Startup — SWEN
Frictionless hospitality for camping businesses
SWEN is an all-in-one booking and property management platform made to fit the specific needs of campsites and campsite management. It offers its users a set of advanced functionalities and automated processes that simplify the process of handling guests — from the initial booking request, through their stay at the camp and all the way to checkout. SWEN creates a completely frictionless camping experience.
The mission of this platform is to automate and eliminate manual processes in campsites — SWEN combines property management, channel management and revenue management into one application, and seamlessly connects with various platforms and integrations.
camps using SWEN
hours invested in user research
Key information & achievements:
- 8+ dedicated team members with Employee Stock Ownership Plan
- 2000+ hours invested in user research, testing with 80+ live demo meetings with users on-site, and 10 camps using SWEN in 2023
- Developed using Layered Architecture which reduces component dependencies and allows for seamless product scalability
- Implementation time within 1 week — seamless integration and data migration, short onboarding and user adoption within a couple of days
- The original team (Product Lead, Software Architect, Frontend Lead) have been working together on the system since day one
- Co-founders — Camping Šimuni, one of the largest campsites in Europe with 1200+ pitches and also the first user of SWEN
- Market size - 30 000 camps in the EU
- Investment amount: EUR 1,700.000.00
Product development started
Booking flows implemented
First 3rd party integration completed
User demo testing started
SWEN is unveiled at the Croatian Camping Congress
First user implementation completed - Camping Šimuni
How it all started
Because of the lack of viable alternatives, campsites are forced to use complex and inflexible booking and management software solutions that are often primarily built for hotels and hotel chains. This means they need to make lots of compromises or use multiple unconnected platforms instead of having one centralized hub that can do it all. That's why we partnered with Camping Šimuni and created SWEN — the only booking and property management system specialized in camp management.
From clients to co-founders
Camping Šimuni is one of the largest campsites in the EU, and with their strong domain knowledge and expertise, we were able to recognize the need and potential of creating the best PMS and booking system for camps on the market.
We started working together in 2018 when they approached us to help them digitalize the reservation process, but in 2020, we upgraded our partnership by co-founding this venture. We both saw an opportunity to create SWEN — the only tool needed for camp management, that can later be easily implemented in any camp, no matter how big or small.
SWEN reduces the processing time for one reservation by 93%.
General manager, Camping Šimuni
9+ dedicated team members with ESOP
Since the product’s inception in 2019, over 1,7 million EUR has been invested into SWEN by both Bornfight and private investors. We used these investments for the rapid development of the product MVP and for building the core team which currently consists of:
- Product Lead
- Product Manager
- Backend Developers
- Frontend Developers
- Product Designers
- Quality Assurance Engineer
SWEN product team has a strong bond as they work mostly from the office, and 90% of the team are seniors from which a Product Lead, Software Architect, and Frontend Lead have been working together on this venture since day one. Over the last years, we established a strong relationship with our co-founders that provided us with 2000+ hours of consultations with users and management that has extensive domain expertise and a direct link with the Croatian Camping Association.
Full support from experienced specialists
We support co-founders on many different levels — from tech & business teams, all the way to operational services and administrative support, finances, and investment network. For SWEN, we met and talked with 50+ campsites, spent 1000+ hours on user research and testing, and we went on the field to talk with campsite administrators and employees in every position in the camping industry to create the best possible system specialized in camp management on the market.
As venture builders, we provide SWEN with access to VCs, investors, and advisors, and also connected the whole team with successful startup founders who went through the same pitfalls throughout their journey to becoming profitable and successful businesses. Our finance team advises our ventures on revenue management, inform them about upcoming EU funding rounds, and helps them apply, but also prepares specialized reports on cost, revenue, forecast, and lots of other useful information in real-time.
Our specialists also take care of bookkeeping, tax advice, and payroll management along with lots of legal advice, and People Operations handle new hires, insurance, contacts, and the onboarding process as it is crucial for a startup to find the right candidate for a position, especially in an early stage. Other than that, as administrative work can be extremely time-consuming, our IT and office teams ensure that founders don’t get drowned in paperwork, buying or maintaining the office equipment, devices, tools, and network services. With full support from specialists in every aspect of building a business, we make sure that our ventures can completely focus on the product and its growth.
Modular customization instead of workarounds
SWEN removes the need for any workarounds or compromises. This is because, in addition to being specifically built to meet the needs of campsites, SWEN is also modular when it comes to the implementation of new functionalities and integrations.
Because of this modularity, SWEN can be customized to fit a wide variety of different needs that campsites and their staff might have. It offers its users a core set of functionalities that all campsites have a need for, as well as a large number of extras that can be added if a specific camp requires them, such as sublease, guest rotation, and other camping industry specifics, and also a guest communication app that allows visitors to report malfunctions, problems and ask the staff for assistance.
From booking to check-out without reception
SWEN combines property management, booking and channel management, and revenue management into one application, and seamlessly connects with specific camping OTA’s.
In its core version, SWEN handles:
- Reservation handling
- Guest communication
- Guest check-in & check-out
- Front desk processes management
- Customer data management
- Housekeeping management
- Back-office management
- Property lease management
- Reporting & analytics
- Revenue management
- Billing & invoicing
Seamless transition & implementation within 1 week
Other than the excellent guest experience, SWEN provides its users with a smooth and painless implementation experience — onboarding and data migration take just a couple of days. We had to make sure that the switch to SWEN was seamless and user-friendly, and that’s why we constantly did user testing, collected feedback with almost every iteration, and upgraded the whole system to make it foolproof for the upcoming camping season when thousands of visitors stay in the camp.
The process of switching from a campsite’s current suite of booking and management platforms to SWEN’s frictionless hospitality system follows a streamlined 5-step plan:
Step 01: integration analysis and planning
Step 02: data migration
Step 03: user onboarding and testing
Step 04: system implementation
Step 05: continuous support and maintenance
Benefits of using SWEN
SWEN offers a wide set of benefits for both camp administration as well as guests, from online administration, car registration scan, and payment options on the go, all the way to booking optimization and high guest monetization, and many more benefits.
Benefits for the hospitality industry:
- reduced expenses & increased revenue
- seamless integration & fast implementation
- cloud-based solution with a modern and intuitive interface
- automates and eliminates manual processes
- enables the staff to focus on the guest experience
Benefits for guests & visitors:
- online check-in/check-out
- less time spent on queues & administration
- effortless & carefree stay
- cashless payments
- additional services, benefits & loyalty program
SWEN is a SaaS platform for camp management that includes PMS (Property management system), booking & channel manager, revenue manager, and numerous integrations to manage and automate all daily operations in the campsite. As such, SWEN’s business model is based on the subscription service fee charged per accommodation (billed monthly or annually) depending on the number of pitches in the camp, and the chosen type of package (full package or custom ones).
Next stop — platform upgrades and market expansion
In the last couple of months, we worked on:
- Core camp management system (PMS) - complete reception (administrative) operation of the camp from reservation to check-out
- Reservation module - integrated booking system within the property management app
- Speeding up the check-in and check-out process
- Faster integrations and data import quality improvement
- Brand redesign and presentational website
- Presenting SWEN at local tourism fairs and congresses and attracting investors
- Camping Šimuni system implementation
These are our next steps (looking for investments):
- Booking system (provide a link between SWEN and the camp's website) & Channel management (connecting SWEN with relevant OTA’s such as Booking.com, Expedia, PinCamp, PitchUp, Airbnb)
- Self-check-in — enable guests to check in online before arrival
- Guest app — Guests scan QR codes to access their dedicated app which enables them to order services, report issues, make payments, and checkout — without reception