As guests are the core around which the hotel industry revolves, it can be easy for brands to focus solely on the ways new technology solutions can benefit guest experiences, leaving employees at the wayside.

But a truly helpful solution takes both sides of hotel operations under its wing, recognising that happy staff members lead to happy guests.

Switzerland-based AI-powered guest and employee experience tool LIKE MAGIC works to connect guests, staff, and operators, combining all business-relevant systems and applications on a single platform.

Founded in 2023, LIKE MAGIC was initially conceived for hospitality and catering company SV Group’s own hotel brand Stay KooooK, which offers accommodation with shared amenities.

LIKE MAGIC CEO Markus Feller tells Hotel Management Network how the SaaS (software as a service) platform has expanded to serve a growing number of hotels and serviced apartment providers who are keen to invest in digital hotel management.

Addressing the needs of guests and employees

Hotel management comes down to the pursuit of a seamless experience for anyone who steps foot into a hotel, whether they are a guest on their travels or a staff member clocking in for a shift.

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“People in this business talk about the digital guest journey but forget about employees. They need to have intuitive solutions as well,” says Feller.

He emphasises that often hotel staff are hindered by “having multiple applications with different logins to do their job. Once you digitise this on a single platform, everything becomes more dynamic.”

A hotel that uses various third-party providers for its operations is setting itself up for fragmented management. As Feller points out, this causes major issues if something goes wrong for a hotelier and they aren’t sure which of their providers has failed.

For employees, LIKE MAGIC has a central inbox and a traffic light system that highlights which guests need attention and if any element of the property experiences an error.

Feller provides the example of a door battery status reaching 20%, whereupon a task will be digitally issued to the maintenance team to replace it before it stops working.

“Most hotels still have manual checklists and they might inspect things like batteries every six months, which is crazy. Tech and process monitoring is crucial.”

Guest data privacy

LIKE MAGIC builds automated guest profiles so that if an individual returns to a property using the platform, their data is already set up in the system and they can check-in with one click.

For tech-savvy guests this is a breeze, but for those that aren’t adept at using technology this could be a cause for concern.

Citing his previous experience in financial services, Feller understands these concerns, emphasising that data privacy is paramount and nothing can be done without the consent of the guest or hotel client.

“People are willing to share data when they see a direct benefit, such as not having to queue at reception. That’s how you gain trust.”

Feller also points out that data produces personalised guest experiences. LIKE MAGIC records individual preferences using AI, meaning that if a gluten-free guest books at a hotel for a second time, they have already provided this information and won’t have to respecify for any future food orders.

Guests can also request to have their data forgotten under GDPR laws, which LIKE MAGIC can execute easily. “A lot of hotels don’t even know where their fragments of data are stored to do this,” Feller laments.

This can have huge ramifications, such as the lawsuit brought against Marriott International in 2020 for one of the largest data breaches in corporate history, which saw 300m guest records hacked.

As with employee operations, reliance on third-party providers for data management is another issue that LIKE MAGIC aims to solve.

Combining operational data, revenue data, and personalised guest data allows hotel operators to use LIKE MAGIC for holistic continuous improvements.

Uptake on digital hotel management

Feller spotlights Australia as a growing hub for digital hotel management and LIKE MAGIC is expanding its offerings to the country’s hotel industry.

But he points out that digital transformation comes down to willingness from individual brands and companies to adopt novel tools.

Vienna-based Schani Hotels Group is a key success story for LIKE MAGIC, as following the implementation of the platform the company reported a 30% rise in efficiency, improved staff retention, and an increase of positive guest reviews.

“Hotels must define how far they want to take technology in their operations and whether it will serve their entire guest segment or just a portion of guests in more upscale rooms. That’s the beauty of technology,” concludes Feller.