App developer and tech startup Zonetail Inc. (Zonetail) is proud to announce that it has raised $2.3 million CDN in Series A financing through private investors. The round of financing will help further develop its “anchored local” white-label hotel app, and grow its market and revenue.

Zonetail is the world’s first free mobile app and platform, custom branded to hotels, which connects guests to the full range of hotel services and businesses in the surrounding neighbourhood.

“People don’t just check into a hotel, they check into the neighbourhood of a city,” said Mark Holmes, President and CEO, Zonetail. “Most of people’s lives, whether at home or traveling, are spent within five miles of their home base. By organizing the information that matters most to them, we are saving them time, and making their experience more rewarding.”

The app platform taps into people’s desire to travel to new cities, but to shop, dine, and explore like a local. According to a 2014 Trip Barometer survey, 90 per cent of U.S. travelers use their mobile phones when vacationing. Further, 62 per cent used it to search for restaurants, 52 per cent to look for activities, and 62 per cent to search for hotels.

“We strongly believe that Zonetail will help us enhance our guest services and connect with our customers,” said Tom Tittel, Vice President of Operations, Silverbirch Hotels. “The app gives us the flexibility we need without developing a custom solution, which we predict will reduce our operating costs and increase revenue.”

Key points of interest for direct marketers include:

  • Integration with loyalty programs – Mobile flyers integration with loyalty programs serving up personalized, valuable, and timely offers.
  • Real-time content control – Advertisers can change content and the deal as often as they like, taking advantage of contextual relevance and time sensitivity with the only mobile ad CMS available.
  • Simple design, lots of real estate – Each ad is two full screen pages, including a gallery with up to 5 pictures.
  • Direct to tenant advertising – The only alternative to direct mail.
  • GPS map to location – No matter where the customer is they know how to get to the advertisers location.

To date, Zonetail has signed agreements with more than 100 hotel properties in 10 Canadian provinces and 15 U.S. states, including three offshore hotels. The company is also in negotiations with major international hotel chains to launch the app on a chain-wide basis.

The app is free for hotels to use, with revenue streams coming from retail advertising from the surrounding area.

“I’m convinced that this model is something that both hotels and guests will want, and meet the needs of the twenty-first century traveler,” said Hugh McCauley, private investor, and former Partner and Lead Portfolio Manager at Acuity Investment Management Inc. “We are satisfied that the business plan and revenue model of Zonetail will carry it through to the next stage of development.”

While it was launched as a hotel app, the Zonetail platform can be applied to any location where people live, work, stay, or congregate. Future plans include servicing condos, office towers, and large-scale events, among others.

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