The History of Arrivedo: CEO Alonso Franco Shares his Story
In 2008, I convinced the parents of a good friend of mine to return their Egypt travel tickets and plan a new vacation to Peru. Since I can remember, I have been passionate about being a host for others in Peru.
A few days after delivering that advice, I decided to quit my investment banking job in New York in order to open a hospitality business in Peru. I thought, “what if I could just dedicate my life to help travelers enjoy their vacation as they navigate their days in Peru?”
Behind every hotel there are passionate hosts wanting to help guests discover their neighborhood, city, and country. However, running a hotel is complex. Hoteliers need to manage rent, new renovations, housekeeping, security and supervise staff. All these tasks leave us with little time to prepare and develop how to be better local hosts.
Since entering the hospitality industry I have seen how we, the hoteliers, have lost ground in terms of sharing information with newcomers. New age technology has built valuable products and brands, however, it is not inviting hotel’s to share their insights as local hosts.
Approximately 5 billion questions are exchanged annually between guests and hotel staff globally
“Where can I go to dinner for an anniversary night nearby? Can you recommend me a route for a 5 km run around here? Is there a coffee house with good WiFi within walking distance?”.
Hotels owners, managers, concierges, and front desk staff know the answers to all of these questions, and they respond to them daily. However, there is currently no platform to organize this information and to get it delivered to guests easily.
TripAdvisor only lets us talk after guests’ comment or complain. There is no space on the Internet welcoming hotels’ neighborhood recommendations as local hosts! Online travel agencies such as OTAs like Expedia, Priceline, Hostelworld, etc. have also taken much of our margin as we have seen them increase commissions in our faces. This leaves us with fewer resources to deliver better services as local hosts. It’s as if the tech party started a few years ago, but no one put our names on the guest list.
In 2013, despite the success of my hospitality business, I decided to start again and study at Stanford Business School in order to learn Silicon Valley’s best practices on how to build an innovative, mission-driven tech company doing things that have not yet been done. After graduation, and together with Rodrigo Lopez, we co-founded Arrivedo to help guests discover hotels and their communities with personalized local advice from hotel staff and past guests.