Wrike is trusted by 2.4m people around the world, in almost every sector, industry, and location. They all have one thing in common — the need to work better, faster, and more productively.
That was the case for the Odyssey Hotel Group, an international hotel development and operating platform, based in Utrecht in the Netherlands. Huib van Erp, its Development Manager, spoke at length in a comprehensive webinar about how Wrike has helped his company unite multinational operations, boost teams’ productivity, and create a single source of truth.
A multinational challenge
The Odyssey Hotel Group is an exciting, dynamic company that’s rapidly scaling its activities across Europe. “We build and operate hotels through franchises with international brands such as Marriott,” Huib explains. “At the moment, we have 21 hotels and roughly 30 hotels in the pipeline.” The company has 750 employees across its international operations, with 90 people based in its Dutch headquarters.
“We work with cool, creative hotels from Spain up to Finland, down to Greece, and across to Ireland,” Huib says. “So, as you can imagine, it can get messy. When I first joined the company, it was a treasure hunt to find the document you were looking for, as the files were either in Google Drive, Dropbox or OneNote, or all of the above.” Even getting in touch with his colleagues was difficult, as different team members communicated via Slack, WhatsApp, or email.
One easy-to-use solution
Huib and his colleagues recognized that this situation couldn’t continue, as it was creating problems with visibility as well as hours of extra work and lost productivity. This is what Wrike recognizes as the Dark Matter of Work, which can cost organizations up to $52m every year.
“It was a nightmare, but finally we found that Wrike was a really nice solution that helps us manage all these problems in one easy-to-use platform.” Now, Wrike is the Odyssey Hotel Group’s main software solution, supplemented only by Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, which are used for chatting and archiving.
In many ways, Wrike is the perfect partner for a multinational hospitality company such as this, as it offers 365° visibility, cross-functional communication, real-time reporting, and workspaces that can be adapted for any language, business style, or unique way of working.
“Wrike is now the number one place where employees go every day,” Huib says. “It’s full of day-to-day solutions that really help the way we work.”
For the Odyssey Hotel Group, fully onboarding with Wrike was a challenge worth embracing. The team found that there were three key areas where the software held real transformative power:
1. Creating a single source of truth
As an all-in-one platform, Wrike offers a centralized hub for busy operations. This provides what’s known as “a single source of truth,” in which all of an organization’s data is stored in one place, allowing for easy access, smoother productivity, and more informed business decisions.
It also means that teams can comment, discuss, and collaborate on work in one secure place. “Wrike is our main communication platform above all,” Huib agrees. “We have gotten rid of our internal email, as it has been replaced by the Wrike inbox.”
Wrike has helped the Odyssey Hotel Group improve:
- Contextual communication: “We now have projects for every single one of our hotels, whether they’re in early development, under construction, or actively trading,’ Huib says. “There are tasks that link to the actual work, which allows for contextual communication.” This helps to save significant time explaining which hotel, which project, and which issue is at play when conversations take place.
- Secure archiving: For a company that actively develops sites in Europe’s biggest cities, secure and safe information archives are key. No matter what Huib’s teams are looking for, it can now be found within seconds. “There is a full history already there for them to read up on,” Huib points out. “There are multiple versions available too, and you’ll always see the most recent version.”
- Ease of access: With Wrike, the Odyssey Hotel Group team members enjoy instant access to all the documents, assets, or files they need — from anywhere in the world. They’re all conveniently stored in context too, so there’s no need to go reading through email threads or cross-checking in Slack. Plus, permission mechanisms are available, so access can be limited to different tiers or groups if needed.
2. Collaborating with ease — internally and externally
“Wrike allows us to seamlessly collaborate with our teammates, whether they are in Tampere, Utrecht, or Barcelona,” Huib points out. “This has allowed us to create a HQ subsidiary structure that our teams can rely on.”
By centralizing all their communication in one place, teams can make sure that key information isn’t lost or misinterpreted. They can also present the data in multiple ways to internal or external stakeholders. Examples include Gantt charts, dashboards, and reports. “There are a billion different ways Wrike allows us to structure our work, like workflows or reporting tools,” explains Huib. “They all make it so much simpler to talk to your colleagues and stay up to date.”
- Instant remote collaboration: “We can collaborate better, even if my colleagues are traveling or working from abroad,” Huib says of Wrike messaging, cross-tagging, and in-context collaboration. “There’s no need for weekly status calls or scheduled get-togethers because now my colleagues can just tag us in their updates in Wrike.”
- Internal and external cooperation: Like most modern organizations, the Odyssey Hotel Group works with dozens of external parties including creative designers and professional advisers. Now they can invite them into Wrike, tag them for approval or reference, and share reports in seconds.
- Streamlined request processing: With Wrike’s customizable request forms, teams can gather key input fast. HR requests can include custom fields for calendar dates, marketing briefs can seek examples of similar assets, and maintenance tickets can ask for attached photographs of problematic areas.
3. Accelerating and automating processes
One of the biggest benefits of Wrike to the Odyssey Hotel Group has been the acceleration and automation of previously time-consuming work. “Wrike allows us to create amazing real-time reporting and convenient project templates,” Huib says.
“Shareholder reporting is a breeze, and most of our processes are automated. Nobody has to keep track of due dates or which colleagues are to be tagged, as it’s all automated now.”
Wrike has long pioneered AI in work management, starting with its game-changing Work Intelligence® suite. This combines advanced automation and cutting-edge AI features to streamline planning, accelerate execution, and free up human resources to focus on valuable work.
As Huib says: “The scalability is huge if all of our processes are structured and improved in Wrike.”
- Repeatable blueprints: Wrike’s blueprints allow team members to replicate common projects with the click of a button. This means hours of savings for Huib’s team. “Accounting, financial, and HR teams have work that’s much more repetitive, which used to involve a constantly changing Excel spreadsheet. Now, it’s all automated in Wrike.”
- Recurring tasks: Many of a hotel group’s day-to-day activities rely on repeating the same tasks week after week, month after month — management meetings, for example. Wrike’s recurring tasks allow teams to turn a one-time job into a recurring event, creating uniform, reliable workflows that save time and prevent errors.
- Customizable reports: Wrike makes everybody’s least favorite job an easy one. reports can be created from scratch or generated from templates, issued ad-hoc or scheduled regularly, and shared both internally and externally. They are entirely customizable too, so you can focus on the data that really matters to your stakeholders.
A worthwhile investment
Wrike is a powerful platform that can transform itself, chameleon-like, for its user. A freelancer managing multiple creative projects could get started in minutes, easily moving through its intuitive interface and logical workflows. Alternatively, a global enterprise can access advanced features, tools, and automations that unite international teams, turbocharge productivity, and streamline even the most complex processes. Of course, unlocking this level of value involves “learning the ropes,” which Huib acknowledges takes time.
He’s clear, though, that it’s worth it: “If you can name it, you can find a way to organize it in Wrike,” he says. “But complexity comes at a small cost, which is a learning curve.” He recommends appointing an internal champion who can help roll out the new software, answer any questions, and help to really make Wrike a way of life.
Having received in-depth training from Wrikers in Prague last November, there are now eight in-house champions at the Odyssey Hotel Group. “You need somebody who is dedicated to learning the program, the functionalities, and how to link them to the team and company,” he says. “While initially this was me, it has already translated to our employees. Now that they understand what the program can do, they’re playing around and identifying cool new things we use it for.”
There is also an abundance of support available from Wrike, with professional services, training, and resources that make it much easier for teams to shift from disparate processes and old-fashioned tools to one modern, comprehensive platform. Wrike’s 400+ integrations also provide both reassurance and real benefit. Teams don’t have to give up their favorite tools like Slack or MS Teams — they can just connect them to Wrike and work seamlessly between the two.
“We now have one structure, one source of truth, and one place to store documents safely and in context,” Huib concludes. “It helps to improve the way our teams work and communicate and gives us insight into their day-to-day business, even if they’re working remotely. This really eliminates the need for catch-up meetings and speeds up our reporting process.”
Huib is unequivocal about how Wrike has benefited the Odyssey Hotel Group. “The advantages that this program has given us are huge,” he says. “I would advise everyone to take the time to learn it. It’s a journey, but it’s one worth taking.”
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