venture beat, November 25, 2014 4:30 AM
Canceling your vacation at the last minutes is awful — mostly because of the money you lose on your nonrefundable accommodations.
But Roomer, a three-year old startup, has created a marketplace where travelers can buy and sell these hotel reservations, and today it announced that it has raised $5 million in new funding. It’s a StubHub for hotel reservations, if you will.
As described on Roomer’s website, booking a room through the service is just the same as booking through any other travel service, and it usually costs less. To sell your non-refundable reservation, simply submit a listing to the site and wait for someone to purchase it. When a buyer does so, Roomer contacts the hotel to transfer the booking to their name and then sends you the money through PayPal, Western Union, or wire transfer. Roomer takes a 15 percent cut of each transaction.
Roomer is also planning on opening up its marketplace to meeting and convention spaces from event planning professionals, as well as to high-value inventory from hotels where appropriate.
The idea isn’t entirely new. Cancelon and Hall St., for example, are also enabling travelers to sell their reservations. There are also concerns about whether hotels will accept a transferred reservation, although Roomer seems to be working to prevent that by reaching out to the hotel itself to make the transfer and ensure everything goes smoothly.
Venture capital firm Disruptive led the round, with existing investors including BRM Group also participating.
Roomer was founded in 2011 by Gon Ben-David and Ben Froumine and is based in New York City. The company previously raised $2 million in seed funding. Roomer is available on the web, iOS, and Android.