Soon after donating a week’s revenue to the Philippine Red Cross after the tragic Typhoon Haiyan, last-minute hotel booking app HotelQuickly today announced that it is launching in the Southeast Asian country. At launch, it will only be opened to listings in metropolitan areas of Manila, Cebu and Davao.
At the moment, the Hong Kong-based team has a total headcount of 30 staff, of which 20 are full-timers. HotelQuickly is slowly and steadily looking to build a local team in the Philippines. It will be hiring a marketing manager and sales executives in the near future. A local country manager will also be brought in. Till then, operations will be handled remotely.
Christian Mischler, Co-founder and COO, HotelQuickly shared that a market survey was conducted with 20,000 of their most active users. “The Philippines was most mentioned, which was a clear indication for us that we were missing out on an important market. We also expect domestic travels to be of importance in the Philippines, which is the reason we have included Davao as part of our initial offering,” he added.
When users open the app, they will receive nine hotel deals based on their location. The official press release stated that prices will be hidden until users sign up with HotelQuickly. Such deals are highly competitive, especially when a hotel has multiple online travel partners. If a hotel is found to be cheaper anywhere else, HotelQuickly will refund twice the difference.
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By using HotelQuickly’s mobile app, hotels can sell off excess room capacities to HotelQuickly members. Tomas Laboutka, Co-founder and CEO, HotelQuickly said, “Our partners see us complementary to traditional websites of online travel agents, tour operators or their very own channels. They use HotelQuickly to increase sales and to gain competitive advantage; we show only the best nine hotel deals each day in any given location, a prime-listing for our partners is guaranteed.”
Mischler also added that the hotels on HotelQuickly are on an average about 28 percent cheaper than what could be found online, when compared across the 12 countries it operates in. He said, “Since we have launched, we have built very good relationships with hotels. They understand that we are complementary to regular websites, as we target a different user – the spontaneous last-minute traveller.”
Different markets, different needs
Hotels booked often differ quite a bit from market to market. Mischler said, “For instance, we see that in Thailand, many Thais go for the cheap three-star hotels (and) their average spending is about US$30 to US$40. However, incoming travellers from Hong Kong or Singapore usually go for five-star hotels, as their daily budget is much higher, and with the deals in Thailand, they can easily afford to stay in a luxurious five-star hotel.”
He also explained that due to the high price points, travellers headed to Singapore often stay in four-star hotels. Mischler told e27, “Even with massive discounts on the best prices online, it seems this segment is not suitable for spontaneous last minute travellers.”
HotelQuickly is now available in 12 locations (Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Australia, Cambodia, Macau, Vietnam, New Zealand, and the Philippines) on iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10 platforms. In the last two months, it has integrated 500 new listings into its platform across all the countries.
For e27 readers who would like to give HotelQuickly a try, use this code for a special voucher: HQE27PH. The voucher entails a US$20 discount for first-time users booking any hotel in the Philippines. The discount is valid till January 31, 2014.