SmartHotel, a startup that develops software for the hospitality industry, has closed a $1 million Pre-A round from Smok Ventures (an existing investor) with the participation of LT Capital Ventures and Next Road Ventures to expand its services across Africa and Europe.
Others in the round include Wiktor Schmidt – co-owner of Netguru (one of the biggest software developing companies in Europe), and Mirosław Janik – former Vice President at Wincor Nixdorf Group.
The new investment will go into the development and expansion of its innovative software that enables contact-free and easy communication with guests in hotels and apartments in Nigeria, Tanzania, Poland and South Africa. The startup also plans to expand to other parts of Africa and Europe, and the United Kingdom with the funding.
Founded by Maciej Prostak (CEO) and Damian Dabrowski (CTO) in 2019, SmartHotel integrates with hotel management systems, enabling quick handling of matters related to guests’ stay on-site, reducing the number of phone calls to the reception desk, simplifying procedures, and finally saving time and money of owners and managers.
The software, which leverages messaging channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, sends a link to the guest’s telephone number or email address with the registration card. The guest remotely completes the requested information by the hotel on their smartphone at their convenience.
This saves them the stress of queuing to check-in. Afterward, the guest selects their favorite messenger where they receive the most important information about their stay. They can order additional services or report a problem. Everything without the need to visit the front office desk or contact us by phone.
Commenting, Country Manager SmartHotel Nigeria Kayode Oluwatuyi said “Our SmartHotel technology has been widely accepted and endorsed by Nigerian hotels because the staff does not need to physically come into contact with guests to offer services to them. The advantage here is that the hotel keeps both staff and guests safe due to the coronavirus pandemic while digitizing their services”
The company’s position is further strengthened by technological partnerships with hospitality giants such as Oracle and Nightsbridge.
“The traction has been awesome so far as we have the likes of Eko Hotel & Suites, CitiHeights, Lagos Oriental Hotel, and Sheraton among others interested in using our software. The feedback has been mindblowing. We are looking forward to helping more hotels in Nigeria and Africa digitize their services.”
SmartHotel’s development potential is hinged on the low digitization of hotels in emerging economies and apartments, the need to stay safe due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as the dynamically growing value of the hotel services market, which by 2025 will be worth over USD$5 trillion.
“So far, no one from the hotel industry has come up with the idea of using their favorite and commonly used messengers in the world, such as WhatsApp or Messenger, in communicating with guests, especially now, when you can check in remotely and communicate using well-known messengers. This is why SmartHotel is so popular among hoteliers after the pandemic and is developing so dynamically, ” comments Mirosław Janik, one of the investors.
Maciej Prostak – founder of SmartHotel said: “Over the past years, we have been gathering know-how, which we now use, continuously adjusting SmartHotel to the needs of our clients. We regularly meet with the owners and managers of the facilities and together we design the product so that it meets all their needs and is adapted to each facility.
“We want to help hotels and their guests get through the pandemic by enabling a safe stay without queuing at the front desk and waiting for service. The non-contact form of servicing guests in hotels and apartments guaranteed the highest level of security. Shortening the check-in process and enabling remote check-out and the ability to send important messages to all guests with one click – it was a bull’s eye! ”
SmartHotel was established in 2019. The idea of creating a communication platform in the hotel industry came from Maciej Prostak, an entrepreneur with over 16 years of experience in the business. SmartHotel integrates with hotel management and hospitality systems such as Oracle Opera, Mews, CloudBeds, Protel, and over 30 others, allowing guests to quickly settle matters related to their stay via Messenger and WhatsApp.