Startup pitch: MyRoomIn, which books particular rooms at luxury hotels, lands Euro 800K

MyRoomIn is a Paris-based startup that’s built a luxury hotel booking platform. In a twist, MyRoomIn presents only a few rooms in each of the hotels they tout. It also claims that travelers will get the exact room that they select in the booking process.

In another twist, unlike other such search engines, it enables people to select from more than 125 search criteria, such as free wifi, specific room sizes, and gluten-free dining options.

The site launched last month with listings in Paris. It plans to add London and Rome hotels by year-end.

The company has raised Euro 800,000 in seed funding, led by the Impala Group.

Tell us how you founded the company, why and what made you decide to jump in and create the business.

Simply going to the hotel! We are a team of frequent travelers and think that, in 2015, it’s unacceptable to be unable to select the exact hotel room you desire during the booking process.

You would never buy a shirt without knowing its color, size or quality. To be disappointed by your hotel room upon arriving is a painpoint personally experienced by our founders and is the reason for the creation of MyRoomIn – to alleviate the uncertainty that often comes with booking a hotel room.

Size of the team, names of founders, management roles and key personnel?
We still are a small “commando” team. With a small team, everyone is stays sharp, involved, reactive and lives the passion of our adventure. The team currently includes:

  • Jeremie Manigne, CEO and co founder, more than 15 years of experience in the telecom industry with significant senior-level roles.
  • Marie Le Roy, co-founder, a Paris native whose experience includes 13 years in luxury cosmetics marketing at L’Oreal Group in the international marketing and time spent as the founder and stylist of a french fashion brand.
  • Jerome Jourdan is in charge of B2B relationships.
  • Antoine Collas joined the team recently and is in charge of the digital development.
  • Salomée Bechet manages administratives issues. We also have our own team of photographers.

Funding arrangements?

Founded in 2015, MyRoomIn has raised €800K seed funding to date from the Impala group and additional undisclosed angel investors.

Estimation of market size?

Our global targeted market size is about €2 billion, corresponding to the high level market of booking turnover. For reference, Booking.com turnover is about €8 billion.

Competition?

Our friends tell us we are crazy to enter a market where booking.com and airbnb have such a strong presence. We love the challenge though! As our concept is so new and so different, we feel confident because we know that we bring something of value to the market.

Nobody today offers consumers the ability to choose exactly the hotel room where he or she will sleep for sure. Knowing where you’ll be staying is peace of mind.

Revenue model and strategy for profitability?

Like many online travel sites, we take a commission on all rooms rented. The commission fee is paid by the hotel, however hotel owners cannot pay to promote their rooms on MyRoomIn.

What problem does the business solve?

Everyone wants to know they’re getting their money’s worth. Basic categories for many booking sites mean a “standard room” could be a view of the parking lot or a view of Paris rooftops.

MyRoomIn solves this by allowing guests to select from up to 150 unique search criteria – from free wifi, room size, dining hours to gluten-free dining and more – so each guest knows exactly what they’re getting.

How did the initial idea evolve and were there changes/any pivots along the way in the early stages?

Today, we are still building upon our first idea – to showcase each hand-selected room. Major changes have simply taken into consideration the best way to do so on our website.

The MyRoomIn website has a huge number of components; it’s connected in real time with the booking platforms of 100+ hotels (with nearly 300 rooms), manages payment from the user to the hotel, in addition to technical searches and can be quite the technical nightmare sometimes!

Our absolutely amazing developers have worked through the bugs and managed to create a sleek and intuitive platform.

Why should people or companies use the business?

People use MyRoomIn to know that when they arrive in at a room, it will fit. It will fit their needs, wishes, tastes and personality.

We want the guests trip to start during the booking process: in front of your computer, you can begin to imagine your trip and to look forward to it as it will be.

On myroomin.com, you can stress less because you can be sure that the room you choose will be yours. On top of that, we offer many secret tips around the area to help the traveler feeling like a real parisian: hidden streets, to-die-for-restaurants, hip new boutiques…

What is the strategy for raising awareness and the customer/user acquisition (apart from PR)?

We decided early on on a strong social media strategy. We deal with a very visual business, so we bet on Instagram as our primary social media to seduce through strong photos.

We’ve started an influencers program with top travel Instagrammers and invite them to try MyRoomIn and share their own experience with the service.

Where do you see the company in three years time and what specific challenges do you anticipate having to overcome?

In the next three years, MyRoomIn is on track to offer hotel room booking in London, New York and other top tourist destinations worldwide, in addition to Paris. We visit each and every room, so the challenge will be to set up local teams in the countries we become active in.

What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that it requires a startup like yours to help it out?

These industries aren’t broken, but we do think that not everyone wants to buy a room from a “hotel supermarket.”

The new, collaborative economy of today has changed how people think about staying abroad. Review sites are crucial to the average consumer, as they try to find the details and inside information not found on the biggest booking platforms.

Indeed, on these huge platforms, they can feel that the volume and the price are the main guides. The traveler experience has been forgotten. We bring the traveler back to a real, strong, and enjoyable experience.

What other technology company (in or outside of travel) would you consider yourselves most closely aligned to in terms of culture and style… and why?

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it” is a philosophy we believe in as strongly as Steve Jobs did. We saw something was missing and aimed to bring it to life!

Which company would be the best fit to buy your startup, and why?
We have and are working extremely hard on developing our “baby.” Thoughts of selling it are the last ones on our mind!

Describe your startup in three words?
Unique hotel rooms.

MyRoomin has created a Vine to show off its premise.

Tnooz view:

MyRoomin innovates in a category that is often staid: online hotel booking.

But can its innovations scale? In a move that’s similar to TripAdvisor-owned Oyster, MyRoomIn includes exclusive photos and information collected by local travel and hotel experts who have personally vetted every room and the surrounding area.

But without the backing of a company like TripAdvisor, it may be difficult to cover the costs of such high-touch attention.

MyRoomin also pledges that travelers will get the exact room that they select in the booking process. But a similar promise made by the startup Room 77 limited its growth. Not many hotels wanted to make such guarantees, given the hurdles of operational logistics, and Room 77 had to move away from that promise.

Yet maybe hotels will be fine with setting aside only a couple of rooms if they can be sure they are getting direct, high-value bookings for them.

We applaud any effort to innovate in this space, and there’s lots of room for profit at the high-end of the market if one can solve a pain point for consumers. We also are thrilled to see France’s entrepreneurial spirit blossom.

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Sean O'Neill

About the Writer :: Sean O'Neill

Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.

 

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