HotelQuickly prides itself for having the biggest inventory and best rates of hotels across Asia. The differentiator: the Hong Kong based startup enables users to do last-minute booking at the best rates possible. In recent news, HotelQuickly has expanded its coverage beyond the initial six countries (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia).
A few weeks back, HotelQuickly launched in Australia, making its same-day booking available in Melbourne and Sydney. The mobile-only booking service offers the same three-step booking for hotels in these cities, and is actually planning to launch in more territories in the near future.
e27 got in touch with co-founder and COO Christian Mischler, who gave us a quick rundown of what the HotelQuickly team has been up to lately. For one, Christian stressed their rationale on why the service is mobile-only, which is due to two reasons: “(1) We believe in the big convenience aspect of smartphones. Booking on the spot saves 20-30 minutes of surfing on websites, in an attempt to find the best deal, best location, best reviews, etc. We pre-select the best hotels, show hotels near-by a user’s location, and show only the best deals. (2) Our app constitutes a private sales channel. We can therewith offer better rates than online travel agencies, which are keeping prices at artificially inflated levels through price fixing.”
The power of six
Another thing that makes HotelQuickly interesting is that it limits its daily offerings to six per given location. “We restrict to this number as this allows us to display only the best deals, and hide the hotels that do not give significant discounts to our users,” Christian explains. The startup earns on a commission basis from bookings made on Android and iOS devices, with the hotel paying a fee for each successful booking.
“Hotels do not pay a listing fee, nor does the customer incur any additional costs apart from the room price. In the future, we will encourage hotels to upsell via our app, but this is nothing that we want to do at this point – we first want to establish our brand, position ourselves in the right niche, and build on the so far unserved market, which is gladly adapting the model of last-minute mobile booking.”
Christian shared a few interesting insights on HotelQuickly’s customers. He says some would use the service to extend their existing booking after unexpectedly having to stay another day. Others will actually replace their pre-booking with last-minute booking to reduce costs, especially during weekends. Some would book via HotelQuickly because of “change of plans,” while others would spontaneously book at 3:00 in the morning. “It would be pre-mature to claim that we have found ‘the one’ use case, but we are starting to see some patterns.”
Down under and beyond
The HotelQuickly team has quickly grown to almost 40, with 15 joining in from senior management positions of various Rocket Internet ventures in the region. Raphael Cohen, former managing director at FoodPanda Vietnam now handles sales. CTO Michal Juhas joined HotelQuickly from his previous venture called BookFan. Christian himself was global COO and CTO at FoodPanda. He cites close teamwork and collaboration as an important part of HotelQuickly, with its team spanning four time zones and two continents in several countries.
Christian considers the team fortunate to have secured funding, currently at S$800,000 (US$633,000) from investors around the world, and HotelQuickly is in the process of raising another round. “We see that we could still accelerate growth and gain substantial foothold also in more mature markets,” the co-founder says, promising that they will “continue to add more and more destinations in already established markets.”
For now, the HotelQuickly team is “reviewing the inventory closely” in order to offer the highest-rated hotels only at the best last-minute prices.
A bonus for Echelon attendees
HotelQuickly is part of the Startup Marketplace at Echelon 2013. As a bonus to e27 readers and Echelon attendees, the HotelQuickly team has offered a discount for booking through the HotelQuickly mobile app during the week of Echelon. Readers get a S$15 (US$12) credit using discount code ECHELONSPECIAL. The registration link is here: http://goo.gl/NSaf3.
If you haven’t booked for accommodations yet, this would be a great deal, along with the S$50 (US$40) credit that Uber is giving attendees for a ride to and from the venue.