Secrets of Success: Aaron Solomon, CEO and Co-Founder of Ambl

Same-day cancellations currently cost hospitality £17.6bn a year. Ambl solves that.

Ambl has been created to combat the current loss in revenue and footfall within the hospitality sector by giving the venues the power and platform to fill empty seats that arise from last-minute cancellations.

Aaron has found a gap in the market for both consumers and hospitality venues as it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to find and book bars and restaurants on a whim. The app provides a real-time solution for consumers looking to book spaces at the best restaurants and bars in town, on the spot.

What products or services do you provide?

In addition, Ambl is on a mission to boost the spontaneous market. Revolutionising how consumers go out and unlocking the joy of last-minute living, all whilst having the freedom of choice through viewing and booking venues with availability right here, right now. Whether it is a last-minute work dinner, a rooftop cocktail or a signature experience at the latest hotspot, everything is possible with the use of Ambl. 

What type of businesses do you work with?

Ambl is working with businesses in the hospitality sector, in particular those venues offering food and beverages. From walking around the streets of London after work with a backpack and an app demo just over a year ago, we now have over 1,300 London-based venues signed up on our platform. 

After proving the concept this summer, we plan to roll out the business model across the rest of the UK and within the next two years, we hope to establish Ambl across the pond – starting in New York where we have connections in the industry, before going global on a bigger scale.

What problem does your company solve?

Many hospitality firms have introduced special measures to absorb the costs including taking deposits, charging cancellation fees and blacklisting those customers who repeatedly fail to show. While these are all good measures in their own right, the reality is these solutions do not solve attracting footfall and securing ‘bums on seats’; meaning it could actually have a contrary effect i.e. putting people off from going out or resorting to other means of ‘eating out’. 

Loss of revenue, early closures, and rota nightmares will be a thing of the past thanks to Ambl. Our platform has been designed to give venues the power to combat the detrimental impact of the last-minute cancellation culture. It’s been created to give consumers the freedom to view and book venues with availability, right here, right now – reducing the headache of roaming around struggling to find availability, whilst providing visibility to an untapped market for venues. 

What are your company values? Have you ever had them challenged and if so how have you dealt with it?

Truth be told, our values are still being fine-tuned as we concentrate on building our team, which is growing at a fast rate, and preparing our app to launch. That said, there are a couple of values which have been prominent from the very start of our journey which are:

Creativity: Sharing is caring; no idea is a bad idea
Integrity: We build trust through responsible action, passion and honest relationships
Teamwork: We achieve more when we collaborate. It’s going to take us an army to reach our ambition but we’ll do it together. 

How do you ensure that you recruit a team that reflects your company values?

People are your greatest asset. Ambl is all about building the right network and team around us.

The response to Ambl has been genuinely so positive that we find ourselves being approached days after initial introduction by people wanting to know how they can become a part of the noise. This means recruitment has (so far) been quite an (dare I say it) easy ride. Obviously we can’t recruit anyone and everyone, but the response and enthusiasm we have experienced thus far has been surreal. 

Do you have any tips for managing suppliers and customers effectively?

From our experience, acknowledging and sympathising with the challenges the hospitality sector is currently facing has been instrumental in building the relationships we have so far. We know we are building a solution which is going to revolutionise the sector as a whole, so we want our customers to feel as involved as possible.

Earlier this month for example, we hosted an event for our suppliers to share with them an exclusive glimpse into how the app is progressing and give direct access to the Ambl team so that any questions, concerns and ideas could be discussed. It was a real success and something we will look to host on the regular, post-launch. 

Any finance or cash-flow tips for new businesses starting out?

Always look 18 months ahead and ensure you have the capital to support that vision. Since June 2021, Ambl has raised £1.3m which has been instrumental to building the right product, brand and hiring the right team. 

If you could ask one thing of the government to change for businesses what would it be?

From an entrepreneurial perspective, I think the government could do more to encourage more people to act on their ideas. 

From a hospitality perspective, it’s an industry which has traditionally struggled to innovate and when the pandemic struck, the sector really felt the pain points of lagging behind. I’d love to see the government doing more for these guys in particular offering better incentives that will encourage more people into roles. 

What is your attitude towards your competitors?

It’s healthy. All consumers need something to compare your product against which is why we are passionate about building Ambl as a strong brand and community. As long as Ambl keeps coming out on top then we know we are doing our job well. 

Any thoughts on the future of your company and your dreams?

We want to ensure that wherever you are, whatever you’re doing and no matter who you are with – you are still able to receive on-demand and real time availability from venues. We want to work with the best in hospitality and support a simple solution to combat no-shows and cancellations within the industry.  We want to use our consumer data to constantly improve Ambl. 

The end goal and the ultimate dream? For Ambl to be a household name. 

Cherry Martin

Cherry is Associate Editor of Business Matters with responsibility for planning and writing future features, interviews and more in-depth pieces for what is now the UK’s largest print and online source of current business news.

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