Enso Connect is a dynamic guest experience platform that empowers hospitality businesses to create seamless digital guest journeys.
Using AI, smart home integrations, and “if this then that” logic, Enso Connect personalizes and simplifies guest interactions at all stages of the customer journey.
The company’s mission is to create a tech-powered hospitality experience that guests love and operators thrive on, homed in an organization where talented people are proud to work.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a University of Toronto, Computer Science, and Cognitive Science graduate and have recently completed my Masters of Entrepreneurship at the University of Cambridge.
Enso Connect started as a student project at the University of Toronto. We were tasked to come up with a robotic solution to an entrepreneurial problem. As a digital native and avid traveller, who has experienced multiple frustrations staying at rental properties, I chose to work with smart home devices.
In less than a year and a half, backed by VCs and angels in Europe and North America (including Mantella Ventures, Mistral Ventures, Michael Hyatt, and Andrew Kitchell), Enso Connect has scaled from 68 listings to over 16,000+ homes in 45 different countries, processed over 350,000 guest profiles around the world, joined Founders Factory, the UK’s top Accelerator program, and raised just over $2M in funding.
I was recognized as the City of Toronto Entrepreneur of the Year by the Entrepreneur’s Organization (GSEA), voted the most innovative Proptech CEO of 2020 in the UK, was a finalist for the Royal Bank of Canada Innovation Award, and represented Canada at the G20 Summit for the Young Entrepreneur’s Alliance group.
In May 2022, I was nominated as one of the Rising Stars of the short-term rental industry by Short Term Rentalz Awards.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
To achieve product-market fit, you have to keep failing; whatever you think the solution is today, it’ll be different tomorrow.
I’ve learned so much from the mistakes we’ve made along the way. Entrepreneurship is 90% failures, and 10% wins. Your ability to narrow down that 10% and figure out the repeatable success elements of your product, business model, sales pitch, and everything associated with your company is what drives incremental steps towards product-market fit.
If I were to start over again with the knowledge that I have today, it would take us less than 6 months to get to where we are. This is wishful thinking. However, if I further stressed the importance of iterating on such failures, we would have created a quicker learning process, potentially achieving what we’ve done in 16 months in 12 instead.
What problem does your business solve?
The hospitality industry has gone through a tremendous change during the past few years. While travel is adjusting to the post-covid reality and recession, hospitality operators are turning to technology to increase their bottom line, deal with labour shortages and generate repeat business.
The problem is that the hospitality tech market is highly fragmented. Property managers need up to 10 pieces of software to run a well-rounded short-term rental business. This complicates operations as well as affects the experiences on the guests’ side.
Enso Connect is defragmenting the guest experience management for vacation rentals and boutique hotels, connecting best-in-class solutions under one platform.
Our AI-driven dynamic web-based guest app is a one-stop portal for travellers, leading them through the entire journey, from booking to checkout. This allows property managers to build smooth digital guest journeys and personalize interactions with customers before, during and after their stay.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
In February 2019 I went to Mont-Tremblant for a weekend ski trip with friends.
When we arrived at our Airbnb rental the key was frozen under the doormat. We had to use lighters to unfreeze it and get in. When we wanted to warm up the house we realized we didn’t know how to use the heating system, and the host was not responding.
Almost a week later I received a message from the host saying the heating system was turned off and a window was left open leading to $5,000 of damage in the kitchen.
This whole situation could have been avoided with smart devices, better communication, and a true homeowner mindset.
This is what sparked the idea of Enso Connect, a dynamic software, allowing hospitality operators to digitize and personalize guest interactions. This means being available, never miss a booking or an upsell and eliminate bad reviews without increasing headcount or workload in the business.
We are solving the problem of unmet experience expectations for travellers and hospitality tech fragmentation for operators.
What is your magic sauce?
There are three ingredients in our secret sauce:
- Full customization, made possible by the “if this then that” logic of our operating system.
- Latest AI, built by a professional team and tailored to the needs of hospitality businesses.
- Thorough customer onboarding process and great customer support. Both are possible thanks to our amazing team.
I also have to add that our partnership strategy increases this success. We chose to work with best-in-class industry tech, building an ecosystem to provide a remarkable digital guest experience in vacation rentals and boutique hotels globally.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Our vision is to build the future of guest interactions, allowing everyone, from individual Airbnb hosts to Fortune 500 hotels, to create communities of loyal guests, build a brand and generate more revenue. We want travellers to book an “enso-connected property” because they know they will get the convenience of a hotel, all while getting the experience factor of a vacation rental property.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
I won’t be very original by saying that COVID-19 has tossed the cards for us, as it did for many other businesses all over the world.
We were in the middle of fundraising, when meeting people in person was impossible, reducing our chances for success. I also found myself stuck at my parents’ house in France for a couple of long months, far away from my cofounder and conducting all communication online.
The travel industry was bleeding; shocked by the pandemic. Hotels and short-term rentals experienced tremendous losses of course, and many small businesses didn’t survive. The ones that did had to adjust to the new reality. This marked a new time for this industry and accelerated the adoption and importance of guest-focused technology.
This is when the challenge became an opportunity for us to change our approach from a home automation solution to a one-stop digital guest experience platform.
How can people get involved?
Our product is serving short-term rental property managers and owners, as well as boutique hotels, committed to providing a remarkable experience with smooth digital interactions all along the guest journey.
Hospitality operators, who want to do this by their rules, with their personal touch and at scale are welcome to connect with us anytime.
We are available for chats and demo calls that can be booked directly here on the Enso Connect website (www.ensoconnect.com).