Online hotel bookings: RepUp eyes 500 hotels for 2016
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The Indian hotel industry is worth $230 billion and is growing at the rate of 12.2 per cent per year. This adds to the fact that consumer confidence to do online hotel bookings is on the rise. If we look at the figures stated in Google’s latest research report it indicates that around 8.4 million Indians are likely to book hotels online by 2016. The online hotel booking industry will be worth $ 1.8 billion from the current $ 0.8 billion.
The catch is that with the growth of trend in online hotel booking, accompanied is a momentous growth in reviews and feedbacks provided by customers on more than 100 online platforms. The new traveler breed decides following the reviews and feedback they read. This is where RepUp comes in. It uses a patent pending algorithm to improve the reputation which leads to increase in bookings. RepUp’s, ‘Review’ and ‘Price’ widgets have helped hoteliers increase their revenue anywhere between 22 to 26 per cent.
Founded in December 2014 by former IIITM graduate Pranjal Prashar, RepUp helps hoteliers to increase bookings by a significant margin by improving online reputation of the website/brand, which is scattered across the web. Before stepping into entrepreneurship, Prashar was an employee of Aujas Networks where he initiated delivery in Middle East and Africa before.
“In the good old days, reputation management was quite simple and basic. Things have now changed and need to be done pretty much on a real-time basis as the battle for reputation is majorly measured online. Hospitality industry is going through a fast transition and customer expectation and behavior are changing rapidly. 3.5 million Indian Internet users (35 lakh) booked a hotel online in 2014, and the count is expected to shoot up to 8.4 million (84 lakh) by the time 2016 ends. RepUp aims to solve the online reputation management challenges using technology that can be scaled globally,” said Prashar.
The platform is built on a three-step methodology that is it empowers hoteliers to get a real-time aggregated view of their online reputation; it helps hoteliers in taking remedial decisions to improve operations and service delivery and benchmark hotel’s pricing and service strategies, based on reviews and their competitors. The startup further provides hoteliers the opportunity to increase their revenues significantly.
Recently, Gurgaon-based startup has secured an undisclosed amount of funding from Indian Angel Network (IAN). On behalf of IAN Sanjay Mehta, Keshav Murugesh and Apurva Parekh have led this round of investment and further Mehta would be joining the board of the company for helping the team with strategic decisions.
The company plans to utilize current funding for acquiring customers from hotel industry in India and to explore South East Asian market. Commenting on the investment Mehta said, “The Indian Hotel industry is worth $230 billion and is growing at a rapid rate. Most of the hotels and restaurants in India have started to realize the potential and the need of an online reputation management tool. ORM firms have a wide opportunity in the Indian hospitality sector with a number of major global hotel brands expanding their operations. With e-commerce growing rapidly in the country in league with the diverse portfolio of IAN, we see potential in the idea and the market scalability in this not-so-explored market in India.”
In coming year, RepUp plans to bring 500 hotels on board, build partnership with OTAs and it will expand to other categories and geographies as well.