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HTNG TechOvation Winners Share Secrets of Success

Fabricio Titiro
Principal Product Manager, Oracle Hospitality

Innovation Week wraps up in just two days, but its spirit of exploration and development knows no end.

That’s because the event’s purpose – bringing together solution partners and Oracle experts to create high-demand integrations – aligns with hoteliers’ urgency to deliver new services that satisfy ever-changing guest and safety needs.

In other words, enabling hoteliers to rapidly integrate best-of-breed solutions, regardless of their origin, is the path forward. During Day 3 of Innovation Week, two Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) members – InnSpire and Nonius Hospitality Technology – underscored the importance of Oracle’s commitment to open APIs and creating a diverse ecosystem of vendors. Both HTNG TechOvation winners, InnSpire and Nonius shared their advice for hospitality success with industry startups.

“What Oracle has done well is really opening up the APIs and opening up the business model in terms of how hotels and technology partners can cooperate and build an ecosystem together,” said Martin Chevalley, co-founder and CEO of InnSpire, a Swedish company that focuses on digital tools, including apps, to help hoteliers enhance the digital guest journey. “The world has changed to become a very open platform where everyone brings their value to the table, and Oracle has an extremely important role pretty much being the center of all the data.”

He cited Innovation Week as a much-needed catalyst and forum to accelerate creative thinking, especially during a time of industry recovery. More than 400 participants representing 187 partners have attended the digital event and are capitalizing upon its resources, including live integration testing environments.

Working in such a collaborative setting – and the Oracle PartnerNetwork in general – benefits everyone, according to Leonel Domingues, co-founder and CTO of Nonius, a technology provider with products in more than 300,000 hotel rooms across 78 countries.

“You can build products that are better integrated, and you can really add value for the experience of the guest, and it’s the best way to get great gains on operational efficiency for hoteliers,” he said.

During the session, both vendors not only provided technological insights but prioritized cultivating business relationships and talent.

“The main mistake we would recommend not doing is spreading yourself too thin,” Chevalley added. “We took on every opportunity and, at the time, we were too small to do that. Really, really try to grow partnerships with a few customers. Focus on the core until you nail that. Then you can start scaling… rather than having too many scattered projects going on, and you’re trying to satisfy 10 different new customers at the same time. That was our toughest learning.”

He noted: “Get strategic people who have been there before and learn from their experience. But also, do not to be too reliant on that advice; you need a lot of tactical people as well. It’s important to focus on smart, hungry, interested people who want to learn and grow, and are not colored by specific organization or culture. Be extremely selective in who you hire. It takes so long before you know for sure whether this person will contribute. If you’re not 100 percent, 200 percent sure, it’s better to wait.”

Perhaps to the surprise of the audience, Domingues offered some counter-intuitive advice: Don’t focus on technology.

“That may sound weird coming from a technologist,” he said, “but I’m more passionate about resolving the problem. Come with a solution that actually fixes one of the problems that hospitality has or you anticipate they will have. Be ready to adapt. Don’t be stubborn and listen to what your clients are saying. We had to change our roadmap completely this year to respond to obvious problems the industry is facing. Be willing to change, because that’s the way to be resilient and open to what may come.”

And he gave one final tip regarding participating in Innovation Week.

“I would have loved to have this opportunity when I started,” Domingues said. “Don’t waste it.”

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