Daniel meets… David Orensanz, Founder of Cross-Tinental – Episode 4
Welcome to episode 4 of ‘Daniel meets… (called ‘Daniel trifft’… for the first 3 episodes in German on our German blog), our latest interview series with founders and interesting colleagues within hospitality industry.
With this series of interviews we try to paint a clearer picture about the people behind industry brands and to learn more about the process from idea to product or service as offered today. We are looking forward to breathtaking founder stories, absolute chaos, launches in garages and storage places, crazy pitches, one time coincidences and a lot more, what you did not hear or read so far anywhere about the founders and companies.
And certainly yes, we got to know as well a bit about their services or product and how they differentiate from their peers in the market.
Let´s go: Episode 4 of Daniel meets… (German: Daniel meets…) this time with David Orensanz, Founder of Cross-Tinental respectively the Hotel Tech Platform.
Daniel: David, welcome to the interview. Big pleasure having you.
Let´s jump right into the first question of the interview: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself. What has been your professional experience within hospitality industry before founding Cross-Tinental respectively the Hotel Tech Platform?
David: Thanks Daniel.
I have always been working in the travel industry, specifically in the hotel area since I finished college. As everyone else I started at the front desk moving throughout the years to sales positions, managing events, front desk, etc. Basically I went through many positions within hotel business like being the Director of Sales & Marketing for a 5 star hotel here in Barcelona.
Then I moved to Madrid in 2001 to become the Global Director of Reservation Systems at Melia Hotels & Resorts and after 4 years there I moved to Travelclick to become the Vice President of Operations for the international division.
And finally after 9 years at Travelclick I decided to found Cross-Tinental.
Daniel: If you would have 10 to 20 seconds to explain what is Cross-Tinental, respectively what is the Hotel Tech Platform, what would that be?
David: It is very simple. Cross-Tinental is based in the frustration of European hoteliers about technology. When you speak with the guys at hotel level, they always complain about the huge amount of technologies they need to choose from. Another complaint they have, generally speaking and with all the exceptions you want, these different technologies are not working as expected. If you think about the European hotel market, with the majority being individual hotels, they have only two options when it comes to technology:
- The big guys in the market with great resources and big platforms, but sometimes they don´t have the latest technology available.
- The local providers with technologies on country level basically selling to 1, 2 or 3 countries. Bit these guys again mostly have limitations when it comes to knowledge and financial resources.
So the idea was simple. We thought there has to be another way.
That´s why we went to the US, investigated a lot and finally found six great companies doing great things with most of them being start-ups. All of them have one core product not competing against, but complementing each other. And the final idea was to bring these great technology solutions to the European market bringing back the fun of working with technology and avoiding frustration.
‘That´s why we went to the US, investigated a lot and finally found six great companies doing great things with most of them being start-ups.’ – David Orensanz, Founder of Cross-Tinental & Hotel Tech Platform
Daniel: This elevator pitch must have happened at Burj-Al-Arab or another veeeery big building…alright! So we already covered question 3 and 4, but that´s totally fine.
Coming back to the six solutions you mentioned, could you provide a bit more insight on how you decided which ones would be the right ones and why you decided to opt for a CRS, a revenue management solution and the further ones?
David: Well, when you think about it, typically when a hotel opts for a CRS, they will need a website as well. So when we sell the Windsurfer CRS, we are also offering our customers website design services. And that could be combined with a revenue management solution, in our case duetto. Once the decisions are made regarding price recommendations this data is sent again to the CRS.
So all these solutions talk to each other and must be connected to each other. This has been one of our obsessions, when selecting our partners: We didn´t want to have isolated solutions, but technology that talks to each other and that´s the case with our solutions.
Daniel: Now a bit more tricky question, I guess, as I don´t know the answer yet myself, but probably you can explain much better. When you think about the business model of Cross-Tinental or the Hotel Tech Platform do you see any direct competition to your services? And if there is any, how are you guys standing out?
David: I would say in some way yes.
There are providers out there offering other solutions, though conceptually not the same as we do, because we offer pretty unique solutions. For example companies like Travelclick offer a huge range of products. Or as well the guys at Sabre, or Amadeus offer a wide range of solutions in their portfolio.
The main difference here is that we have selected a selection of the best new guys out there creating technology for hotels in the US. It is extremely fresh, extremely new, some of them have kind of reinvented traditional products and some of them simply invented a completely new product, like our partners at Hospitality Pulse using artificial intelligence to help the front desk team when assigning rooms.
Daniel: Just to understand better on how you integrate the different solutions. Do you use kind of a dashboard solution with a one time login to all partners? What is your approach?
David: Obviously you may only use 1 or 2 solutions as well, or preferably all six. But when you are a user you can login into one of these solutions through the Hotel Tech Platform website. So you can just use your login credentials there and then you have access to the different tools.
Daniel: So it is one central point of access for the users and you a re rather comparing yourselves to the main CRS providers out their with their huge product portfolio than any smaller ones. That´s pretty interesting! I didn´t have that picture in mind in the beginning when getting to know Cross-Tinental.
Now, if you think about the industry as such, do you have any picture in mind of what changed within hospitality business in the last years providing the path for services like yours?
‘For me this is one of the biggest changes, kind of a ‘silent’ change. But by that it has become a lot easier to speak with hoteliers about technology than 4 to 5 years ago.’ – David Orensanz, Founder of Cross-Tinental & Hotel Tech Platform
David: Obviously there are opportunities constantly. For me the main one is kind of a ‘silent’ one which comes with the new generation of people working at hotels. It is not an opportunity in the consumer or travel market area, but one at hotel level. Lot´s of young people, digital natives, being used to and having accepted that technology is essential for their business.
For me this is one of the biggest changes, kind of a ‘silent’ change. But by that it has become a lot easier to speak with hoteliers about technology than 4 to 5 years ago.
Daniel: That´s a nice approach actually and I can absolutely confirm that thinking back into the good old days in 2007 when I started working at MICROS-Fidelio.
Coming back to the topic services, as this for us here at opensmjle is key to whatever we do. Could you explain a bit about your on-boarding process with new customers? How do you and your team approach new projects and how do you coordinate that with your partnering companies?
David: For us it was clear from the very beginning that even if the technology is based in the US, we would not only deliver the sale, as this would not offer a high value to the hoteliers.
We cannot leave the hotels here in Europe alone with the providers in the US. And that for different reasons, some of them being very obvious certainly.
When a European hotelier has a question in the morning, the guys in the US are still sleeping in the middle of the night and on top they don´t speak the different European languages. So basically it was very easy for us. When you have a Cross-Tinental product our team in Barcelona speaking multiple European languages is taking care of the first line support and on-boarding process of our customers. And that even though the technical implementation of a new customer is done by our partners in the US.
At all times it is our team interacting with the customer making sure we receive all information needed before setting up the product in the respective language, no matter whether it is German, French, Spanish or other languages.
And once the training is done, as well by our team in Barcelona, first line support will always remain to be in Barcelona during European service times and if possible in local language.
Daniel: Could you outline which languages are currently supported?
David: Sure. Certainly English and Spanish, plus Italian, French and German.
Daniel: Nice. I guess that means the team keeps on growing as we speak. We are already in the final part of the interview. Are there any news around Cross-Tinental? What´s the logical next step for you guys?
David: We are contemplating a couple of ways to grow further.
One way is to add 1 or 2 new products to our portfolio. When we speak to hoteliers explaining our services they for example ask for additional solutions such as a CRM. And as we see these kind of questions coming from our customers we might add 1 or 2 products soon.
And then we already have been traveling to the Middle-East to grow further in that region. So one way is the product portfolio and another way is the market.
Daniel: More or less in the same context – and I kind of struggle as well when people ask me this question, as it is not that easy to judge as a start-up. Where do you see Cross-Tinental in around 3 years? Do you have a certain vision or picture in mind?
David: I guess we have a midterm vision, as longterm is really hard to say. In midterm we would like to the main technology platform for hotels in Europe, run by really well educated people in technology. We want to be the reference for high-tech solutions here in our region.
Daniel: And finally, where can people learn more about you, Cross-Tinental or the Hotel Tech Platform? Where would you send people looking for more information about you guys or that would like to get in touch?
David: Please call me directly or send me an email. I am always open to new request and happy to help. And then certainly our website www.hotel-techplatform.com.
Daniel: Thanks David for the interesting interview. I am really looking forward to what is coming next with Cross-Tinental and the Hotel Tech Platform, how the portfolio will grow, how the team will grow and so on. This will be very interesting to watch.
David: Daniel, thanks so much for the opportunity to present the idea behind Cross-Tinental. Much appreciated!
About Hotel technology Platform:
Hotel Technology Platform is designed to manage efficiently all the needs of any hotel or chain. HTP’s software products are complementary and user-friendly, and allow the hotels to increase their revenues. With HTP, the hotels always have local support service of experts who solve any issue and help them to become more competitive.
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