The current crisis has affected all businesses, but few were hit harder than the travel sector. The downturns in revenue are only more impactful for startups, with high exposure to their quarterly and yearly performance.
We spoke to Alfie, a startup offering a digital concierge services platform to hotels around the world. They shared with us their approach to making the best of a bad situation and coming out on top.
When was it clear that making some changes would be necessary?
“As early as November 2019, it was clear to us that the effects of COVID-19 on the travel industry would be far reaching and severe. Customers in Asia-Pacific were taking cancellations from concerned travellers. Many more were either feeling the decline in revenue, or closing their doors completely.
We found ourselves in a tricky spot. Had the travel market remained open, the Alfie guest platform, offering contact-free ordering, was the perfect product to help our customers continue to service their guests. But with international travel grinding to a standstill, so did our revenue.
To survive, we had to make some changes.”
How did COVID-19 affect your exploration of other ideas?
“The first step for us was to explore other industries that were less impacted by COVID, where Alfie could still be utilised in its current format. In most Australian states, bars, pubs and restaurants remained open, albeit with stricter rules regarding social distancing and contact-free purchases.
In order for Alfie to work in these markets, we needed to build a contact-tracing add-on that would allow venues to:
- Register guest contact details on entry; and
- Link them to an app (Alfie) that would allow them to order from their table.
Hence why we launched Alfie Check In in August 2020. The product is being employed not only in the hospitality sector, but in corporate businesses where visitors can be tracked as they arrive and depart the office.”
How has Alfie Check In helped contribute to your COVID recovery?
“Today, our Asia-Pacific hotel partners are operating between 0-10% occupancy. As a result, Alfie revenue in this sector has declined and our expansion has been temporarily slowed. With the recent lockdowns announced in the UK, France and Germany, there is no knowing when travel will return to normal.
What Alfie Check In has enabled us to do is not only mitigate our exposure to COVID’s impact on travel, but it has opened pathways into new sectors we may otherwise have ignored.
The Alfie business is now as healthy as it has ever been. We performed a number of necessary builds and integrations to our hotel app. This enabled us to hit the ground running as this sector started to re-open. Now, our expansion into the broader hospitality market has the team working flat out to keep up with demand. We appreciate the tireless work and support we have received from our partners and friends at Accru Felsers, and we look forward to continuing accelerating our growth into 2021 and beyond.”
Just like Alfie, we have seen clients finding imaginative ways to handle the effects of COVID-19 on their businesses. We aim to support them through the best and worst to come out in a better position just like Alfie. To hear more about Alfie’s success, reach out to them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by accessing their website at https://www.alfieguest.com.