uses proprietary AI models trained on the hotels’ unique data and quality
control requirements to create self-inspection tools for housekeeping staff. 

The company was founded last year by Al Lagunas and Guillermo Villegas, who are both children of frontline hospitality workers and were motivated to create a solution to help people like them.

What is your 30-second pitch to investors?

Levee is the first operations intelligence platform for hospitality that provides quality control data and analytics for frontline work. Levee uses proprietary artificial intelligence models trained on the hotels’ unique data and quality control requirements to create self-inspection tools for housekeeping staff. This unlocks synergies like expedited training and onboarding, increased manager productivity and streamlined check-in experiences for guests.

Levee plans to bring this technology to all aspects of quality control in hospitality – from hotel rooms to restaurant kitchens. 

Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup.

Our technology uses a 15-20 second scan of a room or common area to extract key quality control information and automate the necessary reporting. This intuitive approach ensures data integrity while also being efficient and maintaining employee workflows. By focusing on operations, specifically housekeeping for now, we’re unlocking efficiencies for hotels that were previously not possible. 

By providing hotels with operational data they’ve never had before, we’re unlocking new AI capabilities and supercharging their tech stack. Whether it’s integrating directly with a PMS or embedding into a current housekeeping solution, Levee is able to capture and provide the most complete source of ground truth data for hotels to make better decisions. 

How it works:

  • Using a mobile device, a user scans the area in question using our software and is immediately given feedback on the condition of the space. 
  • If the area meets the quality control standard (e.g. inspection checklist), any associated reports are automatically filled out and populated within the appropriate system.
  • If it doesn’t meet the quality control standard, the user is given feedback on how to correct any issues.

There are three ways to implement Levee into your hotel tech stack:

  • Stand-alone – Levee offers a stand-alone option that includes our web app and mobile app. No integration into your property management system (PMS) or tech stack required.
  • Integrated – Our mobile app integrates directly with your tech stack, all reporting is sent directly to your PMS.
  • Embedded – If your team is already using an app to communicate or log task completion, we can embed Levee into the current solution to maintain intuitive user experience.

Give us your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of the company.

  • Strengths
    • Technological innovation: We employ advanced proprietary computer vision models that are specifically trained on each hotel’s unique data sets and quality control standards. This enables us to offer bespoke self-inspection tools that enhance the accuracy and efficiency of hotel operations.
  • Weakness
    • Limited industry experience: While our team excels in technical expertise, we are currently building our experience within the hospitality industry. This gap is actively being addressed through strategic partnerships and hiring seasoned industry professionals. These steps are not only enhancing our understanding but are also enriching our solution with insider knowledge and best practices, ultimately creating a more robust and industry-tailored product.
  • Opportunities 
    • Foundation for future AI projects: By implementing our technology in diverse environments, we are amassing a rich dataset that serves as a foundation for future AI developments. This growing database will enable us to refine our existing tools and expand our offerings to include predictive analytics and other AI-driven solutions, thereby maintaining a competitive edge in technology innovation.
    • Digital transformation of frontline operations: As the hospitality industry increasingly adopts digital solutions, there is a significant opportunity to lead this transformation, especially in frontline operations. Our computer vision tools not only streamline quality control but also set new standards in operational efficiency and employee performance.
  • Threats 
    • Data privacy and security concerns: As we handle a significant amount of proprietary and potentially sensitive data, there are inherent risks associated with data privacy and security breaches.
    • Public perception and trust issues: Misunderstandings or mishandlings of data privacy can lead to a negative public perception, potentially eroding trust in our technology.

What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?

Better hotel operations mean a better guest experience. Whether that’s by making sure a guest’s room is fully stocked or being able to provide early check-in more often, the better a hotel understands its operations the better experience it can provide. 

From an industry perspective there is a fundamental lack of ground truth data when it comes to frontline work and worker efficiency. This leads to productivity challenges and a lack of visibility into where the choke points are. Levee allows for more complete, high fidelity reporting with less effort.

So you’ve got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?

First, we want to make it easy to adopt our product, so we’ve prioritized integration with industry leading property management systems. Second, we’re in discussions with hotel chains to launch limited pilot programs in order to give hotels a better understanding of how our technology works. With this field of AI being new to almost everyone in hospitality, giving users a chance to experience it for themselves is key. Lastly, we’ve formed strategic partnerships with industry experts to serve as advisors and help facilitate introductions to their network and advise on distribution strategies. 

Tell us what process you’ve gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.

Interviews, interviews, interviews. 

Originally, we wanted to create housekeeping solutions for the industry but quickly realized there are plenty of awesome companies out there doing a great job. The issue wasn’t the software, it was in the way companies were attempting to capture the data. Oftentimes we heard “we love _____ but it takes too long to use.” After hearing the same thing from hoteliers for a number of the tools on the market, we realized we could partner with hotels and software vendors alike to provide both with more complete tools and robust data. 

The hotels benefit from new, high integrity, data sources; current software providers benefit from more complete data from which to draw insights. 

How and when will you make money?

Our software is priced “per available room” and sold via annual contract with monthly payment terms. We’re positioned to sell to and provide value to stakeholders at every level of the hotel ecosystem but are focusing on enterprise partnerships.

What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?

Al Lagunas started his career as an early sales hire for a tech startup, helping the company grow to over $1 billion in revenue during his tenure. He then moved on to work at Amazon where he gained insight into large-scale organizational mechanics and how to implement them. 

Guillermo Villegas has spent his career working at early and late stage startups, leading the development of software, hardware, and embedded AI solutions. Some of the more notable projects he led were Chamberlain’s Video Doorbell and Whole Foods “Smart Cooler.”

But before Al and Guillermo started their professional careers, they were the children of frontline hospitality workers and experienced how these workers are often an afterthought. They made their way to the industry with the mission of empowering workers like their parents with intuitively designed tools made just for them.

How have you addressed diversity and inclusion within your business?

Both founders are first-generation Mexican-American and pride themselves on creating an environment where everyone’s opinions are valued. 

What’s been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?

The category of technology we fall into is nonexistent in the industry but it’s coming. Our product represents a paradigm shift, which means we have to get hoteliers to reimagine what is possible and suspend disbelief.

Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact – so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?

We are focusing on bringing new, never before captured data to light and helping power the best PMS/labor management systems out there. Our goal isn’t to reinvent the wheel but instead help all these systems operate at a higher degree of efficiency and with a more powerful data engine. 

For a hotel or any business to grow, its sales and marketing teams must be enabled by top notch operations. We’re getting best in class technology to these operations teams so they can enable the rest of the hotel’s teams to be at their best. 

A year from now, what state do you think your startup will be in?

Our goal is to be working with every major hotel brand and operations software in the space. As AI becomes more and more prevalent, the need for new data sources will only become more apparent. Hotels who begin gathering data in new and innovative ways will have a massive advantage in the coming years and our plan is to help them get there. 

Beyond hotel rooms, we plan to expand further into hospitality by beginning to work with the restaurants and gyms of these same hotels.

What is your end-game (going public, acquisition, growing and staying private, etc.)?

Our end goal is to shape the future of quality control for frontline work, and we believe that when we do that going public is a possible outcome.

Phocuswright Innovation Platform

Phocuswright Innovation is a platform that fosters a vibrant and interconnected community of innovators, startups, investors and thought leaders contributing to the overall development of an innovation ecosystem in travel. Using this one link, startups can learn about all of the innovation-related events and programs from Phocuswright and PhocusWire.

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