David Turnbull, COO and Founder of SnapShot GmbH, views his company as a disruptive force in hospitality, busy changing the mindset of how to acquire new business and retain existing. One of the big goals of his Berlin-based IT startup is for hospitality businesses to stop focussing on reservations and bookings and instead hone in on customer experience.

WYSE Travel Confederation recently talked with David Turnbull, ahead of his keynote presentation at WYSTC 2017 in Montréal, Canada, and asked him if and how his technology applies to the business of hostels and cultural exchange.

“Hospitality businesses see multifaceted travel experience technology as a binary asset and not from a focus on technology. Most hoteliers and hosteliers will tell you that they know what they want and need technology suppliers to provide that,” he said.

“SnapShot wants to put the Research & Development back into the hands of technology suppliers and app developers to the advantage of all hospitality providers.”

SnapShot has built an open, neutral middleware platform that allows developers from outside to engage with data collection and build solutions that help hotels and hostels improve the customer experience. Within this ecosystem, SnapShot has also built its own applications that allow hoteliers to better understand their hotel data and act upon it so that the guest ultimately benefits.

“The aim is to remove some of the issues of running a property and business and instead focus on connecting with the guest, making communications with guests pleasurable, not painful,” he said.

For example, a property collects real-time data by placing sensors into their public areas. If the restroom door then opens 50 times in 15 minutes, it could trigger an alert to housekeeping. That many visits in such a short amount of time means it’s time for it to be serviced. It also means the hotelier can focus on the positive communications with guests, pre-empting situations at risk of guest complaints.

SnapShot hopes to educate its clients on data collection and storage; it offers businesses live education programmes and boot camps to aid commercial strategy.

“Look at Booking.com, Expedia and other IT players. They are technology companies first and travel and tourism companies second; they know they are selling travel experiences and do so by creating seamless and frictionless experiences for customers,” said Turnbull.

On the issue of whether the end game is to move beyond the business of accommodation and apply his thinking and success to broader tourism and cultural exchange, he said, “I take the attitude that business is business, so if you’re not looking at whatever kind of data your business has, then you’re not doing smart business.”

Join David Turnbull for Experiences create memories, but data is the soil in which they are cultivated at the World Youth and Student Travel Conference on Wednesday, 27 September.