A simple idea. A seamless integration. A great partnership. Geneva Ski Storage is a business that helps their clients to store their ski equipment at the airport of Zurich and Geneva to avoid hassles and costs of making multiple winter trips with lots of luggage. Last year they integrated the Tapkey technology into their booking system and developed a simple locker unit that can be unlocked with the Tapkey app. This is where their success story begins.
The Valet Service for Skiers
Based in Geneva and Zurich Airport, Geneva Ski Storage works a bit like a valet service for mainly British flying to the Alps two or three times a year to ski. On departure customers leave their skis at the airport, travel home with minimal hassle, and on their return for their next holiday Geneva Ski storage provides them with their skis, serviced and ready to go. The main idea is hassle-free travel with cost savings and creating convenience for customers.
The staff are on hand to distribute equipment when clients arrive and say goodbye when they leave. This all works well if clients arrive at similar times during business hours. With an increasing shift in the market towards long weekends and mid week travel and customers looking to travel more flexibly, having staff on site becomes labour intense, costly and inconvenient.
Integrating With Tapkey
They swiftly needed an automated solution to assist and this is where Geneva Ski Storage turned to Tapkey that could allow them to operate a digital locker service.
“With no prior experience in the area, we were looking for guidance. We needed developer help, we needed to understand security, we needed to understand the potential of the service, and we got this without asking. Within weeks we were able to set up a prototype and evaluate the potential of the system, and within a few months we had a live system in use with our clients.”, says Joe Salmon, CEO of Geneva Ski Storage about the reason why they chose to go with Tapkey.
They designed a simple locker unit that could accommodate skis and snowboards and immediately adopted the Tapkey app. With minimal changes to their booking system, they were able to operate a click and collect service in a matter of weeks.
“The documentation of API and Mobile SDK is detailed and that is why everything worked very smoothly. I’ve worked with SDK integrations in the past, and there is always an element of concern when dealing with new systems. However, our early relationship with Tapkey gave us confidence and reassurance and that was appreciated from the start.”, Joe Salmon about the partnership with Tapkey.
Open Lockers With Smartphone
The booking system is quite simple and deals with client arrivals and departures. Customers make a booking online to announce that they are arriving on a set date. Meanwhile, the back end will automatically assign lockers to clients arriving and departing in various time windows. The staff simply collect the equipment for the morning arrivals, drive to the airport and load up the lockers with the appropriate equipment. An API request keeps track of flight times and delays, and on arrival users are sent a text message with information on where to find the lockers, and which door to access. Customers use the Tapkey app to gain access to the lockers.
For clients flying home, the process runs backwards. If lockers are full and demand is high, they assign a member of staff to assist.
Adopting Business Models
Sadly the season was cut very short for Geneva Ski Storage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airports were some of the first to experience significant change in operation. However, in the short time the lockers were in operation and customer feedback was really positive. They started testing with the standalone Tapkey App and user experience was good with no complications. Geneva Ski Storage was able to see a great improvement in efficiency and cost savings. That’s why it will be expanding the service with more lockers for 20/21 and also expand to airports in Italy, Austria and France with the goal to create a network of lockers.
Despite this, the industry is fighting back and with a very dedicated market skiers are more determined than ever to get to the slopes. So with this in mind, they are launching a new service, called SkiDrop. Whereas Ski storage targets skiers who own their own equipment and travel, SkiDrop is aimed at skiers who rent equipment. It's very much the same concept – a digital locker allowing users to deposit equipment. This time it's in the ski resort. The SkiDrop lockers allow renters to simply return equipment when they have finished their holiday. No queuing in the shop, no working around shop hours, option to drop at multiple locations. It’s a simple modern solution for a rental process that struggles with peak time crowding. Not only does this help efficiency, but in the current situation it offers a new non-contact solution to assist rental shops and create a safer environment in the mountains.
Interview with Joe Salmon, CEO | Geneva Ski Storage
Joe decided to move to the Swiss Alps in 2013 having established a successful airport transfer company operating out of Geneva. After 4 years of living in and around ski resorts his focus moved towards startups formed around problems in the ski industry. He is currently the CEO of Geneva Ski Storage, Ski Drop and Haute Digital.