Hotel Casa Amsterdam
Hotel Casa : Social entrepreneur
Student and hotel guest under the same roof.
Hotel Casa in Amsterdam-East has been on our client list since 2019. A hotel with a mission. It offers citylovers a room in this multicultural neighborhood. And from October to May students find affordable housing there. This is Richard Visser, Financial Controller with a heart for figures and social entrepreneurship.
Hotel Casa has a total of 518 rooms. 159 rooms are available for hotel guests; 359 rooms are temporary homes for students. During the summer, Hotel Casa is fully operational as a regular hotel. Without a good overview, a concept like this can be quite a financial puzzle. Richard Visser is happy to have said goodbye to his Excel sheets with dozens of tabs. "I can now get all the reports I need at the push of a button. Statler makes my life a lot easier!"
The Financial Controller worked - quite recognizably - with last year's budget. "At the beginning of 2020, we knew right away that those figures could go in the trash," he says dryly. "The pandemic put everything at risk. I was therefore pleased with the Forecast option in Statler. This tool was new to me. You can look ahead very flexibly, load current figures, and make monthly adjustments. At the time, I had plans to have all department heads forecast. Corona has accelerated that process. The future was so uncertain that you had to be able to adapt quickly."
Since the team does its own estimating, from needed FTEs to purchasing, it feels more responsible. The kitchen, the restaurant, the banqueting; everyone must work together and determine costs. A big plus, Richard Visser believes. "Department heads are on top of the figures. They enter everything themselves and therefore have a lot of insight. They used to oversee the main lines, but now I get critical questions when an invoice has been entered incorrectly. This working method keeps everyone on their toes. It takes a little time in the beginning, but it also delivers a lot to your company." Statler offers the Finance department room to focus on its core task: financial strategy. "Through reports, in all shapes and sizes, you can vet the company. By the way, I always ask our department heads for motivation with their Forecast. After all, they know the story behind certain costs. It's up to me to make up my mind about it."
"It's time to really do business."
The Daily, a daily report in Statler, is indispensable for Hotel Casa. Richard Visser asked for additional customization - and it was quickly picked up. "The ratio between turnover and hours worked per department is crucial for me. Statler extracts information from our own time registration and turnover program and processes it into a handy overview. Such a Daily provides extra insight; you can intervene more quickly if necessary. In the past, we used to look back via monthly overviews, but that is really too late." The fact that the world has changed dramatically since corona makes financial oversight, even more important, the Financial Controller believes. "Look, Casa used to be just a successful hotel in Amsterdam. Now it's time to really start doing business."
The big conversion
Every year on May 31, Richard Visser leaves the numbers for what they are. All the other colleagues in the hotel also - symbolically - lay down their work. They roll up their sleeves for the 'big conversion'. From June 1 to October 1, Hotel Casa will be fully available again for hotel guests. "Students have to be out of their rooms by 10:00. Then the real work starts for us. Replacing blankets and pillows, placing coffee machines in the rooms. The Technical Department inspects everything and makes small repairs. Student kitchens are converted to storage. If someone has been smoking, we hang fresh curtains. Housekeeping must scale up a lot this day because in the evening some of the rooms are rented out to hotel guests. A military operation? Yes, you could almost say so! But we see it mainly as a fun event. Everyone helps, from the Reception department to Marketing and Finance."
Successful revenue model
The concept of Hotel Casa is special and already 65 years old. After the Second World War, the Netherlands faced a housing shortage among students. How do you create affordable housing? Four ambitious students, including VVD party leader Frits Bolkestein, had an idea in mind. A large complex full of student rooms are turned into a hotel in the summer. A successful business model, the idea was also embraced nationally. Education minister Cals opened the Hotel Casa 400 in 1962.
"Our community is a steppingstone for students"
Since 2010, Hotel Casa has been housed in new premises, but its original purpose is still of great social value. Richard Visser: "We like to tell our story, including on the site. It gets positive reactions, especially from our guests. Hotel Casa consciously focuses on community building. We even employ someone for that purpose. The focus is on young students who have yet to find their way into the city. Our community can be a springboard to meet others. That's handy because a good network is important. For work, but also to find a future home. You can rent a room from us for a maximum of two years. Then it's time for a new 'batch'."
Hotel Casa offers tenants all kinds of activities, from yoga classes to coaching. She hopes that young people will organize their own meetings, such as a book review or cocktail workshop. The hotel makes the space available or takes care of promotion. Students, in turn 'facilitate' Hotel Casa with their talent and capacity. They work as receptionists, in the service, or help with room rental. "That connection, where you multiply by sharing, that remains our driving force."