An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Richard Castle (co-founder, president, and COO) of Cloudbeds, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Cloudbeds – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
Nearly a decade ago, Cloudbeds was just an idea that me and Adam Harris (co-founder and CEO) had while traveling in Brazil trying to book a boutique hotel. It got to a point that on almost every trip we made, we would discover an unbelievable property hidden from the audiences of the world due to the lack of tools available to help connect those properties to guests like us. As passionate travelers, we wanted to make the guest experience better. As technologists, we wanted to help hosts and hoteliers build great lodging businesses by making it easier to operate and grow their property.
We are passionate about our endless pursuit of “more reservations, happier guests”, a vision to build an open platform with endless flexibility to enhance the guest journey, automate and simplify the team’s day-to-day operations, and provide a data engine that helps properties analyze and make timely decisions to improve their business.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
Like all startups, learning how to make the inevitable failures you encounter along the way work for you is a tough hurdle, but it does get easier. Initially, finding the resources to scale while meeting customer needs with a small startup team was a challenge. Then, of course, the global pandemic was a major hurdle for everyone in the travel industry. Cloudbeds was in a strong position to ride out the pandemic due to our subscription-based business model. We did not have to lay anyone off or downsize.
We did want to respond to the pandemic in a positive way, se we helped create the #hospitalityhelps program, an industry-wide initiative. The program brought together travel and hospitality businesses and connected property owners and operators with healthcare providers to provide facilities during this time of need. The hotels provided beds and facilities for quarantine, social distancing, and health professionals who went into action from all corners of the globe. Over 1.2 million beds supported healthcare professionals, and those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic received shelter. We also created an account review program where our support specialists worked with properties to realize greater revenues during the downturn in the travel industry due to COVID-19.
What does the future hold for Cloudbeds?
Cloudbeds is moving from being solely an operational platform for hoteliers to an operational and business analytics platform. Leveraging AI our vision is to provide business intelligence so hotel owners can make better decisions, often in real-time.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in San Diego?
San Diego is a wonderful area for startups. There is a vibrant and growing technology scene here. UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering produces world-class engineers and larger tech brands are opening hubs. Also, there is a great creative and entrepreneurial energy across many industries that lends itself to the technology startup scene in San Diego.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Learn to make your failures work for you and be ready to pivot when change happens. But most importantly, don’t give up.