Most start-ups aim to digitise manual processes. In turn this sometimes means introducing new technology or bringing new inventory to traditional technology platforms.
In the latest in our series with innovative business travel companies, we spoke to Anders Mogensen, CEO of Denmark-based Gaest about a new tool for booking creative meetings and events spaces. Gaest is one of the Launchpad exhibitors at this year's Business Travel Show vying to win the Disrupt Award.
When were you launched?
Gaest.com launched in January 2017.
How many people are working for the company?
We are 12 people with a wide range of expertise. A small and highly skilled team of developers and digital designers who are constantly working on new features and improvements on our platform. A sales team, with experience from the meeting industry and our customer success, and communication team taking care of both new and existing customers and brand building in general.
Why is it unique?
With easy access to hundreds of unique meeting spaces all available on-demand and bookable by the hour with the food and beverages of your choice, we make booking a meeting room easy.
What problem does it solve?
If you try doing an online search for an inspiring venue for a board meeting in your home city, you'll quickly find out that this is no easy task. If your search starts at Google you'll be met by a number of ads sponsored by the major hotel chains linking up to their meetings and event divisions. Further down you'll find the organic search results. These links will lead you to even more hotels and conference venues offering classic board rooms in somewhat tired settings. Perhaps an odd restaurant with a private dining option or even a company offering one or two underutilised meeting rooms for hire might also have found their way onto the first page of search results.
And then, of course, none of the venues can be booked online. So get ready to spend ages and ages shooting emails back and forth or prepare to hang on the phone line as you try to discuss availability and prices. At the end of it all you'll have a number of non-comparable offers to choose between. Once you've chosen your venue you'll be presented with a lengthy contract that must be signed, scanned and e-mailed back to the venue. And then it's time to sort out payment.
Does this sound like an ideal way to book a venue for your next board meeting in today's digital world? Now imagine being a travel manager at a big corporation where hundreds of off-site meetings are booked across different venues monthly by a large group of project managers.
Think of us as the morphing of Expedia and Airbnb - but for meetings instead of accommodation.
What markets is it available in?
We are currently offering meeting spaces in Denmark but watch out for our roll out in big European cities in 2017.
Which companies are using it already?
A wide range of people and companies counting everything from freelancers in need of an inspiring space for customer meetings to the largest companies seeking creative spaces for their meetings.
What do travel managers like about it?
When asking the travel managers we experience a great demand for flexibility and the ability to save time and trouble by booking online. We have an enterprise edition suited for travel managers offering the ability to:
- Manage company accounts across different departments and track usage through the online dashboard. We provide all the analytics needed to study and report on the company's meetings spend.
- Keep track of meeting activities - see which meetings are in progress, where they take place and who is attending.
- Centralised billing and invoicing - simplified invoicing options with either payment by credit card or a monthly invoice covering all company bookings.
- Safe and secure meetings - safety is incredibly important to us. That's why we provide insurance provided by Tryg Insurance for all meetings booked on the website.
- And it's free!
Why do travellers like it?
Many people are using public spaces such as cafes for meetings and meet ups. But that only works for certain kind of meetings or networking. Now it has become easy to find a creative and distraction-free spot for customer meetings, interviews and so forth.