With US$2.8mil in the bank, In2nite eyes regional dominance
By Gabey Goh April 30, 2014
- Investment round led by IDG Ventures and other 'regional strategic corporate parties'
- Touts plans for the region, but close-mouthed about actual figures, hotel partners
ON April 11, In2nite announced the successful conclusion of a US$2.8-million investment round led by IDG Ventures, an international venture capital firm, and a number of other "regional strategic corporate parties."
Founded in 2013, In2nite is a Singapore-based startup that offers last-minute hotel bookings in Asia via its mobile application. It currently has a presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
“We are extremely pleased to have these investors partner with us as they provide both financial capital, and extensive commitment to value-add through operational support and resources in the region,” In2nite founder and chief executive officer Dr Arne Dettki said in a statement.
In2nite enters a regional marketplace already populated by established players such as Agoda, Expedia with direct competition in the form of Hotel Quickly and Check In Tonight.
In late 2013, Hotel Quickly also secured US$1.15 million in Series A funding, saying the money would be channelled towards market expansion and product development.
In an email interview with Digital News Asia (DNA), In2nite's Dettki said he and his team saw “a need in the market that was not being met by any solution and wanted to serve the needs of those users.”
“The travel market in Asia Pacific is growing quickly. There is a significant oversupply of beds and thus the need for specialised channels to move that inventory,” he said.
Dettki said that the company is serving the fast growing demand of consumers and businesses for last-minute hotel bookings. With air travel becoming cheap in the region, more consumers are travelling spontaneously and businesses need the flexibility more than ever to make such bookings in the last minute.
“We help our hotel partners to sell inventory that they cannot sell through existing channels. Already today, more than 50% of all bookings are within the last two weeks of travelling. There is a clear trend in the industry towards last-minute bookings,” he said.
Dettki (pic) said that In2nite has put together an “exceptional team of travel experts and m-commerce specialists” geared towards carving out a market leadership position in Asia, with its solution based on proprietary technology.
In2nite declined to share further information on what kind of equity stake its founder holds versus its investors. It also declined to share further details about its product roadmap for the next 12 months, and when asked for current hotel clients under its portfolio, it declined, citing confidentiality.
A recent search via the app for available hotel rooms in Kuala Lumpur showed listings for Parkroyal Hotel, Dorsett Regency, Vivatel and G Tower. In Singapore, rooms from hotels such as Bayview Hotel, Concorde Hotel and Pan Pacific Orchard were offered. In Hong Kong, Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees hotel was listed along with multiple properties under the Rhombus Hotels & Resorts group.
Dettki said that In2nite currently serves six markets and 17 major travel destinations.
“More than 300 hotels are directly connected to our system to give us [the] best prices and availability in real-time,” he added.
Quizzed on how the company intends to differentiate itself in an already populated marketplace, Dettki said that In2nite is different from its direct competitors which use wholesalers to access hotel inventory.
“Through our investor base we have direct access to over 16 million customers, and downloads of our app have been rapidly increasing since we started our marketing in February,” he said. The company however did not share the actual download figures.
In2nite plans to rely heavily on marketing initiatives to help hotel partners push last-minute bookings.
According to Dettki, the occupancy rate of hotels in South-East Asia is between 50% and 60%; in Singapore it is higher, at around 70-80%.
“This is what current OTAs (Online Travel Agents) can achieve for hotels these days. We are targeting the additional 40%.
“Current OTAs are spending marketing dollars to sell a room in advance; they have weeks to sell. We are spending all our money to sell a room in the remaining 18 hours of that same day. Hotels understand that this is a significant amount given the short time period,” he said.
Dettki said that In2nite’s key unique selling proposition is the prices the app can offer to its users, as “very last-minute booking is cheaper.”
In addition, the team is also making “major efforts to provide a best-in-class user experience on portable devices.”