Come Into the Bidroom

Booking a hotel room has just become a lot easier – thanks to the revolutionary approach of a Krakow-based business.

Bidroom.com, created by entrepreneur Mark Bradshaw, with developer Ada Skakuj and designer Maciej Szafraniec, has turned the booking process on its head, by allowing hotels in 20 cities worldwide to make their best offers direct to customers looking for accommodation. The website is easy to use because it requires no registration or log-in; customers simply select their destination city, travel dates, type of hotel and rooms required, and enter the number of guests. The details are then sent directly to the hotels in the Bidroom database, which can make specially-tailored offers direct to customers.

Mr Bradshaw said the service differed from traditional booking websites because it put accommodation providers and customers directly in touch with each other, and personalised the booking process. He described the business model as ‘disruptive’, saying that he aimed to offer an alternative to the proscriptive tactics of established services.

Speaking of the current trend, hallmarked by high rates of commission and tough restrictions on hotel-guest contact, Mr Bradshaw added: “The booking engines take a huge chunk of money from the hotels, so neither the customers nor the hotels are getting a great deal. The hotels also have to sign very restrictive contracts, guaranteeing that they will not offer better public deals than they offer through the booking engines. The booking engines are, basically, pimps.”

The non-public aspect of Bidroom is one of its major strengths. Hotels which respond to a potential customer’s request through the website do so on a one-time, private basis.

It’s simple for customers too. After entering their information, they receive an email inviting them to view a list of offers from hotels. There are options to view each hotel on a map of their destination city, and to visit each hotel’s website – while the offer, any relevant discount, and expiry date are listed clearly. Once a hotel has been selected, customers simply pay a ten per cent deposit via the website to secure their room. The balance is paid directly to the hotel during their stay.

Mr Bradshaw said: “It’s very easy. You get online, you choose your hotel, you pay, you get your confirmation.”

The technology behind Bidroom is simple, yet effective. It relies on an automated process and an evolutionary database. Hotels in the database, which do not respond to customer requests, are automatically replaced by others.

“It’s rapid natural selection,” said Mr Bradshaw. “Hotels that respond quickly with great discounts for customers will thrive on Bidroom.com. Slow responders, or those that just send out standard room rates without thought will be culled by the system. We hope to end up with just a handful of fantastic hotels in each destination – and to bring them an enormous number of bookings.”

The design of Bidroom is hallmarked by simplicity too. The minimalist layout of the website makes it both attractive and easy to use – which is reflected perfectly in the venture’s slogan, ‘Something good is going to happen!’

To find out what, visit www.bidroom.com. You can even add a new destination city if yours is not on the list.

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