FindMyStay was founded by Rohit Khetrapal and Simran Sial in 2013 with the idea to bridge the gap between the left over inventory that hotels have and the constant search that customers go through to find the right hotel deals. The catch here is that customers get to decide the price they want to pay.
The platform, backed by Indian Angel Network (IAN), is defined as a reverse bidding hotel booking platform that empowers customers to offer their price to the hotel. While they started with the hotel booking space, they are looking to include other hotel services soon that may not have been available – traditionally – to the online space.
Customers can quote a price and once the hotel accepts it, the customer can then choose which hotel he would like stay in. This model also makes it so that hotels must keep their focus on customer experience since they become their brand ambassadors of sorts.
Being that this was never done before, setting up the culture of bidding for a hotel room became a challenge, Rohit Khetrapal, co-founder FindMyStay says, “Since we did not have a bench-mark in the industry, the learning curve was longer and greater.” He adds that even setting up a team for this needed convincing, however he clarifies, “I do not want anyone to join me just for money, each team member needs to know the risks associated with joining a startup.” So what goes in to being on the FindMyStay team? “He needs to have that enterprising ability and quality in him, he needs to think like an all-rounder, he needs to think like an entrepreneur and he should think ‘I’m here for good.”
While the advantages for a customer are for all to see, hotels too benefit largely from it. The model adopted by FindMyStay is highly beneficial for hotels who pre-empt inventory which they think might get left unsold. The platform’s latest ‘Book Now. Pay at Hotel’ feature is another step in the direction of the platform’s aim as the ultimate customer-hotel facilitator in the country.
FindMyStay has partnered with hotels across the country including the likes of the Lalit Group, The Park, Pride Group, Ginger Hotels, Oyo, and HHI. They currently have more than 2500 hotels on its platform across 35 plus Indian cities – and plan to double the count within next 18-24 months.
FindMyStay may have achieved country-wide recognition now, however, speaking on the plunge into entrepreneurship, Simran Sial, co-founder, FindMyStay says, “When I was taking the plunge into it, to be honest, I didn’t know what I was getting in to. Personally what has been challenging is my time.” He adds, “There are some good days and there a lot of bad days – it’s just that spirit of ‘keep moving forward.” He goes on to say, “There’s no failing or winning in it, you just have to keep working.”