Founder Profile: Solving The Day Stay With Yannis Moati of HotelsByDay
Aug 08, 2018
Key Deal Stats:
Raising Platform: Wefunder
Valuation Cap: $4.9 million
Security Type: SAFE
As of August 8th, HotelsByDay has raised $51.5K of the current round
We’ve all been in that situation where we just want to take a nap during a long day of travel, be it from touring around a bunch or from taking every mode of transportation on our journey to a far away destination.
Unfortunately, as hotel booking systems and operations work there have historically been no options for the day-stay. Thus you are left meandering streets tired and weary or napping on an airport lounge chair. Neither of which is a great option.
This is the pain point, Yannis Moati and his team at HotelsByDay are trying to solve for today's traveler. Through their intuitive user platform, you can find a place to nap or refresh at most major hotel brands across major cities like New York, Dallas, LA and more!
The team is gaining momentum so we sat down with Yannis Moati to learn more about his vision for HotelsByDay, which is currently raising via Wefunder.
Yannis, can you provide us background on how you decided to found HotelsByDay?
Yannis: I spent 20 years in various travel roles. As a teenager, I was a tour guide, then I moved on to being a travel agent and tour operator. Each step of the way, I was faced with guests asking for a room for a few hours to refresh & take a break, and yet I was not able to provide this service.
The reality is hotels lack the protocol and technology to be able to source & sell a day room without displacing their overnight business.
When I saw a european competitor selling dayrooms for romance, it led me to create HotelsByDay with the aim of legitimizing day stays for USA business & leisure guests.
What is the main point you are solving for customers of your platform?
Yannis: Improving their day, with a possibility of affordably booking a room for a few hours in the day, to refresh, rest, change, bridge a layover, or work & meet in privacy.
What has been the biggest challenge in selling hotels on utilizing your platform?
Yannis: #1 - Reputation Liability (as day rooms are often associated with romance). #2 - Antiquated hospitality tech, which is geared to process night stays and not daystays into mainframe booking systems.
What customer acquisition channels have been most effective for you, and do you have a sense of customer LTV?
Yannis: Word of mouth, fueled by Press & SEM has done very well for us: our (non-fully loaded) SEM CAC rates started at over $120 and now range around $7.
LTV is improving, as we’re a new company with new services in an environment where guests do not necessarily need a hotel room every week. 32% of our customers are now repeat customers, with a higher portion of repeats with each passing quarter.
Are there any challenges in working with hotels in major cities where demand is traditionally high?
Yannis: Yes! The current environment of high demand and record levels of profitability in the hospitality sector lowers the incentive to many hoteliers in seeking our revenue enhancing solution. We expect a dramatic increase of hotel onboards at the first flair of a recession.
And with a PR strategy of promoting day-stays as a means to an affordable break vs. a 1 week trip abroad, then our customer base should not be impacted terribly by a recession, and could actually increase in leisure travelers seeking a day-break.
How do you integrate with current hotel workflows to create a seamless experience for the hotel?
Yannis: We do not. We are still seeking various hacks. Yet, nothing currently seamlessly connects to a hospitality ecosystem. Patience is key.
How do you get enough cities covered in order to make customers feel as though they can always depend on your service?
Yannis: We can’t please everyone, but we think we’re in a pretty good place right now: We cover all Tier-1 cities in North America.
With plans to raise a Series A in 24 months will you pursue another equity crowdfunding route or go a more traditional route for capital?
Yannis: We will pursue traditional sources. The Equity Crowdfunding is a PR coup, and it’s working as hoped.
How do you plan to deploy this capital over the next 24 months to reach your next round of funding goals?
Yannis: Tech, tech, tech: with sharper tech both hoteliers and customers will feel more comfortable in using us. Additionally, onboarding apartments as alternative lodging solutions will also grant us the possibility of turning into a mini-Airbnb.
Thank you Yannis for taking the time to speak with us, and if this discussion has influenced you to invest be sure to check out the offering page HERE.