2020 was challenging. At the beginning of the year, we could not predict the incredible revolution within the hotel industry that everyone saw. From the era of focusing the majority of hotel efforts on direct bookings, we were progressively changing our mindset to ensure contactless journeys to our beloved guests.
At HiJiffy, we were able to help hotels with this new mindset, never forgetting to help them to increase their (direct) bookings. A summary of our year per month can be found below:
HiJiffy won the prize for the most innovative solution in tourism in the second edition of the Global Tourism Startup Competition organized by the World Tourism Organization. HiJiffy has just won the most innovative solution award of 2020, after being selected from around 5000 applications from 150 countries.
Improved instant translation capabilities to help hotels answer guests worldwide in any giving language. Our system started to be then possible to be installed in +100 languages, including Portuguese from Portugal. While we provide automatic translations, they can also be can be curated in all languages.
Through these challenging times, we wanted to help our clients in the best way possible. To assist in handling queries related to the Coronavirus, we added a new topic for the chatbot to reply automatically with measures the hotels have in place, the closing periods, and cancellation policies. And with more teams working remotely, our 100% browser-based platform continued to prove to be a great ally, with zero-hassle to work from anywhere.
With Covid-19 on the rise in Europe, HiJiffy joined forces with Turismo de Portugal, Climber, and GestCentric to launch the non-profit Rooms Against Covid initiative, part of the Tech4COVID19 movement of more than 4,000 entrepreneurs and engineers from Portugal’s robust technology economy. The initiative allowed hotels and owners of Airbnb properties to make their inventory available for medical professionals to book a free 30-day stay, with the cleaning provided by a skeleton staff. More than 13 000 nights were used and were able to accommodate more than 750 doctors, nurses, and other medical workers.
HiJiffy Console went browser-free. Our clients can now access their Console on any browser or even on any smartphone, with the launch of our new desktop app for Windows and macOS. With a native app, the console started to go straight for our client’s taskbar or dock, in order to ensure that there will no be miss notifications, and one less tab opened on their browsers. If they prefer to continue using it on the browser, don’t worry, the Console will continue to work the same in all modern browsers.
HiJiffy won the Prémios Empreendedor XXI organized by Banco BPI and CaixaBank. The Empreendedor XXI Awards are aimed at innovative companies with less than three years of activity. In total, 993 companies applied in Portugal and Spain.
We launched our Virtual Concierge Service with a bot on WhatsApp helping hotels deliver a delightful guest experience across all guest journey. From this moment, more and more hotels started to be able to deliver a 100% digital journey for their guests. Our Virtual Concierge Service started to help with self-check-in, booking services (transfers, restaurants, SPA, etc.), express check-out, and requests for feedback (e.g. TripAdvisor).
We reached 2 million interactions with our chatbot in 2020. In a year of less demand for hotels than the years before, we were able to prove that we were a fundamental asset to fight COVID-19: even with a lower demand, we saw that our clients were receiving more questions and couldn’t answer everybody because the reservation team was in lay-off.
One of the most requested features arrived to our console: campaigns. With this feature, we started to make the chatbot the top seller of our clients through a set of rules that show a different greeting and welcome message based on the page the user is visiting, their origin or even based on their device type.
HiJiffy partnered with Triptease, the industry-leading direct booking platform for hotels. Using HiJiffy and Triptease together provides the kind of super targeted digital experience that helps hoteliers to optimize their direct channel and strengthen their relationship with guests. It also means that hoteliers can begin to access the same speed of learning that OTAs have been benefiting from for years.
We closed an investment round (seed) of 1 million euros with Portugal Ventures. The funds will allow HiJiffy to consolidate its products, the Pre-booking Chatbot, and the Virtual Concierge as well as to consolidate the presence in markets such as France, Spain or the United Kingdom and continue to develop the product.
2020 was a challenging year for all the hospitality industry. Despite that, we ended the year with a growth of 140%, and working with more than 1400 hotels, within 30 countries. We enabled more than 10M€ in bookings, and we want to continue to make our products stronger and stronger in 2021.
“In March, we were caught in the middle of a pandemic that is deeply affecting our clients. I would be lying if I did not say this took us some nights of sleep. But one thing we are used to as entrepreneurs is to rapidly adapt. With a lot of resilience, innovation, and teamwork, this year, we grew more than 140%. We are now more prepared than ever to keep working on our vision to reconnect hotels with guests.” — Tiago Araújo, HiJiffy’s CEO.
Merry X-mas, Happy New Year, and in 2021 we will recover the industry. Count on us!
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