Launched in January, Bidroom has experienced overwhelming positive responses from hotels and customers, prompting the need for more financing.
Co-founder Mark Bradshaw told BigHospitality: “The platform is working nicely and we decided to crowdfund it so we could get to the next level. We launched just over five months ago and feedback has been fantastic. Now we need to invest in our platform, mobile app, new website, and grow this thing fairly rapidly.”
In the five months since its creation, Bidroom has trialled its service in 59 cities around the world, attracting 5,494 hotels and 287,899 unique visitors (26 per cent of whom from the UK). 5,651 requests were lodged through the website, generating 11,859 bids from hotels.
“We wanted to see if there was a need for such a platform and the resounding answer was yes, so now we’re at the point where we need to get other people involved to get the finance required to build a world-class platform,” added Bradshaw.
Bidroom is hoping to raise €320,000 through the campaign, and plans to use it to expand the team, upgrade the back end and front end of its website and its mobile app, as well as on trade fair and other marketing activities.
The firm aims to attract customers and hotels interested in supporting the initiative. “We can see from hotels’ reaction that they really want to support us, so by opening it to crowdfunding we’re giving them a change to chip in a little bit,” said Bradshaw.
Investors giving as little as €20 can buy a 10 per cent equity share in the business and become a shareholder of Bidroom. Having launched the campaign on Dutch platform symbid yesterday (18 June) with a limited number of existing investors, the firm has already raised about 5 per cent of its goal, which bodes well for the start-up.
“Crowdfunding really mirrors what we’re trying to do with Bidroom, which is to get as many people involved and be as transparent as possible This type of financing is fantastic because it gives us an opportunity to reach a few hundred or thousand people who really care about the business,” concluded Bradshaw.
Founded by Bradshaw, Michael Ros and and Casper Knieriem, Bidroom aims to shake up an industry dominated by OTAs charging high commission rates and ‘bullying the hotels’.