As a part of my series about “Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Guillermo Gaspart, Founder & CEO of BYHOURS.
Guillermo Gaspart is one of the two founders of BYHOURS. Guillermo was practically born in a Hotel. He is the fourth generation of a hotel family business from Barcelona, with more than 15 years of professional experience in the Travel and Hotel industry, he is specialized in business development and strategy in luxury and business Hotels. Guillermo holds a strong experience in launching, managing, and operating new startups in e-commerce travel businesses internationally.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have been connected to the hotel industry from birth. I have experienced many situations in many hotels and in a way I feel very much at home. The idea of microstays and BYHOURS came up back in 2012 while I was still working in the Hotel industry. My current business partner, Christian Rodriguez, asked me a very simple question which I had never thought before: ¨Why is the minimum stay at a hotel 24 / 22 hours?¨. I didn’t have an answer to that question at the time, but it did make me start to question the traditional hotel model and the urge to come up with a new answer. Together, over time, we created the idea of microstays to bring flexibility to a business with rigid and stipulated rules: the hotel industry. We believe that the market trends should focus on adapting and tailoring services and products to the client’s personal needs. The hotel sector should take a step in that direction by customizing their model too.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Perhaps the most interesting thing I have been able to do during these 6 years at BYHOURS has been to inspire so many people (employees, suppliers and customers) to also be passionate about transforming an industry as mature and as classical as the hotel industry. It is pretty funny for us (me and Christian) to see how an idea that came out of a conversation between two crazy entrepreneurs has been able to truly transform such a massive industry.
Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?
A big idea has to appear in Wikipedia, and our one certainly does! The concept ´Microstays´ is defined by Wikipedia as the following: Microstays are ‘residency in a hotel room for less than 24 hours, choosing check in time and the length of stay.’ Microstays allow the pay per use system to be applied within the hotel industry, creating a win-win situation for both the hotels and the clients.
One of the key elements of our concept is the lifestyle upgrade it offers through the use of technology. Due to smartphone GPS technology, which can be used to show where people are at any given moment, it allows them to spontaneously access useful services such as BYHOURS hotels, and overall cram more into their days and hours.
Inherently practical, booking a hotel room for a few hours is a clever modern hack for a huge number of scenarios, from a pit stop far from home during a day of shopping and an evening at the theatre to recharge, a few hours to rest on a short city break, to a comfortable hotel for those with a delayed or cancelled flight. People can take advantage of their hours a lot more now to rest, work, refresh, sleep, use a gym or other hotel facilities, anything they want really.
How do you think this will change the world?
For us at BYHOURS microstays have proved themselves over and over again to be a serious business potential worldwide. We like to believe that we launched the concept (in its purest way) by offering hotel room stays as little as just for three hours, and it proved very successful. Since starting out in 2012, we now work with more than 3,000 hotels throughout Europe, America and the Middle East, driving upward of 200,000 transactions. Moreover, the demand for microstays shows no sign of slowing down, being largely driven by business customers while offering a significant revenue boost for hoteliers.
To expand further on this, the business of microstays means a serious revenue boost to hotels as BYHOURS offers the hotel the opportunity to improve the most important KPI in the sector: the REVPAR (Revenue Per Available Room), allowing hotels to sell empty rooms by creating a new product, and introducing a totally complementary income in their P&L.
Simultaneously, consumers are changing the way they use hotels, they want and need more personalized and flexible options. Microstays provide a gap in the market independent of the ‘home from home’ provider challenge. For example. when it comes to general clients, or specifically business clients, looking for downtime in city centres or in specific locations (whether near transportation hubs or hospitals etc.) BYHOURS — and especially with the use of the BYHOURS app — means hotels can be discovered via GPS, showing them the closest hotel to them that they can check-into straight away. For hoteliers who have understood the need, the return is absolutely there.
The pay-per-use concept is being broadly expanded in all aspects of our daily life. For instance, cafes are now charging people for the time they spend in their facilities, or the toilet.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?
My business partner focused the prior idea on the improvement of the user experience, wanting to offer more flexibility and personalization in the check-in time and adapting the price to the hours of hotel stay. But to be honest, my mind has always been very focused on providing added value to the hotel industry, to generate a business model that helps hotels to improve their P&L. Even today, the product we sell on the BYHOURS app and website is not even sold by the hotel through its own individual platform, therefore, we are the only OTA that does not compete directly with the hotelier. For this reason, we can always say that since the start the company has had two customers, which we have focused on equally: the user and the hotelier.
What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?
We need to educate people to ´normalize´ the thought and the mentality around microstays and pay-per-use options in our society (potential user, potential hotels partnering with us) to become a global revolution and a viral platform.
Furthermore, not only do we need to continue to promote and grow BYHOURS as a brand in itself, but also make microsatys a common / new way to use hotels. That requires a lot of effort and imagination when economic resources are quite limited.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.
1-Choose good investors, you will need them, search for “smart money”, and be aware money does not always have the same color. Analyse your investors, their deals, their interests, their successes.
2-Be honest and loyal to your partner, it is very important that you both take advantage of the skills and abilities of each one, in a coordinated manner and always with great transparency and honesty.
3-Pass on the passion to your first employees. They will suffer with you from the beginning, and that can’t always be paid with a salary.
4-Be aware that you are going to fall repeatedly, and that your closest circle will be the first that will challenge and have doubts about your project.
5-Relinquish the comfort and economic conditions that you would surely obtain in the market as an employee.
The future of work is a common theme. What can one do to “future proof” their career?
Be aware that you will change jobs much more than before, there isn’t and there shouldn’t be a single job role for your entire career. However, while the relationship of the hierarchy in companies may have changed, I still do believe that young people still have to respect the work hierarchy to a certain extent.
Based on the future trends in your industry, if you had a million dollars, what would you invest in?
I would undoubtedly increase my position in the cap table of BYHOURS, I would buy shares to my own shareholders.
Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?
Honesty and loyalty to those around you: family, employees, partners and suppliers. It is the most efficient way to achieve your goal. Moreover, I prefer to be amazing in something specific, even if it’s small, rather than being mediocre/average in everything.
Finally, I am obsessed with managing my expectations and those of my team. A good management of expectations is basic to achieving your satisfaction. This is perhaps the formula that I mostly repeat every day, SATISFACTION = REALITY minus EXPECTATIONS. Expectations always play down from the final satisfaction.
Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?
Without a doubt the formula of success is (KNOWLEDGE plus SKILLS) x ATTITUDE. The first two factors add up, and the attitude always multiplies.
However, be aware that if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. And if you want to go far and fast, surround yourself by people who know how to go alone.
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say?
First, I would tell them to remember that we are always at the same level, that they should never look over their shoulder to any entrepreneur, as we both need each other. They need deal flow and we need investment.
That being said, since the time I have done this interview until the time it has been published, BYHOURS has generated even more ROI for its investors. Make numbers and calculate how much you can earn in the next 5 years from the BYHOURS system, I will be expecting your call.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I am fairly active on twitter, using it mostly to communicate my own, as well as BYHOURS´ latest milestones. If you also like football than you might like my feed, I do like to tweet about my passion for football, and especially for the Barça team. You can follow me on twitter at @mogaspart. My Instagram is only for friends, and Facebook I mostly use to keep in touch with old acquaintances. I also keep track of Linkedin professionally if people would like to follow me through there, another option is to follow @BYHOURS on instagram, facebook, and twitter for our latest news and updates.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.