I've known LastRoom and more importantly Josue Gio for several years now, and have seen their resilience building out lastroom, through it's trials and tribulations they have found a clear problem to solve and thrive-in; solving the headaches of business travel for companies.
In my experience working with and investing in travel, including HotelTonight, Alltherooms, Viajala, WeHostels, and Avianca Airlines; I have wished for too long for someone to solve the problem of managing the travel of multiple employees like I must do on a daily basis.
I could not think of any better team than that of Josue and his co-founders to solve this problem, as over the years they've come to understand the intricacies of this murky industry.
I have been following the progress of the team at LastRoom and I'm impressed with their solid execution and vision for the market. As the mobile booking market continues to grow exponentially, LastRoom is positioned to harness this growth and build a very successful company.
LastRoom is a startup company based in Mexico City, providing companies and business travelers with the best technology for their travel management, by reducing costs and improving travelers’ experience. Our business travel solutions include:
- A mobile app for same-day booking
- A B2B travel management system with hotel's content worldwide.
LastRoom is a startup company based in Mexico City, providing companies and business travelers with the best technology for their travel management, by reducing costs and improving travelers’ experience. Our main aim is to help companies skipping expensive GDS’ fees and provide them for high quality content in hotels and ground transportation services worldwide. We started in December 2012 with a mobile app for same-day hotel booking. Since then, we’ve reached more than 170,000 downloads of the app and nearly 1,000 directs contracts with hotels in Mexico. This year, we’ve launched a complementary B2B solution called LastRoom for Business, a software in the cloud, providing companies for a unique travel suite, where travelers are able to book hotels and other ancillary services, generating all the invoices automatically and improving the corporate control over their travel expenses thanks for detailed reports.
We charge the hotels a commission fee between 15 and 25% over each booking generated.
We also share a commission fee with partners like: EAN, Booking and HotelBeds, which provide us for their content worldwide.
We are the first OTA 100% focused on Business Travelers and generating mobile technology solutions, which combine the UX, the rates and the personalization of the leisure travel booking tools, with the expensive control and the data reporting tools required by the corporate travel industry. Our main challenge is to bring innovation to an industry that has been quite static in the last 10 years and which keeps on being dominated by a small number of big actors, the GDS companies (Global Distribution Systems), offering outdated technologies, bad UX, the highest rates of the market in Hotels and charging expensive fees both to the buyer and the vendor.
Market’s pains and opportunities:
1. The existent corporate travel agencies offering travel management solutions based their business model on pricing and fees for transaction processed. This means that they are a very expensive solution, affordable only for big companies and corporations.
2. The long-tail of the market, small and medium size companies, with a significant travel spend but with no budget to pay for GDS or corporate travel agencies technology, are a completely ignored market. They used to buy hotels on a OTA, like the leisure travelers, with zero control over their travel spend and with great difficulties in collecting invoices.
Main value propositions:
1. Our business model doesn’t imply any charge to the companies. We are making money charging a commission fee to the hotels and sharing the commission when the content is provided by a partner like EAN, HotelBeds or Booking. We’re the first free travel management tool for companies of any size, willing to reduce costs and looking for a better experience in booking an hotel everywhere.
2. Our app of same-day hotel booking is completely focused on attending business travelers and it’s a complementary product we provide to our clients in order to help them in case they need a great last-minute accommodation when they’re on the go.
Questions & Answers
Are you a mobile only app?
LastRoom born in December 2012 as a mobile app for same-day hotel booking aimed to all kinds of traveler. After the first year of operations we saw that the 90% of our clients were business travelers and we decided to better focus on this market, trying to improve the way companies manage their business trips developing a free web application called LastRoom for Business, which combines great hotel deals with different corporate control tools, like reports and billing recollection system.
How do you get your supply from the hotels?
In Mexico, where we reached more than 1,000 direct deals with hotels since now, the hotels upload their inventory and rates to our Extranet (http://hotels.lastroom.com/) which is connected to both our app and our B2B software. Our API is able to receive data from different webservices and display it on our web and mobile channels. Our vision is to consolidate and gather in the same platform all those travel services and rates that business travelers cannot find on a GDS.
Which is your main target, corporations or SMBs?
We start focusing on SMBs, basically the long-tail of the market, whose main problem are the expensive fees of the existent travel management solutions. However this is just an initial "go-to-market" strategy, because we also consider all the implicit costs of attending large corporations in terms of personalized service and assistance. When LastRoom will be a more robust company and with a strong funding we will not descart focussing also on large corporations and multinationals.
Are you competing with Hotel Tonight and the other apps for same-day hotel booking?
Actually not. Our focus is 100% on business travelers, while the other mobile solutions for same-day hotel booking are trying to compete directly with the OTAs in the leisure industry. One of the strengths of focussing only on business clients is the Bleisure, which means Business+Leisure and it’s one of the most interesting trends in the industry. Basically, business travelers are also tourists and for us is a great opportunity to sell leisure experiences to them apart from the business trips.
Why would a business traveler use your travel management tool?
Our main differentiators are:
- Great UX (GDS have bad and obsolete interfaces)
- Web rates: we’re bringing leisure and web rates to the corporate world.
- We don’t charge anything to our users. The existent travel management tools are all expensive and their business model based on monthly membership fees and fixed fees for transaction.