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The SME Story: Gregor Amon, Co-founder of Hotel Data Cloud

The SME Story: Gregor Amon, Co-founder of Hotel Data Cloud

The Hotel Data Cloud platform ensures that hotels’ information and pictures are updated across all travel websites, travel agent databases and points of sale

Gregor Amon, co-founder of Hotel Data Cloud

What is the core business model of Hotel Data Cloud?
When we started HDC in 2016, our aim was to set a new standard in global hotel content distribution. Our business model caters to a two-sided market, where hotels are charged a nominal yearly fee to distribute their descriptive content and booking partners or travel agents can use it for free.

What were you doing before you founded HDC?
I am a pilot by profession, but always had a passion for entrepreneurship, so I decided to follow my calling and started a hotel room wholesale company, selling reservations to travel agencies and tour operators. I realised very early on that end customers were not receiving the latest hotel descriptions, update on amenities or other features. In turn, nine out of 10 travellers blame the hotel for wrong or missing information, not only hurting the hotel’s reputation, but also affecting its bottom line.

I started HDC with my co-founder Kevin Czok, because we saw a need in the market for a centralised global database for descriptive hotel content and real-time updates. Essentially, we make sure that hotels’ information and pictures are updated across all travel websites, travel agent databases and points of sale, thereby ensuring that potential guests can make educated and informed booking decisions.

What are some of the unforeseen challenges of becoming an entrepreneur?
The level of rejection that one needs to face… a strong sense of self-belief is critical if one wants to be an entrepreneur, because for every one ‘yes’, you will hear 20 ‘nos’. But at the end of the day, as entrepreneurs, we don’t do things because they are easy, we do them because they are exciting, and because we have the possibility to change a whole industry.

How has Covid-19 and its effects on the hospitality and tourism industry impacted your business?
Covid-19 has had a catastrophic effect on the tourism industry, with an estimated loss of 60 to 80 per cent of international tourist arrivals, equaling 850 million to 1.1 billion fewer tourists. Travellers lack trust and in order to work towards restoring traveller trust and confidence to reinvigorate the tourism industry, we decided to see how we could proactively assist hotels in regaining customers interest. We decided to accelerate the introduction of an artificial intelligence and machine learning based recommendation engine, specifically designed to help hotels engage and retain customers once people start travelling again.

For our efforts, we were recognised by the United Nations World Tourism Organization as a ‘Healing Solutions for Tourism’ and one of the most disruptive startups in the Middle East, working to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on tourism. We also just received $200,000 from the Lee Business School, in recognition of our innovative solutions to help the hospitality industry globally.

Read: UN recognises Dubai tech startup for efforts to spur tourism industry

What are your plans to scale the business?
The biggest challenge at the moment is meeting increasing client demand and scaling fast enough. At this point in our company trajectory, we are focusing on addressing this challenge by looking to engage external investors who can help to expand our teams.

Which markets do you expect to become more significant over the next three to five years?
We are already serving hotels in 153 countries and are a global product from the start. The next stage in our evolution is to focus on key markets where we see potential for exponential growth. In particular the UAE, where we are working with Dubai Tourism (DTCM) and Dnata through participation in their incubator Intelak.

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