I think customers (thinking of myself) have a huge aversion to paying money for nothing, in the event there isn't a better deal. If there's any chance I am going to pay for a service that returns no value, I am going to be hesitant.
Part of the problem is I didn't see any "success rate" metric, so I don't know what my chances are of saving money. If you knew it was almost 100% given enough days before the trip - then you could even give someone a money-back guarantee, which would kill the "pay money for nothing" objection as well.
For example, say a company promises that by using their product, you'll save $500 per month, for an initial investment of $5,000. Only take them up if they're willing to front the initial cost and pay themselves back with the savings, or at the very least guarantee the savings.
This will quickly show you how much confidence the vender hasin their claims of savings.
HotelSaver's pricing model screams, "We're not confident we can offer you any savings."
If you're not confident enough in your skills or business model to risk $20 worth of effort on my behalf, why should I be confident enough to risk $20 on your skills and business model?
My guess is that there's a wide variation in available savings, depending on things like how far in advance the hotel is booked, where it's booked, what hotel/chain the booking is at. While you might need some manual effort to find the best deal possible, I'll bet you could filter out "good" vs. "bad" prospects pretty quickly in a completely automated manner.
For example, someone submits a reservation that's 40% below average rates for a stay in a week, at a hotel that doesn't typically price match? It should be possible to develop an automated system that says, "Sorry, we can't offer any savings on this reservation." Your staff doesn't spend any time, and your customer doesn't spend any money.
Someone on the other hand submits a reservation at 10% above average rates at a hotel in 4 months? You can fairly safely take that bet and save them some money.
Find a pricing model that lets you do this. Maybe it's a percentage of the savings, maybe a flat-fee that's refunded if you can't save them more than the fee. Maybe it's something else. Either way, you need to show your customers that you're confident in your ability to save them money.
Another great service would be automated re-booking. Partner with a service like FancyHands, so that you can call and request price-matches/adjustments for your customers. For people like me that hate picking up the phone, it'd be a huge benefit. It would also let you verify/confirm the savings.
- Risk of nonpayment because of the client
- Risk of nonpayment because the client disputes that the saving is a result of the product
- Payment is delayed until claims can be verified
- Payment can be further delayed because of the client
Rebooking is on the roadmap just wanted to get the first version out and see if there was interest in this type of product.
Why can't technology automate this to make your cost basically $0? Maybe right now you're doing things that don't scale...but don't test your business model on that, test on what it will become.
I travel a lot for work, and I often keep tabs on hotel rates for colleagues who may join me last minute. I've rarely seen rates go down as I get closer to my stay.
On a separate question, where do you get the hotel inventory and pricing data from? I only ask because you had mentioned that this was a small side project. Which makes me think there are structured data sources for hotel data.
* Look at how to make this a risk free opportunity, money back guarantee, etc.
* Play with pricing, percentage of amount saved vs flat fee. Our biggest worry with that is trying to get someone to pay later on. As right now we aren't rebooking it, if we sent you an alert "go rebook on XYZ.com and save 500 bucks" we have no way to force you to rebook or verify if you actually got the deal we found.
We'll definitely be taking in all the feedback here and hopefully trying to work it all into the next version of this.
Also - I haven't used Tingo.com specifically in the past, but I haven't had much success in sites which say "book with us and if others book lower you can get a refund." Have you had good experiences with Tingo?
Let me know what you think and any feedback you have.
I believe anyone should be able to submit their reservation, along with credit card details. If you do find the cheaper rate somewhere, you charge them at that point and present with the offer.
BTW, A typo: we can try to ehysave you money.
As for the automatic it is partially automatic. As we're gauging interest right now we haven't fully automated it.
For the pricing we're looking into different options such as taking only a %'d of amount saved, only charging if we save you money, etc. We'll be doing some testing in the very near future on different pricing models.
That said, if you have the data for it, it would be awesome to show some proof that this is a widespread thing - that prices do fluctuate regularly and there are these drops in price people can take advantage of - if they are using your service. I think that would help your case.