How many times have you waited in the hotel lobby after arriving early because you can’t check into your room before 1200 hours? Or just spent hours at airport after your meeting to catch that late night flight? Or booked two room nights because you will arrive one evening and leave the next evening. There is a good possibility that all these scenarios sound familiar and that is because the entire hotel industry follows a rigid check-in and check-out pattern. We have adopted the system and generally plan our travel accounting for it.
However, a young startup seems to have a different idea. Sandeep and Pranav, the founders of MiStay, believe that travellers should have more flexibility when choosing their accommodation. Both IIT Madras alumni, Sandeep carries experience in management consulting and has previously filed two patents for developing internal analytical tools. He has also co-founded AmrutDhara, a for-profit social enterprise. Pranav, carries experience in design & product development and apart from working with LinkedIn, he has founded startups to help photographers and videographers.
MiStay offers travellers the option to book hotel rooms by pack of hours with flexible check-in and check-out times breaking the conventional practice in the industry. Sandeep shares that with MiStay, their objective is not just to make hotels available for few hours but also to make it flexible for people looking for a day or day and a half or any other duration. They have divided the day into three slots as morning, day and night and travellers can book depending on their requirement.
This of course if great for travellers. Who wouldn’t want to save money if they don’t need the room for the full booking duration? Most of the traction MiStay has seen until now has been at the partner properties situated near transit places like airports or railway stations. However, Sandeep believes that it will see more usage from business travellers which is why he is in the process of putting together meaningful business ties to serve as accommodation partner for various companies.
The response from hotels has been mixed. One side of the argument is that they can reach new customers who would not book a hotel room at all otherwise and could get more bookings during low occupancy times. The other side is potential risk of eating through the full day bookings and potential loss of revenue.
Sandeep however shares that the partner hotels have full control on what inventory they make available through MiStay. They can choose how many rooms and what slots are available. Hoteliers see different occupancy rates all year round and can even choose to offer no inventory when they get full occupancy. The same inventory can be used multiple times by the hotel. The costs will add up for them with more guests however MiStay claims that the added costs will be justified with the higher price for the slots.
That however isn’t the only challenge for them. The tools used by hotels to manage their properties don’t have room for this flexibility. It is not yet integrated with any channel manager yet but some partnerships are in pipeline to allow for this flexibility. At this point, the hotels are managing their extranet separately to take care of the bookings.
The climb these guys have taken up is certainly a steep one. It won’t be easy to change the practice that has been followed for ages but they have certainly made good progress since the time they launched few months back. MiStay is now also a part of the accelerator Axilor Ventures founded by Infosys co-founders Kris Gopalkrishnan & Shibulal which would help it grow further. You can visit MiStay.in to find more details.