Spotlight Interview: Adam Harris, Co-Founder and CEO of Cloudbeds


Under the leadership of Adam Harris, Co-Founder and CEO, Cloudbeds has grown into a platform that supports lodging businesses worldwide, driving billions in revenue for tens of thousands of properties. Harris’s people-centered approach and the company’s fully-remote workforce, which spans over 40 countries, have been instrumental in this success. In this interview, Harris delves into the origins of Cloudbeds, sharing how a frustrating experience while traveling in Brazil sparked the idea for a more streamlined and modern guest experience. He discusses the core mission of Cloudbeds and its evolution. He also outlines the strategies employed to manage a diverse and distributed team effectively, highlighting the importance of flexibility, strategic location management, and remote parity. Harris explains how Cloudbeds’ technology supports hoteliers in creating personalized guest experiences through features like AI-powered chatbots and mobile integrations. Addressing the biggest challenges facing the hospitality industry, he points to the inefficiencies of legacy technology systems and how Cloudbeds aims to simplify workflows through a unified platform. Before founding Cloudbeds, Harris was an accomplished entrepreneur with a track record of successful businesses. His most notable invention was Bark4Beer, a dog collar company that quickly became an overnight sensation.

What inspired you to co-found Cloudbeds, and how did your previous entrepreneurial experiences influence its inception?

Richard Castle and I had previously been working together in and around technology when our idea for Cloudbeds came about. It all started from a little problem while traveling through Brazil – a posada wanted money wired to “someone affiliated with the property” to hold a reservation. Aside from being super sketchy, it didn’t resemble the modern guest experience most travelers have come to expect, even internationally.

Frustrated by this disconnect, we dreamed of a better way — a platform that any property, no matter their size, type, or location, could use to successfully run its lodging business. It was a back-of-the-napkin idea that has become the platform that powers hospitality, enabling lodging businesses in more than 150 countries worldwide to grow and thrive.

Can you describe the core mission of Cloudbeds and how it has evolved since the company’s founding?

Cloudbeds exists to serve and empower hoteliers in elevating their businesses through the art of hospitality. Our platform got to where it is today by taking an unusual path. Most of our competitors focused on the operations and built for that. We were edgier, many said insane. Because we’ve always been distribution first. It’s in our DNA.

11 years ago, we built a booking engine first. Then we risked everything (and I mean everything – we spent half the cash we’d just raised) on a bet to acquire a channel manager because we saw the big picture. It’s how our tagline “More reservations, happier guests” was born. That sentiment is so much more than a tagline. It’s very revealing of how we think about our customers. We’ve always been revenue-focused – how can we help them get more reservations and more revenue while delivering on guest happiness? It’s unique to Cloudbeds and makes our technology much more holistic.
Cloudbeds operates with a fully remote workforce across more than 40 countries. What are the key strategies you employ to manage such a diverse and distributed team effectively?

At Cloudbeds, our remote-first philosophy is integral to our DNA. Since our inception in 2012, we’ve mastered the art of operating a global, distributed team by emphasizing flexibility and strategic location management. We ensure our teams are aligned by clustering them in similar time zones, fostering better coordination and collaboration. Our robust infrastructure supports this model by prioritizing strong internet connections, minimal distractions, and personal accountability. Moreover, we are committed to remote parity, ensuring all employees, whether they are in small offices or remote settings, are treated equally and inclusively. This approach not only enhances our operational efficiency but also allows us to attract top talent worldwide, maintaining our high standards of productivity and cultural cohesion across 47 countries.

In what ways does Cloudbeds’ technology support hoteliers in creating personalized guest experiences?

Our unified platform is the market leader in elevating guest experience. Cloudbeds’ technology is designed to transform how hoteliers engage with their guests, tailoring experiences to meet modern expectations. Our technology leverages the power of digitalization to streamline the guest experience from start to finish. Features such as AI-powered chatbots, digital check-in, and mobile door lock integrations allow for seamless interaction, catering to the convenience guests expect today.

Additionally, our system supports mobile payment options and is fully integrated with the hotel’s reservation calendar, guest profiles, and folios, ensuring every touchpoint is personalized. With Cloudbeds, hoteliers can offer a completely digital arrival, facilitate easy payments, and deliver personalized offers and responses, setting new standards in guest satisfaction. All of this allows hoteliers and staff to spend less time with their hands on keyboards, and more time giving attention to their guests.

Can you discuss any partnerships or collaborations that have been pivotal to Cloudbeds’ growth and success?

Cloudbeds has robust integrations and strategic partnerships that allow us to serve our customers. We continuously expand our partnerships with industry leaders like Amadeus, Cendyn, and IDeas, which are pivotal for mid-market properties. These collaborations allow us to offer new and powerful integrations that optimize operational efficiencies and enhance revenue opportunities for our clients. Cloudbeds redefines what it means to be a PMS, with a cloud-native, unified platform, backed by an Open API and built specifically for the hospitality industry, ensuring that our platform not only meets but exceeds the evolving needs of today’s hoteliers.

What in your view are the biggest challenges facing the hospitality industry today, and how is Cloudbeds addressing them?

The complexity and inefficiency of legacy technology systems, full stop. These outdated systems force hoteliers to manage an overwhelming tech stack of up to 20 different vendors. These outdated systems, traditionally reliant on on-premise servers and cumbersome IT infrastructure, have been inadequately transitioned to the cloud by many new vendors who offer “solutions” that are old problems housed in a new environment.

At Cloudbeds, we confront these issues directly by redefining what a Property Management System (PMS) should be. Our vision is to transform hotel technology from the ground up, creating a masterfully unified platform that modernizes core business needs: operations, distribution, guest experience, and data & analytics. By consolidating various functionalities into one integrated solution, we significantly simplify workflows, enhance efficiency, and reduce the burden of managing multiple vendor systems.

Can you talk about a customer success story that exemplifies Cloudbeds’ impact?

Only one? It’ll be difficult to choose because one of the most rewarding aspects of our work at Cloudbeds is witnessing the transformative impact of our platform on hoteliers and guest experience. A prime example of this is J Collection Hotels in New Orleans. The transition from a traditional PMS to Cloudbeds marked a significant improvement in their operational efficiency and guest interaction. Chris Curry, the Director of Revenue Management at J Collection, shared with us the responsiveness of our platform to their needs. He noted that our continuous enhancements and customer-centric approach significantly streamline their operations. For instance, tasks that previously took a full day can now be completed in just 15 minutes he said, thanks to features like one-click distribution and mobile key access. This efficiency directly translates to more time spent on guest interaction, significantly enhancing the guest experience.

Moreover, our communication tool, Whistle for Cloudbeds, has revolutionized how they engage with guests, providing seamless communication from discovery through post-stay. Serving a brand like J Collection is a testament to our mission at Cloudbeds. We are not just a technology provider; we are a dedicated partner to hoteliers, committed to improving their operations and enabling them to deliver exceptional hospitality. We are grateful for the trust placed in us by the entire J Collection team, and it’s a pleasure to be part of their journey to success.

What are some of the future technological innovations that Cloudbeds is exploring to further revolutionize the hospitality industry? Can you discuss any upcoming features or product releases?

At Cloudbeds, we are deeply committed to rewriting the rules of what technology can achieve in the hospitality industry. Imagine a world where AI acts as a highly intelligent, 24/7/365 assistant manager, meticulously fine-tuning strategies to maximize revenue and enhance guest experiences—this is where we are headed.

In the coming year, we plan to roll out new features that leverage AI and machine learning more extensively. These innovations are designed not only to automate tasks but also to provide actionable insights that empower hoteliers to make informed decisions swiftly – because as my Cloudbeds team member Brooke Corley often reminds us “A decision without data is just a guess.” We are excited to lead the charge in integrating these advanced technologies and serving our customers so they can rewrite the rules of great hospitality.