Yannis Moati has a rich background of 15 years in travel, from guiding tours in Europe at a young age, to co-founding an exotic travel agency, and then directing a New York-based global tour operator company. Throughout his professional life, for both his clients and personal travels, Yannis had to always pull strings to get a more personalized hotel check-in or check-out times. Frustration turned to illumination, witnessing first-hand the important customer behavioral shifts of the ‘on-demand’ economy: something could be done in boosting hotel revenues by selling un-committed inventory for the day.
How did you get into the industry?
Started as a tour guide in Italy, for pocket money while a teenager. Then moved on to become a travel agent and a tour operator. Throughout these 3 professions, customers asked for dayrooms to refresh and change, but was hard to provide.
Any emerging industry trends?
Geek-out: the technology changes in the hospitality ecosystem is pretty exciting. There is a general recognition by all industry players (hotels, rail, air, 3rd party suppliers, vacation homes, etc…) that current antiquated tech system cannot continue to exist, as it dampers industry growth. Plenty of startups are born attempting to solve the issue, as well as blockchain tech having the capacity to rid of them all?
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
Additionally to above statement, we are excited by the constant growth of flexible hotel stays, granting guests a different way to consume hotel stays: from rigid 3pm/11am checkin/out, to a more pay as you stay model. Solutions are popping up everywhere.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
The inspiration is mostly stemming from the above listed experiences: customers been asking for day rooms, and hotels would not grant any, eventhough 40% of their inventory was sitting empty all day long, for fear of not being able to turn the room and get it ready for a night stay. They obviously lacked the protocols and technology o be able to accept a day stay without displacing their overnight stays.
Vision for the business is simple: anytime a customer would wish to take a break for a few hours, he/she could open the app and get a room within 1 block from anywhere they are located at.
we shall not rest till we get there.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
Now gearing ourselves to onboard apartments, granting us the possibility of turning into the mini-airbnb.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Being selected, as well as appearing, on Shark-Tank (season 8, episode 17) has given us wings. Additionally, contracting with sleeping associations to promote the idea of napping during the day, to boost productivity, is consolidating our leading position in the USA as provider of flexible lodging stays.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
At the first anniversary of our business, the founding team disintegrated due to lack of traction, and I had to pick-up the broken pieces on my own from where they left off. What kept me going were the amazing reviews we kept on receiving from our customers and thought that I could not let them down, in addition to believing there was a business somewhere when customers were so enthusiastic. What I learned is that the cornerstone of our business, similarly to hospitality in general, is passion. Passion to serve day stays to our guest is what drove us over the ‘through of sorrow’ and are now growing continuously.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Here’s a sample of our most recent review (just in past couple of days):
Super easy to book, hotel was comfortable and staff was friendly. Got a sitter and used the room for napping! Great hidden gem of a site, would definitely use Hotels By Day again and I’ve told my friends about it too. These 2 refreshed parents thank you!
We had an 8 hour layover at LAX after a night flight with two small children and this service was very helpful allowing everyone to catch up on some necessary sleep - and made the next long flight much easier.
How do you motivate others?
By warning everyone that joins the team that they will work harder than they ever did in their lives and that we have nothing else to offer tan blood, sweat and tears; but yet, whoever gets recruited will experience a sense of achievement and accomplishment that they only dream of. Then, whoever joins us is truly driven by passion & vision for the future.
Career advice to those in your industry?
There are plenty of good advice out there… yet, if I had to choose one, I would suggest to spend your twenties looking for an industry you like working for. Then spend a decade working for big corporations that teaches you the ropes & contacts. By late thirties, jump on the entrepreneurial bandwagon, as it will make you young again: dynamic, thirsty, focused and agile. All good things to turn into when otherwise body starts fossilizing.