Porter & Sail, the New York-based mobile concierge app and e-commerce company, has created a Hotel Credits marketplace where customers can purchase credits now for future stays at independent hotels across the globe.
Caitlin Zaino, CEO of Porter & Sail, told TTG Asia that the credits can be used at a later date when it is safe to travel again, and higher credits purchased will attract greater savings.
For example, pre-purchasing US$1,000 credit will net US$1,500 to spend.
The aim of Hotel Credits is to support independent local properties with a near-term revenue stream by driving volume and purchases, as these hotels are currently struggling to retain staff with closed doors and travel restrictions.
Currently, there are 24 hotels live on the platform, with more to come on board. Asia-Pacific properties include Bisma Eight and Nihi Sumba in Indonesia, and Aleenta Phuket Resort and Spa in Thailand.
Porter & Sail’s target is to list 50 to 100 properties by the end of this month.
“We’re also talking to our partners in Singapore about coming on board, and are looking at a potential partnership in Seoul. The majority of our energy remains in South-east Asia and North America,” Zaino elaborated.
When asked how these properties were chosen, Zaino shared that most of them were already existing clients of Porter & Sail pre-crisis.
Zaino revealed: “Porter & Sail is not taking any fees on Hotel Credits. All proceeds go to the hotel, so that’s capital coming in now, save for the merchant processing fees (3.9 per cent).”
Should the Hotel Credits platform continue to see success, what started out as a temporary fix may stick around for longer.
Zaino is also evaluating what this means for Porter & Sail, as the tourism industry braces for a new normal.
She elaborated: “The future of travel will change, (alongside) consumers’ behaviours. Perhaps there’s a way forward here that can redefine how travellers book their holidays. Does that mean more travellers want the flexibility of not having to pick a date right away, but banking a good deal and having that to use later when they’re ready to travel?
“Ultimate flexibility is provided to the consumer with Hotel Credits, which may reflect the changed landscape as users begin to think about travel in the future.”