OPINION! Dr. Josef Vollmayr, Co-CEO of limehome on opportunities for tourism companies: "The trend is towards flexibility & workability!"

Dr. Josef Vollmayr Co-CEO of limehome in an interview about the special challenges of tourismIndustry and how start-ups can still attract investors and exploit potential here.

Dr. Josef Vollmayr, co-CEO of limehome, is responsible for the strategic direction of limehome as co-CEO Company, the further development of the product as well as national and international expansion. In 2018, together with Lars Stäbe, he founded limehome, a radical technology-based hotel concept that can offer fully equipped suites at the price of a standard hotel room through complete automation of all processes. After Vollmayr spent more than 500 nights in various hotels around the world during his time as a management consultant at McKinsey, he couldn't let the idea go Concept to develop that eliminates waiting times, combines modern design with a feeling of home and at the same time promises the standards of an established hotel brand.

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How did you come up with the idea of ​​founding limehome? What goal or mission do you pursue with the company?

Due to my frequent professional travel as a management consultant at McKinsey, I have stayed in many different hotels around the world. On the one hand, I saw the possibilities of digitalization in the accommodation sector and, on the other hand, the changing customer needs of millennials for flexibility and individuality.

That's how my co-founder Lars Stäbe and I came up with it Idea, to create a commercial accommodation offer for everyone with a digital approach and a fully equipped apartment. We want to offer our guests a comfortable experience with a digital approach at the forefront.

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Who is your main target group and why is your focus here?

Our guests are in the middle class to upper middle class segment. Due to the variable size of the apartments, we are able to accommodate almost all larger target groups.

The average age of our guests is around 40 years old, our main target group are Millennials and Gen Z. Depending on the location, the proportion varies between leisure and business travelers; currently 60 percent of our guests are leisure travelers.

What advantages does limehome offer for travelers compared to conventional accommodation or other providers such as traditional hotels or Airbnb? And how do you want to continue to grow?

We have digitalized the entire guest journey, from booking to check-in to invoicing. In this way, we eliminate waiting times and offer guests a new travel experience.

Our fully equipped design apartments are on average larger than a regular hotel room and offer guests maximum flexibility thanks to the fully equipped kitchen and other amenities, making the apartments suitable for longer stays or a Combination suitable for work and leisure.

The growth of a start-up is often accompanied by a rapid expansion of the team. How do you ensure that new employees are quickly integrated and familiarized with the company culture and stay with the company long-term? What initiatives and training programs have you developed to maintain employee engagement and retention? How do you promote the continuous improvement of your employees' skills?

Every position at limehome is subject to one clear defined requirement profile. New Employees receive a structured onboarding with a personal introduction to each individual department. In addition, every new employee is assigned a buddy who makes it easier for them to get used to the job and is the first point of contact for all issues relating to the company. In addition, a structured performance process takes place twice a year, with development discussions and goal setting as well as 360 degrees Feedback.

We have a for employees with management responsibility Leadership Development program launched as well as a Coaching-Offer for ours Executives. Since we strive for our employees to constantly develop, we have launched “limitless learning”: here everyone can choose a further training opportunity without restrictions. Of course, we also actively practice an open feedback culture and offer our employees the opportunity to work from home, from other European countries for up to six weeks a year, or to take a break of up to three months.

Millennials and Gen Z often place a high value on meaningful work and company values. How does limehome manage to attract talent in a highly competitive market for start-ups? Can you give us insights into your recruiting strategies for attracting highly qualified employees?

On our social media channels such as LinkedIn, Instagram or TikTok, we show authentic insights into our company life, often with a wink. These clips are very popular with our community.

In addition, we live an open, transparent corporate culture with development opportunities for every employee and attach great importance to the personal values ​​of the employees Candidate match those from limehome. Not to forget, of course, the possibilities of home office, remote working and flexible working hours.

Which technologies, platforms or partner collaborations does limehome use to ensure a seamless booking and stay experience for your customers? And what role do user ratings and feedback play in this?

We have a tech Team with over 60 people and develop almost all of them Solutions in-house. This ensures that we are flexible and fast can use new technologies.

In addition, we work with a platform that records and evaluates every guest feedback and every customer interaction. We then align our development objectives.

That brings me to the next question: quality assurance and data protection are hot topics. How do you as a company ensure that accommodations meet standards and how does your company protect the privacy and security of its customers and partners in relation to the collection and processing of personal data?

We have various quality assurance and management mechanisms, both physical and digital. Our team of Operations Managers, Guest Experience Agents and our local partners physically ensure quality for sure. On a digital level, we record all reviews and the quality score for each apartment.

We have found a maintenance solution for constant maintenance using our self-developed housekeeping app. On topic Privacy We take into account all GDPR requirements as well as security-related requirements with regard to the storage of payment data. We also work with an external agency for data protection matters.

Short-term apartment rentals face legal and regulatory challenges in many cities. How does limehome deal with these potential legal risks and how does the company ensure compliance with all applicable regulations?

The answer to that is very simple: We are a commercial operator of apartments and our locations are commercially usable areas.

The operating permits for our locations correspond to those of hotels - with all legal and construction requirements, in contrast to residential Airbnb offers, for example.

limehome operates its platform in a market with rapidly changing trends, as the tourism industry has proven to be very volatile, not least due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you want to respond to changes in the future in order to remain profitable in the long term?

Since design trends often change quickly, we consciously attach importance to a timeless design. Otherwise, the changes in our market are more structural and long-term.

Even before Covid-1 but also as a result, travel needs were shifting towards more flexibility and workation, i.e. a combination of work and vacation. With our digital concept with high space efficiency, we are well positioned to meet challenges in the industry with a massive increase in cost base, such as personnel and energy costs as well as real estate prices.

Since many people enjoy traveling, starting a business in the tourism industry is particularly attractive: What advice would you give other start-ups who want to gain a foothold in the travel and hospitality industry?

Even if investors are not focused on the hospitality industry, there is still great potential in this large industry. However, it is unlikely that it will always be a straight line because there are too many external factors at play, for example on the demand side.

The industry also requires a high degree of frustration tolerance and attention to detail, in return you usually receive direct feedback from guests. So it will definitely be varied and never boring. My tip: “Enjoy the ride”.

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