Business

These ex-Googlers are helping hotels Facebook-stalk you, all the better to give you goodies

Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-79015114/stock-photo-hotel-card-lock-and-keycard-d-illustration.html

The hotel industry has a lot to gain by staying more informed about and better engaged with guests.

New York City-based Voyat makes a customer relationship management platform that pulls in all sorts of information about hotel guests, both existing and potential, and forms promotional and rewards programs around the data.

Voyat uses social media to capture hotel guests in its system. As guests sign onto the hotel’s Wi-Fi network or website using a social network profile such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, or even email, the system automatically creates an interactive profile for them. The hotel can then offer custom services, discounts, or offers to the guest (or potential guest) based on their loyalty level and individual preferences.

The company announced Tuesday that it’s leaving private beta and picking up $1.8 in seed money as a graduation gift.

The investors include Metamorphic Ventures, Eniac Ventures, and BoxGroup, as well as various strategic angel investors, including Brett Crosby, co-founder of Google Analytics.

Voyat says it piloted its system with some “leading hospitality brands” and lists Morgans Hotel Group, the New York Palace, and the W Hotel chain as clients.

The company claims its system is now hosting more than 20,000 new guest records per week. It will use the investment money to further develop its platform and market itself to more hotels.

“Voyat is completely reinventing the way hotels interact with their guests,” says Voyat CEO Benjamin Habbel, the Voyat co-founder who previously served as Marissa Mayer’s chief of staff while both worked at Google.

“Hospitality is an age-old industry, and the Voyat platform serves to replace outdated practices with regards to guest loyalty, direct bookings bookings, and CRM data collection,” Habbel said in a statement.

“By giving every hotel easy access to contextual discovery and machine learning technology, we are streamlining and modernizing a vital component of the industry through the cloud.”

Voyat enters a hospitality tech space where numerous startups are focused on bookings and customer feedback, but few other companies that we’ve heard of are enabling CRM and loyalty engagement as Voyat is.

CRM systems that are specialized to specific industries are becoming more common. For instance, a system called Posiq helps restaurant owners collect information and run analytics on key customers, then push loyalty program rewards and offers at them via text messages.


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