Start-up ‘hacks’ reservations, offering bargains

Splitty, an Israeli travel-tech start-up, has figured out a way to “hack” your hotel reservation and separate it into at least two bookings, opening you up to many more discounts.

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January 24, 2018 05:12
3 minute read.
Start-up ‘hacks’ reservations, offering bargains

BY SPLITTING UP the hotel reservation into separate nights, Israeli travel-tech start-up Splitty offers discounted rates that normally wouldn’t be available. (Screenshot). (photo credit: screenshot)

 
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What’s the worst thing you can be in Israel? A “freier,” Yiddish for “sucker,” because when you book hotels via Priceline and Travelocity, you may be paying more.

Splitty, an Israeli travel-tech start-up, has figured out a way to “hack” your hotel reservation and separate it into at least two bookings, in this way opening you up to many more discounts.

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Let’s say you want to book a hotel for five nights in New York. Rather than book all five nights together, Splitty splits your reservation – hence its name – checking to see if there are discounts on individual nights, discounts for certain days, and other gimmicks that hoteliers use, such as rooms being priced less for shorter periods of time.

“The travel industry is working officially unofficially like this for decades,” said Splitty CEO and founder Eran Shust. “They’re putting out hundreds of rates that are available for consumers but nobody knows how to find them... You may be able to enjoy different promotions, rates, discounts, and we do this automatically.”

The site combines different rate plans from multiple travel wholesalers and online travel agencies – like Expedia and Kayak – to win the game known as “hotel pricing strategy.” Splitty also searches for different combinations of meal plan options to switching rooms to get a better deal. By searching nights separately, the site opens up hotels that normally would be marked as sold out.

“We’ve started speaking with hoteliers. Is this a bug or a feature? Is this something that hoteliers needs to correct in their revenue management systems or is this happening by design,” Shust asked, shrugging.

A quick survey by this reporter showed that Splitty saved you money, around 5-10% if you’re booking – one room, two adults – for four nights at the end of April at New York’s Surrey hotel. (This article may sound like an advertisement, but the savings pop up on screen.)

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If you go onto a site like Expedia and split your reservation manually, you’re likely to find savings. When booking for multiple nights, Expedia only offers you the best single rate plan.

A few years ago, Shust tried to redeem hotel points for a free night at the Times Square Hilton. When he searched days separately, Shust realized that the price went down significantly. That’s how he got the idea for Splitty.

For those concerned that the hotel would cancel a hacked reservation, Splitty says it’s being transparent.

“We work directly with the hotels operations department and customer reservation systems, making sure that they know that it’s the same traveler who has those two confirmation numbers,” Shust said.

He added that hotels sometimes just want to increase their occupancy levels, so they put out multiple rates depending on the day. “But nobody knows how to access those [multiple] rates,” Shust added.

A hotel can now sell these new packages, allowing them to offer an infinite number of deals. In other words, the hotel can more efficiently charge customers different prices for the same product – or what is called price discrimination.

Founded in 2015, the company is based in Rishon Lezion and employs eight people.

The start-up raised $2.4 million last month in a seed round that included investors such as Techstars Atlanta Accelerator, Techstars Venture Capital Fund, AOL, BIP Capital and others.

“Splitty’s access to the largest database of hotels allows it to consistently find travelers lower prices than the major online agencies,” Travelocity’s former president and CEO Carl Sparks said. Sparks also sits on Splitty’s advisory board.

In April, Splitty won the EyeforTravel San Francisco start-up contest for being the most innovative product.

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