What they do: Started by the former President of Hotels.com, Stayful helps you book hotels right from your phone at the guaranteed lowest price. But it’s the independent hotels that make up 80% of the market that really love it. Stayful gives away free hotel management software that only the big hotels can afford to build in-house. In return, hotels provide their entire customer list to Stayful, helping them grow 20% month over month since launch. Why it’s a big deal: Stayful’s star team has built the first real innovation in the hotel industry since Priceline. Hotel room sales is broken; independent hotels are beholden to sites like Hotels.com and Expedia that handle 75% of all hotel bookings and charge small hotels 25% of every sale. Stayful CEO, Cheryl Rosner, took Hotels.com public before turning her efforts to level the playing field for independent hotels. These independent hotels make up 80% of the market, but don’t have the scale to negotiate lower fees from large distributors. With Stayful, small hotels get software they could never build themselves in exchange for their customer lists--and customers get the lowest room rates online. What Zenefits has done for small businesses with free HR and insurance software, Stayful is doing for independent hotels.
Shariq has degrees in Math and CS from Univ. of Texas at Austin. He's worked as an engineer at Hotwire, Expedia, Jigsaw, and Lyft.
Head of Sales
Former Director of Partnership Development at Jetsetter (acq. by TripAdvisor).
Why people love us
The founders have teamed up to disrupt the industry they built. Cheryl was employee #1 at Priceline and ran Hotels.com through to IPO, while Shariq was a lead engineer at both Hotwire and Expedia. By guaranteeing the lowest price for rooms, Stayful is a no brainer for guests and the same is true for hotels that earn 15% more through Stayful than the larger distributors.
The key to their model is their hard to replicate and extremely cost effective distribution strategy that allows them to acquire guests for 90% less than the competition. Just like Zenefits did with insurance, Stayful gives independent hotels an easy to use mobile app for guests that they would never be able to build on their own. In return, hotels give Stayful their guest lists that they can market to in the future. Guests are starting to demand an easy to use mobile experience that allows them to check in and out online, book hotel amenities, and generally use as an online concierge for their entire stay. Hilton’s app was used by 1 million guests every month last year because all partner hotels use the app. Stayful is positioned to be the portal through which 80% of the hotel market enjoys their stay and books their next trip.
Even without their new distribution strategy, they have acquired 140,000 users and 346 hotels in the last 12 months without spending on marketing.
Hotel room sales haven’t changed much in 17 years. Independent hotels are beholden to distribution companies like Hotels.com that charge 25% of every sale. Independent hotels prefer Stayful because they’re the first to charge a reasonable affiliate fee. Stayful is creating a network of independent hotels that are tired of being taken advantage of, and they have a long list of other problems they can solve once the network is built.
Some of our investors
89+ investors since our founding
Lead investor in AltSchool, Beepi, Drive. Early investor in LinkedIn, PayPal, Wealthfront, IndieGoGo.
Former President & COO at Groupon. Former CEO SideStep (acquired by Kayak). Board Director at HomeAway, Tiny Prints, and High Gear Media.
We’re an early-stage VC firm working with entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in technology and healthcare.
Former CTO/VPE of 5 successful startups (IPO, 9-figure exits or valuation). Investor and advisor to fast-growing startups.
Seriel entrepreneur/CEO. Founder/CEO of SilverRail Trechnologies. Have personally raised over $300M across the three businesses I've built/run/sold.
Partner New Ground Ventures. Formerly Goldman. Board at QuestBridge, Big Picture, Domus.
Toll Brothers Family Office
The investing arm of Toll Brothers, an American home building company based in PA.
The CTO, Shariq, refers to himself as Stayful’s ‘resident nerd’. He has degrees in Math and CS and worked as an engineer at Hotwire, Expedia, Jigsaw (acquired by Salesforce), FanIQ (acquired by PulsePoint), and Zimride/Lyft before Stayful.
Cheryl was in the hotel business from a very young age with roles in revenue management,operations and sales and marketing. Cheryl worked on the Priceline beta with Kimpton Group in 1998 which inspired her to join the founders of Hotels.com when it was primarily a call center business and helped grow them into a billion-dollar company. She ran Hotels.com when it was acquired by IAC Travel and merged with Hotwire and Expedia.com.
Cheryl joined the Expedia leadership team when the company was spun out under the Expedia Brand to run Expedia Corporate Travel which she took to profitability within the first three months. From there, she joined a secondary ticketing company called TicketsNow with their Series A as CEO. They focused on dynamic pricing and created a liquid marketplace which was a fantastic preview of what they’re building now at Stayful. They eventually sold TicketsNow for $265M.
What’s the problem you guys are trying to solve?
80% of hotels are independent small establishments that don’t have the resources to develop software to improve the guest-stay experience at the hotel. Those same independent hotels also pay the highest fees to sites like Priceline and Expedia.com because they have zero negotiating leverage.
How did you get started?
I’ve worked in all sides of hotels my entire career, and was previously President of Hotels.com and Expedia Corporate Travel (Egencia). These sites make their money on independent hotels that make up 80% of the market. We saw the opportunity to level the playing field and build a distribution site that catered to these independent hotels. Stayful is that site: a platform that not only sells hotel rooms just like Priceline or Expedia at a much lower cost, but also provides the technology that managers want and can’t afford, and guests have begun to expect.
We started with the immediate problem: lower the cost of distribution for these small chains. In late 2014 we started with a booking platform.
Can you elaborate on the tech services small hotels can’t afford?
While there may be an opportunity in just providing a lower cost booking platform, we knew that wouldn’t differentiate Stayful. We’ve focused on the fastest growing customer base for small independent hotels: millennials. Young hotel guests seek a unique overnight experience unlike any generation before. And they want to manage their entire experience via their smartphone.
Many large hotels/chains have apps that guests can use to book, check in and out, order room service, see all concierge offerings, etc. Everything one used to handle at the front desk or from the room phone has slowly moved into hotel apps. But small hotels can’t afford an experience like this, and frankly most large chains have limited technology themselves.
It's not only the budget that prevents small hotels from integrating tech into their experience. For most owners building an app plus an entire backend for staff to use is incredibly overwhelming. With Stayful, guests just download one app, small hotels can outfit every aspect of their service easily, and we become the portal through which every guest books and enjoys their stay. Because we’re the client facing portion of our hotels, Stayful effectively controls and becomes the brand for the entire experience. We’ve created the conditions for a new generation “soft-brand”.
What sort of engagement are larger chains getting from their own apps?
Most large chains have just released their first app in the last 3-4 months and while most data is still private we know they’ve seen excellent results. For instance, we know that approximately 70% of all Starwood Preferred Group (St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton, W, etc.) guests use their app and already one million Hilton guests use their app every month. Another unnamed hotel has seen at least 5% food and beverage sales increases almost immediately from their in-house app.
Why did you start with a booking platform?
The problem is that independent hotels have a fraction of the distribution and advertising budgets that large chains can spend. Because they rely on sites like Expedia for distribution, small hotels earn a lower cut, sell fewer rooms, and earn less RevPAR (revenue per available room) than large chains.
An affordable distribution platform for small hotels is the lowest hanging fruit. For most owners, it's the most pressing problem we can address. It’s not sustainable to pay 25% affiliate fees when you need 80% occupancy to cover costs. We did our research and every hotel we spoke with were happy to pay 10% for Stayful to handle all distribution. Owners can now lower prices to compete with chains, off-board all distribution to us, and still make the margins they need to cover operating costs.
Why haven’t the other distribution platforms lowered their prices to capture small hotels?
The entire category has evolved to rely on platforms that all offer rooms at the same price and charge hotels the same rate. Hotels are required to sign agreements with every distributor to charge the same rate on every platform – it’s evolved to a price parity contracting industry. Hotels prices remain constant and platforms all charge the same affiliate fee so everyone makes money and a price war doesn’t ensue.
Fortunately, those contracts don’t affect hotel's ability to sign with Stayful.
Why are hotels able to get around their price parity agreements with Stayful?
We can selectively discount because we never publish our rates, and all prices are generated dynamically based on customer preference and demand. Two customers sitting right next to each other might see different rates for the same hotel based on what they’re willing to pay and their desire to stay at any given location. To augment our dynamic system and ensure the market prices everything correctly we allow every user to bid i.e. to make an offer on rooms to ensure their stay.
How does the bidding experience work?
I’ll start with the customer experience. When a search gets kicked off we use an unbiased metasearch engine that scours the web and finds the best rate. Every hotel provides us with a discount range they’re comfortable with by percentage rather than dollar amount. When a customer searches we surface a recommended fair market price based on supply-and-demand for a variety of rooms fitting their criteria. The consumer can then do whatever they want to that suggested offer. Most of the time they see our recommended offer and bid something slightly lower thinking they can beat the market. We show this offer to the hotel who can accept, counter, or decline based on all the same market information we provide to the customer.
With Stayful, every customer is shown the best available price anywhere online. We guarantee the Stayful suggested price is at least 10% better than anything online and, with the right bid, customers can do even better than that. It’s a game! And both guests and hotels always win.
How fast have you grown this registered user base?
We’ve grown our registered user base at 20% month over month.
How have you managed to grow so quickly with so little ad spend?
Cost effective user acquisition is one of the hardest problems for startups to solve, and we’ve done it. We provide hotels free software they would never be able to build on their own. In return, we receive hotel arrivals lists to acquire new customers we know enjoy small boutique hotels. So our CAC is 10% of what the competition pays. The app allows guests to check in and out online, book hotel amenities, room service, and generally acts as an online concierge for their entire stay.
Hotels aren’t just getting a free app, we actually pay them referral fees for every booking made from their original arrivals list. We share revenue with every one of our hotel partners. If the user originated from the arrivals list at The Dream in NYC, The Dream makes a revenue share of every room that guest books on Stayful for 18 months. The guest then also becomes a Stayful customer.
The entire team has years of experience in hotel platforms. Even so, we can never (re)learn often enough that the most important moment is the nano-second of attention we have to capitalize on. There is so much noise in this market that we only have a moment to prove just how great Stayful is and we can’t waste it. Over the last 12 months we’ve learned how to capitalize on this moment. When we have a customer’s attention we focus 100% to ensure they know “Stayful is the lowest price guaranteed for boutique hotels.”
We’re different from the competition because we capture that moment of attention without spending a penny and convert new users to repeat customers. Our competitors buy their customers again and again– every customer needs to be acquired every single time a room is booked at the same high price. Booking.com spent $1.8 billion on online ads last year, Expedia another billion. The CEOs of both companies have spoken publicly: it’s the way to keep top-of-mind. Our focus is not to spam users but to meet them halfway with relevant content that engages users where they already spend their time online. By talking to users where they naturally spend their time, we’re organically on their minds on a regular basis and only have to pay to acquire users once.
Millennials will bypass Boomers as the largest segment of the hotel market in the next three years. Rather than spam potential guests every week in hopes they’re considering booking travel, we focus on drawing users in with great content and then converting exposed users to registered users in that nanosecond of attention. A registered user is someone who has created an account: we have their mobile number, credit card info, and their email. We know when they’re preparing to travel, and then we communicate in every possible way to bring them back to Stayful.
Can you give a specific example of content engagement?
We reward customers for engaging with our content. For example: New Twitter followers get $25 in booking credits followed by a use it or lose it email a couple of months later. If they don’t want to travel right away they can refer 10 friends to extend their credits. We capture their attention with valuable content and then pull them down the funnel with email engagement that we’ve crafted over decades of experience and a full year of marketing Stayful.
How do you jump into a new market?
We start with a geographically distributed 10% of all boutique hotels to ensure we have good coverage. Then we target these hotels directly with cold calls. We augment our initial outreach to an affiliate network to add additional hotels. Additionally, before every new market launch we approach local news in need of programming as “industry experts” rather than advertisers. We’ve been on TV over 30 times this year and it only costs us our time. Cold calls, affiliate networks, and local press have served us well in every new market.
For example: we launched New York with 10% of the hotels contracted. Within a year, we were up to 40% of hotels contracted in that market.
There is a lot of competition out there? How do you fit in?
There is a direct competitor for every aspect of what we do. We learn a lot from what their successes and their failures are. But there’s no one out there that is solving the hotel stay from booking to check out.
This is a huge market. Have others tried something similar before?
What worked great was Booking.com. They got started working with independents in secondary markets in Europe with a low-cost model and worked their way up to where they are today charging an average of 25%. When they came into the market I was at Hotels.com; we were charging hotels 25-28%. Booking.com came into the market at 15% and we opted to continue our strategy. We were wrong.
The second part of it is there’s been a host of other companies that have tried to bring together independents and boutiques in different ways. Some companies offer enterprise software solutions for easy mobile app build out. Another company is focused on a loyalty solution. The problem across each and every one of those is the business model. Every single additional service is another cost to the hotel. We offer everything free, and we pay affiliate fees in return for customers.
Besides the lower costs why do small hotels like Stayful?
Even though we’re a much cheaper distribution network for these hotels, we knew we needed an additional draw to build a network effect. Hence, the importance of our services app. All the small hotels we surveyed were nervous about larger chains and their tech advantage. So instead of building just a bookings app, we’re building a complete hotel experience that we give to hotels for free.
The app allows guests to check in and out online, book hotel amenities, room service, and generally acts as an online concierge for their entire stay. Small hotels would never be able to build a quality product like this on their own. Our hotel partners will be as sophisticated as the Marriott – but free. All we ask for is their arrivals list and that they give the platform Stayful a shot.
Hotels aren’t just getting a free app, we actually pay them referral fees for every booking made from their original arrivals list. We share revenue with every one of our hotel partners. If the user originated with the arrivals list at The Dream in NYC, The Dream makes a revenue share of every hotel that guest books on Stayful for 18 months. The guest then becomes a Stayful customer.
It’s a win-win. We get targeted customers we know enjoy small independent hotels. Hotels are happy because they don’t have to create their own app and they get paid ~$5 every time a former guest books on Stayful. The network builds on itself because hotels are so incentivized to join and tell every other hotel they know. The more guests using the Stayful app the more exposure they’ll receive and the more familiar guests will be with the technology.
Can you tell us about the team?
Shariq our CTO refers to himself as Stayful’s ‘resident nerd’. He has degrees in Math and CS and worked as an engineer at Hotwire, Expedia, Jigsaw (acquired by Salesforce), FanIQ (acquired by PulsePoint), and Zimride/Lyft before Stayful. He’s been lucky to work at some awesome organizations over the years.
I was in the hotel business from a very young age with roles in revenue management, operations, and sales and marketing. I worked on the Priceline beta with Kimpton Group in 1998 which inspired me to join the founders of Hotels.com when it was primarily a call center business and helped grow that into a billion-dollar company. I ran Hotels.com when it was acquired by IAC Travel and merged with Hotwire and Expedia.com.
I joined the Expedia leadership team when the company was spun out under the Expedia Brand to run Expedia Corporate Travel which we took to profitability within the first three months. From there, I joined a secondary ticketing company called TicketsNow with their Series A as CEO. We focused on dynamic pricing and creating a liquid marketplace which was a fantastic preview of what we’re building now at Stayful. Eventually, we sold the company for $265M. Then I got together with Shariq and here we are.
Stayful is conducting a Regulation D offering via Wefunder Advisors LLC. CRD Number: #167803.
The problem with the large familiar hotel chains is that they often feel soulless. All traces of the country or culture they are in often get removed to deliver a sanitized and bland experience. A quest for authenticity is creating a new breed of tourists.
How do you scale a business in terms of adding both new customers and partners? Stayful, a three-year-old startup with a consumer app for booking boutique and independent hotels at negotiated discounts, thinks it has found what appears to be a unique way to accelerate the growth of its business.
Summer is the prime tourist season in many destinations. So if you take a vacation in the summer — and the majority of Americans do — you’ll likely pay peak-season rates. “There is a premium for going at the height of the season,” said Brian Ek, a travel analyst for Priceline.com.
But rates can vary throughout the prime summer travel season, especially for accommodations. For example, you can get better lodging prices at beach locales in early June than later in the month or in July, which is the height of peak season, said Cheryl Rosner, founder and CEO of boutique and independent hotel booking site Stayful.com. So as you plan your vacation, check prices for several dates throughout the summer to find when rates are lowest.
FedBid allows government agencies to use the reverse auction model to award contracts to businesses. Stayful uses the model to help boutique hotels fill unsold inventory which would otherwise go to waste. Squeezify uses this model for freelance work, and MyHammer has found success with the business model helping consumers receive quotes from service experts.
"Stayful's Natalie Kimball shares Summer Travel Tips with José Griñan of MyFox 26 Houston. With school starting in just a few weeks, is it too late for a summer trip? Which hotel have the best amenities? When is the best day to fly?"
I love new apps. I am constantly on my phone, like nearly every other member of my generation, and am intrigued by all the new apps that released. You can find me on all of the social media sharing apps, and on the news apps, as I like to stay current on what’s happening in the world today. You would also be right to assume that I watch a decent amount of hilarious videos via Vine or YouTube daily.
In an effort to keep up with the trending apps this week, I have a compiled a list of the most downloaded apps this week.
They also want more “experiential” trips and customized experiences, prefer exotic “bucket-list” destinations such as Africa or Asia over more conventional vacations to Mexico or Europe, demand greater personal attention and a slower pace, like to bring their children and grandchildren with them, and can travel at other than peak times, spreading out the travel seasons in some places.
“Rather than July and August, we’re seeing more and more trips moving into April and May” to traditional summer destinations, for example, said Cheryl Rosner, CEO of Stayful, a booking service that specializes in independent and boutique hotels.
Even the way those hotels are being laid out is changing in response to this trend, said Jackie McGee, principal and director of hospitality design at Boston-based CBT Architects. More social spaces are being incorporated in the lobbies, for example, she said, so “boomers can sit down with people they don’t know and relax and converse,” and room designs are getting more chic because “baby boomers relate better to younger images of themselves.”
Stayful is another travel app that is trending this week. This app is your personal travel agent. It finds and compares hotel rates for you and locks in the great deal for your stay. It picks hotels for you based on your budget and location interests. I know I am grateful for letting someone else organize the travel plans!
I’ve downloaded each of these apps and am incredibly excited to use them! Especially Streaks, since I could definitely use the help in creating healthier habits. These 5-cup-of-coffee days probably aren’t too kind on my kidneys. I hope you gain some use out of these apps as well, and be sure to check back next week for a new list of apps!
Read more at Clapway: http://clapway.com/2015/07/17/5-most-downloaded-apps-this-week567/#ixzz3noOdIkeI
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Stayful's Natalie Kimball was the featured guest on First News at 4pm on Wednesday, July 8, 2015. She chats with Mary Nam of KOMO news about Girlfriend Getaways and summer travel tips in the Seattle area.
It’s that time of the year! Time to celebrate America’s birthday — and time to buckle down for one of the busiest holiday weekends. According to AAA, an estimated 41.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home during this upcoming 4th of July — which is up .07 percent from last year and the most since 2007. And according to a recent TripAdvisor poll, nearly one quarter (24 percent) of U.S. travelers plan to take extra time off to celebrate the holiday.
So whether you’re driving, flying, navigating fireworks, or just looking for a last-minute getaway, we’ve got expert tips and useful advice to help you survive the holiday.
The Feinstein family of New Jersey hoped to take a vacation to Key West, Florida, this November. But when they priced out the trip, the price seemed astronomically high: $5,780 for a four-night vacation. That price included round-trip flights for the family of five, four nights in a four-star hotel and a rental car for the duration of the trip. The Feinsteins wanted to spend no more than $4,500 on the trip. Determined to get them under that budget and off to the Conch Republic, I got to work.
Travel Expert Offers Deals On Best Hotels For Girls’ Weekend Getaway
June 27, 2015 11:02 AM
Related Tags: Alex Denis, Deals, Getaways, Girls' Weekend, Roberta Sighler, Stayful
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — All fun, no stress, and more importantly, no kids!
That’s what a girls’ weekend getaway is all about.
Travel expert Roberta Sighler stopped by the CBS2 studio Saturday to share the most unique hotels for a girls trip this summer.
Click on the video player above for all the insider tips.
Hotel website Stayful is offering CBS2 viewers a $25 coupon to book your first hotel room. To redeem your coupon.
For big-time budget-savvy travelers, house-sitting has opened up a new frontier. In exchange for caring for an owner’s home and pets while he or she is away, you get to stay for free with Trusted Housesitters. Membership is $7.99/month, but it ends up paying for itself pretty quickly. (For a look at how one couple solely uses house-sitting for their travel accommodations, check out the blog Travelling Weasels.)
If house-sitting isn’t your thing, opt for boutique hotels, especially with the site Stayful, where you can negotiate the rate. Or, tack on an extra adventure to the trip by exploring camping spots with Thousand Trails and Encore properties. These sites offer camping guides or other outdoor-lodging options (think cabins or yurts) at more than 180 locations across 23 states and British Columbia, Canada.
Apps can help solve every travel-related concern you've ever had — even those you didn't realize you may stumble upon.
We've put together the definitive list of the best travel-related mobile apps.
Whether it's helping you save money, find a restroom or WiFi, or identify the best glacier hike, these 32 apps will make you a better traveler.
I endured a lot of bias and unfair treatment early in my career. I faced a particularly challenging situation when I was in my first leadership position and I didn’t feel confident enough to speak out. One person out of a group who witnessed the unjust behavior stepped forward on my behalf. I’ve never forgotten this person or the courage it took for him to stand up for me. His courage gave me the courage I needed to leave the company.
This experience taught me a couple of important lessons that still stick with me. First, men and women alike have to advocate against bias and unjust behavior whenever they see it, regardless of the type of bias or at whom it is directed. This may seem obvious, but it is not. Women overwhelmingly drop out of STEM education and careers in the tech industry due to “culture” (you can find three separate studies documenting this pattern here, here, and here). One of the challenges with bias today is that it tends to be subtle. Rather than blatant sexism, many women experience a succession of “micro-indignities” that make it difficult to know when to speak out. No-one wants to be put on the line for something that is trivial, but letting small manifestations of bias run wild is what leads to a wider, more deep-seated culture of discrimination.
He is far from the exception. Paid leave, whether in the traditional structure of vacation and sick days or as the more general bank of hours paid time off policy, makes up nearly 7% of total compensation in private industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But employees rarely use all the time allotted. Workers, on average, fail to use nearly five vacation days a year, the U.S. Travel Association found.
As a result of all these unused days off, one study puts the liability taken on by U.S. businesses at $224 billion, due to workers’ rolling over unused paid time off. And that doesn’t take into account the fact that when people don’t take time off to reset, their resulting stress and burnout can be detrimental to both workers and their employers.
“I didn’t realize how extreme it was until I saw the research,” said Cheryl Rosner, CEO of Stayful.com, a hotel bidding and booking site. “It’s an epidemic of overwork. Forty-one percent of Americans don’t take their paid time off. On those days, you’re paying your employer to be at work.”
What could possibly explain not taking advantage of paid time off?
One oft-cited reason is facing too much of a mess upon return to work.
Cheryl Rosner, co-founder and CEO of boutique and independent hotel search startup Stayful, has a Hotels.com story that you know she’s told and retold as an object lesson countless times to anyone who’ll listen.
President of Hotels.com from 2003 to 2005 and later of sister company Expedia Corporate Travel, Rosner recalls how a nightmare of nightmares occurred at the hotel booking site one evening and, without revealing what the screw-up was, she now says, “I basically brought the company down in one fell swoop.”
But Rosner laughs about the crisis now because in dealing with the problem, as employees started drifting in late at night of their own volition, without being summoned, the team discovered an esprit de corps that she believes provided a solid foundation moving forward.
"If you haven't found a gift for your mom for Mother's Day yet, don't worry. Roberta Seiler, vice president of marketing and sales at Stayful.com, gave us a list of the best hotels to pamper your mom for Mother's Day."
Cheryl Rosner is the CEO and cofounder of Stayful.com, a boutique and independent hotel booking platform that allows users to bid on room rates. Prior to this, she was the CEO of BuyWithMe, president and CEO of TicketsNow, president of Expedia Corporate Travel, and president of Hotels.com. Rosner was named one of the “25 Most Influential People in Travel” by Business Travel News.
Stayful lets travelers bid on or book boutique hotels in several major U.S. cities for trips within the next month, allowing hotels to fill unsold rooms at less than their published rate. If the hotel accepts your bid price and you confirm, you can't modify or cancel the reservation and receive a refund, but you can modify or cancel a room using the booking feature. Stayful offers a longer lead time than HotelTonight, but uber-planners may want to book further in advance. Stayful also has an iPhone app (requires iOS 8 or later), and it offers an online feature where you can tweet your hotel request (including dates, city and number of nights) to @stayful, and representatives will help you find a hotel room and negotiate the price. While this feature sounds like a clever use of technology, Drake points out that some travelers may be uncomfortable publicly tweeting their travel dates for security reasons.
Natalie shows Jenny Anchondo from FOX 4 News how to place a bid on Stayful.com and how to book your next hotel on Twitter using our #tweetstay program. Check out these easy and fun ways to book a hotel!
Stayful not only searches multiple databases in order to find you the best hotel rates in a given city, but it will actively negotiate the best price for you with the hotel. How exactly it works is something of a mystery, but so long as the result is cheaper rates, then Stayful has done its job. Not only is the idea itself incredibly useful, but the interface is easy to use and takes the headache out of online booking.
Stayful co-founder Cheryl Rosner says her customers gave feedback to the effect of, “Why do I need to go through reams of hotels? If I’ve been to a site 10 times, why don’t you know something about me?”
Stayful is a travel app that finds hotels in a number of cities across North America based on exactly what you're looking for, then gets you the best price possible. Browse photos of the hotels, view a list of amenities and reasons why you might like your stay there, then quickly make a reservation right within the app. Customize your price range, type of hotel or stay, location and time frame all in a few taps to focus in on what you're looking for. Stayful is free for iPhone and requires iOS 8.0 or later.
Good design means looking and functioning beautifully. Fortunately, Stayful achieves both. The app design is among some of the better ones I've seen since the launch of iOS 8. Interestingly, many of the animations remind me of Android's new Material design language. It's quite charming though to say the least.
Forget those year-in-review articles that list the hottest trends in design, marketing, and business models among consumer-facing travel startups.
Instead, download the iOS app Stayful, which debuted yesterday. The app showcases the industry’s conventional wisdom about what apps should be like today.
Some critics may say that the trend-hopping is a form of copy-catting, not to be admired.
Friends, on the other hand, may say that many successful companies take aspects of what has worked elsewhere and mix them to create something new — and that Stayful is doing just that.
We leave the verdict to you.
But given that this app is representative of the hippest best practices among travel startups in 2014, it might be useful to review the key trends it encapsulates in detail.
There are dozens of hotel booking apps out there, and most of them offer pretty much the same features and pricing. If you’re traveling in the US and prefer hotels to hostels, the Stayful app is worth a look.
Rather than just listing thousands of properties, or whatever’s on special today, Stayful takes a different approach. You choose your destination, dates (within the next month) and price range, and are shown available properties, their best online rate and a recommended bid amount. From there you pick a hotel, send through your bid and get notified if it’s accepted.
This kind of direct interaction with a hotel is unusual and makes the app worth trying before booking through any of the standard hotel booking sites. The only downside at the moment is that hotels are limited to certain US cities so let’s hope the company succeeds and is able to expand quickly.
In time for the upcoming holiday season, Stayful.com, an online hotel bidding and booking service, has launched a new mobile travel service — TweetStay.
To use TweetStay, mobile users tweet a hotel request up to 30 days before their stay to @Stayful using the hashtag #tweetstay, and the booking service will negotiate the price — in real time — with an independent, boutique hotel in one of the cities Stayful serves.
Currently, it serves Boston, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, Houston, Orlando, Miami, and many more. “Hotels want to make sure they book all their rooms, and travelers want a great deal,” said Stayful co-founder and CEO Cheryl Rosner, who launched Stayful’s online bidding and booking service last year. “Since we negotiate prices behind the scenes in real time, we can offer TweetStay customers a better price than they can find online.”
So what exactly do you say in this tweet?
In 140 characters or less, you add your destination city, what kind of hotel you’re seeking (budget, midprice, or premium), arrival date, and how many nights you’d like to book.
Hotel booking services are sometimes able to negotiate better prices for mobile consumers. Now online hotel bidding company Stayful is featuring those prices with a new Twitter-based booking process.
The company launched a service Tuesday called "TweetStay" that matches mobile users with independent boutique hotels via Twitter.
Twitter users can start a request by tweeting at @Stayful with the hashtag #tweetstay and their destination city, the hotel level they want (budget, mid-priced or premium), and their travel dates.
After the user tweets their request, Stayful negotiates prices for the stay with boutique hotels and tweets back a link with an offer at a better rate that what is usually available online, according to Stayful.
If you'll be traveling within 30 days from booking, bid on boutique hotel rooms at discounted prices here. Think Priceline, except you can pick where you want to stay. Treat yourself to room service with the money you'll save.
The current day is not necessarily the default setting on the apps and sites. This is the case with a new app called Stayful, which allows users to bid for boutique hotel rooms at the last minute or up to 30 days in advance. Also, check the length of stay. The app LMT Deals from Last Minute Travel has a default stay length of two nights; you must change it if you want more or only one. And always read the fine print. Your deal might be nonrefundable, or room type might be assigned to you by the hotel.
Want to reduce your business travel costs? Or planning a weekend getaway?
While we all hope to get what we pay for, we really love getting a lot more than what we pay for--and that's especially true where hotels are concerned.
Here are some tips for finding the cheapest rates at awesome boutique hotels--and in some cases any hotels--from Cheryl Rosner, co-founder and CEO of Stayful.com, a website that algorithmically determines a fair market price for unsold inventory at hotels and encourages customers to bid with a suggested price. Hotels accept that suggested price approximately 60 percent of the time, and when they don't, still often counter with a lower-than-advertised rate.
(I recently tried Stayful and snagged a great midtown NYC hotel room for 30% lower than the best rate I found through other online services.)
When Craig Foster needed a place to stay for a March trip to San Diego, the best rate he could find for the Bahia Resort Hotel was $147 a night. Then one website he tried, Stayful.com, said it would bid $130 a night for him.
Sure enough, the hotel immediately offered him the room at the reduced rate. That amounted to a savings of just over $100 for his six-night stay. "It seemed a bit too good to be true," Mr. Foster, an accountant from Mill Valley, Calif., recalls thinking at the time. "But it did the job."
Paying full price for a hotel room may be going the way of the bellhop or front-desk ledger. Stayful is part of a fresh crop of technology startups that are offering new ways for travelers to book rooms at significant discounts to prices listed on hotel websites or on online travel agencies such as Expedia.com.
A new day, a new way to score a deal—or so it seems with travel start-ups these days. Joining the pack is Stayful, a site that launched yesterday with a premise that borrows bits and pieces from familiar players like Priceline, Luxury Link, and Hotel Tonight.
The mission is simple: help trendy boutique hotels move unsold inventory by putting rooms up for bidding. Browse their inventory—currently limited to New York City and San Francisco, but featuring such hotspots as The Standard High Line and Hotel on Rivington—and name your price. You’ll find out within 24 hours if the hotel has accepted your offer, or if they’ve decided to rebut. Should you want to suggest a big to a hotel that’s not already on Stayful’s list, the site allows you to do so, inviting the hotel of your choice to participate with them if they’re ready and willing.
Our preliminary thoughts? Stayful seems better built to accommodate hotels’ needs than travelers’ (the name itself should be a clue), but if it nets value-driven results at sought-after properties, we’ll enthusiastically be jumping aboard. The service is currently in beta, and accepting invitation requests, so you’ll hear more on our verdict once we’ve fully put it to the test.
July 18, 2013
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