Tourism
Posted: 2 weeks ago
Author: Nina Gomarteli

Behind the Scenes of Guest Me- Platform Connecting Travelers with Georgian Families

When Tornike Phkhovelishvili and Tinatin Dekanoidze saw that most international travelers didn't get to experience one of the most authentic sides of Georgia - being a guest in a traditional, friendly family - they decided to launch Guest Me.

To solve this problem they have created the startup with the idea to utilize the Georgian hospitality tradition by creating a website that connects hand-picked Georgian hosts with foreign travelers. CBW wanted to learn more about their interesting concept: 

''The startup reinvents the traditional food tourism concept. The travelers have the possibility to join the local families and have the dining in-home experience with them, accompanied by genuine Georgian cuisine. Our mission is to create a remarkable home-dining experience for each traveler.

We give a possibility to foreign travelers to be in the heart of the Georgian family, the closest to the local culture. Our main advantage is not just a delicious food or drinks, but the environment and experience as a whole, which guests will get in our hosts’ house,''-said Tinatin Dekanoidze. 

How did the public react to the appearance of your service, and who is your target group?

The startup caught the attention of the media and the public from the very first days of its existence. Unfortunately, only after one month of operations covid outbreak started, and we had to pause the operations for an undisclosed time. We will not be reopening our service until we make sure that it is 100% safe for all our hosts.

Our main target group is tourists from Europe, the US and the eastern part of Asia as they are the ones that enjoy our service the most. As for the secondary target, we think that anyone visiting Georgia is a potential customer who can enjoy the experience we offer with help of our hosts.

Was it a challenge to introduce an innovative platform to the Georgian market? 

The hardest part of our company is not the technical side of the platform but instead managing the expectations of our hosts and guests correctly. We serve as a mediator of those two, overseeing the whole process from booking until the actual visit, therefore we must make sure that both sides are happy.

Regarding the startup environment in Georgia, we can say that there are many helpful resources, organizations, accelerators, and people in the industry who can help boost the development process. Financial accessibility is still scarce, but we can see that this direction already has some improvement, and venture investment is becoming more and more mainstream.

Tell us about your team and run us through your working day.

Founders manage the company - both of us have business and management backgrounds from working in local and international companies.

As mentioned, we are not actively taking bookings because it is still not safe for our hosts. We are working on backend development of the platform, content improvement, and regional development. All the updates will be public as soon as the safety issue will be resolved.

In which directions are you planning to develop GuestMe?

The big picture looks following:

  1. We will expand the GuestMe in every region of Georgia so that every host that wishes has the opportunity to become our member.
  2. Introduce new services, like GuestMe breakfast and GuestMe events (we will announce those later).
  3. Reach enough customers to utilize our moats fully and decrease the service fee for our hosts in Georgia