First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Marcus Robinson: We’re all doing well. We’ve been lucky to weather the storm through everything that’s happened over the past 7+ months.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Monscierge.
Marcus Robinson: I started Monscierge in 2009. Previously I ran the European division of a telecommunications company and lived in the UK. As an American living overseas, one of the challenges I ran into was learning about the local area. One of the earliest ideas behind Monscierge was in providing local recommendations to hotel guests. We did this through touch-enabled digital signage. From that idea, the company naturally grew and expanded to cover the entire guest journey.
How does Monscierge innovate?
Marcus Robinson: We take the time to listen to our customers, to listen to each other, and the world around us. Our brand promise is to increase communication, provide a better guest experience, and improve staff accountability. All of our work goes into accomplishing these goals for the hospitality industry. Staying in-tune with the market, emerging technologies, and pushing existing technologies is critical. Innovation doesn’t necessarily have to mean the newest technology. We find that it’s often simplifying a current process or figuring out how a client can become more efficient without reinventing the wheel.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Marcus Robinson: The pandemic has been incredibly hard for the hospitality industry. Seeing closures is always heartbreaking. It’s also caused many companies, including our own, to focus on an entirely new set of challenges. Over the summer, we surveyed hotels, and their top challenges are conserving capital, attracting guests, and fear of the unknown. We’ve been able to shift our marketing and messaging to reflect the new realities of doing business and hopefully address the market’s needs. Additionally, we enacted payment deferrals and discounts to help during the initial shutdowns for many of our long-standing customers. We’ve seen an influx from customers, new and old, looking for the type of technology and solutions we provide, and we’re cautiously optimistic about the future.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Marcus Robinson: I’ve made many difficult choices over the years. I look for support from my team and family when making decisions and consider issues from multiple angles. Ultimately, I try and always learn from mistakes but not dwell on them. You can only move forward with new insight and direction.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Monscierge in the future?
Marcus Robinson: In the past, I kept stress bottled up. I have a team I trust who I look at for day-to-day support. My goals are to continue our engineering, marketing, and sales efforts in a way that continues to build and share our products with properties around the world. As we like to say, we’re here to change hospitality.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Marcus Robinson: Monscierge offers a single platform that enables a hospitality client the ability to use multiple types of technology. These include everything from in-room hospitality tv, to digital signage, messaging, mobile apps, back-of-house staff collaboration tools, and more. We have competitors in several of the categories but no single competitor that offers a single comprehensive platform. We plan to stay in the game by continuing down this path and staying focused on building the best platform we can.
Your final thoughts?
Marcus Robinson: The global pandemic has turned everything on its head. Hotels worldwide are starting to shift their mindset and better understand the need for a better guest experience. The old ways aren’t suitable anymore, and so the playbook has to be adjusted. We feel the market is finally catching up to where we are with our products, and we’re ready to help rebuild the hospitality industry.