Startup pitch: Zairge puts hotel property management in the cloud

Zairge, a US startup that provides cloud-based property management system (PMS), has had a strong start since it was a participant in this year’s Dreamit Ventures accelerator in New York City.

Zairge says it has secured initial seed funding.

It is nearly out of its beta phase, in which it has been providing its service to four hotels. It says it has six more hotels in the sales pipeline.

Zairge was founded a year ago in Williamsburg, Virginia, by Ronak Patel and Dan Otto. They’ve been joined by specialists in Android/web application development (Caleb Severn and Seb Meekins) and business development (Erica Amatori).

The company is now working out of the DreamIt Ventures Office, and is in the process of trying to secure series A funding.

Zairge created a Vine to illustrate its premise:

A Q&A with Dan Otto, co-founder and COO:

Tell us how and why you founded the company?

Ronak Patel and I were roommates in college and have worked together on various business ideas over the years (everything from custom headphones to a clothing line).

We came to this idea through Ronak’s experience managing his family’s numerous hotels.

After using a number of hotel property management systems, Ronak realized that there had to be a better solution for hotel owners than the archaic and expensive systems currently used in the industry.

After some initial market research, we both decided to give up jobs at established companies to dive head first into making our vision a reality.

Estimation of market size?

The American hospitality industry alone experienced $155.5 billion in sales during 2012.

With over 52,000 properties in the US and vast international markets that could immediately benefit from our technology, Zairge faces an immense market that has a clear and present need for our product.

Market research indicates especially strong potential demand in resorts and hotels that cater to business travelers.


There are firms presently active in the property management space such as Micros Opera, MSI NiteVision, Webrez Pro, and others.

While they operate in the same space as us, Zairge takes the idea of property management systems further to create a fully integrated, back-end to front-end application.

Our solution addresses the individual needs of hotel guests, hotel staff, and property owners.

Revenue model and strategy for profitability?

Zairge’s core product will be offered on a subscription basis where yearly payments (which include customer support and free system upgrades) ensure that owners will have constant access to the most cutting edge software.

Revenue will be further generated through the sale of APIs that give travel and hospitality firms unparalleled access to large volumes of non-personally identifiable data aggregated on our servers.

This data will be used to improve marketing and service throughout the travel and hospitality as a whole.

What problem does the business solve?

Hotel property management systems are largely stuck in the 90s.

The check-in process is slow and impersonal. Employees are tethered to desktop workstations and are forced to use confusing and error prone systems.

Owners lack real-time information to make the decisions that drive their revenue. All of these inefficiencies can be fixed through the adoption of modern management solutions.

Zairge seeks to be revolutionary, not evolutionary. We make use of cloud and tablet technology to drive our integrated three part property management suite:

• Guests: Zairge’s innovative tablet self-check in eliminates wait time and even accelerates traditional desk assisted check in.

• Staff: Zairge’s intuitive tablet based property management system untethers hotel staff from traditional desktop workstations, allowing them to perform check in and administrative functions from anywhere. Zairge’s proprietary notification system enables employees to check in multiple guest simultaneously and seamlessly communicate with other staff members.

• Owners: Zairge’s provides owners with real time property analytics they need to remotely administrate their properties on any device, anywhere.

Additionally, Zairge’s intuitive user interface cuts staff training times down from weeks, to mere days.

How did the initial idea evolve and were there changes/any pivots along the way in the early stages?

Initially, the Zairge team was similar to a few frontrunner companies that sought to create self check-in kiosks to speed up the check-in process.

We quickly realized that just increasing efficiency did not solve the problems hotel owners faced with their current software.

We expanded functionality to address the needs of hotel staff and owners, and in doing so, radically rethought the property management process.


Why should people or companies use the business?

The industry standard is costly and is not modernizing quickly enough to meet the needs of 21st century staff and customers.

Property owners are leaving money on the table by using systems that do not provide real time information needed to trump their competition.

Our efficient system, designed for hotel owners by hotel owners, is intuitive, secure, and more affordable than the industry standard.

What is the strategy for raising awareness and the customer/user acquisition?

Zairge uses a combination of direct sales and word of mouth to get our product into the hands of our customers.

Additionally, Zairge is working with hospitality consultancies and hotel groups to spread the word of the next generation of property management software.

As of now, we are offering our beta testers a limited time deal of one free year and 60% off for life after that.

Where do you see the company in three years time and what specific challenges do you anticipate having to overcome?

As Zairge continues to grow over the next three years, the company will continue to grow the brand and execute our product development plan.

Zairge’s 2.0 and 3.0 upgrades are currently being built by our development team.

We also seek to create an ecosystem of supporting products that, when used in conjunction, directly drive our clients’ revenue.

Our greatest challenge going forward will be spreading the awareness that the problems in the industry DO have a solution. With that awareness in place, Zairge will have the chance to prove itself to hotels of all tiers.

What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?

The hospitality has not kept up with the mobile and tech trends. Grocery stores, airports, banks, movie stores…they have all increased efficiency.

However, the hospitality market is still stuck in dealing with slow software, useless features and frustrations with lines.

What other technology company would you consider yourselves most closely aligned to in terms of culture and style… and why?

Our company’s methodology and culture is reminiscent of Mozilla’s emphasis on small tight knit teams as the driving force behind a company.


Tnooz view:

Software is eating hotel tech, as the CEO of Buuteeq, a digital marketing firm just acquired by Priceline, recently noted.

In other words, hotels are moving away from paying for proprietary systems like the kind offered by Micros, just bought by Oracle, to new cloud-based systems.

But starting a new business that challenges established players isn’t easy.

Tnooz has seen a zillion articles with advice on how to run a startup. The one that seems most to-the-point and relevant to Zairge is James Altucher’s cheat seat for running a business.

It may help.

The most relevant advice on that list may be this: “Over-deliver for the first 100 days.”

That message seems like a something you’d read on an inspirational poster in a workplace break room, underneath a cliched photo of a serene Chinese mountaintop.

But the idea has serious implications. It requires being selective about the clients you take on.

And it’s extremely hard to only take on clients that will provide enough revenue that you can afford to over-deliver for the first 100 days. It’s hard because it means saying no to some potential customers.

Zairge seems off to a promising start, having skipped the typical first year of farting around that most travel startups seem to go through and going straight to the point of targeting a profitable market segment with an actual solution that addresses a real pain point and has a recurring revenue model (SaaS product).

We haven’t tested Zairge’s product. We don’t own a hotel, so we’re not in a good position to judge market fit. Maybe it doesn’t work.

One beta participant, Maggie Bhratt, general manager of Sundial Inn, says of the product:

“In just two hours I felt like I knew how to do everything I needed to do. It’s very intuitive.”

So that’s a good sign.

Hopefully this company can iterate until it gets its product as a service right. We wish these young professionals the best of luck.

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Sean O'Neill

About the Writer :: Sean O'Neill

Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.



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  1. William Smith

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