1. Could you give a small brief about Bidroom?
Bidroom is the world's first membership-only hotel booking platform with no booking commissions and with up to 25% lower room prices (when compared to competitors) - we’re the new challenger to OTA’s like Booking.com and Expedia.
It was founded in 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands, Casper Knieriem and me in response to their hotelier-prospects who seem to be exhausted by the constant commission-based revenue loss their hotel chains faced.
Our Online Travel Community (OTC) supports hoteliers who receive direct bookings without paying OTA commissions set by Booking and Expedia that can reach 25% per transaction. Travelers enjoy up to 25% discounts for over 120,000 hotels in 128 countries.
2. Who are some of your clients?
From B2B side, these are hoteliers looking for direct bookings from a no-commission channel. On the B2C side, mostly these are frequent travelers who book hotels several times per year.
Some of our new prestige hotel clients from UAE include: Abu Dhabi National Hotels; Jannah Hotels UAE; Danat Hotels & Resorts UAE; DAMAC Hotels & Resorts UAE.
3. How is the company different from traditional OTAs such as Booking.com and Expedia?
4. What are some of the current market challenges?
As for all early-stage companies, our main challenge is to increase our acquisition speed of hotels and users to enrichen Bidroom as a product. And we have to fight against the enormous marketing budgets that many OTAs have.
5. Do you have a lot of clients from the GCC? How is the Saudi market doing currently?
We've noticed an increased interest from Saudi hoteliers - especially in Ryaid and Jeddah - as the country introduces new open policies that encourage tourism.
6. Has the 0% commission model worked for you? Are the number of clients increasing?
In my opinion, people are so positively surprised by the no-commission model, that sometimes they can't believe it's true. And it's the only possible partnership model that is fair to hoteliers. Before Bidroom, the whole online travel agency industry was based on commissions. Even today, the ever-rising commissions played with by big OTAs cause hotels major revenue loss, sometimes calculated in tens of thousands of dollars annually. Hoteliers from more than 128 countries connected over 120,000 hotels to Bidroom because they can avoid unfair commissions set by other platforms. And it's worth noting that it's not the only benefit, as our B2B pricing model consists of two sides: (1) No commissions + (2) hotels pay membership only when they receive revenue
7. Looking back at 2018, what were the highs for the company?
In May, Bidroom signed a deal with Visa Inc. to promote the platform to 522.6mn Visa cardholders in Europe. In October, the company got a new board of directors, including new a CEO (Bas Tolmeijer), CFO (John Stoffers), and CCO (Francesco Monaco). In November, we raised over €15mn in a new capital investment.
8. What are your expectations for 2019?
Using the latest funding of €15mn raised in November, we're pushing into two directions. Firstly, we're connecting internationally established hotel chains to Bidroom. Secondly, new brand partnerships are being formed and we might even raise another investment round by the end of this year.