When a startup claims it is stealing business from Booking.com
BidRoom is the same as countless other startups in the travel industry when they claim to be disrupting bookings or solving travel planning, etc.
Many newbies coming into the sector often say they are the “Uber of X” or the “Airbnb of Y”, but very few go directly for a jugular of a rival, especially one that is hundreds of times bigger.
There is, of course, a difference between the ability to shout loudly with your marketing and actually doing something about it commercially, too.
In one of the more brazen tactics of the last few years, BidRoom claims it will be causing headaches for the likes of Booking.com and Expedia by “undercutting their prices and stealing away bookings”.
The Netherlands-based hotel booking service, which secured a €1 million funding round in June 2016 and operates on an almost negligible commission model, has come up with a process that it says eventually “take over” the online travel agency giant pair.
Fighting talk, of course, so how does believe this can be achieved?
Travellers that have already booked a room on any OTA (but Booking.com, Expedia and Hotels.com are those in its sights) can forward their confirmation email, and then as long as the booking had a free cancellation policy, BidRoom will secure it at a lower rate.
The traveller just has to cancel their existing reservation.
BidRoom then sends the consumer a link to its own platform where they can make a booking under the new rate.
An official says the process can take up to 72 hours to complete, depending on the speed in which the cancellation is made and the new rate negotiated.
“Usually we are able to send the new offers to the consumers on the same day they send us their original booking confirmations.
“Sometimes it’s ten minutes, but sometimes it can take two days or if the booking confirmation is sent to us on the weekend – up to 72 hours.
“The new offers that we send to the consumers are valid for 48 hours, and we promise that the rate won’t increase in that time.”
BidRoom claims the tactic has resulted in “hundreds” of rebookings being made via the service.
Booking.com, inevitably, says it has “no comment” to make.
Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in early-2017.