30 Most Influential Companies of the Year 2020
When you stay at a hotel or resort, you want the best service and facilities at your disposal at all times. Before the pandemic, the normal morning scene at resorts had guests waking up earlier and earlier, to hold seats at the pool or beach for their use later. Now that hotels are reopening, guests are forced to wait in line for access to the pool, denied access due to capacity issues, or asked to join wait lists. This hassle, stress, and uncertainty on both sides of the hotel-guest relationship can be removed by the implementation of the Solay app.
Solay is a global application-based technology that provides guests a tool to reserve and check in to poolside and beachside loungers through a contactless mobile app, in real-time or in advance. Solay uses proprietary systems to create space-efficient seating arrangements, alleviating the need to remove seating at the pool, and makes real time guest reservation and seating assignment data available to hotels.
Amanda Abbott, the founder and CEO of Solay, is the visionary who decided to solve this crucial hotel management and guest issue by creating the Solay solution. We interviewed her to learn more about how Solay is helping the hotel industry address this major pain point.
In the backdrop of COVID-19, there is a decline in the number of tourists. How is Solay helping the industry?
The decline in tourists and hotel guests should in theory provide hotel management with more time to assess and modernize operations, evaluate and adopt new technologies, and create an overall improved guest experience. In reality, hotels are struggling with staffing and meeting the essential cleaning and sanitation needs of welcoming any guests during the pandemic.
Solay is bridging the gap by providing a modern solution that not only does not stress the systems or workflows that are essential for safe operations, but alleviates a problem that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
What type of application is the market demanding for a good guest experience?
The market is demanding applications that provide guests a contactless experience but are also seamless on the hotel operations side, not requiring new staff competency or allocation of resources.
Help us understand how the Solay app works.
The Solay app gives hotels a portal through which they can manage their common area seating. The portal dynamically connects with a guest-facing app. Guests can reserve and then check into seating in advance or in real-time with just a few taps. Solay’s proprietary backend software creates a smart seating plan for each reservation time period. This allows for maximum use of space while still adhering to 6 feet of separation between guest groups. Solay will be launching a white label solution in Fall 2020 as well.
How is the Solay app easy to use?
Every step of the hotel portal and app was designed for user experience. Fewer taps, fewer data entry points, and intuitive components make Solay easy to use for both hoteliers and guests.
Our team hears stories about hotels cobbling together solutions using antiquated or overly complex software that was designed for an entirely different purpose, or, in some cases, just a pen and paper. We hear about the lines guests have to form to access pool seating now, and other scenarios that will surely lead to bad reviews. We are trying to reach those hotels and let them know there is a better way.
What precautions has the firm taken in terms of social distancing?
Solay’s team works entirely remotely, so there were no changes in terms of team dynamics when the pandemic hit. While the app was largely designed pre-COVID, the real-time reservation and seat assignment data provided to hotels via the portal (viewable either on the app or desktop) can be super helpful to resorts trying to ensure that groups are not too close together in common seating areas. Using the pool deck example, the pool staff can access the seat assignments on their mobile phone in the morning and pre-set the deck accordingly so that when guests arrive, their reserved seats are already spaced out by 6 feet or more.
Amanda Abbott is an experienced corporate attorney with 17 years of expertise in the health care and life sciences fields. She has advised established companies and startups alike on business/operational and regulatory matters. She gained extensive experience in software development and licensing while serving as in-house counsel for a health system. Her interest in hospitality comes from personal experiences as a frequent resort guest and being repeatedly disappointed with the inefficiencies of a first come, first served approach to many aspects of the guest experience.
She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and received her law degree from the University of California, Davis.
“The Solay app gives hotels a portal through which they can manage their common area seating. The portal dynamically connects with a guest-facing app.”