Did you hear the one about the two Israeli “startup” guys who have built a perfect business out of absolutely nothing? BRILLIANT!
If you have to cancel a hotel reservation and stand to lose money, two Israeli men from the IDC (International Data Corporation will help you find a buyer more than happy to take the reservation off your hands! You can’t beat that! Genius! These guys figured out that out of every 100 hotel reservations in the United States alone, six incur a cancellation fee for a last minute change of plans. Plus, many discounted advanced reservation deals are non-refundable.
The created on-line companies “Roomer” and “Cancelon” offer online services, which differ from one another slightly in the details and between the two pretty much handle everything. The object is to help the reservation holder recoup losses; offer buyers attractive deals on rooms even in fully booked hotels; and boost occupancy rates at hotels. Pretty much a win/win for everyone! I think that is really something!
The man in the picture is Israel born Gon Ben-David, 26 and co-founder of “Roomer” and “Cancelon”. He and his partner are “Proving the concept that there are enough cancellations every day to create this market. It happens all the time. 86 million times a year in the U.S.”.
Started in 2011, they were the first to have a marketplace for non-refundable hotel reservations. Sites like Craigslist are not as effective as sites like “Roomer” and “Cancelon” that are dedicated to this one need.
The companies are based in Ra’anana in central Israel and handle reservation transactions in countries worldwide. One of the recent deals was a six-night reservation at a five-star Cannes hotel, listed by the hotel at $13,000, bought for $7,200 and resold through “Cancelon” for $3,000.
“We had to train the market”, Ben-David said “Because nothing like this ever existed before, and we are still working on this. We are totally surprised by the number of users”. It is free to post and search. Once a buyer is found for your reservation, “Cancelon” takes a handling fee of 10%. The real advantage for using such a platform is not only do you have the best price, because often people are willing to give you a big discount but also you can get rooms at previously booked hotels. You can negotiate if you think the seller’s asking price is too high and seldom do sellers not agree to reasonable offers.
Both “Cancelon” and “Roomer” had listings for hotel rooms for Super Bowl 2013 even though all hotels in the New Orleans area were booked solid.
Currently working in the U.S. out of New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas, they plan to expand as needed although people from all over the world are now using the website. Plans are to grow to other countries. The first three chosen represent cities with the top occupancy rate in the United States.
Mobile versions of both companies are in development and several options for monetization and partnership are being explored.