Meet KYC Hospitality, the industry’s most comprehensive operational platform, as part of this month’s “Simplex Ventures Founders Series.” From Guest and Team Messaging, to handling a hotel’s entire ticketing system, KYC offers hoteliers an opportunity to focus on their main priority – ensuring guest satisfaction and experience.
A Q&A with KYC Hospitality’s founder & CEO, Dina Yuen
Can you kick us off by giving just a quick introduction of yourself and what KYC Hospitality is?
I’m the founder & CEO of KYC Hospitality (“KYC”) and am based in San Francisco – although I’m usually on the road for more than 300 days out of the year!
KYC was created for hoteliers around the world, offering the industry’s most comprehensive operational platform. We handle everything from multi-channel Guest Messaging to Team Messaging, the entire ticketing system, Front Desk, Housekeeping, Engineering and Concierge Operations and more. We are also the most in-depth Guest Profiles management platform. All together, KYC replaces more than 25 legacy systems.
Did you have any previous hospitality experience prior to starting KYC?
My father is known as the ‘father of value engineering’ in Southeast Asia. He started his career building hotels, so I grew up in and around hotels from childhood. I would say hotels are the greatest love of my life. As people call Disney the happiest place on Earth, I believe hotels are actually the happiest place on earth because they’re where people go to celebrate weddings, anniversaries, job promotions and birthdays.
What problem is KYC built to solve?
KYC was built to solve two major problems. Firstly, we solve the absurdity of having hotel employees use so many legacy systems with overlapping or missing functionalities (all with rising software costs). Secondly, we empower hotels to deeply and holistically understand their guests, while streamlining employee workflows. As many have seen post-pandemic, hotels, just like many businesses, are short on labor – in fact, most are operating at 50 – 70% of their labor before the pandemic. It’s incredibly difficult to deliver excellent service while managing dozens of operating systems with less staff members.
Therefore, KYC was built to reduce a hotel’s dependency on humans to carry out tasks such as answering guest messages around the clock, taking in-room dining orders via phone, etc. By automating these things through one platform, it allows for staff to focus on making connections and interacting with guests.
Can you describe the process for a hotel to use KYC?
Absolutely – there’s three phases in our process: Pre-launch, launch and partner success.
- Pre-launch: The pre-launch stage is primarily the “documentation phase” and when we integrate into a hotel’s project management system (PMS). The process length depends on how large the hotel is, but usually takes about 4-5 weeks.
- Launch: Prior to the official launch date, we provide either Zoom or in-person employee training to ensure everyone understands how to use the platform and are comfortable operating it. Then, it’s launch time!
- Partner success: Our partnership with hotels doesn’t stop after the software is launched. We take pride in delivering superior customer service and value to our hotel partners, standing by their side 24/7 to ensure they’re successful.
KYC’s ethos is guided by continuous improvement – being better than we were last week or even yesterday. Our team works hard to ensure our product never becomes stale by enhancing what we offer on a regular basis. By understanding what an average day looks like for hotels, we’re able to create solutions for the real problems they may encounter.
Do you have any recent success stories that you would want to share?
On Christmas Day several years ago, I received an email from a hotel manager saying their PMS was down. As you can imagine, this had a huge impact as it was one of their busiest days of the year and the hotel had to pivot to using pen and paper to document all reservations, check-ins, room number assignments, and more.
The relationship between a PMS and KYC is that prior to someone’s hotel reservation, KYC extracts that information from the PMS – full contact information, number of guests, etc. Fortunately for that hotel, since they were using KYC, our team was on call and able to get them up and running within 15 minutes. While we of course don’t want any of our customers to have to experience a situation like that, it’s a testament to our team’s level of care for and dedication to each and every customer 24/7.
As KYC’s success continues, where are some areas that you see the company growing?
We’re developing partnerships with robotics companies as robots have entered the restaurant industry. For many hotels, it’s difficult to keep up with in-room dining orders – especially due to the labor shortage. To solve that, there’s actually a robot that can make more than 500 recipes, which is a good investment for hotels to mitigate challenges related to finding overnight labor or having employees call in sick.
Through KYC, guests can order in-room dining and we’re able to integrate with these robots and send guests’ orders directly to them. From there, either the robot will prepare the food and a human will deliver it to the guest, or the robot will both prepare the food and deliver it. This is still in-progress but something extremely exciting. Again, this isn’t about replacing humans; we’re working to alleviate strains hotels face due to the lack of labor.
Where can people find you to learn more?