ChinaTravelNews – HotelGG, a portal for hotel venue search, price comparison and booking, has raised RMB30 million (approx.: US$4.8 million) in its Series A financing. This funding adds to an angel investment of RMB4 million (approx.: US$642,787) by Matrix Partners.
A network of 5,000 hotels
HotelGG went online in October 2012 specializing in connecting conference organizers and hotels. Its founder Xingman Tang has many years of experience in supply chain procurement and in setting up startups.
Speaking to ChinaTravelNews about the platform’s performance in 2014, Mr Tang said the portal’s page views per month jumped from 80,000 to 1 million and monthly service orders went up from 500 to 6,000, while the management team was increased from six to 23-strong. He said HotelGG’s network covers 5,000 of the 6,000 hotels with conference facilities in 150 cities in China. The newly raised funds will be used to continue product development and market promotion, he said.
Online or O2O model?
A ChinaTravelNews syndicated analyst thinks that the online B2B model has revolutionized the traditional conference industry but proper O2O is indispensable. “Although venue information can be standardized, it’s impossible to standardize the needs of each conference. If the service provider wants to keep its customers in a closed loop service then they must provide solutions to their needs in every stage of the service process,” he said.
Mr. Tang believes the online company’s mission is to create a neutral and transparent marketplace rather than compete with downstream companies. “So we don’t provide offline services ourselves but leave these tasks to the professional service providers.”
Platform technology developments
HotelGG provides free services to users and hotels, relying only on advertising fees from hotels for revenue.
“The meaningful part of our business is using internet information technology and financing to promote the development of a resources pricing system for the meetings incentives conference exhibitions (MICE) sector, all in a highly fragmented market with low utilization,” Mr Tang said.
“Right now we are enhancing our customer relations management (CRM) mobile software that is similar to Salesforce. It enables hotel managers to provide corporate customers price quotations in real-time and confirm scheduling, delivering greater efficiency and convenience,” he said.
(Reporting by Jianjun Yao)
(Translation by David)