Many startups have tried their hands at last-minute deals for travel, especially flights. But the OTAs, bigger players are fast realizing that low-margin flight tickets can’t be the bread and butter for their business. Increasingly, one can find their focus on ‘Hotels and Package deals’. Startup SavvyMob is trying to cash in on the same opportunity by bringing last minute hotel deals to you via its mobile-app-only product.
“SavvyMob is a new point of sale solution for hotels to increase their sales and revenue per guest through our mobile distribution products. In April, we launched the SavvyMob mobile booking app and Extranet that helps hotels liquidate their unsold room inventories and increase revenues by offering last-minute deals to the millennial travellers,” says Bikram Sohal, Co-Founder and CEO of SavvyMob.
Mobile travel booking is still in its early days in India. According to PhoCusWright, India along with China will be the fastest growing mobile markets in APAC through 2015-2016. By 2016, there will be close to 1 billion mobile commerce users in Asia.
SavvyMob booking app is available for Apple and Android phones. The service is available in 15+ cities in India and there are 125+ hotels on the platform. Users can find deals in real-time which are curated by the SavvyMob team. Sohal claims that the deals are, on an average, 20-30% lower than the ‘Best available rates’.
“We are building travel products for the ‘Millennials’, a 300 million+ target user base in India, who are social, tech dependent, price conscious and still not loyal to brands. They want the best value at the lowest cost. We have a laser sharp focus to build products that deliver this cost and value proposition for our users while helping our hotel partners build brand loyalty with these millennials,” says Sohal about the target market.
Sohal started his professional career as a Product Manager in the US during the dotcom boom-and-bust phase. “I experienced the highs and lows of working in a start-up very early in my career, enjoyed the feeling and never looked back.” Since then he has been working in the digital technology industry in startups or similar roles in corporate settings. “Finally, I decided to venture out on my own with SavvyMob after my last role as the General Manager for CNN Travel in Honk Kong.”
SavvyMob has been started by Gappan Annamalai (CEO, Cooolio Online Pvt Ltd) and Sohal. “This is our second innings working together. We were earlier at Aol, responsible for expanding Aol and its brands like Winamp, AIM, Engadget, Autoblog etc. across the APAC region. Between the two of us and our technology and operations team, we are working relentlessly to disrupt the mobile travel booking industry,” adds Sohal.
“Our model is very different from how an OTA operates. Our value propositions to hotels are vastly different and we believe we have an early mover advantage in the nascent mobile travel booking market which is growing at a double-digit clip. The SavvyMob mobile booking platform is the beginning of the journey for us, we have a long and fun road ahead as we build scale and launch new products,” explains Sohal.
Sohal gives us a glimpse of the SavvyMob future – “More hotels, more cities, better prices and new features that will revolutionize the way the hospitality industry operates.”
“It’s been a blitz since we started. Each of us on the team are travel enthusiasts, the product recipe was formulated keeping in mind the needs of the travelers as well as pain points of hoteliers. Vast discussions with both consumers as well suppliers kept us busy in the early days where the focus was on fine tuning the business strategy and product roadmap. Once development started, it was all about getting the design and UI right. And now that we have launched, it’s sales, marketing, ops, funding, support, PR, new product development, the list does not end. My intent is to build a travel brand that resonates with our youth five years from now,” Sohal signs off.
SavvyMob team has a lucrative offer, especially for YourStory readers.
For the Yourstory audience that has read this article, get an INR 1000 cash credit after your first booking at SavvyMob (Download the iOS app here and the Android app here). Book a room through the App, then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll get your cash credit.