HyperGuest's ecosystem is expanding with an exciting new partner: BYHOURS, the innovative hotel booking platform that's shaking up the travel industry with its unique concept of "microstays."
In this article, we interview Guillermo Gaspart, CEO of BYHOURS, to learn how this new collaboration offers both travelers and hotels new distribution and revenue opportunities by selling hotel rooms by the hour. Join us as we explore the exciting world of microstays and discover how HyperGuest and BYHOURS are changing the game in the hospitality industry with their cutting-edge platform.
Can you provide an overview of BYHOURS positioning, including the solutions offered, its market penetration, and target customer base?
BYHOURS is the first hotel booking platform that allows users to book a hotel room for a few hours. We wanted to be more flexible and personalized, so when you book a hotel room, you can choose your check-in time within a 24-hour period and decide how long you want to stay, whether it's for three, six, or 24 hours. We have introduced a concept that is not commonly used in the hotel industry, which is the booking of rooms for shorter time periods. At the same time, we are the first hotel booking platform that helps hotels sell their empty rooms. This means that hotels can sell their empty rooms through our platform, in addition to their traditional channels. We currently operate in more than 25 countries and around 600 destination cities, mainly in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. We have contracts with over 4,000 hotels, which include independent hotels as well as hotels that are part of major hotel groups.
How does BYHOURS ensure the quality of the hotel partners it works with, and what standards do these hotels need to meet in order to be listed on the platform?
BYHOURS works with hotels that are rated three, four, and five stars in the 25 countries where we operate. We work with ACO, InterContinental, Sheraton, and other hotel chains, as well as some independent hotels. However, we are not ultimately responsible for the service or experience provided by the hotels. As a tech company and OTA hotel booking platform, our responsibility ends with facilitating the booking process. The hotels have the responsibility of providing the final experience to the customers. We select hotels based on their location and category, in line with the demands of our users. Currently, we have over 300,000 unique users who have booked more than 4 million hours with BYHOURS.
Can you speak to the evolution of the microstays market, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? How has BYHOURS adjusted its strategy to take advantage of this growing trend, and how do you anticipate this trend impacting the competitive landscape in the hotel and travel industries?
BYHOURS was created in 2012 and we pioneered the concept of micro stays, offering users the flexibility to book a hotel room for a few hours or up to 24 hours. While there are some competitors in the market offering similar services, they are more focused on daytime bookings, typically between 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM. However, BYHOURS stands apart by offering full flexibility to both users and hotels. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw an opportunity to capitalize on the surplus of empty hotel rooms due to the lockdowns. We added a lot of hotel inventory to our platform, and we targeted local users who may not have previously considered hotels in their own cities as a viable option for short breaks or micro-holidays. We believe that hotels are not just for tourists, but also for local citizens to enjoy local experiences. This approach helped us to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, and we anticipate that the growing trend of micro stays will continue to impact the competitive landscape of the hotel and travel industries in the future.
Could you outline BYHOURS' long-term vision and strategy for growth? Are there any plans for expanding into new markets? Any potential plans to expand beyond the microstays market?
We are rapidly expanding after the pandemic and looking to open a new vertical with a B2B or B2B2C approach. We do not want to limit ourselves to being the exclusive provider of our product through our own channel, byhours.com or our app. Instead, we aim to become the bed-bank of this microspace, offering our product to our supply, travel agencies, corporates, and other OTAs that want to feature our product in their channels or cross-sell it with their own offerings. However, we have no plans to expand our product to other players in the travel or local experience industry.
For example, we recently signed an agreement with Rapidi, one of the main super apps in Latin America, which has over 6 million users per day. It is a mobility app that offers a wide range of services. Through this partnership, we will offer our product by the hour to all of Rapidi's users through their app. We are also closing deals with other travel agencies and corporates, which is part of our future strategy.
In terms of geographic expansion, we currently operate in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, but we plan to expand to the main cities across the globe. Our next target is the US market, where we want to establish a strong presence in the major cities. After that, we plan to expand further into Asia and other parts of the world.
In your opinion, what do you see as the key challenges facing the hotel industry over the next few years?
In my opinion, there are several challenges facing the hotel industry over the next few years. One of the key challenges is connectivity, as the industry needs to introduce more technology to automate all processes. This includes revenue management, where in the near future, we may see the price of rooms being determined by machines and AI. Another challenge is reducing the number of intermediaries involved in transactions between users and hotels. Today, there can be up to six different players involved, including OTAs, tech companies, and channels. This results in lower margins for hotels, and reducing the number of intermediaries can help solve this problem. I believe technology will play a significant role in addressing these challenges by helping hotels automate transactions and reduce intermediaries.
What motivated BYHOURS to partner with HyperGuest, and how does this partnership benefit both BYHOURS and the hotels listed on your platform in terms of inventory management?
BYHOURS partnered with HyperGuest mainly to improve the supply and product offerings on our platform. The main goal of the partnership is to connect with the main channel managers in the travel industry in order to have access to more inventory and better prices. This partnership is beneficial for both BYHOURS and the hotels listed on our platform. By being connected with different channel managers, we can offer a wider variety of hotel options to our customers, while also avoiding problems with price parity. The partnership with HyperGuest also provides hotels with a new platform to increase revenue, completely complementary to their PNL. The partnership is considered a win-win situation for both BYHOURS and HyperGuest, as it allows us to improve the number of hotels available on our platform while providing hotels with a new revenue stream.