Next to airline tickets, hotel stays can be the biggest ticket item on the travel budget. Just a few nights can add up to hundreds of dollars. Getting the best rate, however, is all about timing. The price of a room can change daily, according to demand.
TRIPBAM uses this principle to find significant savings on quality hotels for their customers and clients. Steve Reynolds, the company’s founder and CEO recently talked to RewardExpert and shared the company’s secret for catching hotel rooms at their lowest possible price.
New way to save on hotels
Reynolds enjoyed a 25-year career in corporate travel IT before founding TRIPBAM. The idea came from a travel agency Reynolds consulted for who manually checked hotel rates on a daily basis.
“I thought, if we could automate this process and bring it to others, it might be a new way to help travelers, companies and agencies save money,” Reynolds says.
To test his theory, Reynolds built an analytics tool that compared rates based on a variety of factors, including distance and time of day. The results were substantial.
“The savings falling out of this analytics tool was significantly high,” Reynolds says. “We were finding savings of 60 to 70 percent of the time and the average savings was roughly $100 per hotel stay.”
Reynolds launched TRIPBAM in 2014, with backing from Thayer Ventures, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. The technology pulls data on hotel clusters or groups of hotels of equal quality within a short radius of the original reservation. In a major city, that can be just a few blocks.
When a traveler books through a comparison site they’re getting the lowest “locked-in” rate. With TRIPBAM it’s the opposite. Customers are encouraged to book their preferred hotel at a flexible rate and let the company find the best negotiated price.
After signing up with TRIPBAM, users can input their reservation into the company’s system. The tool displays nearby hotels of equal or better quality. Then the user selects a cluster based on their preferences. They can add up to 40 hotels in a cluster.
Once the system finds a comparable hotel with savings above a certain amount, it alerts the customer via email. By simply clicking a button, the customer allows TRIPBAM to change the reservation and deliver savings directly to their account.
The service has been hugely popular with corporate clients. TRIPBAM currently serves around 1,300 corporations and major travel agencies worldwide.
In these relationships, a corporation or travel agency forwards their reservations and TRIPBAM alerts the end user when savings appear. This helps employees stick to company policy and saves the client money on preferred rates.
How TRIPBAM works with hotel rewards programs
Travelers with frequent stay accounts can add that status to their profile and TRIPBAM will use it in their analysis. The company automatically does this for corporate travel.
Saving money on hotels can be tricky. In general, travelers pay more when they book a room well in advance. However, Reynolds says booking early frequently produces the most savings because it allows for flexibility.
“Travelers using our system book well in advance,” Reynolds says. “Then they simply wait for the email when a hotel decides to reduce their rate.”
On average, the company processes roughly 4-5 million reservations per year. In January, for example, they processed 284,000 bookings and nailed down $2 million in savings.
“It’s gotten really big in a hurry,” Reynolds says. The company may be young, but Reynolds believes it could take a larger share of the consumer market. That’s something he expects to focus on as the company solidifies their role in the corporate market.
To find better rates on hotel reservations, visit TRIPBAM.