News & Analysis

Aston Club launches, bringing efficiency and intelligence into the hospitality industry

- April 4, 2014 3 MIN READ

After much anticipation, startup Aston Club, deemed “the UBER of the hospitality industry” has just launched into the iOS and Android markets. Incorporated into the smartphone application is a Point Of Sale-integrated mobile payment system, member benefit programme with exclusive VIP rewards and unique marketing solutions for merchants.

Aston Club was co-founded by Melbourne-based technologists Nicholas Birrell and Matthew Khoury, as well as Adelaide-based entrepreneur and Co-Director of StartupGrind Adelaide Jason Cross, who combined their digital expertise, extensive hospitality experience and business acumen to bring the concept to life.

The startup now aims to lead the way into a new era of hospitality where customers can open and settle their bar tabs with mere taps and swipes on their smartphones.

By eliminating the inconveniences of old school payment methods – which could leave patrons waiting up to 10 minutes just to settle their bills – the app increases bar efficiency and table turnover. And rather than standing at the cash register, staff can focus on what matters – customer service.

“By reducing the need to manually process payments, Aston Club saves time and resources and allows staff to focus on providing great service. Aston Club can be fully integrated into a venue’s existing point of sale system and requires no extra hardware,” Birrell said.

Apart from the benefits of improved efficiency and customer experience, Khoury said it is the unique marketing features and rewards programme that make Aston Club a “game changer” in the hospitality industry.

Venues are able to gain ‘otherwise undiscoverable’ insight into their customer base, and reward loyal patrons. With the number of customers entering and exiting a venue, relying on familiar faces is inefficient.

“Aston Club enables staff to instantly recognise loyal customers, and seamlessly provide them with priority VIP service without the need to know the customer personally,” Khoury said.

Aston Club mobile app

Aston Club mobile app

Aston Club’s member benefits programme can provide customers with exclusive VIP rewards such as free rides with UBER luxury car service, express entry, priority seating in a VIP area, complimentary food and drinks as well as exclusive event invitations – basically, everything that makes you feel like a celebrity.

“[R]egular customers want to be noticed and rewarded by staff, and Aston Club enables venues to do so while at the same time providing them with valuable data on their clientele and how to better serve them,” Khoury said.

So how does it work? Users simply set their limit and choose which credit card they wish to use at partnering venues. Then they show venue staff their tab number and order as they normally would. Users are also able to view their purchases in real time. Finally, users set their tip and can close the tab and leave.

Aston Club users are able to earn club points every time they use the app to pay for food and drinks.

The launch of Aston Club is also a timely response to recently introduced legislation barring signature verification of credit cards.

Aston Club is not Birrell or Khoury’s first venture. Their credits include Boogiespot, another hospitality industry app which is now a multi-million dollar success and used in venues across the globe. What the trio learned from their previous startup is the importance of raising funds at an early stage.

So when it came to Aston Club, they were quick to raise capital, securing a total of $1.5 million of funding thus far from a syndicate of Angel investors including big names in the AFL. Their track record with Boogiespot made the capital raising process significantly easier.

Aston Club is free for the end-user, but charges merchants a flat transaction fee which covers all banking interchange fees. A percentage of every transaction allows venues to speed up the payment process, gather customer data and use that data to tailor their marketing efforts.

For more information on Aston Club, visit www.astonclub.com.au.