Ever felt as if you were just another guest at the hotel? Want a more personalized and exclusive experience? Then, you should be looking forward to staying at a hotel that uses Conichi.
Conichi is a CRM SaaS that helps hotels and restaurants better interact with their customers. Its aim is to revolutionize the hospitality industry, which from a technological perspective is significantly lagging behind other sectors. Conichi uses the Beacon technology, which is becoming widely popular as a contextual awareness solution for the retail domain.
I sat down with Max Waldmann, founder & CEO of Conichi, to discuss the product and the team’s plans ahead.
Hi, Max! I really like the concept of Conichi. How did you come with the idea?
Hi Nick! I came up with the idea when I was working for Google in Singapore. There we had a deeper look into the travel and hospitality area, as Google was looking for innovative products that they could sell to their customers. We found that especially in the hospitality space there is high potential for digital services. If you think about booking for instance, everything can be done online. As soon as you enter the hotel, it is a digital desert. So we proposed our solution to the Google management team and they really liked it. But ultimately Google concentrated on becoming a digital travel agency. I then decided to work on that idea myself – Conichi was born.
Can you elaborate more on how Conichi works?
Sure. With Conichi we have created an ecosystem that enables hotels to enhance their customer experience throughout the whole customer stay. Utilizing the iBeacon technology, we are offering a variety of location-based services in basically three categories. It all starts at the beginning of your stay, with Conichi guests can skip the check-in process. Instead of queuing up to check-in at the reception, the guest is checked-in as soon as he enters the lobby. Secondly the guest can view his bill, pay for it and check-out all in a convenient way on his smartphone. Thirdly we are offering media content to hotel guests. So when the guest is at a hotel, he can view premium newspaper and magazine content. Instead of reading physical paper, the guest can view real-time content conveniently on his smartphone. All these features do not only enhance the customer experience during his stay, moreover it also offers high potential for hotels. By offering Conichi to guests, the hotel can save on labour costs, increase upsales and collect large amounts of data.
Why Beacon technology?
Well, the beacon technology is relatively new and is not yet widely used even though this technology offers great potential in many ways. It finally makes the smartphone smart and aware of the its surrounding, so location-based services can be offered in a completely new way. For us it is the perfect technology to offer our services, because it is very precise and more accurate than for instance geo-fencing.
Is Conichi complementing other CRM solutions hotels use or is it a direct rival?
Good question, Nick. We refer to Conichi as a guest experience platform and not as a CRM system. With the functionality Conichi provides, it rather adds value to existing customer relationship management systems, and property management systems. Hereby it is important that Conichi will be integratable into all major CRM and PMS systems in the near future.
What is the development stage of Conichi so far?
We are still at a relatively early stage. Recently we closed seed funding and can now start developing full throttle. As we already have the first hotels lined up, surely we want to integrate our solution as soon as possible.
Is Berlin a favourable place to found a B2B2C SaaS startup that relies on network effects?
Berlin is a great city and I am sure that in the near future it will be the tech hub of Europe. So yes, it is the perfect place to found a company. I read a statistic last week that said every 20 hours a new start-up is founded in Berlin. This underlines the trend of how fast the city is growing in terms of the startup environment.
Which geographical markets do you target first?
As we are a German company, we will start by targeting the German market. After this initial phase, we will shortly after launch in Austria and Switzerland. Later we will go-live in France and Great Britain at the end of 2015.
What are your plans for 2015?
2015 will be a very challenging year for us. We are currently making good progress with regards to product development, so we are optimistic that we will go-live around April. As the first hotels are already waiting for our solution, we are very excited to finally see guests using our product. At the beginning Conichi will only work on iOS devices, but of course, at a later point we will release an Android version as well. Throughout the year we will continuously add features and enrich the functionality of the app. Additionally we have partnerships lined up that need to be integrated as soon as possible. Apart from this, we also need to get into the market and start acquiring more hotels. This will be the greatest challenge: to get Conichi set up in as many hotels as possible. Overall we think we have an awesome product, are well funded and have a SWAT team – we are exited for the future!