How streamlining check-in led Djubo to win the 2019 Connectivity Hackathon
Fresh from winning November’s Connectivity Hackathon, Djubo co-founder and CEO Sankalp Goel talked to us about how the event helped their express check-in product come to life. The India-based hospitality software provider, which powers 2,000+ properties in 30 countries, beat four competitors after two days of collaboration with Booking.com specialists.
What pain point did your hackathon project address?
Djubo has always been focused on making life easier for hotels and their guests, and check-in is one area where we can do that. As it’s one of a guest’s first touchpoints with a hotel, check-in contributes significantly to the overall experience.
Guests who arrive tired after a long journey just want to relax in their room, but instead they’re often made to endure drawn-out check-in processes. In fact, a survey conducted at one of our hotel partners showed that at peak times, check-in took as long as an hour.
That’s why we set out to help our hotels speed up check-in – improving the guest experience, cutting staff costs and even creating new opportunities for upselling along the way.
Why did you need a new approach to what you were doing?
We’d already created self-check-in kiosks in early 2019. These let guests generate their own room keycard with zero human interaction. The kiosks were a huge success, welcomed by both hotels and their guests.
To take the experience to the next level, we wanted to streamline how we obtained guests’ ID during check-in. The existing process of guests providing their ID at the kiosk took up almost 50% of the time required for check-in.
We realised we could drastically speed up the on-site check-in process by getting guests to provide their ID details before arrival, at the same time they give their address and phone number. And with that, our idea for the hackathon was born.
How did you get from the idea stage to winning the hackathon?
When we received our invitation to the hackathon, we were already discussing the next version of our self-check-in kiosks in our weekly ‘Rack your brain’ sessions. So we assigned two engineers to take our proposal forward, together with our client interaction, product and senior technical teams.
We were thrilled to be shortlisted, but then last-minute travel visa difficulties meant our team couldn’t get to Amsterdam in time for the event. Thankfully, the Booking.com team allowed us to take part via video conferencing.
Booking.com’s decision to have the team participate remotely was a real relief, and it revived our team’s sinking morale. - Sankalp Goel, co-founder and CEO of Djubo
On the hackathon day, the joint Booking.com and Djubo project team brought to life something that was just a theory a couple of weeks earlier. Needless to say, the whole team was delighted when we found out that our express check-in product idea had won. In fact, our entire company has been inspired by the achievement: it has spurred on new ideas and helped the energy levels of our teams reach an all-time high.
What did you learn from the hackathon?
Our biggest learning overall has been that good ideas have no boundaries. When we realised our team couldn’t travel to the event, it felt like all our efforts might be for nothing – but emerging as winners reassured us that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The Djubo team participated in the hackathon enthusiastically even though they couldn’t be here in person. Despite a four-and-a-half-hour time zone difference, we managed to collaborate remotely and complete a working integration of the Check-in API. - Pallav Ahooja, Developer Team Lead at Booking.com
Have you planned any follow-up to the hackathon?
Definitely! Djubo’s core product team is already working on a roadmap to make express check-in a fully fledged part of our property management platform.
- Check-in is one of a guest’s first touchpoints with a property and significantly influences their overall experience
- Good ideas have no boundaries – the Djubo team won the hackathon despite having to participate remotely
- Djubo’s core product team has already established a plan for rolling out express check-in for their hotel partners