Most people hate paying for something they don’t use, but when it comes to booking hotel rooms it happens more than we realize.
For example, when was the last time you showed up on the dot at check-in time and remained their until it was time to officially check out? Unfortunately, hotel guests have to pay the exact same rate, regardless of whether they checked in at 2 p.m. or 10 p.m. That means hotel guests aren’t always getting full value for their money, and it’s something that a startup called Hotelflex is trying to address.
Hotelflex is touting a more flexible reservation model for hotel guests that gives them the ability to check in and out whenever they want, only being charged for the actual number of hours they stay.
There should be a big target market for this. After all, sometimes travelers are just passing through. They arrive late in the evening and check out first thing in the morning. So why should they pay the full price for a 24-hour stay if they only want to grab a few hours’ sleep?
Hotelflex is attempting to accommodate these kinds of guests with a new method of billing for rooms. The company takes the hotel’s average room rate and divides it by 20, which is the figure the hospitality industry uses to estimate room rates. Whatever that figure is becomes the hotel’s hourly rate, which is what the customer pays when booking with Hotelflex. So for example, if a guest arrives at 1 a.m. and checks out at 9 a.m., they don’t have to pay for a full day, but only the eight hours they actually used the room for.
For guests the cost saving benefit is clear, but hotels also gain an advantage too, Hotelflex says. Guests who stay few hours extra for example, will actually end up paying more, generating additional revenue for a room that may otherwise be empty. If the room is clean and ready for occupancy at 9 a.m., why not sell an early check-in and make a few extra bucks? Currently hotels selling early check-ins with Hotelflex can up their bottom line by 5%, charging 17% of the room’s price just for the convenience.
Hotelflex also encourages users to book directly on its hotel’s websites, rather than a third-party site like Orbitz or Expedia. As such, hotels get to keep more of the revenue for themselves.
Hotelflex was founded by Max Shepherd-Cross, Pete Turnbull, and Rich Turnbull, and was a member of the startup accelerator Y Combinator’s summer of 2017 class.