Imagine you have a toddler. Like any good parent, you know that your toddler is better than the rest. More talent. More smarts. So, what’s next? Obviously, your little guy is ready for the World Cup.
You may be thinking that this sounds a little ridiculous. However, that’s just what the startup Hotel Ninjas did. In less than 15 months, Hotel Ninjas built an app on the Salesforce1 Platform and competed in – and won – deals over competitors that have 20 to 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry.
Soccer (football) is a big sport in Spain, but Barcelona-based Hotel Ninjas is in a league all of its own. You can find Hotel Ninjas’ app on the AppExchange here.
Talk isn’t cheap. It’s a steal.
Quick. Think of an industry that is embracing next generation technologies and revolutionizing the business landscape. Did you say property management software? Probably not. So, how do you get an industry that has applications that aren’t just legacies, but Luddites, to embrace revolutionary technologies? According to Hotel Ninjas co-founder Christian Eneström, it’s easy. You talk to them.
“Before we actually started building any code, we talked to more than 100 potential customers. We wanted to understand their needs and understand what technology they used and what they were expecting from the more updated technology. You need to first understand what your customers need before you actually build something. This way, rather than developing something your clients will never use, when you take your product to market, it’s more likely that your clients will actually use your product.”
Players are made, not born.
In soccer, players aren’t born kicking balls at 65 mph. For Hotel Ninjas, the biggest challenge is finding good developers. Force.com developers are in high demand. Instead of hiring only Force.com developers, Hotel Ninjas also looks for good Java developers. “We use our own test platform to get to know the coding skills of candidates. We use that to screen out good developers from the others. We take them in-house and train them on Apex and Visualforce.” Many Java developers have enterprise experience, and Apex is a very Java-like language that is designed for the cloud and multi-tenant environments like the Salesforce1 platform. This combination accelerates learning and produces high calibre candidates.
Mobile is a green field opportunity.
Mobile technology is opening up an untouched green field opportunity for Hotel Ninjas. “In terms of technology, [hotel management systems] are 10 years behind other industries,” Eneström notes. Hotel Ninjas is growing that opportunity in two ways: from inside the property and from outside the property.
Many of Hotel Ninjas’ clients own a property somewhere other than where they live. “So, building that mobile experience for them is a big advantage. Creating a mobile hub for our customers to access all of their data and manage their properties from anywhere and with any device is key,” Eneström said.
Inside a property, Hotel Ninjas is creating new workflows. For example, housekeeping. The housekeeper can check a mobile app updated by the front office and see that the room has already been cleaned. “This is a great example of how mobile can help you work more efficiently within the property.”
Hotel Ninjas is quickly emerging as one of the hospitality industry’s hottest players. By listening to customers, creating a stellar team and creating new opportunities with mobile, Hotel Ninjas is on the path to become a legend.