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The startup ventures beyond aggregation to offer direct purchases
When Hipmunk—the all-you-can-eat buffet of travel sites—raised $15 million in a Series B last year, CEO Adam Goldstein said, “we need to go big or go home.” The remark hinted at big things to come, and now it looks like Hipmunk has made a decisive move to “go big.” The company announced Thursday that users can now book hotels directly through the site or mobile app, which means Hipmunk is going beyond travel information aggregation and is growing into a one-stop shop for travel needs.
Now, when users are looking up hotel options for their trips, they’ll see a “Book on Hipmunk” button that will allow them to complete their purchase on the spot rather than having to leave the site to navigate to another site. Users can also save their billing information on the site so they don’t have to reenter their payment information with each purchase.
"We'll take a small percentage of each booking, and while this is a new revenue stream, our primary goal was creating a seamless and more efficient booking path for our users. They've been asking for this function for some time," said CEO Adam Goldstein.
Goldein added that the company has no plans to offer direct booking for flights (a la Expedia), but rather intends to make the hotel experience the best it can be.
The new feature will particularly benefit mobile users, who account for an increasing number of Hipmunk searches. Some 30% of all searches on Hipmunk are from mobile devices, and 25% of all hotel bookings are made via the mobile app. Goldstein tells me that mobile usage has tripled in the last year.
In addition to the new direct booking feature, Hipmunk also announced that it has partnered with industry giants Expedia and Priceline to give users more flight booking options. Users can still purchase flights directly through the airline’s site, but now they’ll have the option to “Book on Expedia” or “Book on Priceline.”
Launched in August 2010, the almost-two-year-old startup has made some impressive strides. In October of last year, the company added Google Calendar integration to help you book flights in accordance with your busy, busy schedule. In January it launched a hotel search feature for its iOS and Android apps. And the startup that originally launched as a two-man company has now grown to 16 employees.
The Y Combinator grad has raised $20.2 million altogether.
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