< PrevNext > Conichi 2016 Innovator of the Year By Julie Sickel / July 05, 2018 / Contact Reporter Share Conichi wowed Innovate attendees with the end-to-end solution it promised to bring to hotels, including mobile check-in and check-out, mobile key, beacon messaging and virtual card payment via integration with hotel property management systems and a mobile app for travelers. Prior to its victory, the German startup already had support from investor HRS, which used Conichi tech at its “smart hotels.”Since then, however, the company has shifted from hotels and the unstructured, leisure market. “The potential in business travel is just huge,” said co-founder and CEO Maximilian Waldmann. “We’ve only understood this the more and more we started digging into this space.”Conichi in 2017 turned its full attention to the corporate travel market and established firmer North American footing, opening an office in San Francisco. With the change in direction, the company has also walked back some of what Waldmann calls the “sexy” tech with which it first launched. Mobile apps, beacons and digital keys are fantastic, he said, “but at the end of the day, if no one uses the applications, it’s all useless.” Instead, Conichi is leaning into the major pain points of corporate travelers: check-in and check-out and the expense process. There’s still a future for “sexy innovation,” Waldmann said. “I just don’t think the time is right at this point.”Because Conichi found that adoption of mobile apps among corporate travelers is low, the company now pushes information via email, where 40 to 50 percent of travelers act on it, and hosts a mobile-responsive Web app. Twenty-four hours before a traveler checks in, he or she receives an email with his or her company’s look and feel. It provides the traveler with booking information, the ability to check-in and the ability to share payment information in advance, either via a typical payment card or a virtual card. A similar protocol is followed for check-out, allowing guests to split hotel charges between two payment methods and push the expense information to the corporate tool.Conichi can provide corporates raw Level 3 data for on-property spend, providing a glimpse into what traditionally has been a “black box” for programs, according to Waldmann. The company continues to work with HRS, offering up its data to improve the sourcing process for corporate clients and developing new payment capabilities. It also formed relationships with Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Amadeus Cytric. But Waldmann said Conichi “works with everyone” as a bridge between corporates and hotels.