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UN recognizes Dubai startup Hotel Data Cloud (HDC) as top disruptor in Middle East

The United Nations has distinguished HDC in its ‘Healing Solutions for Tourism Challenge’, as a unique startup that is mitigating COVID-19’s impact on tourism.

Beating out over 1,000 contestants, from over 100 countries, HDC has been recognized as the most disruptive startup in the Middle East, that is offering solutions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on tourism A global database for descriptive hotel content, HDC is leading the way in rebuilding trust and confidence, by empowering hotels to share their upgraded safety and hygiene protocols directly with travelers Travelers can now verify COVID-19 preparedness of hotels and rest easy in their decision to resume travel

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has officially selected UAE based, award winning travel-tech start-up Hotel Data Cloud (HDC) as a “Healing Solutions for Tourism”. Beating out over 1,000 contestants, from over 100 countries, HDC has been recognized as the most disruptive startup in the Middle East, that is offering solutions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on tourism. 

AMEinfo had interviewed HDC last month to learn about their exciting business which is set to revolutionize the travel and tourism sector. At the time, Gregor Amon, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, said: “I think the time is right that a couple of [the sector’s] intermediaries just disappear. It doesn’t make sense to have 5 resellers between a hotel and the end-client.”

Tourism has been the worst affected of all major economic sectors due to COVID-19, with an estimated loss of 60 to 80% of international tourist arrivals, equaling 850 million to 1.1 billion fewer tourists. In order to restore traveler trust and confidence to reinvigorate the tourism industry, HDC has initiated a COVID-19 preparedness program that spans over ninety attributes. Hotels can now reengage travelers by communicating their updated safety standards, hygiene protocols, social distancing measures and much more to potential travelers, booking websites and travel agent databases, in real time.

“Tourism is a leading driver of economic growth and re-establishing trust by being open and transparent with travelers, is a critical factor in restarting tourism globally. It is encouraging to see HDC stepping up to that challenge and offering a solution that will enable hotels to rebuild customer confidence and trust by being able to share vital attributes, that affect travel decision making,” said Natalia Bayona, Senior Expert on Innovation and Digital Transformation, UNWTO. 

A centralized global database for descriptive hotel content that disseminates to hundreds of booking partners, HDC’s new attributes include all the COVID-19 factors that travelers are taking into consideration, before making a booking decision. Hotels can now easily communicate their health and safety measures by creating a profile on HDC and filling in the COVID-19 preparedness section – which will then be automatically shared and freely accessible by any travel company, tourism board, government agency and other institutions via the HDC data feed.

“We are proud and humbled to be recognized for our efforts towards rebuilding the tourism sector. With our technology, hotels can now efficiently share critical information, so that travelers can be reassured of their safety and confidently book their next stay,” said Kevin Czok, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of HDC.

HDC was founded in 2016 by Gregor Amon and Kevin Czok and currently has a portfolio of over 11,400 hotels in 153 countries. HDC closed its first round of seed funding having secured US $350,000 and is raising its second round of funding to meet increased demand, interest and accelerate growth. 

Read: ATM: Don’t drop room rates, but focus on sanitisation and technology to build consumer trust

AMEinfo exclusive comments by Kevin Czok, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of HDC:

“Cleanliness, hygiene and housekeeping operations were fairly unchallenged areas of the hospitality world. But the landscape has changed: This virus may instill a hygiene regime and permanently raise expectations of guests. Hoteliers know they have to evolve operations and are taking an action-oriented approach, to give their guests peace of mind while making their first trips when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. We help them spread the word about how hotels meet these new traveler demands.”

“Proving our company’s speed and agility, we seized the moment and quickly introducing new attributes that correspond with the current situation and consumer demand. With this adaption, our content distribution platform satisfies the drive for greater efficiency in travel and the need to demonstrate that health, safety and hygiene concerns from consumers are being addressed.”

“Innovation, automation and collaboration are necessary to help the travel industry face its current challenges. Our technology is perfectly suited to help hotels share information that is essential to attract guests when travel resumes. The UNWTO’s endorsement will help us gain global recognition and introductions to their members will facilitate many new collaborative partnerships. Particularly in countries and regions where tourism plays a pivotal role and is an important pillar of their economy, government entities need to be proactive. They can help introduce solutions like ours, that strengthen the local travel industry.”

“Reliably distributing comprehensive content and information is not a short-term measure that becomes redundant when travel has resumed to higher levels. It has strategic importance and significant effects on long-term success. This is the time for forward-thinking hoteliers to start using technology platforms that drive ROI in the form of operational efficiency, cost savings and revenue generation.”

“Hotel Data Cloud provides a B2B solution, but ultimately benefits the traveler: Research is important aspect of the travel purchase journey. Hotel Data Cloud ensures that detailed information is readily available, so guests can confidently make educated booking decisions and arrive well informed, without anxiety and uncertainty.”

Read: Preparing for Hospitality 2.0 in the post COVID-19 era