The last time you stayed at a hotel, you may have received a text from the property asking if you had any special requests before checking in. Want a dinner reservation or theatre tickets? They could help with that – no phone call required. Then while you were there, an unobtrusive text message popped in asking if everything is going OK or do you need anything? And if your card key didn’t work, the wifi dropped off, or you needed more towels, help was only a text away.
You can thank a South Florida-based tech startup, Nuvola, for all that.
That Guest Chat feature is only one of the features that Nuvola offers hotels to make the guest experience efficient and delightful. Many of those features a guest would never notice, but they make the hotel run much more efficiently. Led by founder and CEO Juan Carlos Abello (pictured below) and based in Fort Lauderdale, Nuvola serves the world’s biggest hotel companies and brands – including Accor, Wyndham and Choice — as well as boutique hotels.
Nuvola’s cloud-based scalable software integrates property standard operating procedures into its proprietary system, leading to more efficient back-of-house operations, staff management such as housekeeping and guest services, and guest engagement, all accessible on a single destination, not multiple apps. That’s because the company is run by a team of former hoteliers and tech experts.
For instance, with Nuvola’s housekeeping module, rooms can easily and efficiently be assigned to each room attendant, and that provides tremendous ROI to hotels. Abello should know: He started out doing just that as a director of housekeeping at the Delano on Miami Beach years ago when everything was done on paper. And with Nuvola’s guest engagement functionality, there’s no learning curve with the guests because it is just one more text message. However, on the staff side, staff can communicate with multiple guests at the same time and track progress through a dashboard, Abello said. “It gives flexibility, cost savings, and particularly in this new contactless world, it has been a great service.”
During the pandemic, Nuvola’s contactless technology may seem a no-brainer but Abello and his team developed the technology before the pandemic. He saw where the industry is going.
Nuvola already had software for housekeeping and inspections, but when the pandemic arrived Abello’s team worked quickly to modify the software to become sanitization software. “We launched a campaign called ‘Stay Clean’ in May 2020. We gave the sanitization software free for any hotel around the world for the remainder of the year,” Abello said. “We had tremendous success, including we signed up one of the largest hospitality management groups in the US as part of that campaign.”
Expect more to come. “We’re developing more contactless technology, which honestly is still taking off. It is still very much early adopters using it … but this is where the technology is going.”
In a couple of years, all guests will be opening their guest room doors with their phones, for instance, but Nuvola plans to stay ahead of the game developing the tech, “By the time that this becomes standard and contactless functionality takes over, which it will, our technology will already be robust enough to serve any brand. It’s why we’re pioneers in this technology.”
Last year, Nuvola implemented an AI-powered Insights feature into its software, Its Insights feature lives throughout the entire platform, and provides information on a guest’s preferences, special requests, issues they may have had at the hotel, information about the room status and service requests, etc., and it also gives suggestions on who should address a guest’s issue or need, based on proximity and availability, among other factors. The algorithm becomes smarter every day as more tickets are created or more rooms are assigned, Abello said. Released in September, Insights is drawing strong positive feedback from clients, from hotels and casinos to boutique properties, he said.
Today Nuvola is a team of 39 people, with offices in Miami and Colombia, and last year Abello opened an office in China. Nuvola serves customers in 35 counties, said Abello, who earned a bachelor’s in International Management at Florida International University and worked at hotels while a student.
Abello believes that his core team is one of the keys to his company’s success. His advice: “It is critical to find employees that truly believe in the company’s vision and are dedicated to its growth. Entrepreneurs need to locate these team members and then invest in them. Providing additional incentives outside of a salary, such as stock options, creates a competitive offer while generating investment from each team member in the company’s success.”
Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg and email her at [email protected]
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