Tech startup Please ask m aims to digitize the hospitality sector and make it more efficient. The CIC Rotterdam-based company, run by three entrepreneurs, develops software that automatically processes hotel and meeting requests. As a result, reservations and requests are handled significantly faster and employees are able to spend less time behind the computer.
We’ve spoken to COO, Terry Spoon about how the company started and the innovative character of Please ask m.
What is Please ask m?
Please ask m is a SaaS software for the B2B hotel market that helps hotels to process centralize and automate meetings & events. The software was developed as a prototype in 2018 and 2019 by Postillion Hotels. The mission was to take hospitality to the next level, and the challenge was that the meeting & event reservations of complex requests could not be handled as efficiently as they should. To automate this process, Postillion has started developing an AI automation project, under the name of Michiel B.V.
After a year, the project turned out to be too complex and needed to be reassessed. Therefore, Postillion teamed up with Invint at the beginning of 2020 and decided to further develop the product and turn it into a startup, to professionalize and commercialize the product.
COO, Terry Spoon: “In the period that the project was converted into a company at the beginning of 2020, I became involved with the company as the first employee.”
Who are the founders of Please ask m?
Terry Spoon (COO), Christel Schuurman (Technical Director), and Mark Struik (CEO) are the founders of the company.
“As a COO I am responsible for all operational departments. To me, the most important thing I am in charge of is the well-being and happiness of the employees. I’m constantly thinking of ways to keep team bonding strong and how to communicate this to the outside world.
In a start-up, your first hires are part of the success of the company. To find the right fit for your organization remains a challenge, in which you compete against the well-known large commercial companies.”
Who is your target group and what are you changing/disrupting for them?
The target group of Please ask m are hotels with meeting rooms. Terry Spoon: “The hotel market is very traditional. If you look at the overnight side, it is already fully automated, by companies like Booking.com. But if you look at the meeting side, it is still 20 years behind with a lot of manual work. Due to this, it is a challenge to shake up the traditional hotel market with such an innovative product.”
What is the key driver of your company’s growth?
“Our key driver is having the right team. An organization is as good as the people working for it. It is the people who make the product and engage with the customers. They are the face of the organization and without them, the organization would not exist. With teamwork and a strong bond, I believe that you can grow the fastest. However, it is also very important to celebrate milestones and successes. We celebrate this with drinks at Venture Cafe every 6 weeks at the end of our sprint.”
What is the best innovation of all time according to you?
“The Dyson vacuum cleaner, the one without a cable!”
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