ASHBURN, VA—Plenty of property amenities are in need of revamping, but one in particular is long overdue for some innovation. TrackMyShuttle believes its platform is the solution to hotel shuttle programs.
“Waiting for hotel shuttles is full of anxiety and stress,” said Amit Kolambekar, cofounder and CTO. “Many travelers end up using ride-hailing services or taxis to get from the airport to the hotel, even though shuttle rides are typically free. This adds to the airport traffic congestion, and it’s simply bad for the environment. We developed TrackMyShuttle to enhance visibility and accessibility shuttles. This encourages more travelers to use the shuttle service saving their precious dollars, but more importantly, furthering sustainable transportation.”
TrackMyShuttle is a complete hotel shuttle management solution designed to reduce front-desk call volumes and customer complaints, and to provide hotel managers with the proper tools to improve safety, optimize operations, increase accountability and reduce cost.
“TrackMyShuttle works by enabling real-time tracking of hotel shuttles,” said Bhavin Parikh, cofounder and CEO at TrackMyShuttle. “Guests get to view information on pickup stops and ETA right on their phones. Front-desk staff get an elegantly designed dashboard to view live shuttle location and to anticipate guest arrivals. Hotel and fleet managers get a ton of tools to optimize shuttle operations, reduce associated costs and increase safety while keeping a pulse on their fleet’s health.”
Launched in November 2018, TrackMyShuttle relies on a team with more than a decade of experience in developing technologies for the transportation industry.
“The hospitality industry is adopting technology at a brisk pace,” Kolambeker said. “With advent of cloud, mobile, IoT, AI and blockchain, technology is now touching aspects of hotel operations. One of the most important is guest services technology since it helps enhance guest experience, comfort and satisfaction—turning them into loyal customers—but the technology has to seamlessly blend within the human experience, otherwise adoption can be a hurdle.”
The market for alternative shuttle solutions was evident to TrackMyShuttle’s cofounders. “Waiting for the shuttle after a long flight, with luggage and family can be extremely frustrating,” Kolambekar said. “Providing guests with pickup location information and realistic wait times is crucial to delivering a positive guest experience.” Even though the technology was available, developing a platform with so many variables to track in real-time was no easy feat.
“With multiple shuttles, drivers, schedules, routes, stops and one-off runs, providing accurate information to the guests at all times while requiring minimal to no action from hotel staff is far from simple,” he said. “We handle all the complexities under-the-hood, so hotels can perceive it as a simple solution.”
The platform has to appeal to several players, including hotel managers, front desk agents and drivers, to be successful, so, from the very beginning, TrackMyShuttle has solicited feedback from its users. This development approach has been a major contributor to the platform’s overall success, according to the company’s cofounders.
“Our benchmark of increasing ridership is reduction in shuttle-related call volumes, and many of our customers are reporting exactly just that,” Parikh said. “No one likes to be kept waiting in queue or listening to a constantly ringing phone. A drop in call volume frees up the front-desk staff to prioritize the guests and provide attentive service, especially during busy times. We continue to develop features and update our product to ensure that TrackMyShuttle services has a wider reach.”
TrackMyShuttle can be found at more than 100 properties across the United States. “Hotels primarily hear about our service via our channel partners and during trade shows,” Kolambekar said. “Word of mouth and good reviews from our current customers go a long way as well.”
The cost to a property is a fraction of the monthly room-night cost. “We strongly believe in the value proposition of TrackMyShuttle,” Parikh said. “Real-time shuttle tracking interface for guests enhances their experience even before they enter the hotel lobby and results in better ratings for the hotels.” To deploy the product, all the property “really needs is a reliable internet connection.”
“TrackMyShuttle is a driver-agnostic solution that does not require driver intervention, smartphones or data plans for apps for the driving staff,” he said. “Installing TrackMyShuttle devices takes just seconds, and the onboarding is extremely simple.”
TrackMyShuttle isn’t opposed to partnering with other companies to enhance the platform. “The best way to work is to work together,” Kolambekar said. “This principle is weaved into the fabric of our culture. And in that light, every hotel is not just a customer, but our partner, with a singular mission to deliver smiles to our guests.” The company is selective when collaborating with others, though.
“We partner and integrate with companies that deliver value and business to hotels,” he said. “Our flagship partnership is with Travelliance Inc., a travel management company that provides hotel accommodation to airline crew, distressed passengers and corporate workforce. This partnership represents a true win-win-win scenario for Hotels-Travelliance-TrackMyShuttle since it’s primary focus is the guest—our ultimate customer.”
Shuttle service should enhance, not dampen, the guest experience. “Shuttle service, whether it’s hotel owned or third-party provided, is a golden opportunity for the hotels to provide a red-carpet experience to guests, even before they set foot on the property,” Kolambekar said. “And for this precise reason, the future is bright. Transportation being first, as well as the last, touchpoint in the guest journey, it is a perfect gateway to relay other personalized services and communications to make their stay a memorable one.”
The company’s ultimate goal is to make transportation seamless for guests and hotel staff alike. “The TrackMyShuttle team feels confident in achieving this goal,” Parikh said. Keeping this goal in mind, the company has been pushing growth from multiple angles this year—and this is expected to continue.
“For 2019, our focus will be on accelerating sales, providing unparalleled customer service, and releasing exciting new features, and when our hotel partners call to let us know how we saved the day, we humbly celebrate knowing what we are creating matters,” he said. HB