“No more standing in line at the front desk, easily calling the room service, paying immediately and learning more about the surrounding area of your hotel. Our app can provide you with all of this”, says Lennart de Haan, founder of 4Suites. His start-up makes guests feel more welcome and offers more convenience and safety.
Lennart, how would you describe 4Suites in one tweet?
“4Suites is specialized in mobile access. Our app unlocks doors and thereby focuses on the user experience.”
What do you mean with ‘mobile access’?
“We developed a software that can open all electrical and mechanical locks via smartphone. 4Suites is not only for hotels, but also for holiday parks, real estate locations and apartment complexes. The solution and required hardware is a chip in the size of a fifty-cent euro coin. The chip is integrated in the lock and directly connected to our cloud, so you can enter a room, chat with the front desk or reserve a table in a restaurant.”
What do you need to use 4Suites?
“If the client is a hotel, the hotel guest needs the 4Suites app, which is available for smartphones and as a widget for smartwatches. The app can be designed to the customer’s requests, either branded or in a standard 4Suites design. Furthermore, a hotel needs one gateway and a chip for every lock.”
Isn’t this expensive?
“Our product is very accessible. The average price for a chip is €100, – and you need one chip per door. If you run a hotel with twenty rooms, your investment including a gateway would total to around €2500, -. We see 4Suites as a software company and that’s the reason why we offer the hardware at the minimum cost. You pay a monthly fee to use our software. This is our revenue model.”
Which other companies do you see as a competitor?
“The Bluetooth lock solution of competitors, such as Assa Abloy, works with a direct key exchange between a smartphone and a lock. The lock opens when holding the smartphone close to the lock. Such a lock costs around €1500 per piece. And to install it, you need to replace the entire lock. 4Suites arranges everything online through the cloud. Bluetooth won’t remain the standard in the future, but we can update to a newer protocol. The advantage is that you won’t need to do a large hardware investment.”
Why is 4Suites unique?
“Besides the advantage of not having to replace the hardware, our software is an add-on to the existing software and the current keys and key cards can still be used. You can also set static and dynamic rules. For example, static rules give access to the cleaning staff and dynamic rules give access for a set period. These settings can be chosen with only one click and the new rule will be applied immediately. This takes a couple of hours with other available solutions.”
For whom is 4Suites a suitable solution?
“For small and big companies. We recently provided a boutique hotel with our product. 4Suites is basically invisible, so the hotel could keep its authentic style. We are also talking to some large chains and international partners. If everything goes according to plan, a few will switch to 4Suites by the end of the year. Twelve hundred users are already actively using 4Suites daily and a door is opened every second.”
How did you come up with 4Suites?
“4Suites was founded by my father, Ivo Elshof, Sander GeelsGeels and me. My dad and I come from the real estate business. The IT specialists Ivo and Sander were renting working space with us back then. The idea for 4Suites arose when we noticed how time-consuming it is to give out keys and key-cards to our temporary tenants. Nowadays, based on their reservation, we let them use their own smartphone to get access. We eventually founded 4Suites a year and a half ago. Before then, we used the app only for our own locations, but we realized that there are many opportunities at other companies too.”
What are you focusing on right now?
“Recently, we collected $440.000 from angel investors. We are using this for further expansion in Europe. We are looking for partners who want to integrate our solution in their system or who like to manage their hardware with our cloud-based software. So far, our focus has been on developing the product itself and marketing was not our biggest priority. Furthermore, finding international distributors and strategic partners has been a priority as well. For instance, end of September we had a stand at Hotel Tech Live in London.”
What does the future hold?
“Our products are scalable. In the end, we intend to go global and be available on all continents. For now, we are active in the Benelux, German speaking countries and Spain. And we are expanding to the UK now. This is a well-thought out step as the UK can function as a ‘launch pad’ for the United States and other English-speaking countries.”
When is your Accenture Innovation Awards participation successful?
“A program as the Innovation Awards can lead to good references of jury members and other involved people. The goal of our participation is to raise awareness for the alternative we offer. 4Suites is competing in a market that is dominated by a couple of big and traditional players. Potential customers are not familiar with alternatives and rather invest in completely new traditional solutions. It would be great to find one or two strategic partners by participating in the Innovation Awards.”
Read the orginal article in Dutch on Emerce
4Suites is an AIA17 finalist in the theme Delightful Consumer Experience