If you travel and stay in hotels often, you've probably had to check your bag in before you were able to check into a room. While you wait for your room to be ready, you take a walk around the neighborhood or have a drink at the bar, all while holding onto a paper receipt you can exchange for your bag later. Often times, these paper receipts get misplaced, leaving the hotel to rummage through hundreds of suitcases looking for the right ones to hand back to guests. It's an archaic, analog system. PIVOTtag is here to change that.
This week I sat down with founder and CEO Emily Long and developer Arahant Ashok Kumar to meet the team behind the revolutionary tagging device.
How did you meet?
Emily: We met through the Leslie eLab. I listed a job posting looking for a tech developer and Arahant reached out.
How did the idea for PIVOTtag come about?
Emily: PIVOTtag started as a solution for lost luggage. I was hand making tags and selling them directly to customers. As we did more research we found an unmet need in hotels, most of which utilize bellmen to store and distribute luggage for guests by way of paper tags and receipts. PIVOTtag can be used to enhance the hotel guest experience and eliminate paper usage for a more eco-friendly, streamlined approach.
How does it work exactly?
Emily: When a guest hands a bag over to a bellman for storage, he attaches a PIVOTtag to the bag, scans the tag, and asks the guest for their phone number. The guest immediately receives a confirmation text, which they present back to the bellman when they retrieve their bags. No more tags getting ripped, receipts getting lost, unreadable handwriting… It's faster, reusable, and provides more opportunities for positive engagement with guests via text!
Talk about your audience.
Emily: Our target market is tech-friendly, trendy hotels.
What do you think is the trickiest part of your business or your industry?
Emily: A difficult challenges in the hospitality industry is ensuring optimal guest experience.
Who have been some mentors to you in your journey?
Emily: We have several mentors who are pivotal to us (no pun intended). Dana Mauriello, who we meet with regularly, holds us accountable for achieving weekly goals and has years of experience in the hospitality industry. Her guidance and knowledge have helped us to stay relevant and to bridge the communication gap with industry members.
What makes your work meaningful?
Emily: Knowing that we are creating something that real people will use every day makes this work meaningful.
Arahant: Being involved in expanding something that is so simple and elegant, yet innovative and modern is empowering and meaningful.
How does your educational background inform the work you do with PIVOTtag?
Emily: I took several years off school after undergrad at USF. During that time I was a data analyst for a technology company that audits airlines, and my real world experience helped me better understand people's everyday needs.
What are your Summer Launchpad highlights?
Emily: It’s so motivating working around people who are also making their dreams happen. I appreciate the structure the program provides as well.
Arahant: Interacting with fellow entrepreneurs and mentors is inspiring. The cohort is encouraging, challenging, and collaborative; I am learning new things every day.
What would you tell other NYU students who may be considering starting their own startup?
Emily: Just do it! Start small, and make the ugliest version of your idea and see if the market bites. The uncertainty is a good thing and when your stomach feels like it is in knots… you're on the right path and keep going!
Emily is described as relentless and Arahant - a polymath. Team PIVOTtag is as charming as their product. Look out for them at your next hotel getaway!