Accelerated in Nîmes, the start-up aims to help hoteliers to better fill their establishments, while offering a strong economy to customers.
Damaged by the pandemic and the economic crisis, the hotel and tourism sector is in a gray place. Professionals draw up a chilling observation: almost one in two rooms (44%) remains empty all year round. A problem that the start-up tackled three years ago As a Guestwhile allowing individuals to save money on their stay.
“Our objective is to enhance the unlet rooms of 3 to 5 star hotels, by offering a rewarding and economical experience for the customer. We offer two fixed rates (99€ and 179€), at which the establishments offer their free rooms throughout the year, explains Sébastien Montenbault, co-founder of As a Guest. We work with each establishment on real tourist experiences, in which the additional services offered by the hotel are included and valued, such as access to its spa, its restaurant,… We sell more than a room.”
No subscription is charged either to the client or to the hotelier to benefit from this service. The payment of the stay is made on the site, As a Guest then takes care of remunerating the establishment, by taking a commission. It offers stays in 130 hotels, spread throughout France. It works exclusively with independent establishments, or forming part of a group of hotels (such as Best Western). The start-up does not wish to communicate its monthly number of rentals, but welcomes their “double digit growth” each month.
As a Guest insists on its difference with other hotel reservation platforms, such as Booking.com or Expedia, and ensures that it does not use crossed-out prices to signal a promotion. “We only work on rooms that are never sold despite all these booking tools. Those that hoteliers don’t know how to sell, especially for destinations outside major tourist sites.”
Preparing the tourism of tomorrow
Despite the variety of stays offered, “the customer realizes an average saving of 42%, on a stay offering equivalent services”. Such an offer attracts a very wide clientele: 50-55 year olds, who can leave outside the tourist season, and have the means to rent a quality establishment. The offer is also popular with young workers “who also have financial means, and like to stay in beautiful, more Instagrammable establishments”. Finally, companies and VRPs also use it, because “the offer makes it possible to house employees in a better establishment, with a price more suited to covering business trips”.
Based in Boulogne-Billancourt, the start-up is accelerated in Nîmes by theOpen Tourism Lab since last March, in particular to develop its offer in Occitania. Beyond its activity, As a Guest emphasizes its status as a “company with a mission”. It donates 1% of its turnover to develop three areas essential to tourism professions: the training of apprentices; reducing the carbon footprint of establishments; enhancement of cultural heritage.
“Our objective is to work on the tourism of tomorrow: rather than looking for ways to save energy, we might as well start by optimizing the use of what has already been spent (heating, electricity, etc.) by ensuring a better occupancy rate for hotels.” The 19-person start-up will develop this objective in Europe from 2023, and is preparing a fundraiser for this at the end of the year.
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[VIDEO] Hotel stays at fixed prices all year round? The promise of the Nîmes start-up As a Guest