Hospitality Leaders: This, Too, Shall Pass
By Marc Heyneker Co-Founder & CEO, Revinate | March 29, 2020
I am writing this article from my home in San Francisco. As you likely know, California, and San Francisco in particular, was quick to react to the threat of COVID-19, declaring a state of emergency on February 25th and ordering a shelter-in-place on March 17th. As a citizen, a son, a husband and an uncle to young nieces and nephews, it is scary. As a CEO in the hospitality industry with 120 employees, it is nerve wracking.
No one yet knows when people will resume traveling. Hotels are losing more and more money every day and many workers have already been laid off or furloughed. Many hotels have shut down completely. For some, it's the first time in their history that they have ever been closed for business.
But every time I let my mind take me to the worst-case scenario, I am reminded that I am surrounded by people who are capable of amazing things. The garages of Silicon Valley birthed technology without which we would be lost. The universities that surround me trained the best and brightest in this nation. With my Silicon Valley glasses on, I know that anything is possible when we band together.
My partner Jay and I founded Revinate at the tail end of the recession. Despite the challenges, we believed in our vision of helping hoteliers more deeply connect with their guests. We bootstrapped the company until we were profitable, forgoing many of the luxuries that other start-ups have with which to build a sound business. Fiscal responsibility is in our DNA, which is reassuring as we embark on what will likely be a trying period for the business.
One challenge that we face as a software provider is that we are exclusively focused on the hospitality industry. We made the decision early on to go narrow and deep, versus building software solutions that would work for multiple verticals. We knew that, to be a trusted partner for our hotel clients, we needed to understand their business and their systems inside and out. So we became experts. We hired people from the industry who worked in marketing, revenue management, guest experience and front-of-house roles. We built our own culture of hospitality, as hotels do, getting stronger with each hire.
I don't regret the decision to double down on hospitality, even now. Even as this industry faces its most difficult period, I'm happy we chose to focus on hotels. In some ways, it makes it easier to stomach what's ahead because we are tied to the success of our customers, many of whom have been with us for a decade. We understand their needs and their pain and will share in their success when things turn around.
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