The Israeli startup Wishbox, a traveltech company that offers users the ability to minimize physical contact in the process of organizing vacations, has taken its its automatization platform to new heights in a bid to lower concerns among potential travelers amid the coronavirus pandemic, which was detailed in a Calcalist report on Thursday.
Developed prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Wishbox has emerged as an essential service for the struggling hospitality sector throughout the world by reducing guest-employee contact, allowing many users to completely organize their trips, from start to end, without traveling to commonly frequented locations to book tours or services.
The Tel Aviv-based startup's platform allows users to arrange a variety of services, including initial bookings, online check-ins prior to arrival at the hotel, smart-messaging to guests by email, SMS and Whatsapp, attractions and services in and around the hotel, shuttle services, room upgrade options, and numerous other hospitality options.
Since most countries have imposed health questionnaires for incoming visitors, Wishbox permits its users to fill out and automatically send it to public health authorities.
“The pandemic created a significant change for our clients, which are mostly independent hotels, hostels and vacation rentals. Our system is no longer just a tool to improve the guests’ experience. It is a regulatory requirement to uphold certain standards to keep guests safe,” said David Mezuman, Wishbox CEO, in an interview with the Calcalist.
The platform has also eased the burden on hotel staff, Mezuman noted, saying that “Hotel operators can’t abide by having a long line at the check-in counter.” He added that “No guest is going to be willing to stand in line next to a bunch of strangers in order to check-in and sign forms or touch documents or advertising material previously used by other guests. It all has to be available on their phones.”
Wishbox's platform also works with existing popular hotel management systems, such as Booking.com and other online services, serving as a central hub for relaying information to hotel staff. Beyond providing convenience to users and hotel staff, the platform has an embedded e-commerce system for generating revenue for hotels and local businesses.
“We came at this primarily from a guest’s perspective. Customers in 2020 expect all information to be available to them at a click of a button from anywhere, in their own language and prefer instant booking over conversing with a representative or waiting for confirmations,” Mezuman said.
“We have been in touch with hotels from countries that have re-opened or are about to reopen. Our system is fully customizable, so it can be adapted to specific countries’ regulations and is easy and quick to set up,” Mezuman noted.Wishbox, which was founded in 2016, has been able to raise $2.5 million following an investment from BNF Capital prior to the outbreak, bringing its total of funds raised to $3.5 million.