The hotel booking startup Hotelchamp, with offices in Amsterdam, Groningen and Berlin, received 1.75 million euros in investments last week. The company was founded last year by Kasper Middelkoop and Kristian Valk and can already count 500 hotels worldwide as customers for their online marketing software platform.
Hotelchamp wants to cut out the middlemen, the large booking websites like Booking.com and Expedia, who generally charge between a 15% to 30% commission fee for hotel bookings. With a SaaS platform, the brand new startup wants to increase conversions by at least 40% on hotel sites directly, meaning customers no longer book their rooms on big booking sites, but directly on the hotel website.
Taking on the giants
The idea behind the startup came after co-founder Kasper’s girlfriend wanted to book a hotel through one of the big booking sites. She, like many people, still went to the hotel website for more details and information after she found one she liked, but then had to go back to the booking site to book a room.
And that process, going to and from hotel and booking sites, is something Hotelchamp aims to remedy, giving hotels the marketing tools to turn those visitors into customers. No hefty commission fee, just a standard monthly subscription fee for using their software, based on the number of rooms hotels have.
The software package includes 12 different tools to turn the website into a conversion machine. From smart notifications and loyalty programs, to chat tools that are only shown to visitors looking for specific information about the hotel (like a location to host an event). The software learns from all that big data and keeps on getting better at targeting specific audiences or people.
From 30 to 500 in a matter of months
Just over a year ago, Hotelchamp started a pilot phase with 30 hotels and only 3 tools available from the the software platform. In March of this year, both founders went to an international industry convention to start looking for their first customers. It turned out to be a really productive visit, because they currently work with about 500 hotels in 12 different countries.
In the Netherlands, Hotelchamp can count Bilderberg Hotels, StayOkay and WestCord Hotels as their customers, and they recently closed a deal with Millennium Hotels, a franchise with 120 hotels in 79 different countries, as well as the Millennium hotel chain and the Palazzo Versace in Dubai, just to name a few.
Investors in both the hotel and e-commerce industry started to take notice. Investion Venture Capital (also based in Groningen and Amsterdam), along with a few other entrepreneurs and investors, raised €1.75 million last week. Hotelchamp is growing at a rate of 77% a month and is active in twelve different countries.