App brings guests together

When John Beuchert was at a resort with his wife, they had a series of miscommunications that hampered their experience.

“When we checked in, we were greeted with a smile and a glass of rum punch,” he said. “We were advised by the very friendly desk staff of the hours and offerings of the various amenities and then told to check ‘The Board’ for any changes. We were also informed that we were in luck! Thursday, being the day we were checking in, is the day of the weekly Beach BBQ located at Beach 2. This was welcome news, and we were looking forward to the event. We unpacked and went for a walk on the boardwalk expecting to be greeted by the smell of BBQ upon our return.”

But, when they arrived at Beach 2, there was no barbecue and none of the staff around knew what happened. “We looked to the front desk, but there was no one there at the time,” he said. “Disappointed, we shrugged our shoulders and walked across the street for dinner.”

Two hours later, they returned to their room to find a letter which had been slipped under the door. It read: “Attention Guests, out of concern for our nesting sea turtles, the Beach BBQ had to be moved to the Clubhouse. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to see you there.”

“I crumpled up the note and threw it in the trash bin,” said Beuchert. “Nothing against the sea turtles and I understood that this was unexpected, but my wife and I were really confused why such a simple communication was so complicated to execute. How many resources were wasted here, staff time, paper products, etc.? Why was our dinner notification now lying in the trash bin?”

The bad experience and desire to safely communicate with other guests led to a new business venture. “Upon returning from our trip, we got straight to work,” said Beuchert, who is now COO of AwayTogether. “After a few years and some blood, sweat, and tears, Away Together was finally born (and reborn multiple times through beta testing).  From a secure connection immediately upon check in, guests can receive instant notifications to their phone with any important (or maybe not so important) updates from their accommodations. Additionally, through the application, guests can pose questions to other guests staying at the same hotel. “Does anyone want to share a ride to the airport?” “how about a game of cards in the lobby?” Through this seemingly simple additional communication, guests can truly experience better experiences and hotels can avoid a negative review.”

The app is now running in four countries, with launches in the entire Caribbean and U.S. markets later this year.