Skift Take

Amenitiz joins a wave of startups democratizing online selling tools for hoteliers. The Barcelona-based startup brings e-commerce tools to small hotel companies in a way that's similar to how Shopify helps small retailers.

Amenitiz, which brings e-commerce tools to small hotels, said on Tuesday it had closed a $30 million Series A round of funding.

Eight Roads, a venture capital investor, led the round in the Barcelona-based startup, which has raised around $38 million since 2019.

Amenitiz is part of a wave of companies offering cloud-based software to help small hotel companies sell online, including Cloudbeds, Hotelrunner, Clock, Yanolja’s Ezee, SiteMinder, and Oracle Hospitality’s Opera Cloud.

The startup is like a Swiss Army knife of services, offering independent hoteliers help with “channel management,” or making its inventory and rates available to online resellers; an internet booking engine for accepting reservations; automation of some daily tasks, such as handling payments and invoicing; and marketing the property with a basic website. It plans to add revenue management and distribution tools

“We’re very specific in the customers we target,” said co-founder and CEO Alexandre Guinefolleau. “Our ideal customer is essentially an independent hotelier or short-term rental operator with about 50 rooms or less. Managing a 20-room hotel versus a 200-room hotel is a very different job, and we focus on the former.”

Roughly half the customers are upgrading from basic tools such as Excel spreadsheets and the manual use of reseller intranets for uploading rates and inventory. The other half are migrating from one of hundreds of local, legacy property management systems — typically installed as boxes on premise — that serve only a few hundred to a couple thousand hotels regionally. For context, see Skift Research’s report Hotel Tech Benchmark: Property Management Systems 2021.

Amenitiz shares a philosophy with companies like Cloudbeds of trying to centralize the core tools an independent hotelier needs in one cloud-based package. A different set of vendors takes the opposite approach of focusing on specialized functions, with hoteliers shopping a la carte and integrating via APIs, or application programming interfaces.

“If you go up to a small independent hotelier and start talking about APIs, they’re going to look at you with big googly eyes,” Guinefolleau said. While his company is developing the first version of an API to connect to other services, his goal is to keep things simple for customers.

“Our on-boarding time is about two to three weeks,” Guinefolleau said. “All of our prices are on our website, but we charge roughly [$11 or] €10 per room per month or less, with no training fees or other surprises. We charge a separate cost for buildling a hotel’s website.”

“Amenitiz shows how a ten times better product, which is intuitive and easy to use, can quickly achieve product-market fit in a sector that has seen very little innovation in the past few decades,” said Lucile Cornet, a partner at Eight Roads.

The company claims its tools are so easy to use that staff can be trained in a few hours instead of a couple of weeks.

Barcelona has become a hub for travel startups, and Amenitiz said that being based in the city — where Wired UK named it one of the 10 hottest Barcelona startups — has given it access not must to tech talent but also to a internationally varied population that enabled it to hire market-specific salespeople. It has about 150 workers today and plans to hire 200 more this year.

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Tags: amenitiz, funding, future of lodging, hotels, property management system, software, startups

Photo credit: Kachi Lodge, a luxury and eco-friendly lodge standing on the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia, is a customer of hotel software vendor Amenitiz. Source: Amenitiz.