A new booking app claims it can help hotels take their bookings back from Airbnb, by offering ‘unique travel experiences’.
Boston-based TripCraft’s new booking app and website Vir.al is targeting ‘millennials’ which it expects to take 320 million international trips per year by 2020.
The idea is that is creates experiences that hotels can use in their sales and marketing to increase bookings.
The app offers a ‘social influencer engine’ which hotels can use to identify socially potential guests and incentivise them to book. Developers say it works better with millennials as they spend longer on holiday and are more likely to write reviews online.
Vir.al can be used to plan travel experiences in eight US destinations – New York, Boston, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Austin and New Orleans – and more US and international destinations are expected to be added in the coming months.
“Vir.al was designed to be a partner for hotels – not a competitor,” said Mike Murray, founder of TripCraft and Vir.al. “It gives hotels the ability to find and incentivise bookings from high value customers without relying on discounting or other race-to-the-bottom pricing strategies (as most OTAs do), making it possible to increase occupancy without sacrificing ADR or RevPAR.”
He said that, with Airbnb eating into hotels’ market share, Vir.al can help hotels claw some of that back by offering experiences that guests want, rather than just a bed to sleep in.