steps into its second year, the last minute mobile-only booking service talks about top markets and the impact of its loyalty program in user retention.
The Hong Kong-based company (TLabs here
) has so far raised $1.7 million funding
in two rounds - an institutional and a seed round.
In its first year of operation, HotelQuickly has partnered with more than 2,000 hotels across its 12 operating countries in APAC, including - Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and others.
The top three countries in terms of number of partner hotels are Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.
On Thailand bookings, co-founder and COO Christian Mischler explains:
"Thailand has been undefeated ever since we launched. There is quite some domestic traveling happening there. We have our head office in Bangkok and therefore a large personal network which we can leverage for partnerships and marketing campaigns, and because Thais are more receptive to alternative booking channels."
Other top countries for the company in terms of number of bookings include Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Recently, the company increased its hotel inventory in Australia there by increasing competition and bringing down the daily rate on its system.
Mischler explains how his company handles price vs inventory:
"Not all hotels have availability every day, but if we have a lot of hotels in our backlog, the ones that really want to be on the app offer good discounts and undercut their peers by offering more competitive rates.
"For example, in Bangkok, we have about 250 partner hotels in the three, four and five-star category, still, we only show the best ten deals at any given point in time."
HotelQuickly says bookings are growing by about 30-50% month-on-month (since November 2013). In terms of the bookings via its mobile platform apps - iOS, Android and Blackberry - the typical booking ratio is at 45 : 45 : 10.
In January 2014, it announced an offer where it would refund two times the price difference if a cheaper price (than what HotelQuickly offers) was found elsewhere online. The company claims it has not received any refund requests.
The loyalty program introduced by the company in February 2014 has helped the company in higher retention rate of newly acquired customers. The retention rate for February is 10% higher than January 2014.
On HotelQuickly's competitors in APAC, Mischler says:
"Our biggest competitors in the region are mobile browsers such as Safari or Opera. We are educating the market to rely on HotelQuickly as their preferred last-minute booking app in Asia Pacific, instead of opening the mobile browser, hitting Google and searching for a place to stay.
"Many travelers (especially in Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia) still like to call hotels and ask for the rate of the night or pay walk-in rates, which sometimes, in developing countries are cheaper, than on OTAs - unlike mature markets such as Hong Kong or Singapore.
"This 'education effort' is starting to pick up, we’re getting more and more repeat customers relying on HotelQuickly wherever they go."
Worth remembering that HotelQuickly also chimed in when HRS CEO Tobias Ragge claimed that the majority of last minute booking startups could be out of business within three years.
NB:Growth image via Shutterstock