‘We are ALWAYS cheaper’, says HotelQuickly in the Price Guarantee section of its mobile app. The Hong Kong-based last-minute hotel booking smartphone app further says on the same page, ‘And hey, we even go so far that if you ever find a more favourable price somewhere on the internet, we will refund the difference to your account. Twice!’
With presence in 12 countries, the company’s COO and Co-founder Christian Mischler shared with e27 that its hotel prices last month were, on average, a good 28 per cent cheaper than what online travel agents (OTA), Expedia, Agoda and Booking.com, offer. He also provided this author with off-the-record price comparison screenshots on the HotelQuickly’s SiSense dashboard.
“In some markets, we are able to offer much higher discounts, sometimes even exceeding 50 per cent from the lowest flash deal price online,” said Mischler. But what was it that helps the Echelon alumnus snag these deals from hotels? He explained that HotelQuickly targets a very different crowd, one which many OTAs are unable to reach out to: spontaneous travellers or those looking for a room at the very last minute.
Hotels are then able to make a profit on rooms they weren’t able to sell online or with traditional agents, while offering the accommodation at an extremely low price. Even if the profit generated from selling a night’s stay isn’t exactly substantial, the hoteliers can still earn from WiFi, minibar and other charges. At the end of the day, it’s better than not selling the room at all.
Many of these hotels also have contracts or deals with established OTAs where they provide an exclusive discount for prices. However, as HotelQuickly is a “closed group” or private platform where only members can see the prices for rooms, hotels are then able to provide an even lower rate without compromising any legal contracts with existing partners.
The app, which is available on iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10 devices, shows users 10 three to five stars hotel deals in any selected destination. Users are also not allowed to cancel after confirming their details.
While being able to provide users with discounts even Agoda seemingly could not give, HotelQuickly is quick to explain that the app will not be able to replace OTAs. It said, “… It lacks a lot of variety, travellers cannot book ahead, and room types cannot be chosen. Many of the options that booking websites offer these days are non-existent on HotelQuickly’s app. However, the name of the startup does not suggest that they (HotelQuickly) are after that market, but is targeting the very last minute segment, where these options are of lesser importance and price competitiveness plays a bigger role.”
e27 also tested the app and verified prices of hotels listed on HotelQuickly, Agoda, Booking.com and Expedia. A random hotel, Harbour Ville Hotel, in Singapore was picked off the listed promotions on the app. Mischler added, “We only sell rooms that fit two (or more) people, so we take the cheapest double or twin room as cheapest price online.”