Mobile-first hotel price comparison and booking app Lodgeo, which sees its official launch today, has scored £2 million in new backing from Javest Investment fund, and a number of unnamed angel investors. The startup is founded by Ines Djelassi, who has previous form in the hotel tech space, and offers a modern approach to hotel metasearch, bringing the user experience to mobile devices first. Additionally, unlike many legacy players, Lodgeo lets you find and book a hotel within the app itself, rather than being shunted off to a different destination online, as is wont to happen with a typical hotel metasearch site/aggregator.
“Until Lodgeo, mobile users have been unable to undertake all activities associated with hotel booking on one app. There is no mobile platform that allows search plus comparison of multiple OTAs and in-app booking all in one place,” argues Djelassi, who previously founded independent hotel aggregator Hotel Solutions Direct.
By OTAs (Online Travel Agents), she’s including major hotel booking sites, such as Booking.com or Expedia, which Lodgeo is able to search across and make a booking within the app. In total is pulls in prices from 800,000 or so properties worldwide. In other words, this is very much about lessening the workload for savvy travellers who aren’t content with getting a single price from a single, albeit uber, hotel booking site.
“With all other competitors, users are faced with a variety of obstacles that add ‘friction’ for the booker,” adds Djelassi. “This means either re-direction to other platforms, requiring time spent on additional registration, or the price shown is often not correct or available in realtime, so they have to start the search again.”
The other major potential differentiation is that Lodgeo currently exists as a mobile (iOS) app only. Djelassi cites the young startups “mobile DNA” as key, and says the user experience has been specifically developed for the customer journey on mobile, not just a re-hashed version of a desktop interface.
Competitors cited by Djelassi include Kayak, which she says has a poor mobile experience at the point of booking, by insisting users are re-directed to the mobile web page of the OTA actually providing the deal. TripAdvisor is also name-checked, as it is expanding into direct hotel booking with its metasearch mobile app. Top10, Trivago, Hotels Combined are other examples, however, again they lack a mobile-first approach, specifically Lodgeo’s in-app booking and management functionality.
Of course, last-minute hotel booking apps, such as HotelTonight and its many local rivals, can surely also be chalked up as competitors, and these are mobile-first in every sense and are beginning to encroach more on the general hotel booking space, less same day.
Also of note, however, Lodgeo has been able to attract booking.com co-founder Marin Muyser to its board. I suspect this is one UK startup to watch closely.