If you’re like me, when it comes time to actually pay for a hotel reservation online, you double- and triple-check the dates (and the schedules of your travel companions) before you click that payment button. Hotel reservations typically set you back at least a few hundred dollars, and depending on the place, they’re not always easily refundable — especially as you get closer to the time you’re scheduled to stay there. So if you made a mistake, or even just have a last-minute time conflict that prevents you from staying those days, you can be out of a lot of money.
A new startup called Travtar launched out of the NewMe Accelerator’s Fall 2012 Demo Day last week to give people an extra safety net for those unused hotel bookings. Travtar, co-founded by Stavan Shah and Srishti Goyal in New Jersey, is an online marketplace that lets people buy and sell hotel reservations that have been booked in advance.
It sounds great for consumers, but what’s in it for hoteliers? Well, according to Shah and Goyal, it’s not actually an ideal situation for hotels to have hotel rooms that are empty, even if they’ve already been paid for. That’s because hotels make a lot of their revenue on things like minibars and hotel restaurants. So Travtar could be a system that is a win/win for both sides of the hospitality trade.
Shah and Goyal stopped by TechCrunch to chat a bit about Travtar and the NewMe experience for TechCrunch TV. You can watch that in the video embedded below:
Last week, seven startups launched out of the Fall 2012 class of the NewMe Accelerator, a startup incubator program for underrepresented minorities in the tech industry. NewMe is a residential program, meaning that the founders of the startups in each class all live together in the same house in San Francisco for 12 weeks, eating, sleeping, and breathing the tech startup lifestyle. Along the way they receive mentorship from some of Silicon Valley’s most respected people as they hone their company strategies.
We had six of the seven new NewMe companies stop by TechCrunch HQ to give us their quick pitches and talk a bit about NewMe and their plans going forward (one startup was tied up in investor meetings, so had to take a pass on the press — which is always a good thing!) In a series of posts going forward, we’ll give you a look at each one of these companies. You can find them all by going to TechCrunch.com/tag/NewMeFall2012.