Uniting the Hotel Ecosystem: How Generator Simplified Their International Ops with Lightspeed

What can you do to maintain consistency across locations in a rapidly growing company? Generator’s approach to technology might provide an answer.

There are 19 properties in Europe and the USA.Four of which take the name of their US counterpart Freehand), they’ve brought everything from revenue reporting to payments under a one-stop platform: Small Biz Sense.

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You might think twice about calling them a hostel.

Whether it’s in Miami Beach, London’s Kings Cross, the canals of Venice or Amsterdam’s Oosterpark, Generator offers a unique experience to everyone from business travellers to Gen Z backpackers.

The brand represents a high-end, yet casual approach to city-trip accommodations for short stays. They’re not your traditional backpacker hostel; not quite a hotel either. “We’re somewhere in between,” says Svenja Siltmann, Group Operations Manager at Generator.

“Like a hostel, we have shared dormitories, but also offer private rooms and a comprehensive food and beverage offering—more like a boutique hotel.”

This new hybrid concept represents a wider shift from traditional hotel concepts, and a blurring between categories thanks to platforms like Airbnb. What defines a hotel is becoming looser by the year, and that’s allowed Generator to stand out.

Although their idea is original, many of the challenges that they are facing as a manager in large hotels chains will be familiar. These systems must communicate well and allow them to simplify and scale their complex operations.

That’s where Small Biz Sense POSThis is it.

Do you want to modernize your hotel?

Small Biz Sense assists hotels in consolidating their operations so that they can improve the guest experience and grow their margins.


Resolving data reporting issues

“The main motivator for adopting Small Biz Sense into so many of our locations was to standardize reporting and align our business set-up,” says Svenja.

“We wanted a system that worked seamlessly with our property management system, MEWS. Small Biz Sense was the ideal fit. When we perform a transaction on Small Biz Sense, for example, that data gets sent to our PMS so we track revenue – no errors, no imbalances.”

Automatically sharing data between MEWSGenerator and Small Biz Sense can track their daily revenues across the entire international business.

Small Biz Sense can be integrated into them. TenzoTo receive daily revenue reports.

Tenzo compiles data from Small Biz Sense into a daily report that includes each revenue center for all locations. We can weigh up our revenue against our budget to get an accurate snapshot of how our locations are reporting on any given day.”


Integrated payments allow you to adapt to the changing times

Over 51% use some type of contactless payment. That’s just one of the reasons why a point of sale with integrated payments was a no-brainer for Generator. 

With Small Biz Sense, they’re able to Integrate their payment solution into your point of sale. “An integrated payment solution makes things much smoother,” says Svenja. “Our servers can now take payments and orders in one go since the iPad interface and payment terminals work together”

When a customer is ready to pay, a server simply needs to tap “Pay” on Small Biz Sense’s interface, and their bill amount is sent directly to the payments terminal for the customer to pay any way they want.

Generator not only saves time and decreases errors, but also transfers all transaction data to MEWS automatically in real-time.

“Our payment reporting is also automated. When a customer taps their card the system knows right away where it was a bill payment, a tip, and what credit card it was,” says Svenja.

“The system knows that because Small Biz Sense tells them, without us having to step in and report it manually. Before adopting Small Biz Sense we had a lot of imbalances, double transactions—that’s no longer the case.”


Extend their offer with table ordering

Generator has introduced table service to enhance their guests’ experience, while saving time and avoiding errors in revenue reporting.

It is very easy for staff to use the system. They don’t have to worry about the system going down or failing them during service, and can focus on delivering the best experience for guests.

“Small Biz Sense is very intuitive,” adds Svenja. “We don’t need a system trainer to tell staff how to use it because it’s easy, and that helps especially in stressful situations.”

“Before Small Biz Sense, we had a lot of outages, and support couldn’t be reached. If you’re in a stressful situation during COVID with limited staffing, it helps to have a stable system that staff can rely on”

But it’s not just table service that Small Biz Sense helped optimise. The system’s many add-ons have helped Generator Diversify revenue streams to diversify during difficult economic times. You can see an example of this: Small Biz Sense DeliveryIn their Amsterdam office.

“Small Biz Sense Delivery greatly streamlines our delivery operations,” says Svenja. “You don’t need five different tablets from different delivery suppliers. It’s all brought together under one platform. We don’t need to accept everything manually. It’s just a faster process.”


It’s all possible to thrive despite everything

Generators’ fortunes, like others in the industry, have been affected by fluctuations. consumer spendingDue to multiple lockdowns, reopenings, and repeated lockdowns since 2020.

“Soon as there are restrictions coming in, especially in Europe, business goes down, and that has a very drastic impact right away,” says Svenja. However, we have also seen that businesses return quickly once the restrictions are removed. In the last two years, we’ve gotten used to extremes: going from being fully occupied one second to closing it all down the next.”

The pandemic is still on the horizon, In the entire industry, occupancy rates have yet to return back to pre-pandemic levels. Generator wants to diversify its revenue streams in response.

”The next step is to continue growing the brand’s offering,” adds Svenja. “That could mean taking event booking or integrating online ordering onto our website. We’ve already been able to successfully implement things like table service and delivery. Small Biz Sense allows us to transform our service style, to improve and adapt.”

Implementing the policy has been a success.Generator is now able to adapt to any challenge that comes their way with Small Biz Sense in multiple places.

Do you want the same thing for your hotel? Let’s talk.



Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.