Applying Growth Lessons to Hospitality

with David Rust, founder and CEO, Sagra

Good morning. David Rust was one of the first 20 team members at Lyft - which achieved a $24 billion valuation at its IPO - and was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Yesterday we learned about the hospitality company he's building to introduce more people to sustainable farming, and today, he shares what he's learned about building companies that you can apply to your hospitality business.

👋 First time reading? Subscribe here

Applying Growth Lessons to Hospitality

with David Rust, founder and CEO, Sagra

David Rust / Credit: Sagra

David Rust has a lot of experience growing companies - from helping Lyft open up new cities and achieving a $24 billion-dollar valuation to running a venture studio for healthcare startups. Today, we talk about how to apply those learnings to hospitality.

We need a lot more innovative models in hospitality.

David Rust

David believes the hospitality industry is ripe for innovation, but creating the next wave of businesses won’t be easy.

Challenges of starting a new company in hospitality

If you're trying to own real estate as a hospitality business, how do you go raise the money to do that out of the gate? If you want to be a brand, how do you convince property owners to put your brand, which is brand new, on their property? These are very real barriers to having new hospitality businesses start.

David Rust

But all is not lost…

I do think, especially coming from having been at a venture studio background where you can create an environment that can inspire creating new businesses, there's a lot that could happen. Even the large hospitality brands could help set environments, put funding together, and bring expertise together to own parts of these new hospitality businesses just to get more out there. Because otherwise, I think things start to get kind of tired after a while.

David Rust

Test and learn

I asked David what he found useful from his time at Lyft and other venture-backed startups that he’s applied now as a founder in building a hospitality company.

The first and foremost thing is to rapidly test and iterate on things as you're going and view everything as an opportunity to learn.

David Rust

This reminds me of what Lauren Phelps shared with us a few weeks ago, and this mentality applies to everything.

Whether it's acting on feedback from a guest, adjusting how your website works, or even a confirmation email that can be tweaked, constantly test and iterate.

David Rust

Storytelling in media is key to growth

For growth, storytelling is central for David.

Depending on the industry and the space you're in, there are different models for that. With Lyft, having a pink mustache on the front of the car and telling unique stories about drivers allowed us to get a lot of media.

The primary way we get the word out about Sagra these days is by telling the stories of the farmers. It not only drives people to visit those farms but helps them learn about Sagra, which then allows them to find other farms or perhaps inspires them to create locations on their own.

David Rust

Lean heavily on the press.

David Rust

Working with the media is a powerful way to scale storytelling and grow companies.

Create something worth talking about

You need to actually be doing interesting things to get the best media publications to want to cover you.

You can imagine how many pitches writers get about new restaurant or hotel openings. We're telling very genuine stories about new farmers and what they're doing, which is very different than maybe a hospitality brand focusing on new design or interiors.

David Rust

As someone who receives hundreds of pitches each day about new hires or openings, I couldn’t agree more!

I encourage you to listen to the full conversation with David today to learn more about how to grow your hospitality business.

Who do you know that would appreciate this today? Click here to forward this email.

From our community

Hospitality Daily is a community of creators and doers. Some cool things for today:

💡 Want to be featured here? Join our community on LinkedIn, and tag Hospitality Daily in your LinkedIn post

Stories I’m reading

What did you think of today's email?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.