Tuesday, September 23, 2014
In 2009, when Marcus Robinson and Mark Costello introduced the prototype of a new touch-screen kiosk for the hospitality industry, the mobile revolution was just a whisper.
Since then, their company, Monscierge, has continually adapted to lightning-fast changes in technology to become a global player in the mobile information world. Today, Monscierge is in more than 3,000 hotels worldwide and the Oklahoma City-based company continues to adjust for future growth.
“We have a $2.4 million fundraise that we are using to bring the company to the next level,” Robinson said. “Right now, all our profits are rolling back into the company to help invest in the future.”
Monscierge provides platforms for hotels to offer guests travel information, ranging from local recommendations of places to visit to hotel reports.
The idea started simply and locally.
“Our company really centered around the belief that hotel guests wanted local recommendations on what to do, where to go, what to eat,” Robinson said. “We took the time to research 4,000 hotels globally, and we wanted to know what questions their guests asked and what kind of information they were looking for.”
Their research showed that 73 percent of respondents said guests asked for local recommendations. Robinson, who has a background in software development, said he started creating a system that would answer those questions for guests.
Monscierge debuted a large touch-screen kiosk at several resorts in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the feedback was nearly all positive. Shortly after, however, mobile apps began taking over, and the company had to adapt quickly to meet consumer demand for the product on mobile platforms.
“The most challenging thing we’ve faced is how the market has shifted and changed quite dramatically,” Robinson said. “When we started, the iPhone had just come into existence, and we had to do a fundamental shift very quickly.
“We developed a platform for local hotels to control and update their recommendations for each brand of hotel,” Robinson said. “The program is special to that hotel, and they can control the branding for the chain while individual hotels can control the local recommendations.”
Now in 80 countries, and with 41 employees, Monscierge also has to work through the challenges of doing business on a global level. The software is in 16 different languages, and the engineers have to ensure that the account management system works in a global marketplace.
“We are creating a development staff to understand the global challenges we face,” Robinson said. “You have to remind people that just because we do things one way in the U.S., it’s not how it’s done in other countries. But, a lot of our success boils down to people and attitude.”
Monscierge’s philosophy – which Robinson said has led to such a strong relationship in the hospitality industry – is “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”