Empire Hotels “Will Change the Hospitality Industry” – Renato Dimarzio, CEO
We decided to speak to Renato Dimarzio, CEO of Empire Hotels. Dimarzio is a man who hopes to defy this expectation with his distributed ledger technology platform which is focused on the hotel sector.
Discussion topics included his career background, the founding of Empire Hotels, his goals and plans to penetrate the market, the product, and more.
The State of Hospitality
Hospitality is one of the oldest and most persistent industries to exist since early civilisation (such as the inn at which there was no more room).
For the hotel sector in particular, increased accessibility of travel via increasingly lowering prices in the face of inflation has only served to increase the demand for accommodation worldwide. Recent studies have concluded that the largest geographic markets by hospitality sector account for 37-38% market share.
The conventional nature of hospitality has often been opposed to technological change and integration (much like with restaurants) and as such, we have seen little in the way of blockchain developers who attempt to cater to the industry’s requirements. This is an issue which Empire Hotels seeks to resolve.
Benefits of Empire Hotels
According to Renato Dimarzio “The hospitality industry nowadays is mainly centralized, which leaves the user database unprotected. The use of blockchain brings an alternative for the consumer.” Furthermore, “blockchain prevents double booking and it is the safest way to keep user data”.
Other problems cited by Renato (as well as the brand’s site and whitepaper) include the high administration fees charged by many of their competitors: like booking.com, hotels.com and Kayak – ranging between 10-25% of final cost. By comparison, the fees incurred by Empire Hotels will be “be as low as 3% in crypto and 8% in fiat”.
When asked regarding the fundamental objectives of Empire Hotels, Renato Dimarzio summarized the company as “a blockchain based platform that will provide many services: starting from choosing and booking the hotel, through to the end of the stay.”
How it Works
Empire Hotels is creating a mobile app which offers features such as checking in and out, spending bill updates, room temperature control, hot-tub heating and more – with the aim of increasing efficiency in spite of cultural or language differences. Another is the ability to facilitate cross-border hotel booking and payment transactions.
Renato Dimarzio is no stranger to hospitality, having been a regular traveller in his previous career as a self-described entrepreneur as well as a decade of experience in the property sector. This contributes to “A strong eye for details” as well as the inspiration for the product itself.
He pitches Empire Hotels as follows…
“Imagine that after a long journey you come to the hotel and you can go straight to you room, not to forget, the room would have the perfect temperature, your tub (if there is one) would be heated in the way you like it, and the room will be opened with your smartphone. Not only it will save time but also it will give a peace of mind for those travelling a lot.”
The primary source of income the company hopes to generate comes from the sale of promotional packages to hoteliers as well as hardware, on-boarding them to the service and encouraging adoption through the offer of free advertising.
Empire Hotels and Regulations
Renato Dimarzio is a “Brazilian born and London based entrepreneur. Being in London since I was 16”. The company is also based in London yet it is registered in Switzerland, a choice made “because it already had a sophisticated set of regulations in place for crypto/blockchain companies.”
Like the distributed computing of blockchain technology, the headquarters of Empire Hotels (like many others involved heavily with crypto – such as the flight of Chinese blockchain enterprise to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore) is transient and doesn’t require permanence in any one location.
Also for regulatory reasons, Dimarzio and Empire Hotels have recently “had several amazing discussions with Bahamas government which plans to be the next Malta in the space by introducing a more reliable set of pro cryptocurrency regulations.”
Whilst the hotel and hospitality industries have been threatened by workforce problems in the UK as a result of Brexit, cryptocurrency companies have enjoyed something of a free reign of operations during the secession period.
Despite this, the government has increased attempts on regulation with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority): establishing a ‘Cryptoasset Taskforce’ and proposed consultations regarding the prohibition of derivatives sales.
Now and Future
Renato lists a variety of key partnerships in our discussion. For security the company is working alongside Netverify (which “helps to prevent fraud. fake or stolen ID usage”). Others include Accubits, who “is actually pushing [Empire Hotels] out to the market” and AppInventiv: an “app development company, based in India”.
Empire Cash (EPMC) is the token which Empire Hotels has produced to settle payments for services as well as distribute rewards “and won’t be subject to processing overheads”. It is an Ethereum based ERC-20 token with a total supply of 367,200,00 EPMCs and an ICO public sale which begins mid-November. According to the website “All tokens unsold during the Token Sale will be burned.”.
The service interface will be available to customers through a mobile app for Android and iOS, with a fully operational 1.0 launch scheduled for launch December 2018 (and subsequent launch of a payment platform by February 2019). When describing the app, Renato described it as follows…
“when you download the app, you can see which hotels you are around, or in a chosen area and you can make the booking using FIAT or EmpireCash. The main tools are available already. In the next upgrade of the app other functions will be available like, live bill and automated door lock.”
This app is currently in beta mode for a select number of participants with plans for continuous improvement post-launch based on customer and hotel feedback – as well as data insights.
“Initially we will start in the United Kingdom, USA, Brazil, and with plans to expand worldwide.”