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10/21/2020

Emerging Hospitality Brand Casai Emphasizes Tech

Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
Michal Christine  Escobar  profile picture

Casai, an emerging markets hospitality brand for the nomadic generation, said it is building a new vision for hospitality in Latin America. Launching with almost 200 units in Mexico City, Casai offers luxurious amenities, locally-sourced design, and sophisticated smart technology.

 

Additionally, technology is integrated into each traveler’s stay, which should be expected since the company’s CTO -- Andrés Páez Martínez -- is an alum of both Amazon and Google. Casai’s proprietary smart hardware hub, Butler, connects all of the space’s smart technology to the Casai app. Through the app, guests can access keyless check-in, control smart devices including Google Home, smart lights, and Chromecast-powered TVs and browse local recommendations. The hardware allows Casai to optimize guests’ experience by proactively identifying when issues (like internet connectivity) may arise. In addition to transforming the guest experience, Casai’s technology is used in all aspects of its operation from its decisions on scouting units to how it manages its behind-the-scenes logistics.

To learn more about this new hospitality brand, HT spoke with Andrés Páez Martínez.

What makes Casai unique?

The name Casai comes from ‘casa inteligente’ and that's what our tech aims to do. Travelers want the high standard of excellence such as luxurious amenities but they also have sophisticated smart technology that is seamlessly integrated into their stay. With this in mind, we created a device called Butler, which controls all the connected devices in the apartment. With Butler, guests don’t have to worry about downloading several apps to control devices - we made sure that every Casai has keyless check-in, a Google Home, Chromecast-powered TVs, high-speed Wifi and all accessible and controllable from the Casai app (which is powered by Butler.)

Unlike other hotels or short-term rental apartments, Casai creates a consistent experience of excellence through its intelligent spaces, concierge, app, and lounge, meeting a high standard tailored to the tech-savvy and convenience-oriented nomadic generation. We heavily invest in machine learning and hardware R&D to optimize our guest experience and proprietary back-end software to manage the complex operations. 

Casai’s tech, design and hospitality expertise creates a unique standard of excellence that every Casai must meet.

How did technology influence the way the brand was designed/developed and ultimately built?

Casai was founded as a tech-driven hospitality company so we have had tech in mind since day one. In 2020, modern guests expect reliable, high-tech living and workspaces with concierge and amenities with COVID-proof offerings in mind. Casai’s app allows guests to check-in, get on high-speed WiFi, control Bluetooth sound and TV, order food and grocery delivery, explore local guides and access Casai’s personalized and all-day concierge support. 

Casai is backed by technology investors including Andreessen Horowitz and founded by diverse industry leaders in tech, design and hospitality, so naturally we implemented tech within every step. My own background is a testament to this: after 5 years in San Francisco as a software engineer at Amazon and Google, I moved back to Mexico to build a technology company in the mold of my previous employers. When I look for engineers for my team (across hardware, software, and data science), I look for the same standards as we had at Google and Amazon. Today’s modern traveler expects high-tech apartments, and we’re here to provide that consistent experience through our spaces through our one-of-a-kind smart tech.

What is the one piece of technology - either guest facing or behind the scenes - that you're most proud of implementing?

Casai’s tech team is constantly innovating. One feature I’m excited to share is the CasaiKey, which allows our customers to enter their unit, using proprietary software and hardware that connects to each Casai lock through our app: Butler. 

With CasaiKey, we can easily trouble shoot any issues and manually set and remove codes, making the process to get into a Casai apartment easy. We’ve also implemented many security and permissions as we know entrance to units is a very delicate matter.

At the moment, our teams are also looking into more unlocking methods like fingerprint or even bluetooth ID.