With a hotel background and good team behind her, Preno CEO Amelia Gain is out to help operators of small properties.

A management tool for boutique hotels, Preno was started up in March 2015 by Gain along with co-founder Max Podolian after she was frustrated at the lack of useful software for smaller properties.

Born in Christchurch, Gain studied IT before going into hotels. Her sister studied hotel management, and together they owned five star boutique hotel The Spire in Queenstown.

“Basically as a hotel operator myself I was frustrated. I’ve been in the shoes of those operators before and I know the admin is so time consuming. I want to help out those hotels because it’s tough running a small business,” she said.

Preno looks after reservations, guest profiles, and billing, and has customised, simple reports that are relevant to the property. It is a web-based product and optimised for iPads.

“We have also developed detailed guest databases to look after returning guests.

“Preno gives people more time to focus on things more important to them, like guest experiences.”

The name Preno is short for the Italian word prenotazioni, which translates to book or reserve, Gain said.

She said Preno is a very design-focused product with a lot of effort going into streamlined billing and accounting.

“Being such a simple product it’s really easy to train new staff. Because it’s been developed by a hotelier we’ve focused on the right areas.

“The feedback has been excellent. We’ve got some really passionate users.”

Preno currently works with Xero. Preno’s directors include chairman Bennett Medary, chair of NZ-Tech and director of Simpl Group. Director Norm Thompson was previously deputy CEO of Air New Zealand and is still on a number of tourism boards including Tourism New Zealand.

Looking ahead, Gain wants Preno going into new overseas markets this year, and said there’s a lot of interest out of southeast Asia. She said Preno is on iPads but is currently working on a mobile product.

“We’re always looking at where is best to focus our energy. We really want to work with smaller properties much closer, trying to help them more.

“At the moment we’ve developed front desk functionality but I’d like to see some guest-facing tools in the future, which will help guests and the front desk communicate better.”