Before booking a hotel room in a specific city, wouldn’t it be handy to know who in your close or extended network has stayed at the same hotel or visited the area previously?
Hot Hotels, one of a slew of HotelTonight-styled last minute hotel booking apps, thinks that so-called “social proof” is what’s needed to help travellers make better purchasing decisions. To make this possible it’s integrated with social seating and booking platform SeatID to let users log in via Facebook or LinkedIn to see which of their contacts has been at the same hotel or stayed in the vicinity.
Like HotelTonight and other competitors, such as Groupon-owned Blink, Hot Hotels’ mobile apps offer a selection of last minute deals each day to help fill partner hotels’ inventory, while also passing on savings to customers.
The newly-added SeatID tie-in means that when browsing through the list of hotels at a particular city or when looking at a specific hotel, users who link their social network accounts can now see a list of their friends, friends-of-friends and people with shared interests who have stayed at that hotel in the past or have been in the area. The integration is both opt-in and granular. If users do choose to use SeatID, they can also define who will see their travel history via the SeatID settings available in the Hot Hotels app.
It’s also hoped the feature will give the Madrid-based startup a further edge over older players in the hotel booking space. “Social proof is a growing phenomenon and an example of the kind of technology that incumbent travel players will be slow to adapt thus giving startups a huge opportunity to grab market share,” Joe Haslam, Chairman and co-founder of Hot Hotels, tells TechCrunch.
“A company like Hot Hotels that is built from the beginning for mobile can create a much better SeatID experience for the customer than the bigger travel brands that are initially built on legacy technology”.
Meanwhile, Haslam cites Hot Hotels’ support for SeatID as a good example of a Spanish and Israeli startup working together. “Not enough of this goes on in the European ecosystem,” he adds. “Startups still mostly look to work with big companies or with other startups from their country of origin. Here we see two young companies with the confidence to invest in the integration of each other’s products at an early stage”.
Amen to that.