Off & Away, an innovative travel startup that launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, is launching a few new features today. Off & Away applies a Swoopo-like auction model to buying hotel rooms online.
The site features upscale hotel rooms at rock-bottom prices; Off & Away auctions off each reservation, and other people bid for the same room. To participate you need to buy bids (they’re a dollar apiece); then you can bid as many times as you’d like until time runs out. Once that happens one user will walk away with the cheap hotel price. Everyone else can use the money they’ve put towards bids toward reserving the room at its normal price.
Now customers will be able to combine losing bid credits from multiple auctions to purchase other hotel rooms. So if you sped $25 in bids on one auction and $75 on another auction, you’ll have a $100 credit to use against any hotel.
Additionally, customers now have 30 days to apply their used bid credits to book another hotel room (Prior to this, customers had only 7 days.) Off & Away has also expanded its number of listings, currently offering rooms at over 100,000 hotels globally, including rooms at The Pierre in New York, and The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. The startup says that winning bidders are now saving an average of 89% off the retail price of rooms. Losing bidders still get more than their money back if they book with the properties being auctioned (up to 110% of their bids).
Off & Away has raised $1.35 million in funding.