The Silicon entrepreneur explained that there are 2 main groups of hotel bookers. One is for people who have the time to book in advance, be it for business or leisure, whereas the other group is impulse bookers. These are the ones that Hoteltonight is catering for: “they are presented with last minute deals. Having an app in your pockets truly changes the way you think about hotels” Shank added.
[note: this is a guest post I did yesterday on behalf of the live.orange.com blog]
[Sam Shank, chain start-up entrepreneur and founder of Hoteltonight]
In the US there are a lot of chains but a lot less in the UK. “The ownership is very fragmented, and this is the bread and butter because people can choose and pick up new places that are nice” Shank said.
not just a High end service?
One could be tempted to think that this is a very exclusive service for the rich and wealthy, but Sam Shank disagrees strongly with that statement: “we want to be something for everyone. It goes from luxury hotels to more basic hotels and even business hotels” he said. The application delivers 3 deals from a selection of 20 hotels each night. Hotels are competing amongst themselves and “nothing can be predicted” Shank said. This emphasises the lastminute effect in so far as you can’t choose what hotel to stay in in advance.
Admittedly, there are “many vendors in the same space” and some are multi-million companies such as Expedia for instance. “The main way hoteltonight competes is from singular focus and mobile, content and merchandising, customer support and online marketing” Shank said. The start-up’s singular focus on mobile, and their advantage on competition is that they have no legacy systems. Most businessmen are using their smartphones on the move but “it is still a challenge when teaching people that they should use only mobiles” Shank added.
In essence, Hoteltonght is focussing only on last minute deals and mobiles are well suited for this. Besides, it’s a marketing channel for hotels because 90% of buyers have never stayed in the selected hotel before.
Shank’s third start-up
Hoteltonight is Sam’s third start-up: “all have been successful but I know that lack of focus is reason number one for failure” Sam Shank explained, and this is why they focus on smart phones, also because “this is where the market is going” he concluded.