Our key driver of success remains to continuously look for innovative ways to provide our corporate customers with a streamlined end-to-end experience in the hotel segment.- Fritz Zerweck
Founded with a vision to simplify the hotel search and booking process, today, ehotel has set a new benchmark in online booking for corporate travellers. A former partner of I:FAO, a major corporation that still develops software applications for business travel, ehotel was among the first to build a hotel booking portal. After breaking away from I:FAO two years later and supported by a group of investors, the company has grown from a small independent online portal into an internationally successful hotel solutions provider for corporate business. The original idea remains the same, even though they now provide a much broader service, from searching to planning to billing.
In 2004, ehotel switched to OTA (Open Travel Alliance) software, the global standard for the travel industry.
Their central billing solution for business travel and events was introduced in 2006. The state-of-the-art meta-search technology at ehotel, which automatically integrates corporate travel policies and gives business
travellers or travel agents an overview of availability for over seven million hotel rooms, was developed in
2011. ehotel introduced its own virtual credit card in 2015, and payment via PayPal in 2017.
By pioneering a service that can compare all available options, ehotel paved the way for the many hotel
booking platforms that exist today. Backed by its leading and innovative meta-technology, the company
offers added value in the form of savings and quality improvements. ehotel provides a comprehensive search
among all leading hotel room providers and tour operators as well as reliable tools that simplify the booking
process for companies, travel agents, and business travellers, from making individual bookings to organizing
big conferences. ehotel’s modular business model offers corporate customers a comprehensive, end-to-end
service portfolio that includes planning, booking, payment and billing, and even claiming VAT refunds on
behalf of customers.
Besides, ehotel equip their corporate customers with powerful tools like the Rate Manager, to audit negotiated rates, or their advanced analytics tool, to help companies increase the performance of their own hotel programme and make data-driven decisions.
Moreover, the hotel platform offers travel managers and buyers a range of additional tools, including MICE
purchasing and participant management systems.
What makes ehotel stand out is its commitment to sustainability. The focus of the company in product development is to introduce additional features to help customers easily search, find and book hotels that meet their environmental requirements. For this purpose, ehotel has partnered with leading sustainability
certification providers like GreenSign, Green Key, Green Globe, Travelife, Certified Green Hotel, EU Ecolab,
Tourcert, and EMAS-EU, so that ehotel content can be filtered for hotels that meet the sustainability criteria.
Furthermore, ehotel contributes to offsetting the CO2 emissions of business trips by providing reports on the
CO2 emissions of overnight stays.
THE MAN BEHIND THE BRAND
ehotel CEO Fritz Zerweck’s vision of offering a perfect all-round service for business travellers worldwide is
shared throughout the company. ehotel’s international success is based on teamwork, developing new ideas and solving problems together. Bright minds and helping hands are appreciated both by the management and among the staff.
The main goal is to support corporate businesses throughout the entire hotel booking process – from sourcing to booking, to payment and invoicing – to achieve savings and quality improvements. In this respect, Zerweck’s merit lies in his ability to lay the ground for everyone at ehotel to capitalis e on their strengths. The innovative meta-search technology was developed under Zerweck’s leadership, and providing a high level of customer service remains a top priority for the company.
A GLIMPSE OF INDUSTRY
During the pandemic, travelling has become challenging, and there is a lot of uncertainty. ehotel supports
travellers and hotels through a blog and newsletter, which provide up-to-date information about COVID-19-
related measures, hygiene regulations, and travel warnings to ensure the health and safety of hotel guests and staff. The meta-search technology of ehotel is programmed to only show currently valid and
available contingents. During the lockdown, ehotel remained productive, using the temporary decline in
bookings to review and optimize current processes, relaunch their website, and provide more filter functions
and search options. In this time of global crisis, wanting to gain advantages seems cynical, and ehotel have no desire to revel in the failure of competitors. They continue to rely on their competence and core principles to support customers, regardless of what the future brings.
HICCUPS ALONG THE WAY
The greatest challenge for ehotel has always been anticipating technological developments to keep the service relevant and deliver an added value. The next goal is to map the entire complex of hotels in the business travel segment, without any breaks in the system. However, it is evident that the tourism industry is currently facing a huge overhaul. Despite economic and social problems, which will certainly have an impact for a long time to come, the ehotel team is cautiously optimistic that by joining forces, they will emerge from the crisis stronger by finding new ways of keeping business travellers safe and comfortable in the future.
A MOTIVATED AND VALUED WORKFORCE
“What we convey to the outside evolves from what we experience within: We value our employees as individuals, and they feel comfortable as part of the ehotel team. We believe that this is vital for creating optimal working conditions. In addition, our centrally located offices offer modern workplaces with state-of-the-art equipment, a pleasant atmosphere, good communication structures, fair payment, regular training opportunities to grow personally and professionally, flexible working hours, and management keeping their eyes and ears open. If there are any issues, we address them right away”, Fritz Zerweck.
“There is no particular tactic or secret strategy for building long-term customer loyalty. All you need is common sense. After all, we are all customers ourselves: at the supermarket, at the tailor’s or online. Therefore, we know from experience that customers want their needs and problems to be taken seriously. And that is exactly what we do: our service is flexible and responds individually to the needs of travellers and their companies. We know that satisfied customers keep coming back, and we do our utmost to maintain the highest level of customer satisfaction. We are a data-driven company: we perform A/B testing to see what drives customer engagement and, in order to be fully effective, we constantly review our customer feedback loop, taking into consideration feedback from all possible channels,”, says Fritz Zerweck.
FEATHERS IN THE CAP
ehotel has been honoured by many independent institutions and magazines – including Focus, Focus Money,
Die Welt, WirtschaftsWoche, Deutsche Gesellschaft fürVerbraucherstudien, Stiftung Warentest, The CEO
Views –, showing that the team is on the right track. These awards and recognitions are also a constant
incentive for the team to continue setting high goals, and to always account for social and technological
changes in their all-round service.
Business trips will continue to be necessary in the future, because video conferences and Facetime calls cannot completely replace direct, face-to-face communication. Negotiations with several partners at a time, company events, workshops and site visits are centred on personal encounters and shared experiences.
Fritz Zerweck explains “Our industry thrives when people are able to come together physically. We want to help business travellers to be safe and focus on important issues such as sustainability and the environment. We are not only working to eliminate all breaks in the system and ensure a seamless digital cycle but are also focussing on expanding our filter functions and developing more tools to stay relevant to the values of our time.”
“ehotel’s strategy is to partner with relevant stakeholders and solution providers to seamlessly integrate our company into the system landscape of our corporate customers. Instead of investing money in transactional advertising, we put it towards improving the quality of our product and connectivity to deliver an end-to-end experience to our customers. This formula has been driving our success for almost 20 years.”- Fritz Zerweck