BUSINESS

Greek startup fills niche for absent-minded hotel guests

ILIAS BELLOS

A maid makes a bed in a suite at a hotel near Monemvasia, in the Peloponnese.

TAGS: Technology, Innovation, Tourism, Travel

One in every 100 hotel guests accidentally leaves personal items in their room on departure – from mobile phones and jewelry to clothes and, in the case of children, favorite toys – and just around one in 500 attempt to recover them.

These are the conservative estimates of the creators of Deliverback, which recently launched in Greece but plan to expand abroad.

Deliverback is an online service provided to hotels for free, which delivers items left in hotel rooms back to their owners. When a guest calls the hotel saying they have forgotten something, the hotel finds the item and tells the guest to visit deliverback.com. The guest enters the requested information and arranges payment for the delivery of the item.

The company contacts the hotel and arranges a pickup. Deliverback undertakes the whole process of packing and sending the item to the owner in cooperation with a reliable courier service. In addition, the item to be returned is covered by insurance for the duration of its journey and assigned a tracking number so that the customer knows its location during all phases of the transfer.

“Our aim is to increase tourism satisfaction in Greece and safely reduce the workload of hoteliers, with guaranteed delivery and at low cost to customers,” Odysseas Kontis, co-founder and one of the shareholders of the company, told Kathimerini.

It is said that the best business ideas are usually simple, and it is likely that Deliverback will prove to be one of them. Although the statistics cited by company executives talk about just one in 500 customers seeking the return of items left behind, others are much more encouraging.

For example, research conducted by North American polling, research and strategic marketing firm Leger found that 43 percent of respondents have left something behind at a hotel and would like to have it returned to them in a simple way. Anecdotal evidence from Greek hoteliers points to somewhere in between: One in 200-300 hotel guests reportedly asks for an object left behind.

If one takes into account that foreign travelers in Greece in 2017 numbered 30 million and then adds the Greek tourists who stay at hotels, the potential of this startup becomes clearer: Even if only one in 500 visitors uses the service, that will translate into a potential market of 60,000 people – and that’s counting only foreign visitors.

But the market is global. That’s why Deliverback – which bagged the Gold Award in the Innovative Concept category of Greece’s 2018 Tourism Awards a few days ago – is in contact with hotel markets in Spain and Italy. And that seems to be just the beginning.

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