Suites are a weird thing within the hotel industry. While there are hundreds of thousands of suites around the world, most are only occupied about 20 percent of the time and sit empty the rest of the year.
Plus, the nicest ones aren’t listed or even available to book on hotel’s websites. Brands are afraid to showcase their unique inventory, and assume that the suites will be filled by loyal VIPs who wouldn’t book online anyways.
The result is hotels (and booking services) missing out on tons of potential revenue.
Enter Suiteness, part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2016 class. Available in Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London and soon San Francisco, the booking site gives guests access to book thousands of suites online. These range from a typical suite that is slightly larger than a standard room to ultra-luxe suites that can run upwards of tens of thousands a night.
While the platform sounds niche, Robbie Bhathal and Kyle Killion, co-founders of Suiteness, explained that suites can actually be more practical than traditional hotel accommodations. For example, many families need multiple bedrooms, but want to stay together and share a common area. This is reinforced by the fact that over 60 percent of Airbnb listings are now entire houses with multiple bedrooms.
Suites can serve as a logical option for these guests, especially the ones who don’t feel comfortable staying in someones home and want the extra amenities and customer service that is provided by a hotel.
They can even be cost-effective – it often costs thousands of dollars a night to rent a house on Airbnb to accommodate 10+ guests, and a luxury suite could be equal in price.
So how exactly does the platform work?
Suiteness works with hotels to list their suites, with a special focus on adding tons of details and photos of each suite. While this sounds simple, it’s a huge break from the norm – most hotel booking platforms were just designed to handle either a king or queen designation, and even if they did list suites there would be little to no details or photos of the actual room you’d be staying in. Comparatively, Suiteness’ photos are so great that browsing suites on the site is almost an experience in itself.
Rooms on Suiteness are either available to instantly be booked, or be booked via a request to the hotel. This is because some hotels still want to manually approve guests before letting them stay in their high-priced suites.
For the referral, Suiteness receives a cut of the booking, plus data from customers interested in booking suites. This data is letting the platform develop a system to help hotels understand what demand for suites is like, which is something that was never previously available to hotels. Understanding suite demand can help with dynamic pricing algorithms – something standard in the airline industry, but still not totally prevalent within hotels – especially when it comes to suites.
Suiteness also offers a concierge program, helping guests book experiences and events – a feature that lets them maintain a relationship with customers even after they are done with the Suiteness platform.