Every day in the U.S., there are over 200,000 hotel room cancellations, amounting to over 80 million cancellations a year costing upwards of $8 billion in lost fees annually. First launched in 2011 to help minimize this loss, Roomer is a hotel booking site designed specifically as a secondary marketplace for non-refundable hotel room reservations.
Travelers whose travel plans change are re-routed directly by hotel sites and travel agencies to Roomer to include their unwanted hotel reservations on the site and sell them at discounted prices. It's not a total refund, but it's better than getting stuck with paying full-price for an empty room. This has special benefits for business travelers, who can book affordable rooms or sell unused reservations should that business meeting get postponed.
"Due to the flexibility constraints, we have found out that many businesses travelers do not typically book non-refundable rooms," Roomer co-founder and CEO Gon Ben-David tells Inc. "This costs the average business traveler 15 to 20 percent more per booking. Roomer allows them to get the best of both worlds when traveling, amazing rates and extreme flexibility."
The site is also looking to integrate its hotel room inventory into more existing travel agencies to increase its footprint in business travel. Roomer has just raised $5 million in Series A funding to help in that initiative and to expand the service geographically and on mobile. The investment was led by venture fund Disruptive and it included backing from existing investor BRM Group.
Startups like eBay, Craigslist and Stubhub have found success as platforms for a secondary marketplace, but Roomer is leading this charge in reselling hotel bookings. According to early reports, Amazon's forthcoming travel section will list hotel rooms at rack rate, the rate offered to guest without a reservation. Any discounts on Amazon will likely come directly from the hotels.