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Posted on 29 Apr 2014 at 00:28 am

There are some who think the same-day booking market is too niche to scale and be interesting. That Asia could be too diverse and fragmented a market for a model that relies on spontaneous travel, weekend getaways and short-term business trips.

And that it’d be hard to get good enough rates from hotels in a region where OTAs such as booking.com and Agoda dominate and call the shots on rate parity.

Those are the nay-sayers.

Then there are those who look past those detractors and want to take a bet on the same-day booking market. So meet IDG Ventures and “other undisclosed strategic investors” who’ve just put a US$2.8 million gamble on a new start-up, In2Nite.

In2Nite, a Singapore-based start-up, announced the latest round in funding, months after HotelQuickly, one of the first movers in the market, raised US$1.16 million last September.

In2Nite is available in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong and says it will continue to expand to the rest of Asia. It is led by CEO and founder Arne Dettki.

IDG Ventures is a global entity of five locally-managed funds in China, Vietnam, India, Korea, and the United States. It is managing a total of $3.7 billion, and has invested in companies such as Baidu and Tencent in China, as well as VNG in Vietnam. IDG Ventures Vietnam venture partner Frederic de Bure will join In2Nite’s board.

HotelQuickly, founded by former Rocket Internet employees, launched in six countries (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia) on March 20, 2013 and has been executing fast and furious, obviously knowing it wouldn’t have the market to itself for long.

Before HotelQuickly, there was also CheckInTonight but it’s been very quiet since its launch.

Soon after its launch, HotelQuickly moved into Macau, Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia and New Zealand. It expanded to the Philippines in January 2014 and released a re-programmed Android app. As of February 2014, it claimed to have 2,000 partner hotels.

At WIT Indonesia, general manager Malaysia and Indonesia for HotelQuickly Faustine Tan said the app was seeing good customer usage and its top five markets were Thailand, Singapore, HongKong, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Who will win? Well, the player with the deeper pockets for one – who can keep going longest, the one with the ability and expertise to curate quality, relevant content and oh yes, the one who’s crafty enough to get around the “rate parity” issue. Right now, the two brands – see screenshots above – look pretty similar in look and feel.

Hoteliers meanwhile are still in two minds about it. Revenue managers don’t like it, marketers do – it’s another channel for distribution aimed at a distinct set of customers.

Customers? Well, the jury’s out on it – but as travel patterns change, habits will too and where there are good deals, there will always be bargain hunters.

Let the games begin.

Source: http://www.webintravel.com/news/its-getting-busy-tonight-honey-in2nite-ups-the-ante_4309