RezNext is headed by Mike Kistner, a veteran in the hotel distribution space. Previously, he was CEO and Chairman of the board at Pegasus Inc. It was then that Mike had gauged the Asian Market and realised the opportunity in emerging markets like India. RezNext was launched in 2012 and Mike who was already on the board of directors took over as the CEO. We chat with him about the venture: An excerpt from the interview:
- What made you start your venture?
RezNext was launched with the vision to simplify the complex online distribution landscape for hoteliers and help them distribute profitably using intelligent revenue tools. Our real-time two-way connect between the hotel’s PMS and leading distribution channels takes away the manual inefficiencies from a hotel’s online reservation process. Our RezNext system helps hoteliers automate their distribution process – rates and inventory flow to the distribution channels real-time while bookings, modification and cancellation made on the third party channel are automatically updated into the hotel’s PMS. Thus, hoteliers are able to avoid overbooking scenarios and sell up to the last available room. RezNext’s intelligent distribution system empowers hotels of all sizes to get online quickly and manage their distribution process effectively.
- What has been the key to your business’ success?
With the market being highly dynamic, we realised hotel distribution would be most successful with real-time diagnoses of their operations. Our intelligent distribution platform is powered by real-time smart analytics that allow hotels to be in control of their operations and take quick revenue yielding decisions. True two-way real-time connectivity is the core of our offering along with our integrated solution suite to address every function of hotel distribution. We’ve been able to help hoteliers improve their revenue through a data-backed distribution strategy.Some of our customers have been able to double their online hotel bookings. Hotel distribution cannot operate on its own. It needs to be integrated with several functions. Our solutions across revenue management, reputation management, hotel operations, marketing, rate shopping, distribution, all connect seamlessly and allow hotels to analyse performance and recommendations from each department and arrive at a profitable distribution plan.
- What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Our model of business has been quickly accepted by the industry and we have seen aggressive growth since launch. Our challenges are around educating the traditional hotelier on the benefits of online distribution. There are several myths associated with being online and we go through a detailed session with our prospective customers to showcase how they can also get a fair share of the online market using our distribution platform. Collaborating with hoteliers and educating them on the importance of data-backed decisions is important.We have educational webinars, monthly newsletters and regular blogs to communicate with our customers. We also have a character called ReD that we use to connect with hoteliers. Through ReD (presented as a comic book hero) we are trying to create awareness about how typical day-to-day challenges in the hotel can not only be addressed with the right technology, but how real-time data intelligence can also help hoteliers act on market opportunities immediately. Another area is the continuous support that our hotel customers need to grow their online business. While our tools are built to empower hoteliers to quickly act on market trends, because of the lack of bandwidth the intelligence available is not fully optimised. Most hoteliers understand their business but are not tech-savvy. They needcontinuous guidance. Hence our account management staff and services team works with them to completely manage their online distribution efforts right from performing a holistic audit of the hotel’s current revenue strategy to churning out recommendations, executing them, monitoring and reporting on the same.
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
We have been funded by New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA), one of the world’s largest and most active venture capital firms. NEA has presence on the board and monitors performance and advises accordingly.
- Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
We are a technology company that is focused on enabling hoteliers drive maximum revenue from their room distribution business. We deliver a robust, highly scalable, distribution platform which has a great UI to simplify channel management. We alsoprovide efficient and industry-best data transfers (rate and inventory) for our customers to leverage market dynamics. Being a cloud based application we help keep the investment in infrastructure nimble while improving scalability and reliability. Our intelligent distribution solution is built using an open framework. It can easily integrate with other solutions such as internet booking engine, revenue management and reputation management systems so that distribution is no longer approached as an isolated function, but as a core component of the enterprise revenue strategy. We are also working to launch a 360 degree business intelligence tool that will help hoteliers leverage data across each function and see one version of the truth to be able to quickly respond to market opportunities and improve their profitability. In-house, we use CRM applications to manage all our customer relations starting from sign up, go live and account management activities to nurture and grow the account. We also have our own systems for customer support to log, track and respond to incidents.
- What strategy do you follow for customer satisfaction & expansion?
RezNext adopts a collaborative approach towards it relationship with customers. We are involved with hoteliers at every step of their business supporting them with our next-gen solutions as well as round-the-clock service assistance. Each customer has his/her own dedicated account manager who is constantly analysing the booking performance of the property and identifying areas of improvement in the distribution and revenue plan. We also undertake regular surveys to assess customer satisfaction levels and address customer issues proactively. In addition, we conduct various webinars, release newsletters, publish industry reports and post blogs to share important industry updates, market trends and best practices with our customers. Our account management team is focussed on the business growth of our clients. They have a holistic view of our clients’ businesses and can identify gaps in their IT set-up that could be addressed with solutions and services from RezNext. We leverage a team of telemarketers, field sales, industry events and online campaigns for market penetration and expansion. We also have strategic partnerships in place to helps us grow in global markets.
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
To be a successful entrepreneur, it is most essential to have strong business acumen. You should be able to judge the pulse of the market you are getting into and identifythe target market that your solution can address. Second ensure your business idea is your passion, if not you won’t be at it for long. An entrepreneur will have several challenges to face. If you are not passionate about what you do then you won’t have it in you to see through tough times. Most importantly, what will define the success of your business are the employees your hire –you need people who buy into your vision. Choose the right kind of people, nurture them and empower them to deliver results. Visit their website: http://www.reznext.com/ Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReznextGlobalSolutions