News | Distribution | TechnologyThe last-minute hotel market is alive and kicking, HotelQuickly raises $1.2 million fundingThis article was originally published onBy Karthick Prabu | September 24, 2013 HotelQuickly, the last-minute hotel provider remains bullish about the market as it raises $1.2 million in series A funding.Investors in this round include Boon Hwee Koh, former chairman of Singtel and Singapore Airlines, and current board member of several private companies such as Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.Temasek Holdings along with US-based DCM recently invested $60 million in China's online travel package provider Tuniu.com.With HotelQuickly's [TLabs here] existing seed fund of $500,000, the total investment in the company now stands at $1.7 million.The Hong Kong-based company will be using this fund to expand into new regions and accelerate product development.Using HotelQuickly's mobile apps, users will be able to book last-minute hotels from noon to four in the morning. The HotelQuickly app is available for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry 10. Collectively, the apps have been downloaded 150,000 times.The company has partnered with 400 hotels across 40 destinations in 11 APAC countries.Tomas Laboutka, CEO of HotelQuickly says: “Not only are rooms offered via our app cheaper than online, offerings are also curated and we guarantee you a better hotel experience. “We are still only scratching the surface of the Asian last-minute booking market. However, travelers in the region are starting to understand that they no longer have to spend time on websites comparing hotels, prices, locations, etc. but can simply open our app and know that all the work has already been done”.Share this quote The company says that it was able to expand its services quickly to multiple countries because of its experienced team - 10 of the 25 people in HotelQuickly held senior management positions within Rocket Internet’s regional ventures, such as Zalora, Lazada, and Foodpanda.The announcement from HotelQuickly comes hot on the heels of three other big events in the same industry in recent weeks: Europe's last-minute hotel reservation provider Hot HotelsacquiredReallyLateBooking, HotelTonight’s fourth round of funding worth $45 million, and Grouponbuying Europe-based last minute hotel booking provider Blink.Tnooz spoke to Christian Mischler, co-founder & COO af HotelQuickly regarding the funding round.Which are the regions/countries that you will be expanding to in the next 12 months?We unfortunately cannot disclose our expansion plan. However, we will continue to focus on Asia Pacific and strengthen our footprint in the region where we see most potential for spontaneous mobile booking."Flash traveling" is becoming more popular in Asia and we are perfectly positioned to capitalize on this trend.Based on our user data, we know where we should offer hotel deals, and we will focus on adding these locations in the upcoming months.How many bookings does HotelQuickly serve in a day?The bookings fluctuate dramatically across the region depending on weekends vs. weekdays or regular work days vs. public holidays. We cannot share the number of bookings that we get on average, but we can say that the model of same-day hotel booking is picking up in Asia.The regions that we added most recently see less traction, but we assume that the app is not checked regularly enough by our core user group to discover the new destinations right away.Any plans of launching a desktop website too? Or, you will remain mobile-only forever?Mobile has the unique benefit of being at one's disposal at any point in time. We target the spontaneous traveler, the flash packer, the person who is in unexpected need of a room.We all carry our smartphones with us, which is the reason why we focus on being mobile. We have no plans of creating a website to book our deals.HotelQuickly says mobile booking on the spot is taking over from booking ahead of time. Can you elaborate on this trend?Somehow, travellers think they need to book a hotel ahead of their trip, a behavioural pattern that was established back in the days when we booked our trips with travel agents.The internet then allowed us to book 'last-minute hotels', but what we considered to be 'last-minute', actually represents the more natural way of traveling. Why bother about a hotel and spend time choosing accommodation options online before you actually make the trip, taking the entire flexibility out of your trip?This is like you would order a certain meal for lunch three weeks before you actually want to eat. It's completely unnatural, but just because we were 'trained' to perceive it differently when traveling, we accept this inconvenience.Smartphones finally gave us the freedom to travel flexibly and independently. HotelQuickly is designed to serve the purpose of spontaneous hotel booking, which will be the natural way of traveling in the near future.Consolidation in last-minute hotel booking space has already started in the US and Europe markets. Do you think this will happen in Asia too?There is no real competition in the same-day hotel booking space in Asia, apart from the traditional online travel agents that sell their inventory also through mobile apps.There are some natural entry barriers to Asia. Offering this service here is much more difficult than in the west, as the development stage is far behind Europe/US in many aspects (legislation, payment gateways) and we serve many fundamentally different markets (culturally, language-wise, currencies, etc.) with one overarching application.This requires a profound understanding of the hospitality market in the region as well as knowledge of how to structure and run a multi-national venture in the region.NB:Money image via Shutterstock.