ESTABLISHED as an innovative online travel platform, HotelForex aims to aid the tourism sector by bringing tourism professionals together with their customers and allow them to negotiate on their own terms. The platform allows the end-user and tourism professionals to evaluate the terms and conditions of the room the customer wants and provide optimum purchasing, according to Melih Bas, founder of HotelForex.
“Tourism professionals have stayed in the background of the sector for a long time, so we decided to build a platform based on the perspective of a tourism professional and created a business model that directs them to the customers without intermediaries,” said Bas.
Founded in 2019, HotelForex provides “haggling” opportunities in four languages for customers who wish to stay at a hotel in Turkey. Referring to the traditional way of tourism, Bas highlighted how tourism professionals never benefit, directly or indirectly, when they are faced with discount demands. When a tourism agency offers discounts to the customer, the customer thinks it’s the agent who gives the decision but in reality, hotels are in charge of room prices, according to Bas. But in HotelForex’s business model, the customer knows that the discount is directly made by the hotel itself.
The company’s Haggling Marketing Model is a strong and smart alternative to constant prices, said Bas. The platform allows the hotel to utilize its empty rooms while at the same time offering the customer a chance to negotiate a price on the hotel room they want. The room prices change based on demand and supply, just like a stock exchange. “This process where the customer determines the price and allows the hotel professional to make a discount on its own is supported by artificial intelligence-based algorithms and creates a win-win situation for the customers and hotel professionals,” Bas said.
INCOMING STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
“Innovation demands patience,” said Bas, referring to the experiences of the company. The HotelForex platform was re-designed three times and the infrastructure was improved each time. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the company found the optimum platform which maximizes the user experience.
The company is preparing to announce new strategic partnerships in the coming days and is continuing to hold discussions with different investment companies. The pandemic obscured investment opportunities in the tourism sector as travel halted around the world, leading investors to lose their appetite for investing in the sector, Bas said.
ONLY THE FIRST PHASE
HotelForex’s bargain-based business and marketing model is only the first phase of the company’s services, according to Bas. The company will launch a new product this year which will have a strong impact in the tourism sector, he added. HotelForex eyes growth in the domestic market in the middle term. “However, to do that, we should settle our vision, a haggling model, in the accommodation sector,” said Bas, adding that the company will launch all its products in the global market once it achieves success in the Turkish tourism market.
“TURKISH TOURISM IS NOT WHERE IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE, YET”
“Since the dynamics of the tourism sector is global, solutions that develop in one part of the world are rapidly adopted in another,” said Melih Bas, adding that this, in turn, allows tourism startups to go global more quickly. There are examples of successful tourism startups around the world but considering Turkey’s tourism volume, it’s still not where it’s supposed to be in the ecosystem, yet. “Government incentives play a huge role here but I believe tourism companies should change their perspectives regarding tourism startups and contribute to these initiatives that will strengthen the ecosystem.”