Meet Bastian Stošić, Managing Director of the DACH region!
Position: Managing Director
Nationality: German / Croatian
First things first… what’s your professional background, Bastian? Was hospitality tech your first love?
Where do I start? I was sort of born into the hospitality industry. My parents owned restaurants in Hannover when I was young, and you could say that I also had my first experience as an unpaid employee during that time. Currently we own a small hotel in Croatia – my passion for hospitality comes from there.
I worked for Hilton in various locations in Europe (Prague, Venice, Bucharest and London) and at Expedia in Munich as Market Manager for Austrian Ski Hotels. TrustYou was my latest adventure before joining Mews.
I would say that I was always tech savvy (I build my own PCs, for example) but – maybe naively – I never imagined that tech and hospitality would go so well together. Ironically, that stems from my experiences at hotels that still run on legacy systems. At Expedia I learned that tech can play a huge role in the industry, but that most hotels aren’t willing to embrace it. But I’m really happy I’m now in a position to be able to change that mindset and make technology more accessible and user friendly.
I’m really happy I’m now in a position to be able to change that mindset and make technology more accessible and user friendly.
How and when did you fall into the world of Mews?
Matt (the Mews CEO) played a huge role. We’ve actually known each other for over a decade now – he was my first manager back when I was an intern. So ever since he and Richard founded Mews I always followed their progress and success – and I knew from first-hand experience that they had the capacity to create something groundbreaking.
But it was also Mews’ reputation that really attracted me to joining. Nearly everyone I talked to from the industry had nothing but great feedback about the system and the technical functionalities. It was a no brainer.
How are you going to make Mews a household name amongst German, Austrian and Swiss hoteliers?
I always believe that quality speaks for itself. With Mews this is especially true when you look at the dedicated people working there. Plus, Mews is just different from other PMS systems. It’s especially obvious when you turn up to a trade show like ITB: every stand looks and talks the same, and then you have us wearing race suits or growing a whole jungle on our stand. It’s exciting.
I really think the DACH market is ready to make a change for the better. We’re investing in our local team based in Munich, so that our partners benefit from local expertise and support in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
I’m a true believer that every hotelier is aware of the importance of digitalization and adopting new trends quickly. Spreading the word at events and with industry leaders is key to success, and we’ll continue to build on strong partnerships with hotels that will help us improve even further.
We’re investing in our local team based in Munich, so that our partners benefit from local expertise and support in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
According to Horwath HTL, statistics show that, for the eighth year in a row, Germany achieved a new record in terms of overnight stays in 2018. What do you think is driving this increase in popularity?
First of all, credit should also go to Austria and Switzerland who perform on a very high level too. With regards to Germany, a big factor is the high level of security and stability in the country, as well as the excellent infrastructure.
Also, people are becoming increasingly aware of the variety on offer. There are beautiful coastal areas, lots of small picturesque towns and cities, rich culture and history in places like Berlin, not to mention the Alps in the south. So it’s a versatile market with a good amount of international fairs throughout the year too, meaning a strong MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing & exhibitions) and business segment thanks to a very healthy economy.
From what you’ve seen, how is the market rearranging itself?
It will be so important in the future to not only sell rooms, but experiences. I’ve seen the increased openness of the market to OTAs (online travel agencies) as one example.
Traditional holiday destinations won’t be able to survive being active for only one season. In Austria, for example, the ski regions are being more creative and now open in the summer for cycling and health tourism.
The market also needs to catch up with current tech trends. The increasing number of young travellers and their dependence on mobile payments (Apple Pay and Google Wallet) is something that hotels need to face. You can’t ask guests to prepay their accommodation fees by wire transfer to a foreign account without any security – everything should be done from the smartphone.
It will be so important in the future to not only sell rooms, but experiences.
Are large branded chains suffocating independent German hoteliers?
That’s a good question. It depends largely on where you are situated and how you distinguish yourself. Brands have a huge advantage because they can work with economies of scale which independent hotels can’t usually compete with.
On the other hand, chains often lack the speed to adapt to new trends. More and more guests want to have a unique experience rather than simply sleep in the same, soulless bedroom that could be anywhere in the world. Independent hotels can react much quicker to changes in the market and thus put themselves at a competitive advantage.
A system like Mews, with its hundreds of integrations, puts hoteliers in prime position to keep themselves at the forefront of hospitality trends. As long as independent hotels are willing to adapt and offer true experiences, they’ll be safe from big brand suffocation.
What does a ‘typical day’ in your working week tend to involve?
There hasn’t been a 'typical day' so far, which is great. There’s a lot of travelling, seeing other Mews offices and taking in as much information as I can. Then there’s the considerable task of finding the perfect office for us here in Munich and hiring great people.
At the moment, the only thing I do every day is read through the many newsletters I’ve signed up for, to keep up with the constant change and get ideas for new trends. Once everything with the new office is in place, I hope to spend more time with people from the industry to see how we can make Mews even better in the DACH Market.
There hasn’t been a 'typical day' so far, which is great. There’s a lot of travelling (...) and taking in as much information as I can.
Which industry figure would you most like to get stuck in a hotel lift with, and why?
Patrick Collison from Stripe. I would love to get his take on the future of payments.
What will we pay with next? How are merchants like Stripe ensuring the security of payments and how are chargebacks tackled in the future? I’d ask a lot of questions!
In your own words, what should hospitality be all about?
It sounds cheesy but for me, hospitality is all about delivering a great experience. Yes, that means innovation and modernizing, but it also means focusing on human interaction. The more admin we can automate and take away from staff and guests, the better the experience will be in the end.
What’s your favourite integration in the Mews Marketplace, and why?
Pace and TrustYou – I can’t choose between them. With Pace, hoteliers have a powerful revenue management system that makes it super easy to sell rooms at the right price. TrustYou, on the other hand, lets you track your online reputation, which is so important if you want to increase your level of service and ultimately give guests better experiences.
15 January 2020
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