Bethany Andrews is the CEO of Lay Over, Inc. a Denver, Colorado company aimed at providing rest and relaxation to air travelers affected by layovers. Here is a link to her website:
Q: What gave you the idea for your business?
A: When I was 12 my father took our family with him on a mission-trip to Nairobi Kenya. On our way there we had a 10 hour layover in London. This was our first (of many) trips internationally so me and my sister were very excited. I was looking forward to the whole trip but especially the layover we had in London. I thought it would be like visiting America only across the pond-plus my Dad promised we would do a lot of sight seeing. By the time we arrived in London, we had to take our bags through customs, and recheck them in. That took forever- keep in mind I was only 12. By the time we left the airport, we still had our carry-on with us, we were jet-lagged and tired and trying to stay completely excited about London. The first thing we did was take a tour on one of those red buses they have. The next thing I remember thinking was “Oh wow! Big Be(n)…” and right there I fell asleep. The tour guide ended up nudging me and my sister to wake up because the tour was over (completely over!). As me and my sister sauntered down the steps a lovely couple on the first level caught my eye as they were also sleeping and being nudged by the tour guide- it was my parents! We were all too tired for the tourist visit, so we ended up going to TGI Fridays (an American restaurant) and back to the airport so that we could wait for another couple hours for our flight. My sister and I had a lot of time on our hands so that’s when we first started talking about what an airport needs. It was right then in that moment, and in that conversation that I came up with Lay Over and the name. I guess it’s been a seed growing inside me ever since.
Q: . Why DIA?
A: I was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado and went to college at CU Boulder. Denver and Boulder organically made the decision for me to invest my time as an entrepreneur researching how to do business with the airport. DIA has been an invaluable resource in developing my company so I couldn’t see us opening our first hotel anywhere else except Denver. Our country and my city has been through a lot this past year. My heart was completely broken when tragedy struck the Century 16 movie theater. There’s just so much I want to do in order to give back to my local community by providing jobs, collaborating with local brands like the Broncos Alumni, and just to be doing something positive and revolutionary sends a message to the world that there’s a lot more talent than tragedy in my community here.
Q: Do you plan to expand to other cities?
A: Absolutely, all of them. The ones that I personally am excited about are Los Angeles and Atlanta. We have a lot of numerical data about which airports we’ll open in, when, and why so I’m just giving you my personal favorites. Lay Over started off as my baby, but it’s grown a lot faster than my own child! I’m happy with all our operations as long as they’re successful, our staff is happy and our customers remain loyal and trust us as their #1 layover company.
Q: What is the strangest request you have ever had?
A: As a visionary, I can be pretty strange myself so I’m not good at determining a strange request when I get one. Whether it’s the ordinary or extraordinary- I’ll make sure it gets done and done right.
Q: What do your rooms look like and what is included in them?
A: It’s more a question of what do our rooms feel like. That’s where me and my architect were coming from with the design. Our rooms feel like you’re boarding a plane, they feel like your room at home, they feel like your office and they feel like heaven.
Q: Everyone I know thinks it would be a great idea to have a movie theaters in airports; why aren’t there any?
A: This is a loaded question so I need to start from the beginning and lead up to your answer. The airport’s economy is completely different than the city’s economy yet the airport is central to a city’s economy. According to economics, you have to have the supply and demand, but there’s no real demand for a theater. It may seem like a great idea, and it is, but the airport doesn’t have a demand for one. It takes a lot to get your foot and/or business in the door at any airport because their economy is doing just fine offering retail, food and beverage to customers. With Lay Over, we had to truly educate ourselves, the airport and now the traveling public on a specific demand that was always there: sleep, and privacy inside the airport terminal. So to answer your question more directly, a great idea doesn’t go very far with an airport- they’re not open to new things so someone would really have to care about having a movie theater inside the airport.
Q: What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
A: Finding an ideal business partner. We have a very small industry- just me and one other company. I love and trust the team I have behind me, but I tend to push myself harder to over compensate for the business partner I don’t have. I demand a lot from myself because I am the only owner, but it has been a challenge.
Q: What is your professional background?
A: Please see below:
1/09- 12/10 University Physicians Inc. Aurora, Colo.
Executive Secretary/ Student Coordinator
6/08-12/08 University of Colorado Denver Denver, Colo.
Public Relations/News Media Specialist Intern
10/06-05/08 Women’s Resource Center Boulder, Colo.
Program Coordinator/Community Relations
**I was also an event planner and marketing coordinator for the Denver Broncos Alumni this past summer for their annual charity golf tournament, but that was just a marketing strategy for Lay Over.
Q: What do you think is the best airport in the country?
A: Denver International Airport because they gave me my chance and the freedom to establish Lay Over anywhere in the country. I’ll forever love my city, and our airport for who they have created me to be to today.
Q: What is the worst airport in the country?
A: Denver International Airport because it’s where my company in a sense “grew-up”. Lay Over and DIA have a personal connection that is very human- they’ve made me cry before, but they knew I had to. You can’t go into a business with a background like mine acting like you’re running things with them. Like the theater example- there is no theater because no one has been willing to go through what I went through in order to educate the airport as to justifying the need for a movie theater. I am literally that person who cares. There have been times I walked out of DIA throwing my hands in the air thinking I’m not getting anywhere with them. There was a lot that I had to learn and DIA taught it to me- and that was to be resilient, consistent, thorough, and most of all humble, patient and faithful.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)