Last week began with a lovely lazy breakfast by the pool at Taj. Some of you may have caught on through my social pages but for those who have missed, this is what my last Monday morning looked like 🙂
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to try out a hotel in my own city, thanks to TravelSpice. They gave me an opportunity to try out their services and enjoy a stay at one of the well-known five star hotels of Bangalore. TravelSpice is a new company, who approached me with their novel concept of online hotel booking. They basically, help travelers bid for rooms in hotels of any category. They not just explained the concept to me, but allowed me to try out their service and see it for myself. And I must say, I am impressed! So, what is TravelSpice and how does it work?
The concept of TravelSpice
The way TravelSpice works is – a customer goes online to their site and bids their lowest price for a hotel room. Once the bid is accepted. TravelSpice reaches out to their network of hotels with the bid price. Based on the availability, the hotel accepts the price and allocates a room to the customer.
The concept ensures that the customer gets a good room in a hotel, within his budget. On the part of the hotel, where the room inventory would have otherwise been vacant, gets filled and hence, the hotel benefits. A win-win situation for both – the customer and the hotel.
As interesting as this concept of booking hotels through TravelSpice sounds, I had a few doubts and queries of my own.
- What kind of hotels are we talking of?
- What if you get a room, in some locality that you are not familiar with or is not convenient to your business in that town?
- Since we would be paying a low price for a room, would there be any compromises on the quality of service or the room?
This is where TravelSpice suggested that I try out the entire process myself and see how it works. What better than a live experience to understand the concept and even get convinced by it. So, here is how I went about it –
Step One: Onto TravelSpice
Surprisingly, there is no need to create an account or log in. Just go to the TravelSpice Website, enter your destination city in the homescreen and specify your dates. Click on the bid button and you will see the next screen.
Step Two: – Picking your locality and hotel
This screen put me to ease as far as my questions 1 and 2 were concerned.
You can pick your locality as per you convenience. Once that is done, you need to select which type of hotel you wish to stay in – the choice ranges from five star hotels to three star hotels. Under each hotel category, you can view the participating hotels.
You can check out the reviews of the various hotels through forums like TripAdvisor to know more about them. If there are some hotels that you are not keen on, you can mark them ineligible on the same screen. TravelSpice allows two hotels to be taken off your list. That way, you can be sure that the hotel that you are picking is something that appeals to you.
Having seen this option, my doubts on the location and the type of hotel that I would be given were put to rest.
Step Three: Finalizing your bid
Once you have selected your locality and hotel, you need to bid. TravelSpice gives you a mean price on the bidding screen. You can see the same in the screenshot above. You can bid anywhere between 50% – 60% of this price and submit your bid. If the same is within the bid range that hotels are offering, it will be accepted immediately and you will be directed to a payment screen as below:
Step Four: Payment terms
As you see, the bid is for a double occupancy in a standard room with breakfast. TravelSpice gives you a minimum guarantee of this. Once you are done, you need to pay the entire amount and that’s it. TravelSpice confirms the same by email and even calls you confirming the bid. They promise a room within 3 business hours. However, if no hotel accepts the bid, then, they refund the entire amount to the customer within 72 business hours. Once your bid is confirmed, you get a hotel voucher by email.
Waiting for the allocation is like opening a Christmas Gift to see which hotel you get. My delight when I opened my voucher 😀
And that is how I landed up at Vivanta by Taj over the last weekend.
Step 5: At the Hotel
Once I arrived and checked in, my last question and doubt was put to ease. A beautiful room with a cosy King-sized bed and breakfast by the pool – Life is Bliss! Take a look at my room below:
My husband and myself had an amazing weekend playing tourist in our city. All thanks to TravelSpice.
If I were to lay out the pros and cons of this concept, I would put it as below:
Pros of TravelSpice:
- Convenient and Easy booking as per your budget
- A choice of well-known hotels in over 180 cities in India ( a fairly wide network for a newbie)
- Choice of picking your desired location.
- List of hotels shared with you in the beginning, hence, you know what you are getting into.
- Chance of getting a higher-starred hotel in your original budget of a lower one.
- Great for last minute bookings – especially since you are not shelling out extra.
- You can expect the same service levels and hospitality as you would otherwise pay for in full price
Cons of TravelSpice:
- If you are specific about a hotel or a destination stay, you may or may not find it in the TravelSpice network. They are still growing and it will take them time to get all the hotels into their network.
- You can only mark 2 hotels as ineligible. You may have more hotels that you wish to discard owing to your own personal preference. However, you may not be able to do so.
- The bid is only for a standard room with double occupancy. There is no way to add your special requests – like single occupancy or an extra bed. You will need to deal with the concerned hotel directly.
On the whole, I found the entire process of hotel booking through TravelSpice convenient and easy. I think it is a great concept and very useful for all kinds of travelers, especially when there are last minute bookings to be done. For business travelers, this might just be a boon. 🙂
What did you think of the concept? Do you think you would like to try out TravelSpice yourself? Comment in and share your views.
P.S: Though my experience was sponsored by TravelSpice, the views and opinions expressed here are completely based on my own experience and are solely my own.