For the next installment of our "Meet the Founder" series we spoke to Kevin Bidner, President and CEO of HCN, a company on a mission to transform the hotel and guest experience by adding a tablet to every room. These guys are thinking big, looking to build an "Amazon for travel" in one of the world's largest industries. Here's what makes Kevin tick!
What was the inspiration behind HCN?
HCN comes from the recognition of a void in the hotel industry. The tech demands of guests are high right now and the hotel industry has been slow to catch on. HCN provides a solution that connects the guest to the hotel, their room and the surrounding city.
How has the company evolved?
We have been committed to guestroom technology since day one. Our initial product offering in 2008 (launched well before tablet technology was introduced to the world) was a touch screen device that looked similar to a telephone with a screen. It allowed the guest to interact with hotel and citywide information, replacing printed material in the room. Hotels were also able to send tailored information to the individual guestroom devices. We had a number of product developments leading us to where we are today, offering tablets as the ultimate guestroom technology solution.
What’s been the most surprising thing about founding HCN?
Probably observing how guests' technological literacy and adoption has evolved. In our early days of product development, personal devices were not what they are today and technology was not yet part of guests’ daily experience. Touch screens were still considered new technology at that point! There has been a steep growth curve over the last few years in how consumers have introduced devices into their everyday life and the adoption rate of our devices in the room proves their validity in the market.
And the most challenging?
For years, we were defining our own industry. This technology did not exist in the hotel industry, and like in any industry that you are paving new ground in, it can be challenging turning the tide of how people operate. It was difficult for hotels to change the way they had been doing things for so long. But with enough time and determination, we slowly changed the way many big hoteliers think about guest interaction and the devices they use to connect with guests.
Had you tried to raise money before using FrontFundr?
Over the last 10 years, we have successfully raised up to $30m through private investors and government programs. This initial investment allowed us to secure a technology we can stand behind and a market penetration that identifies us as an industry leader.
Why are you now launching a crowdfunding campaign?
The hotel guestroom industry is about to break wide open. We have established ourselves as an industry leader and our next phase is to facilitate the industry with a massive roll out. The funding from FrontFundr will allow us to initiate the salesforce necessary to take our products into the world’s largest hotel chains and establishments.
Where do you see HCN in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years HCN will be installed and facilitating all the major hotel chains around the world!
HCN's campaign is now live on FrontFundr. Head over to theircampaign page for all the details.
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