Last summer at the Tourism Solutions Now program IPBN member John Donnelly met Nuno Bem, and the pair decided to work together to create a new Apple and Android app which they aptly named, “to guests.” The duo’s start-up was a regional winner in the Tourism Explorers competition and was later put forward as one of the 12 national finalists. From there, the start-up has taken off at top speed.
And had Donnelly not been a keen member of the IPBN, he might have missed his chance to meet Bem and move forward with this amazing solution to hospitality. Donnelly says, “Once again, a big thank you to the IPBN as "to guests" is a spin-off from the Tourism Solutions Now competition which you promoted.”
The app is a must for those who own or manage tourist accommodation as it provides an intuitive platform where managers can create bespoke local experiences for guests by making restaurant, attraction, and activity recommendations specific to their area. “to guests” also promotes the accommodation’s services, so the scope of the app goes beyond Airbnb short-term rentals as it is suitable for even the largest Hotel chains and B&Bs. And it does it all in five languages.
Donnelly says, “We impressed the folks at the University of the Azores who hosted the regional phase of the competition and I'm delighted to say that we are the first business ever which the University of Azores has incubated. We now have an office based in the University campus and have access to the various departments.”
As Nuno lives in the Azores, he and Donnelly have adapted to lockdown with multiple calls a week on Slack. Donnelly says, "We work really well together and on Fridays, we share a beer online."
According to Donnelly, there’s miles to go before they sleep, as the demo needs more testing, even though the feedback has thus far been very positive. Donnelly says, “We've been working on an MVP (minimum viable product) and we have gone beyond this stage now, so it's a great time to start sharing our demo app, and where better than the IPBN? We have presented to a regional B&B group in the Azores and they are endorsing the product and want us to present to their members later this month.”
We at the IPBN are pleased to help and invite our members to download the demonstration app for "to guests” by going to www.toguests.com and finding the appropriate link to download the demo to your device. The app is a global product, however, Bem and Donnelly have chosen Lisbon as their demo accommodation location, so perhaps our local members will recognize some of the restaurants, attractions, and activities in the recommended section.
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