Saturday 29 April 2017

Hotel-booking start-up gets $1m in funds for expansion

Hot Hotels enables customers to find late deals on rooms via a smartphone app
Hot Hotels enables customers to find late deals on rooms via a smartphone app
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

An Irish hotel-booking start-up has received $1m (€730,000) in funding to expand further into European and South American markets.

Hot Hotels allows people to make same-day hotel bookings at a discount from their smartphone. The company has almost 4,000 hotels signed up to its service and typically offers late-booking discounts of up to 50pc.

The funding comes from an assortment of private investors, accelerator funds and Axon Partners, which specialises in funding businesses in emerging markets such as India and South America.

"With this investment by Axon, we now have the firepower to establish clear water between ourselves and our competitors in Europe," said Conor O'Connor, chief executive of Hot Hotels.

"Axon provides a base to accelerate our roll-out in fast- growing Latin America."

The company also has plans to increase its customer base in the European mobile-only, same-day hotel booking market.

Hot Hotels operates in 43 countries and 257 cities in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Israel. The company was founded in January 2012 by Conor O'Connor, Adelaida Muriel, Joe Haslam and Jose Fernandez.

"We will open an office in Colombia and connect to the half-billion people getting $50 (€36) smartphones and 4G LTE," said Joe Haslam, co-founder of the company.

"We have access to well over 5,000 rooms but we don't load the expensive ones or the budget options. We concentrate on our sweet spot which is to sell a $150 room for $80."

Hot Hotels' main competition is Hotel Tonight, a US-based same-day hotel-booking service which is aggressively rolling out its services throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

"Our business is still focused on European travellers," said Haslam. "In countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, we sell to travelers who know the app from Europe. We don't advertise locally or get very many locals booking there."

Irish Independent

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