Benjamin Schmid (in the center of the picture) is hetras' product manager in Munich. He found his way to hetras through LinkedIn and is now working in a highly dynamic environment where rapid decision-making is the order of the day. This allows him to make sure that new product features are released quickly and without delay. Benjamin, 37, is from Munich, studied Information Management in Cologne and is now, as he put it "contributing to realizing a dream!"
What made you decide to work for hetras?
hetras is a small company with an exciting product idea and a good management team. Decision making at hetras is rapid – which means that, if you have a good idea, you can implement it immediately. As a result, you can quickly see things take shape and come to life. Which is very satisfying.
Anything else that might make hetras appealing to other techies?
hetras has developed a cloud-based software with an open API. This means that you are on the pulse of the time here and that you learn to think SaaS …
A lot of hotel operators are still hesitating … This is probably not a question that is openly asked, but it's likely that there are a number of hotel owners who wonder whether they will be able to manage an application like hetras'.
There most likely is, and yet there isn't really anything to worry about. Because, in addition to flexibility, our customers also need a product that is 'manageable'. This means that this is something that I, as the product manager, will certainly make sure and take care of!
What does that look like when its done?
In an ideal scenario, this means that a hotel operator will receive his first online booking within minutes of having bought hetras. And, this is the very challenge we have set both for those of us working in product management and for our developers – and we are getting there.
Although it sounds exciting, it doesn't quite look as much fun as, e.g. designing games, or is it?
Well, that depends on the way you look at it! Just like many people, I love to travel. But, if you are not into package holidays, where everything is arranged for you, you quickly realize that it can be a real challenge to organize a trip. What would be useful would be a kind of online travel guide into which you could enter a destination and time period etc. - and that would then guide you through the masses of flight, train, bus, car rental and hotel offers available.
And this is what hotel software is supposed to help you with?
I am sure that this kind of a travel guide is on its way … and this is exactly the kind of system hetras is designed to support. With such a system, hotels have to be able to show their current room availability and prices online within a matter of seconds. Not only is hetras able to do that, but it also includes a lot of other cool features, such as online check-in and central guest profiles for all of the hotels of a chain.
Who uses these kinds of features?
Well, these kinds of features are used in particular by hotels that are working towards realizing a completely new kind of hotel, such as the Ruby in Vienna and The Student Hotel in Amsterdam, to name but two hotels that offer their guests a very different hotel experience. A lot of hotel guests today really want a high level of flexibility and greatly value having more control over their stay. In citizenM hotels, for example, guests can now even book conference rooms from their cell phones.
What do you like about hetras' corporate culture?
I've only been working for hetras for three months now and had a really friendly and open reception. People here are very open in their communication and I have never once felt that there are any kind of politics going on behind closed doors. Hetras is made up of an international team of people, although fortunately we are not spread over too many time zones. Every new member of a team is furthermore able to make their mark on the company's culture – and that is a great thing to be able to do.
Sounds like: pretty happy?
Pretty much so. The culture feels right and I am contributing to realizing a dream.
Interested in a job like Benjamin's?
hetras' product development team is currently recruiting and CTO Stephan G. Wiesener is looking for product managers, developers and quality assurers.
This interview was conducted by Elke Tonscheidt, who also bloggs for www.ohfamoos.com.