The HRS Group, the leading Global Hotel Solutions end to end technology provider in business travel, today announced the acquisition of startup conichi (legally “Hotel Beacons GmbH”) and will integrate their technology into the HRS payment product platform. The Berlin startup, launched in 2014, had previously operated independently. HRS has now acquired all remaining conichi shares, and this transaction will make the brand and all conichi employees an integral part of the HRS Group.
When conichi launched, founders Maximilian Waldmann and Frederic Haitz concentrated on digitizing the hotel check-in and check-out process and streamlining it. Their innovative approach resonated in the global corporate travel industry, as best illustrated by conichi’s winning of Business Travel News’ Innovate competition in 2016. Companies like Siemens, Telekom and Volkswagen use conichi’s smarthotel services to optimize their travelers’ hotel stays. With that as conichi’s foundation, the startup focused in recent years on developing an industry-leading standard for corporate hotel check-in/outs processes at the front desk – a solution that serves the needs of corporate hotel programs and hotels.
HRS will continue to use the conichi technology for the automation of check-in/out processes. Conichi in turn will become an integral part of a new HRS business division focusing on payment. HRS will use conichi’s technological know-how to further leverage its corporate payment solutions to the next level. Conichi’s employees, including Mr. Waldmann and Mr. Haitz, will work jointly with their new HRS colleagues to develop the next generation of data-driven, automated payment technologies. HRS is creating a scalable, globally-accepted payment solution that goes far beyond the actual transaction, delivering incremental savings and process efficiencies.
Nicole Mantow, who joined HRS in June 2019, heads the payment business unit and reports directly to HRS CEO Tobias Ragge. Ms. Mantow has nearly two decades of experience in the payment industry. Before joining HRS, she was Managing Director for Germany at EVO Payments International. Prior to that role, Ms. Mantow was responsible for the strategy, marketing and sales of payment service provider ConCardis for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
“Payment has long been one of our most important strategic pillars. The new structure ensures the agility of the division while emphasizing the importance of payment solutions as managed travel evolves,” said Tobias Ragge, HRS CEO. “An innovative and reliable payment process achieves 23 percent higher acceptance of the travel program by travelers; no other solution offers companies such savings potential, especially with an uncertain global economy looming in 2020.”
Beyond focusing on virtual payment, the HRS solution has an integrated service. HRS collects, audits and reconciles all invoices on a global scale, and digitizes this into level three data. “This hasn’t been possible in our industry before,” said Mr. Ragge. “It increases the transparency of traveler data and enables the continuous optimization of travel programs.”
“The acquisition is proof of the strong performance of the entire conichi team over the last few years. I am grateful for every second with this unique team,” said Max Waldmann. “We are proud that our HRS roots only grow stronger now, and that together – leveraging global resources, superior data integration and regional expertise – we’ll be on the front lines of global corporate payment automation for years to come.”
Mr. Waldmann will present at next month’s Innovate Conference in New York City, highlighting specific elements of HRS’ pioneering new payment solutions for multi-national companies.
HRS simplifies business travel. Corporate travel managers and business travelers around the world trust HRS to find the best accommodation and simplify all processes related to their business travel. In addition to professional hotel sourcing and the negotiation of corporate rates with hotels, HRS optimizes paperless payment of hotel accommodation and meetings, as well as automated invoice processing. More than 3,000 multinational corporations rely on HRS Global Hotel Solutions. Customers include global Fortune 500 companies, including Google, Siemens, Alibaba, China Mobile and Volkswagen. HRS also works with hotel suppliers, driving transparency and helping to streamline corporate hotel distribution processes. Founded in Cologne in 1972, HRS today has more than 1,500 employees in more than 35 offices worldwide – including Berlin, London, Milan, Mumbai, New York, Paris, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Warsaw. Clients and business travelers benefit from HRS’ global network combined with local market expertise. More information: hrs.com/corporate/
The conichi hotel technology offers business travelers a seamless hotel stay with its smarthotel solution. The fast online check-in/out and the ability to pay via smartphone not only results in increased satisfaction, but also ensures travelers save time while on the move. In 2016, corporate hotel technology leader HRS invested 10 million euros into conichi, integrating the technology into its own app to make frequent travel more convenient, particularly for business travelers. In addition to several offices in Europe, conichi also has a branch in the USA.