Our founder story
In just a few years, Hotelbird has set in motion a change in the hotel industry that was long overdue: Instead of accepting long lines at the reception desk, more and more guests now check in online via Web or App, unlock their hotel room with their own smartphone and simply pay the bill by mobile at check-out.
The idea for Hotelbird came to founder Juan A. Sanmiguel during a trip to the USA. After a long flight, he and his family had to wait in line at the reception desk of a hotel in Miami. “There has to be a different way” – this thought matured into the decision to launch his biggest venture to date. Back in Germany, he threw himself into talks with hoteliers, developers and industry experts. In Korbinian Hackl he found the perfect co-founder. Juan’s strengths in sales and marketing paired with Korbinian’s expertise in modern technologies and IT formed the foundation for the Hotelbird adventure, which was officially launched in April 2015.
In the meantime, hotels in Germany, Austria and Switzerland use solutions from Hotelbird, more than 38,000 hotel rooms are operated with the technology, and the trend is rising. The starting signal was given by the Jaz in the City in Amsterdam, which was the first hotel to be equipped with the innovative Hotelbird technology. Other well-known hotels were to follow: in 2016, Hotelbird concluded the first framework agreement with InterCity Hotels, which rolled out the Hotelbird technology in its properties. The fact that a hotel operation can also function completely digitally has been proven since 2019 by Koncept Hotels, which completely do without a reception desk in their properties and instead offer their guests full flexibility. 2020 marked the beginning of the cooperation with the renowned Intercontinental Hotel Group.
A new platform with all channels
To enable hotels to offer their guests tailored solutions, Hotelbird relies on a strong platform with multiple channels. Today, guests can choose between several ways of digital check-in. In 2016, the Hotelbird App was launched, and two years later, the offering was expanded to include a web interface. In 2019, Hotelbird introduced the Self-Service Terminal, another way to check-in and check-out conveniently and independently in the lobby. Together with the world’s leading booking platform Booking.com, Hotelbird created a solution to allow travelers to check-in via the Booking.com app and website. Hotelbird is now also represented on the world’s leading global distribution platform Amadeus.
Hotelbird’s success is largely based on strong partnerships. Hotelbird has been working for many years with leading providers such as the property management system Oracle, the locking system provider ASSA ABLOY or the payment service provider Concardis. Thus, Hotelbird ensures seamless data exchange and facilitates the use of the software for hoteliers. Thus, Hotelbird gives every host the chance to inspire guests with a digital, contactless travel experience.
Juan A. Sanmiguel
Founder & CEO Hotelbird
Juan A. Sanmiguel is an entrepreneur and technology enthusiast. After studying marketing and communications at the Bavarian Academy of Business Communication (BAW), he founded his first e-commerce company at the age of just 21. In 2014, an experience in a hotel in Miami gave the decisive impulse for the foundation of Hotelbird: After a long and exhausting flight, Juan A. Sanmiguel stood in the check-in queue of the hotel for more than half an hour; the idea of a digital hotel reception was born. Together with his co-founder, Korbinian Hackl, he launched Hotelbird in April 2015. Since then, he has been leading the technology company as CEO. With his expertise, Hotelbird became the European market leader in the field of digital check-in/out for hotels within a few years.
Founder & CTO Hotelbird
Korbinian Hackl is an entrepreneur and IT visionary. He discovered his enthusiasm for modern technologies and product development at an early age. While studying business administration and computer science, he founded his first company at the age of 23. He accompanied more than 300 software projects of companies of various sizes from conception and architecture to programming and management. Since 2015, he is the founder and CTO behind the Hotelbird technology. A full stack developer and software architect for cloud software, he immerses himself in new technology trends and develops products in a customer-centric way using the Lean Startup strategy. The software used on the Hotelbird Platform today is considered one of the best solutions for digital reception services on the market and thus forms the core of the company’s success.