In 2008 I convinced the parents of a good friend of mine to return their Egypt travel tickets and plan a new vacation to Peru. I have been passionate about being a host of Peru since I can remember.
A few days after delivering that advice, I decided to quit my investment banking job in New York, in order to open a hospitality business in Peru. I thought: “What if I could just dedicate my life to help travelers enjoy their vacation as they navigate their days in Peru!”
Since then I have met more hoteliers, and I can say that behind every hotel there are passionate hosts looking to help guests discover their neighborhood, city, and country. However, running a hotel is complex. We as hoteliers need to manage rent, new constructions, housekeeping, security and supervise staff. All these tasks leave us with little time to prepare and develop how to be better local hosts.
Furthermore, since entering the hospitality industry I have seen how we, the hoteliers, have lost ground to tech newcomers. New age technology has built valuable products and brands, however, it is not inviting hotel’s to share their insights as local hosts.
Tripadvisor only lets us talk after guests’ comments or complaints. There is no space on the Internet welcoming hotels’ neighborhood recommendations as hosts!
Online travel agencies (OTAs: Expedia, Priceline, Hostelworld, etc.) have also taken much of our margin as we have seen them increase commissions in our faces, leaving us with fewer resources to deliver better services as local hosts. We feel as if the tech party started few years ago, although no one put our names on the guest list.
In 2013, despite the success of my hospitality business, I decided to start again and move to Stanford Business School in order to learn Silicon Valley’s best practices on how to build an innovative, mission-driven tech company doing things that have not yet been done. After school, and together with Rodrigo Lopez, we co-founded Arrivedo to help guests discover hotels and their communities with personalized local advice from hotel staff and past guests.
There are approximately 5 billion questions being exchanged annually in hotel lobbies globally between guests and hotel staff.
“Where can I go to dinner for an anniversary night nearby? Can you recommend me a route for a 5K run around here? Is there a coffee house with good WIFI within walking distance?”.
Hotels owners, managers, concierges, and front desk staff know the answers to all of these questions, and they respond to them daily. However, there is no platform to organize this information and to get it delivered to guests easily.
Arrivedo connects hotels and guests in search for city specific experiences.During a time where Airbnb has raised the bar for locally focused hospitality, independent hotels are at a disadvantage with the robust technology Airbnb and hotel chains have for communications. Via Arrivedo, hotels can bridge this gap for independent hotels by building a technology that fosters community and dialogue between hotels and their guests.
For travelers who search for hotel rooms with authentic local experiences, we guarantee a community with unbiased recommendations.
For hotels, good customer service doesn’t always translate into online visibility and sales. Arrivedo identifies and recognizes hotels as “super hosts” based on the experiences hotels recommend to guests within our platform. We also invite hotels to place a direct booking button in their Arrivedo profile to connect guests with their booking engines.
Before Arrivedo, organizing recommendations and services was a time-consuming and expensive process for hotels. In my experience as a hotel owner, it took me months to create a personalized map for guests and thousands of dollars annually to print and distribute them to every guest.
Now, with an Arrivedo profile, hotels can organize this information in just a few hours and start distributing for free to their guests immediately via welcome e-mails or with a widget on the hotel’s webpage. Customer-centric hotels also set up an Arrivedo iPad kiosk or our WebApp in reception to empower front desk staff with comprehensive, helpful customer service tools.
A platform for the hotel’s host knowledge
Arrivedo is giving hotels a self-publishing tool with which to contribute with their own recommendations to guests. Guests can access these recommendations 24/7 on a beautiful mobile interface. We think guests will enjoy a better stay if local travel recommendations made by hotel staff are transparently rated and commented on by previous guests, so that only the best recommendations bubble to the top.
By enabling this, Arrivedo provides hotels the ability to differentiate using their own voice and personality, become less impersonal, and build a reputation of helping guests maximize their visit. As TripAdvisor focuses on organizing information about a hotel, Arrivedo focuses on organizing local recommendations and information around the hotel.
Today hotel staff and guests have no avenue to communicate recommendations to travelers:
- Facebook: Hotels publish promoted content on a timeline, becoming rapidly lost within a few days. Guests arriving to hotels should easily find relevant content from previous guests.
- Tripadvisor: Hotels are only able to respond to guest comments or complaints. This is useful information for travelers as they search for a hotel, but isn’t the traveler also interested in learning more on the hotel’s location?
- Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social platforms: These are often more of a burden to hotel marketers than a true communication solution.
Hotel’s incremental content in Arrivedo can be updated as staff and travelers drop more recommendations, building a stronger hotel’s neighborhood guide for next guests checking in.
Arrivedo is an opportunity for hotels to obtain online recognition out of the unique city knowledge that they publish and which travelers find valuable. Just as independent travel bloggers do, it is time for hotels to show the travel community how good they are as hosts by publishing local advice.
Other initiatives have tried to systematize recommendations to hotel’s guests by creating an artificial intelligent set of recommendations to guests. Our response to them:
“Don’t kill the hotel’s voice, please!”
As opposed to other sites and platforms, we challenge hotels to organize their recommendation and own their voice, and we help them in the process. Top hotels that have already done this (in maps, excels, PDFs, PPs, etc.) can easily create their profile in our platform pairing their content with our user-friendly editorial tool with a robust map and places tagged (APIs).
Our editorial tool works with Wikivoyage data (which provides all destinations globally), Foursquare API (to easily select places with name, lat/long, prices, hours of operations, images and more), and Mapbox API (connecting hotels and places on the map, including walking and car directions).
Other hotels that haven’t done it yet can do it with the help of Arrivedo’s travel writing community.
5,000 hotels for December 2018
Our product had been in stealth mode until July 2016, where it was only available in Lima, Peru. Since then we’ve launched in Cusco, later San Francisco, and now we are present in 10 cities with more than 100 hotels publishing their recommendations with us, including independent hotels (such as Cova and Chancellor Hotels in SF), boutique hotels (including Stanyan Park in SF and Hotel B part of Relais & Chateaux collection), hostels and B&B’s (such as Flying Dog Hostels and Nineteen 06 Mission) and even some major name hotel locations (including Marriott, DoubleTree by Hilton, and Hampton Inn SF).
At the end of this year we will open the platform, inviting any hotel in the world to publish their recommendations to guests through Arrivedo. During 2018, we plan to serve 25 million travelers via 50,000 neighborhood guides from hotels.
Hotels can now be local hosts! Arrivedo is welcoming hotels to the tech party by letting them organize their neighborhood guide as we help them increase online visibility, direct booking, and ancillary revenue.