With connectivity comes speed. As technology brings people around the globe together for business and pleasure, last-minute travel is fast becoming a norm. It’s become increasingly tough for many companies and families to afford the luxury of planning trips months or even weeks in advance, with itineraries often conjured up the day before a flight.
With this reduced time frame, startups have come up with services that cater to last-minute bookings of flights or even golf courses. One of the main markets for such bookings is in hotels and accommodation, and Korean startup dailyHOTEL aims to claim a slice of this pie, letting travellers search and reserve hotel rooms minutes in advance.
The dailyHOTEL app is made up of a few modules, all of which work together to give the traveller a seamless experience. First is the hotel recommendation system, which displays a list of nearby hotel rooms based on the user’s GPS location and shows their prices and availability. Next comes the integrated payments system, which lets users place deposits from their phones using their credit cards. Finally, the app features a reservations tracker that helps users manage reservations and hotel bookings.
According to CMO Jimmy Shin, dailyHOTEL was started based on the personal experiences of its CEO Inshik Shin. “One cold winter day, [Inshik] tried to find a hotel room he could stay for the night through various hotel booking websites, but all of them did not provide same-day reservation services,” Shin said. “He had to wander the streets and visit individual hotels trying to find a vacant room.”
“Even though there were many vacant rooms in hotels, people who urgently needed the rooms could do nothing,” Shin said. “Our CEO then decided to create dailyHOTEL, an app that solves the inconvenience of formal hotel booking services by making it possible for people to easily and immediately book rooms at short notice.”
dailyHOTEL has secured funding since it its launch in mid-2013, getting investment from Korean seed round investor Primer in September that year. Then in April 2014, the company picked up US$0.4 million dollars from Korean early-stage investor Bon Angels. In 2015, dailyHOTEL is the most popular last-minute hotel reservation mobile app in Korea, with monthly bookings growing by 65 times since the start of 2014.
More recently, dailyHOTEL was one of the startups featured in the Global K-Pioneers Programme, which was organised by the Korea Institute of Startup and Entrepreneurship Development (KISED) to support Korean early-stage startups. The company plans to expand to other Asian countries in 2015. “dailyHOTEL’s plan is to become the most satisfiable hotel reservation service,” noted Shin.
This article was written in collaboration with the Korea Institute of Startup and Entrepreneurship Development (KISED). Interested in taking your startup global? Check out KISED’s Global Smart Korea Programme here.
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