Earlier in the spring we closed a seed funding round to bolster our happily profitable coffers with an injection of cash that will help us take the next big steps on our goal towards greater growth and an even better product. And to do so faster than if we carried on self-funding.
It’s the second time we’ve taken a small amount of investment – the first being pre-pandemic when some of our customers fuelled the funding that saw us through an unexpected couple of years and an entire redesign of our ‘back end’ user interface – the part where operators create and manage their guidebooks.
This time, some of those same customers invested again – where would we be without your support?! As did some strategic investors who routinely contribute to scaling businesses, including Scott Balthazor, and Mike Ford who’s perhaps best known for creating (and selling) SiteMinder and more recently for investing in Touch Stay and FloatSpace.
Guiding and growing guest experience
With our unwavering target to become the go-to digital guidebook product for accommodation operators and tourism service providers globally, we have lots of plans and an endless stream of ideas.
Touch Stay was created to facilitate optimal operator-guest communication, and to improve guest experience and its positive outcomes for guests and operators alike. We’re already in the hands of millions of guests and we look forward to growing that number as this funding enables us to scale our product, technology and team.
Eighty six per cent of existing customers already tell us they’ve at least halved the amount of time they spend communicating with guests as a result of implementing the product. Proving this to even more accommodation operators is naturally goal number one.
We’re not alone in wanting to have better experiences as guests (that’s how this all started!). And we believe we’ve created a product that’s easy to use as a host, and simple yet beautiful to navigate as a guest. Plus we value the ideas and contributions of our users to make the product even better for everyone.
Evolving a product loved by hosts and guests
The funding will also support core product development. The first ‘reveal’ of this will be Memo 1.0. Launching in May 2022, version 1.0 of Memo will be a significant optimisation of our existing Invite & Share functionality. With Memo 1.0 hosts and managers will be able to send unlimited alerts to guests before, during and after their stay.
Why? Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the more we communicate, the fewer questions get asked and the more time is saved by everyone. And… the happier everyone is (cue those rave reviews, extra nights booked, and new guests booking on the recommendation of others).
We haven’t had the smoothest of years, development wise. With much of our dev team based in Ukraine there have been more important things to focus on at times. Most importantly all of our Ukraine team members are safe. And they’ve also left us in awe of their commitment to the job in hand, and of their quality of work, let alone their mental fortitude.
Building a team that wants this as much as we do
Team growth is another goal of this fresh funding round. We’re still a tiny team despite having more than 3,000 customers and providing a rapid and human support function. As we write this, we celebrate Tyann’s 4-year tenure with us. And as Andy wrote on LinkedIn:
In 2018 we grew by one person, but we grew by a factor a zillion times greater than ‘one more head’. We would not be where we are now without her, particularly this last year.
That’s the kind of team we build here and the kind of leadership you get to work alongside. We’re never short for ideas but typically need more heads to help make them happen. And now we can. So watch this space for more Touch Stay team members and, if you’re interested or know someone who might be, keep an eye on our career opportunities as and when they pop up.
Becoming known for all that we do
This round of funding is also enabling us to expand our marketing efforts – test more campaign ideas, reach more of our target audience, explore the merits (or not!) of advertising and sponsorships, invest in more industry memberships, have a presence at more industry events. Ultimately, we’re aiming to be seen more and be more easily discoverable, to complement the already incredibly positive word of mouth noise that our users generate.
Watch this space for some fun stuff – keep your eyes peeled wherever you are on the web too!
Being a sustainable business, in every sense of the word
Environmentally and productively speaking, digital guidebooks remove the need to update printed guest information booklets or binders. We don’t ignore the energy that’s consumed in creating and using our guidebooks, but we do know that its less harmful (and more usable) than printed guidebooks. But our commitment to combatting the climate crisis isn’t just about what we do as a business to have less of an impact on the environment. We understand the opportunity that lies in our guidebooks to help our users broadcast their environmental contributions and influence guests to travel more sustainably.
The ‘triple bottom line’ of sustainability is deep seated at Touch Stay: people matter (that’s our team, our Rock Stars community, our wider user base, our industry peers, our families, the social causes our team and customers support, and more); the planet matters, and profitability matters. All three make us a viable and equitable entity, and all three keep us going strong every day.
Growing a community of guest-first hosts and managers
Last, but absolutely not least, this funding round is designed to build better, stronger relationships with our customers as well as to find new ones. We’ve already touched on the power of word of mouth marketing – we see it in Facebook groups every day. And just yesterday someone got in touch with us because she’d been blown away by the enthusiasm shown for Touch Stay on a virtual meetup.
Our customers are helping us grow – thank you! And building a team that understands our product and your challenges, backed by a product that supports you too, will help us help you get even more from your digital guidebooks, and enhance your delivery of guest experience even more.
Thank you to everyone who chooses to include Touch Stay in their business, who has us as part of their productivity drivers and believes in us to deliver for your guests too. Thank you, obviously, to our investors for having faith in our achievements and our ambitions. And thank you to our industry friends and partners for being a part of our adventure too.