Future-proofing Hospitality: Stevie Reffin on Tech Integration and Guest Satisfaction

From washing pots for pocket money to working with some of the UK’s most famous hotel brands (and owning a restaurant), Stevie Reffin has experienced hospitality from all angles. He’s now the Head of Partnerships at RoomRaccoon, and uses his extensive understanding of on-the-ground hospitality to help hoteliers get what they need from their hotel technology. We chatted to Stevie to get some insider insights on what makes a great hotel tech stack, and how hoteliers can use technology to enhance guest experiences and streamline operations.




What initially drew you to the hospitality industry, and how did you start your hospitality journey?

I started working in hospitality when I was 13 years old. My job was to wash pots in the largest hotel in my hometown, which I did after school and on weekends. It was a fantastic experience, working alongside my family and friends, and earning my very first paycheck was a proud moment for me.

Can you describe the path that led you to your current role? How has your position evolved over time?

I climbed the ranks in the kitchen, completing my chef training before transitioning to the Front of House. I joined the management team at just 20, became General Manager by 26, and then an Area Manager at 30, overseeing three hotels with a total of 450 bedrooms and a staff of over 200. It was during this period that I developed a keen interest in hotel technology, particularly after encountering some outdated legacy systems. This inspired my transition into hospitality tech five years ago, combining my two passions: hotels and technology.

Transitioning from hospitality to hospitality technology must have been quite a shift. Can you share some insights into this transition and any challenges you faced?

At first, stepping into a new field was intimidating. Despite having crossover skills and transferable experience, there was a steep learning curve with plenty of room for mistakes, especially in the beginning. It took about 6 months to fully acclimate to the new role and its environment, especially in a fast-paced SaaS business where things can move at break-neck speed. Adjusting to different methodologies, tools, and technical aspects took some getting used to, but the potential for gaining knowledge was tremendous.

Do you find your background in hospitality helps you better understand the needs of hoteliers?

Absolutely, having lived in the world of hoteliers for many years makes it far easier to understand their daily challenges. This firsthand experience also helped add credibility to my words and build trust with both prospects and clients. It’s this personal experience that gives me a deeper understanding of their pain points and specific requirements, allowing for meaningful conversation about how our technology can enhance their day-to-day operations.

Besides the basics, what's one essential feature every Property Management System (PMS) should have?


Every PMS should have a user-friendly yet potent Yield Management tool - it's time to move beyond spending 40 hours a week manually adjusting rates. This tool doesn't signal the end of Revenue Managers, but rather equips them with superior tools to optimise their time effectively.

If you could create the perfect tech stack for hotels, what would it include and how could hoteliers use the integrations to their full advantage?

There is no perfect system on the market. I believe in combining the best features from different systems and technology stacks to create an unbeatable solution. Nowadays, every hotelier requires more than just a PMS - they need comprehensive Hotel Management Software. Your hotel tech stack should resemble a digital team member: user-friendly, adaptable and powerful.

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Which emerging technologies do you think will shape the future of the hospitality industry?

It has to be AI. We're already starting to see its positive influence on streamlining processes and tasks, and its integration into the hotel and hospitality industry is promising and has the potential to bring about fascinating developments. For hoteliers, there is no need to be apprehensive about this technology, especially in an industry that is facing a shortage of experienced and skilled workers. By freeing up their time, hoteliers can focus on reconnecting with their guests and providing them with a better guest experience.

What 3 tips would you give hoteliers looking to improve their overall guest experience?

Embrace good technology - it will enhance everything for both your team and guests, making your operations smoother and more efficient.

Think outside the box - Don’t just look for a PMS or a system for internal use, look at technology that is customer-facing, too. With most guests being tech-savvy, consider digital concierge apps, room access solutions, kiosks, and feedback platforms to enhance their experience.

Upgrade your legacy system -If your current software is over 5 years old, there's a high chance that newer options offer significant advancements. Consider moving over to a cloud-based platform to future-proof your business and tech stack.

Can you recall a memorable hotel stay and what made it stand out to you?

I consider myself a traditional hotelier, placing great value on hospitality and customer service as fundamental pillars of our business. However, during a recent stay at one of our properties in central London, I experienced a fully contactless hotel experience enabled by RoomRaccoon. I must admit, I was impressed by the simplicity and convenience it gave me. It provided all necessary information promptly and automatically, including excellent pre-stay communication. It's clear that there's room for both traditional hospitality and a more streamlined, modern approach.