The problem with the large familiar hotel chains is that they often feel soulless. All traces of the country or culture they are in often get removed to deliver a sanitized and bland experience.

A quest for authenticity is creating a new breed of tourists. An increasing number of people have an insatiable desire to immerse themselves in the countries they visit. Airbnb famously started the 'live like a local.' ethos and this trend is spreading across the travel industry.

Nobody knows this more than Cheryl Rosner, co-founder, and CEO of boutique and independent hotel search startup Stayful. As a veteran who was the president at both Hotels.com and Expedia Corporate Travel, she decided to create an antidote to established hotel chains.

Stayful is aimed at travelers who have a passion for independent, boutique hotels. Her personal passion for travel is a key driver in transforming ordinary trips into an amazing story of discovery at the best price.

The rise of chic boutique hotels is meeting the new demands of digital natives. Consumers now prefer a little color and personality to their accommodation. For those that want more than beige walls and a Corby trouser press from their hotel, it seems there is nothing more unique than a boutique.

The next-generation travel app Stayful combines both innovation and technology to deliver an interactive experience for all your holiday needs. There is much more to this startup than booking boutique and independent hotels at negotiated discounts.

Holidays are often the source of our favorite memories. However, it's easy to become lost, disoriented or overwhelmed with the number of options when visiting your dream destination. 

Stayful's secret weapon is a concierge feature that extends beyond the walls of your accommodation. Whether it be booking trips, local attractions or even making dinner reservations without leaving your room, the app has you covered.

Technology has enabled Stayful to achieve a 52% conversion rate and travelers an average of 22 percent on their reservations. The added options for travelers to upgrade their room or order room service within a few taps on a smartphone screen is proving to be a huge hit with their customers.

Customer expectations have risen dramatically over the last few years. Now that we can hail a cab or book almost any activity from our smartphone, we naturally expect this same service everywhere.

Businesses are now faced with the option of fighting these new advances in technology and rise in expectations or learn to embrace them. As these changes have already hit the mainstream, it seems that the key to future growth is riding the wave and setting yourself apart from the competition before it's too late.

There appears to be a change in attitudes towards big corporate brands that treat users as a cash cow rather than the unique individual they are. When I asked the Stayful CEO about her motivations for running a successful business and her passion for travel, she advised: "Every day is a possibility to create meaning, so why not in your life."

By offering something different from the norm, the team at Stayful find themselves in the rare position of winning both new customers and partners. The key to their success is offering value to their clients and providing unique personalized experiences.

It sounds incredibly simple, but this startup success story acts a warning sign to businesses who stubbornly persist with the old way of doing things.

On my podcast, I spoke with Cheryl Rosner, co-founder, and CEO of Stayful. We talk about how technology and innovation are enabling rapid growth and playing a major part in helping her boutique and independent hotel business stand out from the crowd.

 

 

 

Published on: Jul 21, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.