ÒEveryone knowsÓ that hotel prices fluctuate over time, says Leif Pritzel, Managing Director of DreamCheaper. The German start-up has launched in a bid to help consumers swap their hotel booking for a better deal by simply forwarding their reference details on over email.
ÒRobotsÓ Ð or a very complex API Ð behind the scenes then do their magic and see if they can find it for you at a better price, factoring in the firmÕs commission,” said Mr Pretzel.Ê”The business claims to save money on two thirds of requests it receives. Hotels are trying to get as much out of it [price fluctuations] as possible. The same goes for booking platforms.
ÒSince prices change a lot, most people that rely on meta search may think that they are getting the best price Ð because theyÕve compared Ð but they might not be. We are an insurance.Ó
Crucially, the best results work for hotels with refunds available on cancellation, as cancellation costs are factored into the savings. DreamCheaper does not guarantee it will find you a cheaper deal, but it guarantees it will try before it asks you for a penny.
ÒWe will start scanning the market,Ó said Mr Pritzel. ÒAnd if we can find your room cheaper anywhere else then we offer it to you and you can choose to accept.Ó
DreamCheaper takes 20 per centÊof the savings on a sort of Ôno win no feeÕ basis. ÒThat means we will only make money if you save something,Ó said Mr Pritzel, who added that such a philosophy acts as an incentive to find savings. ÒAll the other platforms in the world have incentives to get the higher price. ThatÕs because the higher the price, the higher the commission. For DreamCheaper, itÕs different.Ó
Mr Pritzel said average savings are around 15 per centÊoff the rate customers have paid, but that some people have bagged a 60 per centÊsaving on their original booking. And although other companies are offering to get hotel guests cheaper rates, Mr Pritzel insists DreamCheaper is different.
ÒWe are not a booking platform,Ó he said. ÒWith our main competitors, you have to book with them. They are not independent.Ó
He said that, typically, 90 per centÊof rates are fully refundable so booking at ÒoptimumÓ times can lead to big savings.
When asked when the age old question of when is the best time to book, Mr Pritzel Ð perhaps keeping his trade secrets close to his chest Ð replied: ÒThereÕs no way to know. We monitor things multiple times a day when it comes closer to check-in Ð and thatÕs on more than 100 platforms. It changes all the time and thatÕs why we exist.Ó
Savings, he said, can hinge on how far in advance you book, what type of hotel you go for, and how thoroughly you looked for the best price in the first place.
DreamCheaper has already secured Û1 million of investment, which has been spent building its complex technology which works behind the scenes to automatically check for the best prices. But the firm is now looking to secure further investment. TheyÕre likely to hold out for a good deal.