Startup pitch: Caption is a PMS and tech startup directed at the budget hotel long tail
Hotels in the lower-tier category and located in developing countries have a lack of relevant, practical hospitality software. Aiming to fill that gap, Caption is a well-funded, hospitality tech startup based in Singapore and Yogyakarta. Its tools are aimed at independent hotels that need solutions even when electric service and internet access are erratic.
Here’s a one-minute video pitch from Caption, made for Tnooz:
Here are a half-dozen answers to Tnooz’s questions by CEO and co-founder Larry Chua:
What problem does your business solve?
Through four months of customer development within 2nd tier cities of Indonesia like Yogyakarta, we discovered four major root problems.
- Solutions are too expensive and normally built for five-star properties
- Most solutions are built for a perfect world where electricity and internet are stable
- Solutions are too complicated to operate for lower-tier hotel staff
- Properties’s lack of knowledge or resources to operate or market their property online
Names of founders, their management roles, and number of full-time paid staff?
Larry Chua (co-founder) and Budi Raharjo (tech co-founder). Caption has 19 full-time employees, handling everything from product development to community management for every region.
Caption closed the first round of fund raising, mainly from angel, in early 2016. The next round will be opened in early 2017, mainly for growth and expansion.
We rely on two kinds of business models. The first one is as a tech solution company, especially for the lower-tier property.
Our Crono tool is the only product a property will need. Our promise to all our clients is that by working with Caption, they will never ever have to pay for future updates or features, just pay the same amount as when they first subscribe with us.
The second business model is we provide online hotel management services to such properties, working like an extension of the hotel. We also help manage online campaigns, SEO, SEM, social media, etc.
We believe that these lower-tier properties need a better driver for their online marketing.
Why do you think the pain point you’re solving is painful enough that customers are willing to pay for your solution?
Since the technology has evolved so much in past few years, many who have the resources are able to move their business faster into the online world. However, there are also many that have fallen through the cracks.
Having experienced working within southeast Asia (and developing countries there especially), most properties that have fallen through the cracks do not have a webpage and still rely on a manual pen-and-paper, check-in process. Many sell their inventories by manually logging in to online travel agency extranets.
Hence holding their business to move forward. In the long-term, this mean their business wouldn’t got any market, since almost 70% of their potential income is directly connected to the online world (OTA, booking engine, online review).
We’d like to help them to be able to compete in the online world without robbing fortune out of them. Since a venture in online world also needs a long term investment, we will help them to choose and guide them to do the best practice.
Rather than just giving them a solution and walk away, we’d like to work together with our partner and solve the root problem together.
Both founders graduated from Founder Institute. Our current board of advisors includes senior management from Sabre, a co founder of Qunar, and a well-known venture capitalist based in Singapore.
We have recently secured a strategic partnership deal with eRevMax and we currently have successfully integrated our system into a hotel based in Yogyakarta and up to 10 properties within the pipeline integrating our solutions. We have also qualified as a recent Web In Travel Startup bootcamp semi-finalist.
Caption’s Crono PMS stands out for offering automated channel management and reservation delivery to independent budget properties in areas facing unreliable internet connections. It’s admirable — and potentially profitable — to target this (largely) neglected industry segment. The startup’s recent integration with hotel revenue management technology provider eRevMax will help add to its usefulness. We’re eager to see what this startup gets up to next.
Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.