A lot of hotels have loyalty programs, but how many times have you walked into one that you tend to frequent, yet still have been asked, “Is this your first time staying with us?” Yes, there’s a serious disconnect.
That’s part of the problem that Voyat is addressing, and a long list of very highly regarded investors, including Metamorphic Ventures, Eniac Ventures, Scout Ventures, BoxGroup as well as various strategic angel investors, including Brett Crosby, co-founder of Google Analytics and Barry Silbert, Chairman of SecondMarket agree with the company’s approach.
Founded in 2012 by Benjamin Habbel and Bob Lund, Voyat is a revolutionary social customer relationship management platform that reinvents the way hotels interact with guests. The platform collects, structures and uses guest data to increase booking conversions across marketing channels to drive up sales and build lasting customer relationships by getting to know the customers and their likes and dislikes.
At the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about? In this case, literally.
The platform also provides powerful data analytics and business intelligence, allowing hotels to open new revenue opportunities and improve customer satisfaction.
Voyat co-founder and CEO Benjamin Habbel talks about his loyalty and e-commerce platform for hotels, and about his secret sauce that won over the investors.
What was the funding process like?
We’ve partnered with successful operators, people who know how to run a business and what it means to be an entrepreneur. We were looking for people who can help us to make “original mistakes” and avoid the obvious pitfalls. For example, one of our investors is David Hirsch, who was the first Google employee in NYC and built Google NYC from the ground up with Tim Armstrong. Another example is Barry Silbert, who started SecondMarket and has established himself as a leader in the transaction and bitcoin space.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Being a first-time entrepreneur is never easy, as you really have to prove yourself. Having a strong data set that proved the traction of our product and a stellar team of engineers certainly helped us with raising capital.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
A killer Unit Formula. Scalability. Defensibility.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Stay lean as long as you can. My co-founder, Bob, and I worked out of my apartment for months before we joined a co-working space. We got our first clients and launched our first product while working at my place and impressed investors and clients, even though we had no cash.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We just opened our first international office in Barcelona. We have partners in Germany, Scandinavia and the Middle East. In addition to expanding to more cities in the United States, we’re putting a big focus on launching in over 15 countries in the next year.
What are the top requests of New York hotel guests?
What’s your favorite New York craft beer that you would recommend to an out-of-towner?
I’m originally from Munich, Bavaria, so I can only recommend that you find a place that serves Augustiner – Munich’s oldest beer from 1328 and still a classic.