about its benefits.


Soho Hotel guest reviews from Booking.com and Tripadvisor
Soho Hotel guest reviews from Booking.com and Tripadvisor

Q: How did your staff adapt to the new system, and what training was provided?


A: Our staff adapted quickly thanks to the Super Admin training provided by the HotelBuddy onboarding team. Initially, there was some concern amongst the receptionists about the hotel moving to a fully automated system, but the balance we’ve maintained between technology and personal service has shown that our approach enhances their roles rather than diminishing them.



Q: Have there been any noticeable changes in staff workload or job satisfaction?


A: The implementation of HotelBuddy has significantly reduced the check-in workload at our hotel as half of our customers choose to check in online before their arrival. We have also placed a QR kiosk in the lobby and each day, about 4-5 guests use the kiosk to check in, allowing multiple people to check in simultaneously on their phones, which has been especially helpful in eliminating queues. 


We do not have traditional telephones in guest rooms and communication with in-house guests is now through the chat feature, allowing guests to resolve queries without needing to come down to the reception physically. 


Moreover, our receptionists, particularly the younger ones, appreciate the ability to respond via text, which is less time-consuming than phone calls and offers them the chance to provide more thoughtful and well-crafted responses. This is particularly beneficial when interacting with guests who speak languages our staff may not be fluent in, such as Russian, enhancing communication clarity and guest satisfaction.


Reception desk at SOHO Hotel
Reception desk at Soho Hotel

Q: What has been the guest response to the digitalized journey provided by HotelBuddy?


A: Our guests appreciate the convenience of having everything accessible in one place on their mobile devices. They are especially impressed with the ability to unlock their room doors wit mobile keys without entering codes or downloading additional apps.


The convenience and seamless experience provided by HotelBuddy have significantly enhanced guest satisfaction at SOHO Hotel and differentiated us from competitors, leading to increased repeat visits. This positive feedback emphasizes the competitive edge we've gained, establishing SOHO Hotel as the go-to destination for tech-savvy travelers.



Q: Looking forward, what industry-specific challenges do you hope HotelBuddy will help address?


A: Implementing self-check-in and transitioning to paperless operations have proven to be significant achievements for us. As a Green Key certified hotel, our goal is to expand the use of HotelBuddy to promote paper-free operations and enhance our sustainability efforts. We are committed to encouraging more guests to use online check-in and checkout processes, supporting our goals for sustainable hotel management.



Q: Who would you recommend HotelBuddy to?


A: HotelBuddy is ideal for any hotel looking to modernize their guest services. It’s particularly beneficial for hotels targeting younger generations who value technology and efficiency. However, its versatility makes it a valuable asset for classic hotels as well, offering guests the choice of how they interact with the hotel.




SOHO Hotel

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