Dear friends, colleagues and members,
We are finally ready with our new platform and a beta version will probably be released VERY soon. We want to take this opportunity to talk a little about our industry, WYG, you, money, plans....this is long, but very important, so go make a coffee, sit back relax and read
During the 17 years I'm in this industry I have seen new technologies and trends take over our industry. Trends like guests rating the ho(s)tels, on one hand allowed me to know what my guests think and better my services but on the other hand gave my guests such power that with one bad review they could destroy many months of hard work, a power that some guests misused.
New technologies, like Booking, were aimed at the guests, making it easier for them to book, but not only that they did not increase the number of guests in my city, as no one decides to travel just because of Booking, but also came at my expenses and with a great cost in the form of commissions.
If we think about it, there is one thing in common for all these trends and technologies. None of them has us, the hoteliers, in mind as the principal beneficiary. They were always aimed to help or better the service for someone else, usually the guest, sometimes having side benefits for us sometimes no benefits at all but ALWAYS it was us who needed to pay a/the price. The milking cow of the industry.
Local initiatives, like Whatsapp/Facebook groups, started springing up trying to resolve problems, like problematic guests, but with all do respect they serve more as a place to blow steam after something happened than to really solve the problem. Other problems, like OTA's doing and charging whatever they want, still stay with no solution as no ho(s)tel association with 300-400 members cant even start tickling a giant like Booking.
This is where WhosYourGuest comes into the picture. WhosYourGuest is MUCH more than just a platform to report guests. It is a proof of concept that when joining forces we can solve a common "pain". That together we are stronger. That size does matter. We are "only" 5,000 members now and are already making a change (Booking changing their invalid credit card policies/Allowing to report and block a negative guest etc), imagine the impact when we are 50,000! (for example if we all delete at the same time our availability from Booking for one week? Will booking still ignore us or come running to ask what is it that's bothering us?)
So why am i telling you all of this? for a couple of reasons. First, and foremost, because you are one of the early supporters. Not only you registered to the platform but also took the extra step to join the group. You are willing to give and share your knowledge for the benefit of others. All for one and one for all. You are the hard core user. The type that every movement or revolution needs and is based on.
Second, because WhosYourGuest belongs to you just as much as it belongs to me, the founder, to my co founders, the staff who works here day and night to make this happen and as such we are going to treat you. As a partner. We will ask for your opinion before making decisions, your comments and suggestions will always be taken seriously, we will be totally transparent, accessible etc. This is OUR movement!
So now that we established you are a partner, let's talk about how much you need to invest hahaha. Don't be scared it was a joke, but yes, let's talk about money.
It takes money, lots of money, to run WYG. Support personnel, research, developers, lawyers.....Many members write asking where is the trick, or how do we make money, since the services are free. Well, there is no trick and we don't make money..:-). Only spend. ALL the money invested so far is from personal savings ( I sold one of my establishments to finance WYG) but funds are starting to run low. We will need money to keep going and develop new services and solution to problems we are facing, like a direct booking system. So here are the two possibilities we have:
1. Outside investors. Can bring big money but might also bring future conflicts of interests (investor will only think about making money and we only think about the benefits of the ho(s)tels)
2. Bootstrapping. Self financing. Through extra services members can choose to pay for (we will get to that in a moment). This means less money, longer execution times of new ideas but on the other hand total independence to make decisions which are good for us and us only
First, lets make it very clear. The basic services of today, Search and report, will ALWAYS stay free. It's the basic right of every establishment to know the type of guest they are about to receive. It's our second amendment...:-) (No need for guns to protect ourselves, we have WYG...:-) )
So, when we say extra services we mean:
1. Advance settings where members can decide which type of offence they want to receive alerts by email, from what type of establishment (only cases that happened in hostels, 5 star hotels etc), the geographical area of the alerts (my city, country, continent, all...), Choose their preferred language etc.
2. Ability to define different users with different accessibility levels to the platform (Owner, Manager, reception...)
3. An online reservation and guest management system, like a simple PMS, that once you enter guest name it will automatically check against the database and alert if that guest is reported
Members can CHOOSE to pay for these extra service or not. Payment will be symbolic, compared with what other PMS's charge, between $15- $40 per month depending on the type of establishment and size. We see these payment more as a contribution to the cause, money that will allow us to continue doing what we are doing, and hopefully you will see it the same way too
There are many other things we can all do to help advance our cause that do not involve money. If you are members of Whatsapp/Facebook groups in your country you can let them know about WYG and ask them to join (can copy and paste parts of this email too), if you belong to an association write them and ask them to work in alliance with us (can tell them that their members will get a discount on our extra services), if you work with a PMS or Channel manager next time you write them say you would like to have the possibility that all reservation before arriving to you will be verified on our database first, post about and share WYG posts on your Facebook page, let your friend in the industry know about WYG, when you have meeting.....the more people will know about us and join, the stronger we will get. Guests will also hear about us and will know the time has come where there will consequences, positive or negative, to their actions.
We do not take it lightly, and we don't forget, the ones who were with us from the start. You! On this group you can have direct effect on the direction WYG will take in the future by expressing your opinion and replying to the surveys we post every now and then. You will know first of new features and ideas and will even have special discounts available only for group members. For example, the beta of the new platform will be available at first ONLY to members of the group and later on to everyone else.
Fighting to make changes in our industry will not be easy. We will face many challenges and obstacles on the way in the form of Law, bureaucracy, OTA's....but as one user once wrote us, united hoteliers will never be defeated.
Thank you and appreciate you managing to read all the way to here...:-)