Innovation & Entrepreneurs: Pivoting serves as key strategy for Oklahoma startups
By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2016, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
March Madness is upon us. With OU in the Final Four, basketball is the word of the day.
In hoops, there’s no question that shooting is the most important skill. Scoring baskets wins games, builds buzz, and creates fan loyalty. It’s the sizzle.
But no shooter can be great without first mastering the footwork — especially pivoting, the action of a player in possession of the ball to move in any direction while still keeping one foot in contact with the floor.
Perfecting the pivot allows players to change direction quickly and to get shots off faster without losing balance or momentum.
In the vocabulary of startups, the word “pivot” holds a special significance. When something isn’t working well, isn’t working as expected, or just plain isn’t working at all, the startup pivots from plan A to plan B or C or D.
Entrepreneurs also pivot when things are going well, when they are out in the marketplace succeeding with customers, and uncover additional opportunities for growth. That’s the experience of Monscierge, a tenacious Oklahoma technology startup that is changing the way things are accomplished with technology in the hospitality industry.
Monscierge knows how to pivot. The company began with mobile lobby applications — helping hotel guests discover where to go and what to do.
App is very impressive
Then, based on what Monscierge learned from their engagements with hotel brands around the world — Hyatt, Accor, IHG, and Starwood to name a few — the company added guest features that made the application even more robust.
Today Monscierge easily and affordably allows hotels to connect and communicate with guests and staff with a feature set that is ahead of the curve when it comes to both lobby and mobile applications.
From pre-arrival information to check-in, to room readiness, to requesting their car when they are checking out, Monscierge does it all.
In its latest pivot, Monscierge has solved the industry-wide problem of staff-to-staff communications, replacing walkie-talkies and the pencil and paper systems dominant in the hospitality industry.
“We are allowing staff to communicate with their guests intuitively, seamlessly, and easily,” said Kacey Butcher, Monscierge vice president of operations. “We put a lot of design and development into a guest-facing product, and it was a shocking surprise that we are seeing hotel staff use the tool at an even more rapid pace than guests,”
The Monscierge application is multilingual and the user interface is extremely intuitive. Imagine that you are head of customer service at a franchised brand with 5,000 hotels under the flag and thousands of employees, Monscierge makes immediate viability and accountability possible by logging all guest requests and recording when and by whom they are fulfilled. Monscierge is working with large brands that are giving staffs reward points and using the application to track response and results.
Monscierge’s next phase is further enhancing guest-to-staff communications. Another forward pivot and a very smooth move.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.