By Zsarlene B. Chua

​HONG KONG-based last-minute booking hotel app, Hotel Quickly, formally launched its entry into the Philippine market last month, boasting of more than 1,500 hotel partners in the country.


“It was a soft launch that we did about one year ago… [that was when we] started talking to hotels,” Raphael Cohen, chief security officer and co-founder of Hotel Quickly, told BusinessWorld during the launch on Dec. 9 in Capitol Commons, Pasig.

More than a few people snicker when they hear the name Hotel Quickly, which conjures up images of “short-time” hotels, but Mr. Cohen said that what they were keen on was a name that would impart the image of a fast hotel booking.

The three-year-old company, which is now in 15 countries and which has an estimated 11,000 hotel partners around the Asia-Pacific region, reported that it has managed to raise $5.65 million in capital within three years, and are planning to grow its current two-person work force in the Philippines.

“At the moment we’re focusing on Asia-Pacific and the countries we’re active in because we find that — even though we started three years ago — there’s still a lot of room to grow,” said Mr. Cohen.

The company is focusing on travelers who need to make a last-minute hotel booking for reasons such as canceled reservations or flights. This does not necessarily mean that they would have to pay extra since it is last-minute — in fact, Mr. Cohen explained that their partner hotels are offering discounts of at least 20% on their room rates.

“We don’t promise (hotels) explicit numbers [of booked rooms]. We tell them that we’re a channel where they can get the booking they don’t usually get. It’s an extension to the existing travel agent, I would say. We’re not here to replace others (online travel agents). We’re here to complement them and help them (hotels) get other bookings,” he said.

He also assured that their partner hotels are at least in the three-star category and that they choose hotels based on the reviews they get from their customers. Hotel Quickly’s partner hotels in the Philippines are found in Manila, Cebu, Baguio, Davao and other major cities and destinations. Partner hotels include the Manila Hotel and Solaire Resort and Casino.

A word of caution though — since Hotel Quickly is a last-minute booking app, cancellations are typically not permitted as customers are expected to arrive within a few minutes to a few hours after booking (though cursory fiddling with the app showed that one can book up to seven days in advance).

The company is utilizing “word-of-mouth” marketing where they give users unique codes which they can disseminate to attract other users, in return for credits which can be used to pay for their bookings.

The app will soon have a search feature. Currently it only lists hotels by location and users can’t search for a specific hotel.

The app is available for free on Google Play, Apple App Store and Blackberry World.