What are the challenges that customers face in the industry and how do you address them?
The hospitality industry, in general, is evolving. I came into it 17 years ago at a time when it was more manual with larger margin opportunities. Today, with the use of technology, we see that profits are decreasing even further (they were already low before) as you get closer and closer to live data. That is why it is very interesting for our firm to operate on both the supply as well as the demand side of the equation, making us a true marketplace. We find that many times, information is kept by aggregator companies themselves and not the owner or hotel operator—there is no transparency. Ido not think that is right. The guest belongs to the owner and operator and not necessarily the agency or demand channel that generated the booking. The hoteliers pay a fee for the reservation to the aggregators. So, the latter should not keep the information to themselves because the former are struggling with guest retention.
Can you tell us about IBC and what the company does?
We are part of OBASA Hospitality. We have two divisions—IBC Hospitality Technologies and MyKey Global Accommodations.
MyKey Global Accommodations is a technology tool that serves corporations, travel planners, suppliers and individuals globally who are either providing or looking for furnished housing. The properties on MyKey.com come from all accommodation types, including hotels, serviced apartments and private homes. In addition, every supplier on the platform is vetted to ensure they are a reputable provider. Suppliers typically experience longer-term stays because they are being used by corporations—particularly within the relocation, entertainment, and insurance industries.
The software and services that we provide with IBC include RevLogic CRS—a proprietary platform with customizable business intelligence dashboards. The CRS is powered by hundreds of APIs, so it is very well integrated. One of the things we will be doing more of in 2019 is building additional integrations into the supply itself—particularly in property management systems.
The dashboards provided by RevLogic are paramount, especially if you own several units. We find that many of our owners and operators do not own only one type of asset. It may be a hotel and a vacation rental, and so on. So, what they are able to do is, at an ownership level, have a login to give them all the data that they want—where the demand is coming from, guest information, revenue, occupancy, and the like. They can easily manage their data with RevLogic by entering it just once into RevLogic and it is then immediately distributed across all the consumer demand channels they use. We also provide varying access level logins for each property. This is ideal for companies that operate multiple units as they can see how each of them is doing.
We find that many times, information is kept by aggregator companies themselves and not the owner or hotel operator—there is no transparency
Additionally, we have our RoomLogic Online Booking Engine, which requires just two lines of code to install on the client’s website, and includes an optional patent-pending Loyalty Program. RoomLogic’s consumer-facing interface is customizable with colors, logos, and also has optional add-ons for car rentals, air travel, and other activities. It also includes customizable confirmation reminders and ways to show post-stay gratitude to customers.
Our third product is MetaLogic, a digital marketing technology that uses metasearch to help properties better compete with larger brands and online travel agencies.It has a blended ROI of 12:1 and helps property owners and operators get more direct bookings to their website. As part of MetaLogic, we also offer customer retargeting, which also enables our clients to get more direct bookings. We have the shortest look back window in the industry, saving owners and operators money by not chasing stale leads, which is important. We even run MetaLogic side-by-side on some properties with an industry leader and find there is very little last touch attribution overlap. This makes MetaLogic a real win for all properties, even branded ones.
Finally, in addition to these two divisions, we have a consumer-facing site called IBC.Travel (www.IBC.travel). It features more than 1.1 million properties from around the world with an emphasis on independently owned accommodations for people seeking unique, ground-level experiences. People that use it can experience lower rates and they are enrolled in our patent-pending IBC InnCentives loyalty program. Through it, people can earn cash back or e-gift cards that can be used around the world or even free nights at hotels. What is revolutionary about IBC InnCentives is that you earn reward points regardless of which participating property you stay at, so unlike traditional hotel loyalty programs, you don’t have to stay and redeem points with the same brand. You have virtually unlimited flexibility.
"We are forward-thinking in terms of our technology and constantly asking ourselves how we can help owners, operators, guests and the hospitality industry as a whole"
What are the distinct features of your solution that give you a competitive edge?
Because we are owners and operators of accommodations too, we take a look at this differently. Our team is a blend of people with experience in corporate housing, vacation rentals and hotels, so we have a unique way of looking at the market. It is important to work with a company that is transparent and with high moral standards, and that is something I can say is true of OBASA Hospitality. Our company has also taken on this ethos; we are very transparent and kind, both internally and externally, so that we can take care of our people. As a result, we feel strongly about being completely clear, not only internally to our team, but externally to our customers as well. We are forward-thinking in terms of our technology and constantly asking ourselves why things have been done a certain way and if it can be done differently so that there are positive results for owners or customers.
Can you provide a case study that highlights your solutions?
A customer that was originally using our largest competitor’s solution came over to use RevLogic because they were impressed with our offering. We allowed them more flexibility as we can customize our product for a company. Based on their resources and properties, they needed a few things changed. Our solution was also significantly less expensive, so they ended up saving with increased profitability as a bonus.
On MetaLogic, the ROI is pretty exciting. There is another retargeting company out there and our ROI beats theirs. When you put the two companies side-by-side, in one of the properties, we saw that there was very little crossover in terms of last-touch, which was interesting for us. Our ROI was also significantly higher and we have enough data to support that.
What does the future look like for IBC Hospitality Technologies?
We are getting our hands around technology and the customer to make sure that they are happy. What started a few years ago in corporate housing has evolved with MyKey, and what began over ten years ago just servicing independent hotels has evolved into the all-accommodations technology supplier that today is IBC. The two companies came together in August 2018 and combined have formed a fantastic team; we are excited about 2019!
We have been rapidly adding new API integrations. It is very important to be connected for live content and bookings. The thought used to be that the more integrations,the better, but what we find is that a key group of integrations is more powerful than having more integrations. We are looking to add our own Global Distribution System (GDS) in 2019 as well as white labeling our bidding tool for MyKey customers to be launched next year by OBASA Hospitality. We are also actively looking to acquire complementary companies.