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RepUp brings SaaS technology to hotels from check-in to check out

Vishal Krishna
22nd Jan 2019
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RepUp is a Saas solution that helps hotels achieve a 20 percent improvement in revenue through experience enhancement and experience marketing.

Though most hotels have hopped onto the digital bandwagon, some of them are still dependent on travel portals to reach out to customers and for analytics that will help them retain customers.

So most often, they fall behind when it comes to customer intent in the digital world. Tech is going to change all that. At least 1,300 hotels are not falling behind any more thanks to this startup called RepUp.

Pranjal Prashar and Vineet C, Co-founders of RepUp, are from IIITM in Gwalior. Both founders are avid travellers and understand the problems of hoteliers and their reluctance in participating in the digital world.

Repup
Pranjal Prashar, Co-founder of RepUp.

In June 2014, after working with different corporate organisations for four years, Pranjal and Vineet began working on RepUp after a leading hotel chain engaged them to help deal with negative reviews. A third Co-founder Sachin Agarwal joined them in 2017.

Prior to their entrepreneurial venture, Pranjal worked in information security at AUJAS, a niche consulting firm. Vineet was a banker with IDBI. Sachin is a graduate from IIT Delhi.

RepUp is a Saas solution that helps hotels achieve a 20 percent improvement in revenue through experience enhancement and experience marketing.

RepUp's intelligent virtual assistant

Think of RepUp as an intelligent virtual assistant for every hotel staff who knows the persona of every guest. “We have developed a Machine Learning (ML)-based platform, which provides the persona of every traveller based on his/her reviews, social media info, and past data. The platform helps in automation of tasks from check-in to check-out,” says Pranjal Prashar.

The travel industry is fragmented and involves multiple players across the value chain. For the lodging industry, in discovery/booking/sales, online travel agencies or OTAs lead the race.

In major markets, nearly 55 percent of bookings are generated through three-four major players. Hotels share a hefty commission on these OTA sales at the cost of not knowing their customer. Imagine with this software, hotels can compensate for the lost commission by upselling and retaining the customer directly.

The opportunity

According to RepUp, the hospitality industry has more than six million businesses spread across travel, lodging, F&B, events, and experience providers in India alone.

“Large hospitality chains have people, processes, and multiple systems, which allow them to communicate and personalise experience at various stages. RepUp provides a single layer of automation to reduce failure caused by manual dependency. The system also ensures quality in every stay,” says Pranjal.

“Take the case of a large budget hotel aggregator from India. It gets hundreds of reviews every day on each OTA. Understanding what it means for different departments and adjusting pricing based on reviews of other properties in the vicinity is what we are doing through our platform,” he adds.

In 2016, the founders received the first pay cheque for building a post-stay reputation management system through which hotels could analyse and manage reviews from 150 plus platforms, including social media, review sites, and OTAs. They started up with Rs 1 crore that included funds raised from friends and family. The founders did not want to disclose their revenues and the amount of angel money raised.

They raised angel funding from Indian Angel Network (IAN) in 2015-16 and Sanjay Mehta, from IAN, is on their board. Building the right team and establishing processes around revenue collection have been major learnings in the last few months, according to the founders. The product is also extensively used in South East Asian markets.

“We started from India and entered the SEA market last year. The market behaviour is different, and the same sales engine doesn’t work everywhere. Till June 2017, we were largely dependent on feet-on-street sales presence, which was expensive in global markets,” says Prashar.

The business concentrates on providing annual SaaS contracts to hospitality businesses. The company claims that over the last one year it has built some high potential partnerships and is working hard to double its customer base with significantly higher value contracts in global markets.

RepUp currently serves over 1,300 paying hotels in 10 countries. The company says that seven out of top 10 Indian chains are working with them.

Once a hotel signs up with it, RepUp automates its processes during pre-stay, stay, and post-stay stages of the customer. This alone helps clients save hundreds of hours each month from routine tasks. “Our system is also able to assist hotels in knowing what they need to fix and spend in the coming year,” says Prashar.

The product helps engage customers better, analyse and act on customer complaints, provides real-time offers to customers on their mobile, provides analytics on guest feedback, and marketing the service across all OTAs.

This company was part of the Oracle Accelerator in 2017 and uses the Oracle Cloud and a suite of products from Oracle. The company competes with Trust You, Olery, and Revinate, all of which have raised millions of dollars in funding.

According to IBEF, the consulting firm, the total contribution by the travel and tourism sector to India's GDP is expected to increase from $ 234.03 billion in 2017 to $ 492.21 billion in 2028. For RepUp, it sure is a billion-dollar opportunity.

 

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