Jared Simon is the Co-Founder and COO of HotelTonight which provides last-minute hotel deals, tonight.
Great relationships with hotels are our lifeblood, but are very difficult to build when they’re constantly getting bombarded from companies like ours. Conventional wisdom would say we needed to put our account managers out in the cities where their accounts are, but we knew by doing that, our account managers would look and act the same as everyone else. By going against the grain and hiring everyone here in our SF HQ, we were able to build a real and consistent culture and vibe that has differentiated us in a very crowded space.
With any marketplace, the challenge is lining up both the supply and demand so they’re both there on day one. We set ourselves an aggressive 10 week launch schedule, and then set out to acquire both groups. On the customer side, we built up a social media following based purely on the mystery of what it was we were going to offer, so on day one there was enough pent up interest that we actually made a few bookings. That inspired the supply side, and then we were off to the races.
It was actually never very difficult to convince customers and hotels that we had something valuable to offer. Early on, the biggest ...