“We are a complete technology package for hotels”
Founded back in 2011 by the trio of Anil Kumar Prasanna, Ravi Taneja and Leema Rosali – all hospitality industry professionals – AxisRooms has been a pioneer in providing digital solutions to hospitality industry for more effective and real-time deployment of its inventory through its proprietary and customized solutions. The acclaimed solution provider is now at the next stage of vertical and horizontal expansion. MyMobile interacted with Anil Kumar Prasanna, Founder and CEO of AxisRooms to deliberate on its future plans and growth strategy!
What was the inspiration and reasons for starting AxisRooms? How would you evaluate your journey till date?
Most of the cofounders are from OTA / Travel background, we were all good at contracting & Hotel relationships, when we actually went out for contracting we used come across with common complexity was allocation, though it was early beginning of hotel business on OTA, everyone was looking for allocations to make real time booking. We know this would not be a scalable method and hotels had a very limited and minute contribution from online travel which was less than 5% of total occupancy. There were GDS systems but focus was not in Hotel Distribution and a very complex and obsolete systems. We decided to create a layer of application between hotels and OTA which we formalized to name is as AxisRooms.
There were two inspirations, one is to make something really big in hotel tech space and second thing was fear of missing out an opportunity to create a product we created in AxisRooms.
I would rate it well, except few hiccups as most of the large investors / VC’s shied away on SAAS / B2B investments and on the other hand we also got an opportunity and confidence from seedfund. We are market leaders today in India and we would replicate the same business success soon in Asia.
What is AxisRooms’s USPs which places it above competition – the key differentiators?
We are a complete technology package for hotels, they do not have look at multiple systems to manage their business.
- Channel Manager – It handles the inventory and pricing to OTA distribution.
- Booking Engine – Ecommerce app for managing direct hotel bookings on hotels own website. Now we have expanded this offer to OTA’s too, very scalable and instant booking platform for OTA for setting up a hotel online platform.
- CRS – Central Repository to manage all reservations it has also the capability to manage front office functions like check in / out, invoices, payment & reporting.
- Alternative Distribution – One of the USP’s of AxisRooms, we have an ability to distribute and automate the reservations for offline travel agents or corporate too.
- Rate Shopper – Competition Hotel Pricing Analysis & Data
- Revenue Management System: Hotel Price optimization based on demand, occupancy, competition, events & festivals.
All in one package none of our competition has it, and all our platforms are well integrated, usually a fully functional hotel need to go with various companies tech solutions to make this a complete bundle. We have everything one Single Platform.
“We are market leaders today in India and we would replicate the same business success soon in Asia”
Could you enlighten us about your funding and revenue model?
We have raised two rounds of funding till now; we have hybrid revenue a mix of transactions & monthly subscription fees.
We are witnessing very high decibel and capital intensive promotions by some platforms similar to yours? How do you plan to respond to such aggressive promotional strategies? What all is going to be part of your future strategy to gain further mindshare and business pie?
We are not affected from capital intensive promotions, as we are enabler to hotel bookings and we do not contribute directly. Only one suggestion I have to my hotel partners is to have a distribution mix, they should not depend on a single OTA for business. Do not put all eggs in one basket.
These promotions are for short term and hope it will end some day, but hotels have to make a direct business strategy on website and consider this time for developing their strategies and effectiveness to achieve this. 80% of customers who book visit their website at least once before their bookings, so are you holding them to do the transaction or letting them do it on OTA is hotels strategy.
Many established air-travel sites have now expanded their bouquet to offering accommodation/hospitality solutions? And they have deep pockets. Does it in any way challenges your standing or comfort level. Your comments/observations on this scenario please?
For us everything is an opportunity, we look at it as potential business partnership. We have content, both static and dynamic with the number of hotels we cover we can minimize their time for bringing this online. And it is good for hotels to have another potential distribution channel, we have partnered quite a few from beginning usually only handful number of this new players sustain in long run.
“Our AI enabled Revenue Management System has lot of capability to crunch the numbers and take an informed decision on pricing, yield etc. We also have come up with Vacation Rental System and we are looking at expansion to the long tail market”
What kind of service or business vertical expansion can we expect from your stable?
Our AI enabled Revenue Management System is new from us and it has lot of capability to crunch the numbers and take an informed decision on pricing, yield etc. We also have come up with Vacation Rental System and we are looking at expansion to the long tail market like home stays, villas, bed & breakfast as the next level of expansion. We are also completing our integration with Opera which will also bring an opportunity to get branded 5 star hotels distribution on AxisRooms.
Despite the enthusiasm and high entrepreneurial spirits, the India start-up story is still not a very satisfying one. In this scenario, how confident are you of making a success?
Entrepreneurs still do not have a good backing of investors, it was ecommerce years back, followed by food tech and now it is AI & Machine Learning, Fintech etc. It is mostly a herd mentality by investors. And business are valued still on the basis of education viz IIM / IIT’s, not the actual revenue & profits. We do not have enough investors backing growth stage. I had seen years back of 10K crores for start up from our Government and I still do not see that being helpful to our entrepreneurs like Singapore Governments fund for start ups.
Coming to AxisRooms, we will continue to grow and we have done mistakes in past and we have corrected our path. Learning for us is a continuous process. Success is a moving target, what we have achieved till today is also a success. We have gone through many pitfalls and we have made a strong comeback. I can only say we are not content of the growth we have achieved and still on the path to the success.