Growth and new opportunities led the founders of Revpar Guru, a back-end revenue management engine for hoteliers, to the SBDC at FIU. Today, the Miami Beach-based venture is on track to enter its next stage.
The services offered by the SBDC at FIU and its expert financial consultants have been formative for Revpar, noted CEO Jean Francois Mourier.
“Advisor Ray Juncosa taught us how to prepare a better business plan, prepare balance sheets and how to present the company to banks in a specialty field,” said Mourier. “Ray takes you by the hand; without him, it would have taken ten times more effort to knock on the doors we’ve reached out to.”
Launched January 2008, Revpar’s software analyzes a hotel’s room offerings, its historical rates, the rates of competitors within the same area, pricing trends and environmental factors to identify the best rate at the opportune time. Today it’s being used by hoteliers in 35 countries.
The trajectory hasn’t been easy. Initially, Mourier and business partner Bruno Perez faced resistance from hoteliers who were wary of Revpar’s technology and the results it may yield. Financial institutions too had been reluctant to give the company expansion capital.
That’s when they turned to the SBDC at FIU.
“Our original plan was to find capital and we thought they could help… it turned out to be instrumental,” Perez insisted. “When you’re involved in your business every day you don’t have the perspective to put it in the right light before banks, you need to know the factors that banks are looking for.”
A financial business analyst, SBDC’s Juncosa shared his business knowledge and contacts, introducing Perez and Mourier to “heavy hitters” in the financial industry. “When you read about what the SBDC offers you think it’s going to be too good to be true,” said Perez. “And we were surprised to learn it was free.”
Mourier and Perez agree that Revpar’s future is brighter today. Their quest for capital funding was recently approved and the focus now is on acquiring small boutique hotels where they can instantly put Revpar’s technology to work.
“It’s not just about software. As hoteliers, we can prove what we say,” Mourier said. “Hotel chains don’t have an edge anymore because the online travel agencies have given small hotels a fighting chance.”
Should others looking to start or grow a small business connect with the SBDC at FIU? Their response is a resounding yes.
“It’s amazing what you can do with them,” said Perez. “We’re not planning to close the door with the SBDC; we’ll continue to seek advice and opportunities through them.”
Added Mourier: “If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think we’d be where we are today.”