In the past, when 46-year old information technology (IT) professional Nirmalya Barua had to book hotel rooms for business or leisure travel, he would go to the website of an online travel agency because it offered a wide range of choices. When looking for budget options, he would book through hotel room aggregators, where he was assured of value-for-money pricing and no-frills but standardised quality. Lately, he has begun to rely on multiple mobile apps, depending on his needs, which include travelling at the last moment or seeking a room at his desired price. In recent times, these apps, which negotiate for discounts with hotels on the customer’s behalf, have grabbed travellers’ attention in a big way.
Book a room at the last minute: Imagine you have to travel to a city for a business meeting at short notice and have not booked a hotel room in advance. Or, your one-day trip to a new city gets extended at the last minute, leaving you without an accommodation for the night. In all these scenarios, you can turn to the Nightstay app on your mobile phone.
This platform aggregates unsold inventory from hotels and sells it to last-minute customers at a discounted rate. Says Nasr Khan, founder and chief executive officer, Nightstay: “Hotel inventory is a perishable commodity. If you don’t sell it today, the unsold inventory goes waste. We ask hotels to put their unsold rooms on our platform at a discounted rate.” Across India, informs Khan, the average occupancy of hotels is only 61 per cent. In other words, 39 per cent of the inventory goes waste. Read more