The Hospitality Gig
The Hospitality Gig is looking to connect people looking for flexible work, job shares or fractional roles across all disciplines in hospitality with companies needing to fill those roles.
The Hospitality Gig, which launched in January 2021, turned down an early offer of an investment for its online platform as it wants to retain control of its direction during these early stages of the business.
What is your 30-second pitch to investors?
Our mission is to keep hospitality working.
All hospitality businesses are facing significant challenges as we go through a period of highly uncertain demand. The ability to flex staffing levels is now a critical success factor, and commercial recovery will depend on businesses being able to access the right talent when needed but retain tight control on costs.
With the impact of COVID-19 on hospitality jobs, there is now a unique opportunity for businesses to tap into a highly qualified talent pool, and our platform enables this access, creating a hospitality gig economy.
In the short term, we are providing innovation both to support our industry, and help our industry colleagues find rewarding temporary job opportunities.
Long term, a platform for incredible talent that can be accessed remotely and flexed dynamically will be a positive evolution for hospitality workplaces.
The Hospitality Gig
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup.
Business: The Hospitality Gig establishes a platform to manage the end-to-end process of posting a work opportunity, finding the right resource to complete the work, managing the payment for that work, and rating the quality of work.
Our platform is unique in that it connects workers and businesses directly and provides access to skilled workers in commercial, managerial, and executive support functions in hospitality.
We only accept qualified talent that has worked for a hospitality chain for at least six months and require two references from all gig workers before they are approved on the platform.
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The business model is simple: we charge a fee for any work sourced and completed via the platform, There is no cost to register or post jobs. There are four key parts to the platform technology:
- Profile management, whereby the workers create their profile and showcase their skills.
- The job posting and proposal process, whereby workers can apply and be shortlisted for opportunities, and businesses can communicate with workers via the platform to agree and finalize details about the work required and remuneration
- The gig management, where the status of work is managed and signed off as completed
- Payment, the seamless integration of the platform with Stripe, a global payment provider, that manages the end to end payment process directly between businesses and workers, ensuring that workers get paid on a timely basis for completed work
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
- The Hospitality Gig provides the industry with unique access to a qualified talent pool available for temporary work.
- We are the only company to offer direct access to hospitality talent across the core executive commercial and operational functions and to provide a platform that offers an end to end solution to manage temporary work opportunities.
- Access to incredible qualified hospitality talent with deep industry expertise.
- Founders’ industry knowledge and expertise to drive business connections and create innovative solutions for industry recovery
- This is a new employment model for hospitality – the industry is used to hiring for roles such as waiters or housekeepers on a temporary basis, but the opportunity to take advantage of managerial and executive expertise will require some education
- The unique market opportunity for businesses to tap into valuable skills and expertise - unprecedented availability of highly-trained hospitality talent for gig work, in view of the cutbacks that the industry has had to make.
- New opportunities for hospitality workers to test-drive different employers and to learn new skills, supporting career development and agility.
- An increase in flexible working opportunities will support workplace diversity and provide new solutions for various lifestyles, such as working mums, care givers, etc
- Other industries attracting talent away from the hospitality industry
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?
Hospitality businesses now lack critical resources and expertise to get work done and drive recovery. With pressures on cost management and reduced headcount they cannot afford full-time resources – we help to connect them with the right expertise on a temporary basis in order to get work done
Hospitality businesses are currently operating on minimal staffing levels – the impact of sickness and absence on guest service levels is therefore even more critical.
We can help businesses to access ready-trained talent to cover gaps in specific roles or to scale up staffing quickly if demand increases.
Hospitality businesses will also need to make significant changes as a result of the pandemic (e.g. technology, workforce, safety) - they can now access new expertise to help guide this transition.
We offer rewarding temporary opportunities to hospitality professionals who are looking for work, solving a short-term shortage in lack of full-time work.
Longer-term we provide alternative career solutions for workers who are interested in flexible working and provide access to gigs which they can complete remotely, at home, or on a flexible basis.
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?
We are currently completing a soft launch and final user testing of our platform, and many of our industry contacts have signed up.
In fact, although we are still in the final testing phase, we have already had a number of real gig assignments created, delivered, and paid for via our platform.
With the impact that Covid-19 has had on our industry, we are only too aware that there are lots of incredible hospitality professionals who are available to work.
Our key strategy in terms of customer focus will therefore be in helping businesses to understand what kind of work they can use our platform to help with, and how to specify the skills they need.
So for example, before, they would have just hired a marketing director - now they can hire someone to do a specific marketing campaign for them.
And if they need particular knowledge about brand standards, they can find someone who has previously worked for that brand.
Our business development team will focus on helping those hospitality businesses who lack resources to get critical work done, learn how to use our platform, and access that talent pool.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
The idea for the company initially came from listening to the challenges that our industry partners and hotels were experiencing in the past year, and from seeing so many of our colleagues and friends being impacted.
We had also separately observed the evolution of the gig economy in other sectors and saw the opportunity that a dedicated industry platform would have.
The hardest decision for us was where to launch first, as there has been a lot of interest in the platform in various markets; the UK, US, UAE, and Australia being most keen.
There are different estimations and reports about market size and opportunity. The NatCen Panel found that 4.4 per cent of the population in Great Britain had worked in the gig economy in the past 12 months.
This is roughly 2.8 million people. However a study completed by the TUC and University of Hertfordshire pre-pandemic estimated that there are 4.7 million workers in the gig economy with up to one in ten Britons working in a gig role.
Given that a number of hospitality companies have had to lay off up to 25% of their workforce, however, we expect this to change significantly, given the availability of talent and the need to find more innovative solutions to getting work done.
We still do not know what impact COVID-19 has had on the gig economy and how this pandemic will change the future of work, but we do believe this is an opportunity to provide access to those who may not have access to these types of roles before.
While we have decided to start in the UK and Ireland as an initial focus, given the new trend for remote working, we will also be able to help provide resources internationally.
We have spoken to most of the major hospitality brands, at various levels of the organisation to establish that there is a dire need for this type of employment model. This has been widely agreed upon.
How and when will you make money?
Our business model is very simple - we provide direct access to talent, and charge a fee for each completed gig opportunity - our fee is significantly lower than the agency model and we only charge for actual work - there is no registration or subscription fee, for either businesses or workers.
While we need to cover the costs of running the platform, we will also re-invest in the industry, and for the next year, we plan to donate profits to hospitality institutions to aid recovery.
We are in talks with several of these bodies to see how we can donate to support re-training and hardship funds.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?
The Hospitality Gig is the brainchild of Rachel Moosa, Kate Walsh, and Fiona Robson, who have a combined 63 years of experience working in travel and hospitality, including senior leadership roles for global brands including Hilton, Accor, Fairmont, and Disney.
Each of the founders has a background in different aspects of business, Rachel has an international HR background, Fiona has extensive sales, marketing and entrepreneurship experience and Kate has been driving revenue and commercial success for some of the biggest names in hospitality throughout her career.
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?
Ironically, one of the most difficult parts was also one of the best parts - and that was turning down a significant offer of investment.
We were approached quite early on by an investor from an established private equity firm, who wanted to invest a six-figure sum in the business.
While it was exciting to have such a fantastic vote of confidence early on - and that was definitely a highlight of founding the business - we were reluctant to relinquish control over our mission at such an early stage, especially given our goal to support the industry and re-invest in training and recovery.
Choosing not to take this investment involved more personal financial sacrifice as well, and so while this was certainly a difficult choice, it has really caused us to reflect and test our belief in The Hospitality Gig.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact - so why are you going to be one of the lucky ones?
We are going where no one has gone before, genuinely disrupting the recruitment/labour planning process for the hospitality industry. This is the perfect opportunity to launch such a platform.
A year from now, what state do you think your startup will be in?
The hope is the business will have expanded rapidly and been able to take pride in the achievements of having helped the hospitality industry to recover, helped amazing professionals to keep working, and encouraged young people to join the industry as the future of work looks flexible and bright.
What is your end-game? (Going public, acquisition, growing and staying private, etc.)
Our end game is to be able to scale the business globally across all hospitality functions.
We want to establish gig work careers as a long-term option - where professionals can create dynamic, flexible and rewarding careers for themselves on their own terms, and where hospitality businesses can rely on a ‘liquid workforce’ of ad-hoc talent.
To do this, we will need to secure investment to scale our platform and operation and will be looking for the right partners to do this with. The end game is to have an incredible company that we are proud to have started, reaching every corner of the world and that keeps hospitality working whether we are private or public.
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