Hotels who have 30-40% of their rooms unsold have a challenge to deal with every day. Meanwhile people looking to book on-the-go and last minute, are always looking for an economical solution to their travel needs. RushGuest, a Bangalore based startup has created a platform to merge the two, by creating a last minute hotel room booking service.
The idea for RushGuest was planted in early 2013. Vijith Kini, a computer science engineer needed a hotel to stay at after a late night party. When his friend and he began looking for one, they discovered that it was not economical and was over-priced. This was the opportunity that he saw to start a hotel-booking service that lets guests book rooms at the last minute, and at economical prices.
“I was aware that this idea has been in existence in other countries, and I had undergone a thorough market research to validate the idea. Looking at the good response I registered the company as TechMarvel Soft Labs in August 2013,” says Vijith, founder of RushGuest.
RushGuest allows users to book hotel rooms two days in advance. Check-ins are available only for “Tomorrow” and “Day After Tomorrow”. Upon booking, the guests can further extend their stay by up to six days.
“All hotels will not publish the rooms everyday. Hotels publish their rooms only on low occupancy days. We are currently in process of getting good deals from Pune,” says Vijith.
RushGuest sources its listings from the unsold inventory offered by hoteliers. The company found the organising of rooms to be a major challenge, as they lacked a tie up with a channel manager.
“Hotels usually use this channel manager to sync their bookings from various booking sites and manage their inventories. We justify not being tied up with any channel manager yet because we are selling only unsold rooms,” he says.
RushGuest says that their rooms are also offered at lower rates as they do not have a channel manager. The company has currently clocked in 6 bookings till date using only a Google test ad campaign. After identifying the right audience and class of hotels generating leads, the company says it will expand the marketing strategy.
According to Vijith, cheap rooms in no way compromises the quality of the rooms.
“We are hand picking each hotel and monitoring reviews of rooms from every bookings made on RushGuest, to ensure a quality service,” says Vijith.
The bootstrapped company has so far put in Rs 6-8 lakhs in investment toward RushGuest. They currently have a four member strong team and plan to add two more cities to their listings.
“Once our plan is proved and validated, we have to reach out for funds and start adding next few cities in list and scale up the team size,” says Vijith.
The company also plans to bring out RushGuest apps which are now being tested.
Last minute hotel booking services are not a new phenomenon. Companies like Hotwire and HotelTonight in the US, are two popular choices to book rooms at the last minute. In India a similar service is also being offered by Mumbai based startup DayHalt, a startup that helps find rooms for a day’s use.