The long road to my current entrepreneurship started when I graduated from Les Roches. I immediately accepted an internship with the prestigious Hotel La Pleta (by Rafael Hotels) in the Pyrenees Mountains of northern Spain. At first I was working the summer season in the hotel’s Quality Department and from there I started to help in other departments. After a few months in the spa reception, I began managing the Purchasing Department of the hotel and this carried me for the next three years. During this time, I also helped in the hotel restaurant when they needed extras and eventually I was promoted to the Front Desk Department. This position would lead me to two more years working exclusively in reservations. All in all, these positions were serving essentially as valuable steps in my professional training.
Throughout the first three years, I had the opportunity to work in all operational departments of the hotel and as a result I accumulated significant experience in the functioning of hotels. If not for this early experience I would not have been able to reach the position that I held for the last four as La Pleta’s Assistant General Manager, which gave me the opportunity to add crucial managerial skills to my in-depth experience in operations.
Upon the arrival of 2012 I found myself accepting a position as Director of Operations with LTY Operadora, a hotel chain operator in my home country of Colombia. This position involved the operational oversight of three hotel properties and through it I not only gained more experience and knowledge of hotel management but also received extensive training in the financial and commercial functions of hotel operations.
Finally, having had the opportunity to work in all major facets of the hotel industry over the past eight years, I thought it was time to implement all my knowledge acquired in my own business venture. The project began in earnest after having a negative experience as a client in a hotel. During a holiday in what was considered to be a renowned hotel with an established reputation, myself, my brother Juan Camilo Novoa and his wife, Caroline Doherty, were so taken aback by the failure to live up to its reputation that we started to discuss how such deception could be avoided in the future.
At this point the idea evolved from an interest in serving the guest experience to one that could also help these hotel’s to improve not only their reputation but also in their financial results their bottom line as a result.
Together we concluded that hotels often have a limited view of the guest experience. In fact, many do not have reliable information to make important decisions about future investments and lack the power to set rates that will allow them to increase their revenue from greater guest satisfaction.
Leveraging my experience in hotel management and as always, looking for opportunities to improve the performance of the hotel industry along with guest satisfaction, we found that there is a niche in the market for a solution that eliminates the problems of subjectivity and ambiguity in existing platforms of data collection from reviews and assessments of hotels by their guests. The solution includes a comprehensive analysis of this information and takes into account not only the guest’s satisfaction, but also their preferences and an overview of the fees they paid.
With this simple objective, we created Hotel Trail, a company where our mission is to help hotels to become prosperous through satisfied customers.
Hotel Trail offers a comprehensive collection of various relevant data on the guest experience using our proprietary system called GXInsights. We then analyze and convert the detailed information into specific actions that will enable hotels to achieve greater guest satisfaction and as a result, improve their reputation and increase revenue.
The uniqueness of Hotel Trail allows hotels to know the value of the guest experience – the real experience, in order to increase their value, enhance ther reputation and maximize revenue.
My partners and I have been working for several months to finally launch this innovative tool for the hospitality industry and we are excited about the prospects that are occurring along the way. As an alumnus of Les Roches Marbella I hope to be able to share Hotel Trail’s evolution with all of you in the near future.
(For more information on Jorge’s venture with Hotel Trail, please visit http://www.hoteltrail.com)