Ex-Googler Dr. Stefan Tweraser is hoping to inject some Silicon Valley-style efficiency into his new employer SnapShot GmbH, as the Austrian startup readies itself to revolutionize the hospitality industry with its new Big Data analytics services.
Tweraser’s appointment as SnapShot’s new CEO comes at a time when the startup is preparing for the eagerly anticipated launch of its new hotel analytics service, SnapShot Analytics, which aims to help hoteliers extract value from their Big Data and deliver a tangible boost to their bottom lines.
Like so many businesses, hotels these days accumulate enormous amounts of data on their customers, finances, industry trends, and more. But unlike other industries that have already embraced the Big Data revolution, most hotels are still stuck in a time-warp, with the bulk of their data lying unused, either locked away in silos or tied up in customer relationship management systems where it’s inaccessible to all but the most advanced data scientists.
It’s a problem big problem, and a lost opportunity, largely because most hotels don’t have a highly-skilled data scientist on hand to try and help them make sense of it. I exchanged emails with Dr. Tweraser, just last week, in order to learn more about his plans for SnapShot.
“The hotel tech industry is ripe for revolution,” Tweraser explained. “Nothing much has changed in so many years, and the things you would take for granted in other industries simply do not exist here.”
And so, SnapShot has set itself the lofty goal of helping hotels to unlock their Big Data, giving them access to the kinds of data-driven insights that are taken for granted in more forward-thinking industries like financial services and marketing.
To do so, it’s developed the first hospitality focused analytics solution to help hoteliers structure and analyze their data in such a way that it can finally be put to use. SnapShot has built what its CMO Martin Soler described as a “demand management” platform that lets hoteliers effectively budget, strategize and forecast demand, helping them to drive performance and create better experiences for their guests.
Tweraser teased me as to some of the advantages hoteliers could gain by unlocking the insights in their hotel data, explaining that SnapShot helps them to understand the costs of distribution, to predict and manage demand, and to better leverage existing resources. Using this knowledge, hoteliers will be able to make smarter business decisions much more rapidly than before, for example when the data predicts a likely spike in demand.
“Imagine being connected with an API that feeds data from Blablacar (the ride-sharing app) and train companies into the system,” Tweraser said. “Doing so allows you to see how many people will be arriving and departing a city outside of flights, and thus you can predict surge or slow periods.”
Tweraser predicted that these kinds of insights would have “a huge impact” on the hospitality industry, leading to higher revenues and a better experience for hotel guests.
Judging by Tweraser’s comments, readers might well assume that he’s confident the SnapShot platform will live up to its potential. If so, that confidence is well-placed because SnapShot has an ace up its sleeve in the shape of its unparalleled expertise in the hospitality industry itself.
SnapShot’s CMO Soler joined the team last year, having previously worked as a hotel marketing consultant at World Independent Hotels Marketing SAS (WIHP). Meanwhile, SnapShot’s co-founder and COO David Turnbull has spent more than a decade running hotel revenue management outsource & distribution services provider Yeeld Solutions. The firm’s other co-founder, CIO Michael Heinze, helped build the world’s first channel management system for hotels during his time at Hotel Booking Solutions Inc. (HBSI).
Add to this the hands-on role being played by SnapShot’s largest investor, Beijing Shiji Information Technology Co., (Shiji Networks), which provides IP solutions to more than 6,000 hotels in China, and it becomes clear that SnapShot understands better than most how hotels can leverage Big Data to their advantage.
“What’s needed is to really deep-dive into the hospitality industry and to understand its ins and outs,” Tweraser said. “That’s how we’ll be able to provide value and help solve key problems.”
Tweraser added that he doesn’t believe his own lack of expertise in the hospitality industry will be a shortcoming. On the contrary, he says that his past experiences as head of sales for Google in Germany, and previous stints at McKinsey & Company and Telekom Austria Group, have left him well equipped to deal with the challenges of being a CEO at such a small startup.
“What I like about being a startup CEO is the truly hands-on aspect and the need for extreme diversity,” he said, adding that his immediate focus will be on speeding up innovation and expanding the scope of SnapShot’s offerings to try and broaden its geographical reach.
“My personal scope is very broad – product, clients, budget, code, hiring and more. Things are moving fast all day, every day in my world, and I love every second of it.”