TORONTO — Zonetail, a free mobile platform for hotels that connects guests with the hotel and surrounding area, is expanding rapidly, founder Mark Holmes told Canadian Lodging News recently.
In March, they hired Troy Rainville, formerly a general manager with Choice Hotels Canada, and since then they have grown from six participating hotels to over 100.
“The hotels are from across the board including all the major chains and independents,” Holmes said. “We are in 10 Canadian provinces and nine U.S. states and have an offshore installation in the Cayman Islands. We are fielding calls from all over the world, including the U.K., France, Italy and Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong.
“It’s the right product at the right time at the right price, a complete mobile hotel platform free of charges. It’s white labelled and can be customized to each hotel. It can also be built to brand standards.”
The Chelsea hotel, which changed its name recently from the Eaton Chelsea, is one of the early adopters of Zonetail. They rebranded their app when they changed their name, Holmes said.
He added that the app is now in version 2.0, with “new bells and whistles.” It now offers check-in/check-out capabilities, in-app notifications and push messaging regarding things like happy hour at the lobby bar, to drive incremental revenue.
The app also can drive incremental revenue before the guest even checks in, prompting them to book the spa in advance on the app for half price, for example.
“We are the only ones who offer the whole thing for free,” said Holmes, adding that the millennial travellers are tuning into mobile more, and the cost to independents of offering this type of mobile platform is out of reach.
“Independents don’t have the capability of a robust mobile app. We can supply that and get them up to speed.
Zonetail also offers a booking channel that allows each hotel to have direct booking by redirecting users back to their booking engine.
“Our future is bright, with green pastures and blue skies,” said Holmes. They have just begun operations in a U.S. office just outside L.A. and they also plan to open a European and Asian office to service offshore clients later this year.