MBA Alum Business: Guesthouse Network LLC
Name of business: Guesthouse Network LLC (http://www.guesthousenetwork.com/Index.aspx)
Mission: Providing comprehensive software and marketing solutions that aggregate, under one brand, metropolitan guesthouse accommodations, into a global branded network.
Year Founded: 2008, while attending Babson’s FW Olin Graduate School of Business
Founders: Assaf Korkidi M’08, and Fernando De La Torre Rabago, M’08
Past experience: Assaf worked as a corporate attorney and owned a coffee shop; Fernando has a degree in electric engineering and founded a web based IT company.
How the idea began: While attending Babson professor Marty Anderson’s class, “Emerging Enterprise Management”, it became clear to Assaf that the market for alternative to traditional hotel lodging in big cities is growing rapidly. Assaf found a way to meet that need by aggregating small players under one brand to benefit both the travelers and the independent apartment owners who rent apartments on a nightly basis.
How the Idea Began: We pitched the idea to vacation rental apartment owners in our target markets and asked them how we could improve their businesses. Once we knew that there was a need we started working on the system.
Favorite Thing about the Business: Our business helps travelers and vacation rental owners find each other, the apartment owners that we work with are great people.
Worst Thing about the Business: Each vacation rental owner has different needs and expectations; it’s challenging to find common ground that will work for all.
Biggest Challenge: Now that we have the necessary critical mass of apartments listed in our system, our main focus and challenge is to find ways to drive more bookings.
Lesson Learned: You need to realize that many of your initial assumptions may not “hold water.” Follow the entrepreneurial process; be ready to change the plan when there is a need for it and you will find a way to make it all work!