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SuitePad’s Products are Changing the Game for Hoteliers – Interview with Miltos Karatzimas

SuitePad is currently working on products and services that – once released – are expected to really change the game for hotel guests and hoteliers, according to Miltos Karatzimas, the company’s Regional Field Sales Manager.

A leading provider of digital guest communication systems for the hotel industry, Suitepad markets tablets that are specifically designed for the hotel room. They provide a centralized service that brings digital communication between hoteliers and their guests to a whole new level.

“Things are a little bit uncertain in all industries right now, but assuming things get better with the global situation, 2021 will be a really exciting year for us,” Miltos told GTP Headlines.

Based in Berlin, the company was founded in 2012 and serves hotels across 30 countries. Suitepad entered the Greek market nine months ago and is already counting over 30 hotel partnerships in destinations including Athens, Thessaloniki and a number of Greek islands.

“Greek hoteliers are very up to date on hotel tech solutions and also keen on learning what new is out there in the market… They are willing to try new solutions and shift their operations into a digital eco-friendly environment,” he said.

In this interview, Miltos highlights the benefits that SuitePad’s products have for hotel businesses and he also tells of how digital solutions can help hotels in a world with the coronavirus (Covid-19).

  • GTP: Miltos, please share some career highlights with our readers.

Miltos Karatzimas: I started my career in the hospitality sector in Grecotel Hotels & Resorts as a Productivity Analyst where I managed, along with the rest productivity team, to create a daily dashboard with productivity indexes, profit and losses for each hotel of the group. That was really a breakthrough because it helped the management team take accurate decisions.
I later worked for and opened the seasonal office on Rhodes, and helped my colleagues open the company’s seasonal offices on Santorini and in Nafplio. Also, I was part of the Acquisition team which helped the company set the right policy to reach and partner with thousands of hotels in Greece. Again at the same company, in 2016, I was chosen from a worldwide opening to relocate to the USA and help the San Francisco office regain its market position and expand in northern California.
Then came SuitePad and since the company opened the market in Greece nine months ago, me and my team have managed to create a substantial portfolio of hotel partners that use our tablets and already are seeing a return on their investment.

  • GTP: Is it an exciting time to be working in the field of digital technology?

Miltos Karatzimas: Right now is a very exciting time to be working in the field of digital technology, especially in the hotel industry. It seems that the hotel industry is at a turning point with hotel owners realizing the need to digitize their services. On the other side, vendors are making increasingly specialized products and services for the industry — just like our tablets, which are specially designed for use in a hotel setting.

  • GTP: Tell us a bit about SuitePad and its products. How can the company help hotels become digital and eco-friendly?

Miltos Karatzimas: SuitePads are digital tablets specifically designed for use in hotel rooms. Guests can interact with the front desk, order room service or spa treatments, and even use them as a hotel room phone and TV remote. They’re easily integrated with hotel PMS systems and are highly customizable. Simply installing SuitePads is itself an eco-friendly move — you instantly do away with the need for in-room paper collateral that is a strain on the environment. But, our biggest green initiative is the “Green Option”. This is a service that allows guests to digitally opt in or out of room cleaning. It’s very simple and hotels that have changed to offering this solution, through our digital tablets, have seen a massive increase in guests choosing out of room cleaning. This saves a huge amount of energy, water, and detergent, helping the environment in the long run. The other benefit is, of course, that hoteliers save on utility costs.

  • GTP: How can digital solutions help hotels in a world with the coronavirus (Covid-19)?

Miltos Karatzimas: Covid-19 presented the hotel industry with many problems. Good hotel service requires some level of personal interaction. While SuitePad tablets could never fully replace the human side of hotel service, they can substitute them in many ways. For example, SuitePads are ideal for guests that want to order room service through an interactive menu. Hotel staff can then deliver food in a non-contact method, providing this essential hotel service in a safe way. They’re also ideal for updating guests on the situation with the pandemic in the local area. Rather than needing to replace paper collateral every time the situation changes, hotel staff can update guests at the touch of a button by updating their information pages or sending push notifications. Essentially, SuitePad makes guest management much easier, which is essential during a pandemic such as this.

  • GTP: Can you highlight the benefits that SuitePad’s products have for hotel businesses?

Miltos Karatzimas: One of the most important factors to any hotel tech product is a strong ROI. At SuitePad, we make sure that any new features or products are geared towards providing some kind of ROI whether it’s generating increased sales revenues, generating cost savings, or driving customer satisfaction in the long-term. A good example would be the use of push notifications to maximize the use of outlets such as the spa or other on-site activities. Using this active yet non-invasive approach to up- and cross-selling, SuitePad customers see a significant ROI that covers the cost of the installation and has significant additional revenues.

  • GTP: Where does SuitePad stand in the Greek market?

Miltos Karatzimas: Although we are actively targeting the Greek market the last nine months, we managed to grow in a satisfactory pace and count more that 30 hotel partnerships so far. Our partners range from hotels in Athens and Thessaloniki, to luxury boutiques on the islands of  Santorini, Mykonos Paros, Naxos, Milos, Ios, Astypalea, Crete and in Chalkidiki.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed our expansion plans, however we still see lots of demand for our tablet solution in both the seasonal and all year-round markets.

  • GTP: In general, are hotels in Greece keen on adopting technology or do you see any barriers?

Miltos Karatzimas: I have to say that Greek hoteliers are very up to date on hotel tech solutions and also keen on learning what new is out there in the market. We see a strong movement of early adopters, hotel professionals that are willing to try new solutions and shift their operations into a digital eco friendly environment. The majority of hotels are looking forward with optimism, trusting new technology and showing necessary flexibility to adopt change following the fast change of the hospitality market. The only barrier I could think of is an old school mentality of some hotels that try to keep things as is, dependent on outdated partnerships and persistent on having a short sight on the transformation of the market.

  • GTP: What is your advice to hotels wishing to adapt to innovative technology but are hesitant?

Miltos Karatzimas: My advice would be to talk to other hoteliers or hotel tech companies about the solutions before jumping to conclusions. Here at SuitePad, we offer demos of our products where we will come to your hotel and actively show you our products with absolutely no obligation to buy. If it’s not for you, that’s fine, but we often find that hesitant hoteliers are the ones that are most surprised by the sheer range of applications that our products and services have. On our website we have lots of case studies that show how our solutions help customers.

  • GTP: In early January, SuitePad won two major distinctions at the HotelTechAwards 2020. Can you tell our readers about these wins?

Miltos Karatzimas: Yes, so we won the Best Guest-Room Tablet and Best Place to Work in the Hotel Tech awards. It’s a major boost to be recognized as the best guest-room tablet solution. Our development team works really hard to make our solution specifically specialized for use in hotels — especially with integrations to major PMS systems and how customer usage data is displayed in the backend. Hoteliers wanted a solution that is highly customizable and also wanted a high level of support. That is what we have delivered through our expert development team, and our account management, content creation, and customer success teams. I think this is what really sets us apart from the rest and won us this award.
It’s also great to see the company be recognized as such a great place to work, although I wasn’t surprised that we won this one. Since the first day I’ve felt like I’ve been welcomed into the SuitePad family and I’ve really enjoyed working here. They say that you really find out how good an employer is during times of crisis and the recent pandemic has been tough for all employers let alone those in the hotel industry. They’ve been great during this difficult time, putting their employees needs over those of the business and taking amazing care of us — we even got a care package to help us through this difficult time!

  • GTP: What is at the top of SuitePad’s agenda for next year?

Miltos Karatzimas: Of course, things are a little bit uncertain in all industries right now, but assuming things get better with the global situation, 2021 will be a really exciting year for us! We have some amazing products and services that are currently being worked on that when released, will really change the game for hotel guests and hoteliers. We’ve also been working with other vendors to enable integrations, such as Interel who provide digital room controls through our tablet devices. We expect to see these types of services increase. We also expect to see our business expand into new markets. Although we already have some installations in the US, we expect to expand further there, but also here in Europe which is by far our biggest market, we expect to see a wider adoption of hotel tech, with us at the forefront of this shift.

  • GTP: Miltos, what message would you like to pass on to Greek hoteliers reading your interview?

Miltos Karatzimas: With no doubt the hospitality market is transforming moving along the digital era we are living. As in all things, those that stay behind will eventually vanish. Greek hoteliers have to keep pace with new technology and follow the demand that is driven from their guests. Remote and mobile solutions as well as contact less options will dominate the hospitality market keeping us more interconnected in the future. Moreover, any solution and investment has to be towards an eco-friendly philosophy. Technology and Sustainability are the key words here and this is exactly what we do at SuitePad.

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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