To provide consumers with less expensive and more flexible booking options, eCommerce innovators are taking new approaches to hotel reservations. Splitty Travel, for instance, allows consumers to combine two rate plans to create one itinerary for their stays. While the technology could allow consumers to save money on their trips, the platform isn’t all about the cost savings. The company, for example, allows for splitting and matching between cancellation policies as well as meal plans. Co-Founder and CEO Eran Shust told PYMNTS in an interview that the aim is to bring more options to the table and enable travelers to “choose something not out of the specific package[s] that most of the OTAs [online travel agencies] are offering.”
The platform lets a traveler have breakfast as an option on the first day of his trip (presumably if the hotel charges for breakfast) and can choose to enjoy the local cuisine in the city for the other two days of his stay. In another case, a traveler might know she can stay for one night but is unsure if she can make the last two days of her stay. With that scenario, a traveler could book the first night at a non-refundable rate and the others with a rate that allows free cancellation to, say, the day before check-in. The company can also split reservations into different days to take advantage of deals and specials. In terms of selections, Splitty Travel focuses on hotels that are two stars and higher with popular chain hotels as well as boutique properties.
When it comes to the company’s booking flow, Shust says it aims for as seamless an experience as possible. Travelers visit the company’s website and search for a destination, such as New York. They select their check-in and check-out dates before searching the site. They then can see a list of hotel results with prices (similar to other online booking experiences). When consumers arrive on the hotel page, they can see different options and are prompted to choose between different ways to save. They can, for instance, split four nights into two separate room types (the classic room on the first two nights and the executive suite for the other nights). For payments, the site accepts credit cards and PayPal.
The Hotel Market
On the side of hoteliers, the company claims its technology can improve the occupancy rate of hotels by more than 15 percent.) It says hotels can utilize more of their inventory by working with the company for distribution, and that the platform can merge their vacant room nights with offers and allotments from suppliers. The offer can then potentially lead to higher occupancy rates along with visibility. The offering comes as Shust says he believes Airbnb has shaken up the hotel industry.
But he likes to think of his company as one that provides “the experience that hotels have” — features such as comfort, luxury and security. The company’s customer, he notes, are people who are looking for alternative options. Those options can be less expensive, more flexible and or more personalized. The company’s solution, then, is to transfer the power to the customer so that he can make the right choice for his needs. In terms of its target market, Shust sees the customer as anyone from age 21 to 65 who is highly sensitive to price.
The company recently notched a $6.75 million Series A round led by Fosun International’s VC investment arm, Fosun RZ Capital. Cockpit Innovation, 2bAngels, Techstars Ventures and 11-11 ventures also participated in the funding, which lets the company accelerate its market growth and bolster its team. As it stands, Splitty Travel covers over 500,000 properties spanning 127 countries.
The company launched into the market in 2018 after its founding in 2015. For now, it primarily provides room booking options in America and Europe. And, since China has evolved into the biggest consumer market in the global industry for tourism, the company said in the funding announcement that it plans to grow its business in the Asian market following the round.
With the help of funding and technology, eCommerce travel reservation innovators are looking to change the way that travelers book their hotel stays to provide them with more flexibility and pricing options.