Digital marketing guys go on holiday but keep working

Hi all, we are a Budapest-based startup called Bonomi, and this is our first post here @Medium. What better way to start our blog, then with our own story. So here’s to you, this is how we got here.

Tel Aviv — just one of the exciting cities we’ve visited on a business trip

Bonomi was born out of our private passion for travel and our professional passion of working with the latest mobile technologies in our clients’ projects at Möbius, a digital product studio. Waiting at the airport on our way back from a business trip, where we rented an apartment through AirBnB, we had a long discussion about how quickly most of our private and business accommodation arrangements had shifted to OTAs or AirBnB.

Analyzing the situation more thoroughly, we realized, that hotels no longer stand a chance in the deadly race for our digital attention and can not match digital powerhouses in important playing fields like efficient marketing or outstanding customer experience on mobile.

After holidays and weekend trips, we discussed over and over again, how smart, context-aware mobile experiences could have made those stays easier & more fun. As we dived into researching hospitality, we also figured that all these guest benefits would translate into measurable direct benefits for the hotel, creating a true win-win scenario.

And then it all turned serious in 2017, following a pro bono project, where we created a Messenger bot for a VJ Jamboree at our coworking office.

We immediately understood that the conversational nature of chatbots and the messaging platform with no need for app download, are the perfect combination for a revolutionary guest-facing technology.

Indeed, we could see the entire guest journey as a series of casual & fun conversations with an assistant in our favorite messaging app. We shared our vision with friends working in the hospitality industry and they were happy to join forces with us to make this happen.

From that point, it didn’t take long to launch our first pilot in June 2018 at Aura Hotel Balatonfüred, and their feedback was proof that our concept works in practice. Fuelled by this success we started rapid product design and development of our platform from September 2018.

Aura Hotel Balatonfüred — our pilot hotel at Lake Balaton

We decided to step up our speed and applied for a Horizon 2020 EU Grant for prototyping this product vision. Thanks to this funding we are able to exhibit our product at local and international hospitality trade shows including HiTec Europe 2019. The response from hospitality professionals has been very positive and we are truly excited to roll out Bonomi Assistant at 10 selected hotels in Hungary from May 2019.

At the same time we are working very hard to make our product available for the widest possible audience, so stay tuned for frequent product updates in the coming months.