Knowledge Truly Is Power, says Corporate Turned Entrepreneur

This blog is based on an episode of our podcast, The PathCast. The PathCast is an interview series with tech and business experts, discussing the good, the bad and ugly of business and providing actionable steps for you to implement from the ground up. You can listen to this episode here.

Guillermo Gaspart was born in a hotel in Barcelona, which is still his hometown. As the fourth generation of his family in the hotel business, Gaspart’s 15 years in the industry saw him specialize in business development and strategy in luxury and business hotels.

But one day, he was faced with a question he was unable to answer.

“Why is the minimum stay in a hotel 24 hours?”

It was Christian Rodriguez, a business-oriented and analytically minded entrepreneur who was known to Gaspart for focusing on disruptive models, who posed the question.

While hyper-personalization and bespoke services had infiltrated markets across the board, it had yet to reach the hotel industry. But this question was the catalyst for Gasparts game-changing service, BYHOURS.

BYHOURS introduced a pay-per-use model to hospitality, specializing in micro stays. Completely shaking-up existing norms, a user can only book a stay through BYHOURS if it’s less than 24 hours.

Born in Barcelona just six years ago, BYHOURS rapidly expanded to the rest of Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa.

Get experience before you start a business

In a blog post on BYHOURS’ website, when asked his dream in life, Gaspart responded: “Drinking without being hungover the next day after would be one”.

This lighthearted nature may ordinarily suggest a young and carefree disposition, but Gaspart, touting his experience, firmly believes that earning your stripes in a large corporate is invaluable ahead of launching a startup.

“It’s not very simple to start your own business. We always hear in the news success stories but more than 90% of startups fail. That’s why it’s really important to understand your space and where you get your money,” Gaspart said.

Knowledge of your industry is, of course, paramount to any business venture. But Gaspart warns against young entrepreneurs jumping in the deep end without having experience to back you or having explored different working environments.

Due diligence is necessary for all businesses, knowledge far surpasses this. Knowing yourself, your learning and leader type, strengths and weaknesses only come with time and experience – you could be a great boss to yourself and great at managing your own time, but what about an entire workforce?

Nail your niche and target audience

For a company like BYHOURS, disrupting an existing market, it’s important to reach out to not only existing customers but new ones. You never know who will buy into your product even if they’ve spent years resisting a different model; your innovation may be what they’re looking for.

As a result, the company has gone full steam ahead with its marketing campaign.

“At the beginning, the challenges came from hospitality being a very mature industry. It was really difficult to convince hotels to play our game. But today, our challenges are around demand and education,” he added.

“Our audience doesn’t know that if, say, they have a five-hour layover, they can rent a room close to the airport for a nap or to freshen up. We’re really focused on families and business people because they are always the ones you see waiting around airports,” Gaspart said.

“We’re online, using Google Adwords, social media, PR, and even right now we’re doing a TV campaign. We did one here in Spain and now we’re taking it to Italy, France, back here and in Latin America. In the end, you need to explore all of the different strategies to explain to the people that this service exists.

When asked whether his company also provides longer stays, he clarified: “Our focus is micro stays. When starting out, it’s really important to nail your focus and product offering. Find the real value that you offer people; ours is micro stays.”

As someone whose career began in a family-run business, where he went on to climb the ranks, family is important to Gaspart too. Listen to the rest of his advice, including BYHOURS’ very interesting family policies, on this episode of The PathCast.

starting a business is not easy

PS. Want to stay in the loop?

If you’d like to stay up to date with Gaspart and BYHOURS, search your regular social channels.

  • Gaspart’s LinkedIn: Here here here
  • Gaspart’s Twitter: @mogaspart
  • BYHOURS Twitter: @BYHOURS
  • BYHOURS Instagram: @byhours
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