Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Christian Mischler from HotelQuickly.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
At HotelQuickly, we believe people can and should enjoy last-minute travel because spontaneous moments enrich life. We wanted to help people experience stress-free, rewarding last-minute travel, so we created an app to make that happen. HotelQuickly offers travellers carefully curated 3 to 5-star hotels that are on average 28 per cent cheaper than online travel sites.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
One of our key strategies to success is finding the right people to join our team and grow with the company. By finding people who are passionate about travel and hungry to build a great product, we have been able to grow not only quickly but effectively. Another critical tactic for us is to establish offices in our different markets so we can best listen to and interact with our customers on a local level.
Our growth has helped us stand out to investors who can see our potential in addition to the demand for last-minute hotel booking services in the tourism market.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
Firstly, just as hiring the right talent is crucial to our growth, it is also one of our biggest challenges. It is tough to find exactly whom we want and need in all of our different markets.
Furthermore, we are live in 14 countries throughout Asia Pacific, and we deal with a lot of different cultures, languages, currencies, legislations, and economic development stages. Our product is fully localised to seven languages and we cover all major currencies. We are continuing to improve the localisation of our app to make it more accessible and usable for the modern traveller.
Lastly, in order to continue to offer a superior product, we need to fully understand our customers, their needs and desires. There are many cultural differences across Asia Pacific, and we have to work tirelessly to connect with them accordingly. We are engaging across multiple channels with our market to understand which features to launch, what our members love about our app and what they are missing. We continuously improve the product which requires a lot of dedication, attention to detail, and understanding of local differences.
How do your differentiate your business from your competitors?
We designed our application from scratch to best serve the traveller on the go. We removed any unnecessary information or steps in the booking process to make it as simple and enjoyable as possible for a mobile traveller to book a hotel room. Our app delivers a superior mobile experience, as we focus all our resources on delivering an outstanding product.
Furthermore, by being mobile-only, our rates are not made public and we are not directly competing with large online travel agents. Our rates are always cheaper than what they are able to offer — especially because we are not investing a large share of our revenues into marketing.
No one likes decision fatigue, so instead of showing users thousands of hotels to choose from, we feature a handful of the best deals for a quick and easy booking process. We limit the number of available slots for hotels; in order to be featured, hotels need to offer great discounts to our members.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
Line is my preferred instant messaging client: it has a great interface, is available for free for computer, tablet, smartphone and it has a lot of fun stickers.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
Steve Jobs once said, "Don't let the noise of other's opinion drown out your inner voice". The deeper meaning of this statement has been formulated over and over again. Don't give up. If you believe in your idea and your capabilities, follow your mission and make it happen. If there's a will, there's a way. Go out there and change the world.
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