Why can't tech companies scale in our industry?
As I have been accumulating industry knowledge and experience over the last 20 years in different roles, I started realizing that there’s a huge knowledge gap between hospitality technology providers and hospitality operators. And mainly this is because they come from different worlds and they speak different languages.
What I realized is that 90% of employees, executives and even founders of tech companies don’t originally come from our industry, they don’t have any hospitality background so they often have a hard time understanding how to successfully navigate in our world and effectively scale their businesses. If you think about it, it makes total sense because, as you know, it's really hard to find tech-oriented talent in hospitality, so these innovators end up coming to us from fintech, real estate, and other related or not-so-related sectors.
The good news is that these tech vendors are desperate for knowledge (I personally have committed hundreds of hours of consulting to tech startups in the last few years, and there are many more consultants who have done the same). Those talented individuals that are passionate about building amazing products – they see opportunities in our market and they want to understand our industry to serve it better and to scale their companies.
But the bad news is that there is not a lot of knowledge that they can easily access to understand how our world functions, how tech buying decisions are made by hospitality operators, who decision-makers are and what end-user categories even look like.
As many of you know, that is how the idea of my online learning course was born – the course I designed for hospitality tech companies (investors, founders and employees of those companies) to explain how hospitality owners and operators think and how to market and sell to them to be successful.
Having built successful products for various tech providers and having consulted both tech vendors and hospitality companies, I learned a lot.
And mainly what I learned is that all tech vendors in our industry are dealing with the same problems, which essentially boil down to this short but heavy list:
- problems related to complexities of our ecosystem, operations and distribution
- integration dependencies, especially when it comes to legacy technology
- lack of understanding of decision-makers and how to appeal to them (who do you even approach with your product: do you talk to owners, management companies or brands?)
- lack of awareness about technology among hospitality operators
If you're a tech vendor and you've been selling your products to hospitality companies for at least a few years – I bet you've already started feeling the pain from every single item on that list. But! The good news is that all those problems can be easily overcome with the right knowledge. If you have the knowledge – you have the power:
- The power to find the right, most lucrative market segment
- The power to build a product that customers will love
- The power to find the right decision-makers and influencers and speak the right language
- The power to scale your product by navigating integration dependencies and utilizing complementary partnership opportunities
For many years (decades) nobody ever explained to newcomers how to navigate in our industry, how to do market research, how to come up with the right product requirements for the right end-users, who the decision-makers are… the list goes on. So in other words – how to optimally MARKET and SELL to the hospitality industry.
Nobody ever explained this to them. So the knowledge gap kept expanding.
And the fact that I sold over a thousand copies of my last book in just a few months, confirmed that there was a real need for this knowledge.
Being passionate about the evolution of our industry, I'm happy to communicate this knowledge to people and companies who would like to understand how to successfully scale their products in hospitality and effectively grow their businesses, so they don't have to make the same mistakes over and over again, because I’ve been in their shoes and I’ve learned from the mistakes I made myself and the mistakes of numerous vendors I have consulted. I’m happy to share my knowledge and everything I have learned in 20 years with these amazing, talented, ambitious companies who have a lot of potential to disrupt our industry, innovate and finally drag it by its ears to the 21st century.
Ira Vouk Hospitality 2.0 Consulting