Company founded by ex-Facebook engineers receives investment from GSR Ventures to support post-COVID implementation of safe, contactless features for check-in, communication, and on-property requests
Akia, a Menlo Park-based start-up focused on transforming the way hotels engage with their guests, announced today it has secured a new round of funding from GSR Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm with more than $3 billion under management. Akia will utilize the capital to accelerate and expand implementation of its AI-enabled SaaS platform, which allows hotels to provide guests with contactless options such as pre-arrival check-in and shifting in-person guest communications to text messaging. Akia’s customers include brands such as Hyatt, Marriott, Best Western, NoMad, The Ritz-Carlton Club & Residences, and many luxury boutiques.
"Akia’s messaging platform helps hotels provide superior service, collect guest feedback, and streamline operations," said Evan Chen, CEO of Akia. "In the wake of COVID-19, hotels are accelerating adoption to engage guests in a contactless manner, which helps to ensure the continued safety of both guests and staff."
For properties adopting Akia’s messaging solution, up to 72% of guests engage with staff via text, with 84% of those guests opting to check-in using text-messaging, reducing staff-to-guest contact and eliminating lines at the check-in counter.
"Akia has been absolutely critical for our reopening. Things have changed so much, and even though the contactless expectations are new to all of us, Akia's new features are making it easy to adapt," said Ben Gray, General Manager of Bellmoor Inn and Spa in Reboboth Beach, Delaware.
Akia’s AI helps hotels automate busywork, enabling staff to focus on important guest-related tasks. According to Chen, a 500-room property could free up approximately 200 hours per month that can be redirected toward providing better service.
"The utilization of Akia’s platform has been an essential part of creating strong connections with our guests," said Tania Koehler, Vice President of Hotels at Howard Hospitality, whose portfolio includes Marriott and Hyatt branded hotels. "The tool’s ease of use provides the opportunity to exceed guest's expectations, requests, and needs, quickly becoming an integral part of our daily operations. This is truly the future of guest and hotel communication."
Hotels that adopt Akia see a significant boost in guest satisfaction. One property utilizing the platform experienced a 142% increase in positive online reviews.
"Offline businesses historically lacked ways to continually engage customers. With Akia, hotels can now start an evergreen conversation with guests before check-in that lasts until well after check-out, transforming the business-to-consumer relationship from a single engagement to a continuous one," said Yuechen Zhao, Partner at GSR Ventures. "Today, Akia is playing an important role in helping hotels reopen safely. Looking forward, the platform will dramatically shift how businesses view their relationship with customers."
Akia was founded in 2018 by a team of ex-Facebook engineers with a mission of changing the way people engage with the businesses around them. Akia is currently focused on enabling hotels to text-message their guests, streamlining operations and facilitating safe, contactless options for check-in, communication, and on-property requests. For more information, visit www.akia.ai.
About GSR Ventures
Founded in 2004, GSR Ventures has grown into one of the world’s most successful early-stage venture firms, with over $3 billion under management. Our U.S. office is based in Palo Alto and invests in early-stage technology companies in the United States developing AI-enabled enterprise software, consumer platforms, and healthcare technology. Our team is made up of founders, enterprise executives, and physicians with unmatched industry expertise. For more information, visit www.gsrventures.com.