Zingle secures $11 million to bring AI to the hotel guest experience; acquires Presto AI
With more than half of hoteliers planning to increase technology spending in 2019 on innovations that increase loyalty and personalize the end-to-end travel experience, leading business-to-customer messaging solution, Zingle is aiming to revolutionize the $500 billion hotel industry with a potent combination of AI and text messaging. The Carlsbad, California-based tech startup today announced that it has raised an additional $11 million in funding to bring AI to the hotel guest experience and build out the its solutions and team as it pushes further into hospitality. The round was led by PeakSpan Capital, which brings its total funding raised to date to $15 million.
Founded in 2009 by Ford Blakely, Zingle is a messaging platform, enabling on-demand mobile customer communication. Zingle’s software solution helps businesses communicate with customers via texting and other mobile messaging channels. Its solution enables businesses to engage, support and respond to customers in the new mobile messaging era. Zingle’s real-time enterprise platform works on any device and provides all the software tools to deliver an instant, actionable and seamless customer service experience.
By combining the immediacy of chat with the flexibility of mobile, Zingle is enabling businesses to provide the “instant gratification” service that their customers increasingly expect across a number of industries (with initial focus in hospitality). Zingle pioneered the business messaging space in 2009 by being the first to offer business texting on its patented platform. Today, Zingle is trusted by over 1,000 businesses, including Hyatt, Whole Foods, Marriott and ZipCar. Zingle is the only company to offer simple yet powerful technology like messaging workflow, analytics, integrations and automations.
Differentiated from chatbots that rely on keywords and scripted decision-tree logic, Zingle uses a combination of newly integrated artificial intelligence and human engagement to provide the type of white-glove service and guest experience that travelers demand. Through the ability to analyze message intent, Zingle is able to understand the guest need and reply with an automatic response, suggest a response for hotel staff to execute, or trigger an activity like creating a service ticket, streamlining operations.
“Today’s consumers expect the brands they do business with to provide memorable experiences and top notch customer service,” said Ford Blakely, CEO & Founder of Zingle.”These preferences ring especially true in the hospitality space where travelers have a wide array of services to choose from. Zingle’s platform gives hospitality brands the ability to provide exemplary service and deliver personalized experiences.”
With the acquisition of Philadelphia-based Presto AI, a hospitality-focused, computational linguistics, and data science team, the Zingle platform has evolved significantly. By analyzing and learning from millions of monthly messages exchanged between guests and hotels, the solution is able to categorize over 150 different intents, making responses smarter and more personalized. Message data is also stored in Zingle’s analytics and can be used to inform data-driven decisions, i.e., using message volume trends to make smarter staffing decisions.
“Through the acquisition of the Presto AI team, the Zingle platform has taken a significant step forward,” continued Blakely. “Zingle is now uniquely positioned to provide hotels an AI-equipped solution that meets growing consumer demand for both digital engagement and automated onsite convenience while improving guest engagement intelligence from booking to check-out.”
“In the last five years, travel companies have raised more than $1 billion in venture capital funding,” said Matt Melymuka, Co-Founder and Partner, PeakSpan Capital. “The majority of these companies are in the business of creating experiences. As more traditional players in the hospitality space look to augment their offerings to compete with this new wave of companies, Zingle provides a simple, yet highly effective way for properties to engage with guests in a more personalized way, thus, transforming an ordinary stay into a memorable one.”
Zingle has also recently made additions to its executive leadership team, recently hiring Jason Hekl, SVP of Marketing (formerly of SiriusDecisions and Coupa Software); Ellis Connolly, SVP of Sales (formerly of TrustYou and Cvent), and Eric Pannese, SVP of Product (formerly of NuORDER and Intuit). Each hire brings strategic leadership experience at venture backed SaaS companies. To date, leading hotels and resorts such as Hyatt, Broadmoor, and Great Wolf have exchanged over 120 million messages with guests on the Zingle platform.