David Stange remembers going to the Florida Panhandle every summer during his childhood. After decades of visiting the same resort and working there as a teenager, he returned as a dad to keep the tradition going.
However, inefficiencies in the beach resort workflow quickly became glaring once he became a parent. He had to wake up early to stand in a long line to reserve a chair with his three-month-old baby, for example.
At the time, the resort would function on a cash and paper system. The attendant would let you know where you could sit; you could pay cash or the attendant would walk away with your credit card to run it at the front desk. All transactions would be written on a clipboard.
Stange shares several occasions when he saw attendants with up to 20 credit cards in their pocket, running to process all payments, then returning to scream people’s names to find out who owned each credit card.
“Nothing had changed in 15 years. I started asking myself, why can’t I book my beach chairs the same way I booked my airline seat at the time of the room reservation six months ago?” Stange tells Hypepotamus.
He co-founded beach management platform Beachy to help both beach resorts and their staff work more efficiently and provide a more pleasant guest experience.
The resorts can manage chair bookings, food and drink orders, and opt-in texts to reach guests about additional services, like bonfires or beach activities.
Beachy starts at the point of reservation as an integrated booking engine in the back of the resort’s website. As each guest reserves their room, they can also book their beach or pool chairs, choose a location, and confirm the length of the booking.
Once at the beach or pool, resort attendants can monitor all reservations with an iPad and process all payment types on the spot, from cash to credit cards and room charges.
To provide further value to resorts, Beachy launched its food and beverage solution this year. The technology functions along with the resort’s point-of-sale software. When a guest sits down on their Beachy-booked chair, it alerts the server through their iPad that a new customer has arrived. All orders are entered through Beachy.
“Our technology establishes your booked chair as your ‘physical address’ during the time you’re there, whether it is an hour or an entire week,” says Stange.
According to Stange, the Florida Panhandle resorts that went through their initial pilot saw their beach- and pool-side food and drink revenue increase by up to 40 percent as servers’ tips tripled.
“Historically, beach, pool, and food and beverage staff work in different departments with different managers. There’s not a lot of crossover or they hire third-party vendors. With Beachy, they can work together under a single platform and streamline the guest interaction and experience,” he says.
The platform also allows the resort to text guests about other activities they can book on the grounds or give alternatives in case of a rainy day. For example, if there’s a trampoline park a mile away, guests will receive a text showing them how to book a trip, plus a 20 percent discount to the park.
Beachy has 300-plus customers across South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Turks & Caicos, Virginia, Jamaica, and other locales. The Nashville-based startup operates on a SaaS revenue model with the resort and an additional small transaction fee to the customer.
At this time, Beachy has remained bootstrapped, but Stange is open to strategic investors to expedite growth.