Guestperience  is a new and fresh Guest Mobile Solution to help hoteliers to adapt itself to the mobile era. Hotels must go beyond selling beds, and they must be interested in guests when they are in their property. Y-guests are interested in more things than booking a room. For instance, Wifi across the property has become one of the most critical factors when they are looking for a hotel. We focus in the after- booking stage: pre-arrival assistance and of course the experience along the staying and improving reputation when guests leaves the property.
As a result of this context, we built up a solution adding up a combination of customized app and our Guest Management system fully integrated to hotel systems, Guestperience is drastically increasing the number of touch points during the stay, increasing revenues per guest and cutting costs anchored to printing and calls.
How did you get the idea of founding your start-up?
As a traveller we were always quite challenging. I always look at how people behave out of his comfort zone, and one trip is challenge itself. We notice that hotels are providing more services and wifi, in the other side, the traveller is stuck to his smartphone, so why not create a tool to make both work much better. The mobile devices and apps are opening a new path for businesses touch his customers, and this is what we are doing for hoteliers.
What have you achieved since you launched the product and what were the steps?
Our main achievement is to have a clear business plan and know which are our vulnerabilities and risks. Make a disruption through a market where you are not much experienced opens a lot of key questions and assumptions to validate. It has been a long process up to get the validation of these bunch of assumptions and nowadays, our business plan is more than a piece of paper.
A key part of this process is to identify what skills do you need to add to the project that as founder you are able to supply (know your limits), then go outside and look to create a great team! Now that Guestperience has a perfect team and the approach to the market and customers is much easier.
Who is your competition and what makes you different from them?
Apps, webs or tech provider that are focused on hospitality are our main competitors, now there a bunch of them (stay app, Iris apps…). Many of them are long in the hospitality market, and now they are transforming its value proposition to mobile. We understood this is not high-technology, so the tech is not a competitive advantage. We are new, fresh, flexible and we are not lagging legacy from web or other previous tech solutions, we are “pure mobile”, we are not even “mobile ready”, we are “mobile first”
What was the hardest thing?
Time invested and personal sacrifices. Until the moment you take the decision of boosting your business you have to combine with some other things. We have been “hybrid-entrepreneurs” for a couple of years, and this is hard, because time is limited.
How do you see your company in 5 years?
I see an agile and small organization that is able to expand its business to Portugal and LATAM. Probably in 5 years we will have to adapt to new market demand at least twice, but mobile is going to be a stable trend for a long period, so we will keep growing and growing within that period.
What would you say is the biggest lesson you have learned while running your start-up?
Keep your big dreams in your backpack. When you need to dream, stop, open your backpack and enjoy your big dreams. In the daily routine, keep feet on the earth and work as a small organization.
Take the advantage that nowadays many talented people are willing to work for start-ups that are doing gorgeous jobs. Some years ago, corporations were taking all talented people, but nowadays start-ups are providing jobs and one important thing, “lifestyle”.
What has Area 31 meant for you?
The opportunity to expand my entrepreneurship network. You can enjoy events that are very interesting, and meet people who might provide a great value to your project in terms of advice or network.
What are you most proud of?
After 2 years, the company is surviving! This is a great milestone. Moreover, we have the feeling that we are as a business having “our momentum”. We build a great mini-team and this is not easy…
The first customer made us very proud when it happened, as it is the most critical assumption…is the idea and product something that you can convert into a business?
Would you give any advice for new graduates?
I like this phrase: “if you don t build your own dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs” – Tony Gaskin Jr.
If you are not happy with your thoughts after reading this, I would advise to take seriously to build your own start-up. Main factors for building a new start-up is to be surrounded by talented people with complementary skills: product & technology, marketing & business and finance & organization.