Five considerations for hotel companies before buying from a tech startupNewsBy Viewpoints | October 31, 2014Share This article was originally published on There are a myriad of hotel technology startups in the market these days. Times are good, people are traveling and wallets are opening. Startups can offer a very attractive opportunity for hotels looking to differentiate themselves, increase efficiencies or boost their bottom line.NB: This is a viewpoint from Alan Young, chief executive and cofounder of Puzzle Partner.They can be aggressive on pricing and can be a great alternative to antiquated systems. They can be hyper-focused on personal service, and they can provide unique solutions that solve the problems hotel face on a daily basis. In today’s complex world of buying technology, it simply comes down to asking the right questions when selecting a great start-up.FundingMake sure the start-up you want to work with is well funded. When start-ups are underfunded, they may take chances to ensure that they are making enough money and not digging into the investment they have received. This can lead to mistakes in the growth strategy of a start-up and ultimately lead to their demise.Ask key questions like: How are they are funded? What is their ultimate goal related to the funding? Who are their investment partners?FocusSome startups suffer from what is often called ‘the bright shiny object syndrome’. Startups need to remain focused on their core solution and objective in order to be successful. However, some start-ups can be distracted by initiatives and deals that lead them to take their eye off the ball.They may go after short-term wins. During the due diligence phase of evaluating a start-up, make sure to ask them what other initiatives they may be working on outside of the core offering. Essentially, make sure they are focused.DeliveryMake sure the startup you want to work with can deliver on its promise. Not just from a technology perspective, but from the actual implementation and support perspective. Some startups have nailed it when it comes to the solution and the technology, but fall short in the follow-up.Startups need to have a strong implementation and support specialist on their team. Make sure you ask to speak to this dedicated individual and feel comfortable that he/she can answer all your questions and ultimately deliver on their promises.The TeamWhen entering into a partnership with a hotel technology startup, make sure it has an experienced team. This will make all the difference. The team needs to consist of industry domain experts that have ‘been there and done that’. This will ensure that they fully understand the issues you face and how their solution will be able to help you.The team also needs to include strong development individuals, well versed in the latest technology and practices in order to support your requirements effectively and expediently. Finally, the team must have exemplary leadership with a track record of success. They should listen to your goals, and when needed, challenge your thinking to help you achieve those objectives.You do not want to do business with a bunch of ‘yes-men’. You want to do business with stable innovators.Vision of the futureNo one knows what the future will look like in ten years, but hotel technology startups need to have a firm grasp on what their future holds. Ask to review their technology road map and make sure their strategies align with your company’s vision. At this same time, keep an open mind.Even if think your vision is not aligned from the start, spend time listening to their take. You may find that they offer something even better then what you initially considered your ideal solution.Hotel companies can always take the easy way out, and choose to work only with big, established technology providers. On the other hand, it could substantially pay off to explore your options with an innovative and disruptive startup. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, you may find a start-up company that is a perfect fit, and makes your organization look like the leader of the pack instead of a follower.NB: This is a viewpoint from Alan Young, chief executive and cofounder of Puzzle Partner.NB2: Startup image via Shutterstock.