Off & Away, which applies a Swoopo-like auction model to buying hotel rooms online, has raised $2 million in funding led by Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group. Madrona led the startup’s initial funding of $1.35 million earlier this year and CEO Doug Aley was previously an entrepreneur in residence at the firm.
Off & Away, which launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York in May, 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.
Off & Away currently offers rooms at over 100,000 hotels globally, including rooms at The Pierre in New York, and The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. And 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 also added a number of improvements to the site, allowing non-winning bidders are to aggregate their used credits from auctions for room purchases, and extending the experation of used bid credits was from 7 to 30 days.
The startup will use the new funds to expand its team, continue product improvements and marketing initiatives, and bring new hotel partners on board.