With all the online platforms out there for hotels, spas, and other hospitality oriented services, the first and most influential exposure is typically based on price. I know when I started using the hotel site we use today, back in 2002, it was strictly price driven. Now, we typically book 100s of nights a year, and we look for amenities and hotels that will still let us use our brand rewards even though we book through a third party.
Once a user gets over the initial cost benefit, retaining customers to any one brand and becoming loyal is a tough sell. Most of the time when we hear about loyalty and rewards, which are the centerpieces around customer retention, we are typically talking about retail and restaurants.
Geordie Wardman, a Mexican entrepreneur, is hoping to change the way companies in the hotel, salon, and spa industries retain quality customers and solve customer issues as fast as they can.
We keep hearing stories about consumer giants like Best Buy, Dell, and American Airlines, who have devoted huge teams of employees to monitor review sites and social media. But what about the small business, or even the startup?
That’s where Guest Retain comes in. Wardman’s company monitors the biggest review sites and social media to find the buzz words and other indicators of a negative review, alerting a business owner within minutes so that they can try their best to turn a negative into a positive.
A customer who has been turned around from a bad experience is far more likely to be loyal than just a regular customer. Guest Retain hones in on that idea, getting the most important information back to the companies so they can act on it.
We got a chance to talk to Warman. Check out the interview below.
What is your startup called?
GuestRetain – We handle online reputation marketing for Hotels, Spas and Salons. Our solution basically automates positives reviews by capturing testimonials and when the customers responses are positive guiding the customers to leave positive reviews on the social review sites like Google Reviews, Yahoo, TripAdvisor, Yelp, City Search and any others that are beneficial to promote the business reputation of our clients. When a customer experience is bad, we warn the owner and give them the opportunity to correct the situation directly with that client before they go on to the social review site.
Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds
Founder is Geordie Wardman
Where are you based?
I am based in Sayulita, Mexico where I live on the beach with my family and surf 3 to 4 days a week (when there are waves!)
What’s the startup scene like where you are based?
There is none, and I have to form my own mastermind groups and accountability groups because I live in a very rural area of Mexico.
What problem do you solve?
The problem that I solve is only angry customers leave reviews, not good loyal customers because Good Service is expected. When a problem does arise, the owner is given notice of it BEFORE the customer complains on it on the social review sites. Previously, the owners only found out about customers problems AFTER the customers had left a scathing critique of an experience online, where it stays forever to detract future business prospects from checking their business. We are an alert system for business owners to stay in closer contact with their customers, so they can be proactive about their customer retention and relationships, and augment their online reputations.
What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?
Funded development by pre-sales. Collected from 3 customers 12 months in advance revenues. Already achieved $4,000 per month in recurring revenues after 2 months of being live, with 40 customers and a 20-30% growth rate per month in new clients.
What are your next milestones?
100 clients and $10,000 in monthly recurring revenues by Jan 1, 2014.
Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?