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For a convenient stay

Vinodh Varadati, Sekhar Sandhu and Kishore Balakrishna, founders of enytime app which helps people to book hotel rooms for a short stay Photo: Nagara Gopal

Vinodh Varadati, Sekhar Sandhu and Kishore Balakrishna, founders of enytime app which helps people to book hotel rooms for a short stay Photo: Nagara Gopal   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

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Founded by three Hyderabadis, enytime app helps users book hotel rooms for a micro-stay

HYDERABAD: In the first week of June, a family that was shifting house in the city was concerned about a senior member of the family. The new house was not yet ready and the elderly woman couldn’t sit for long; she needed a place to rest for a short span of time. That’s when help came in the form of enytime, an app which helps people book hotels for a micro-stay. Founded by three Hyderabadis — Sekhar Sandhu, Kishore Balakrishna and Vinodh Varadati, enytime ushers in a new trend in the hospitality industry where users can book hotel rooms for very short stays, without having to book for an overnight stay.

For different needs

So what is enytime? “enytime is for all those who predominantly require rooms for a shorter duration for various reasons. With not many options available, travellers eventually end up staying at their relatives/friends’ houses, kill time in airports/railway stations or hang out at coffee shops. This segment is for short stay accommodation. We strongly believe that we are in the business of selling time,” states Sekhar. Although dormitories or transit hotels are the first choice of business travellers, Sekhar says enytime is for travellers with different needs. “A report says that there are around 100 million travellers in India and this includes domestic medical tourism, religious tourism, official trips and vacations. This is not just for professionals who come to Hyderabad for official purposes; it is also for those who travel to the city from districts for medical purposes or are on a religious trip. There is also another segment of travellers - employees enjoying a spa holiday as an office incentive. The reason could be anything,” he points out.

The basic inspiration has been the mantra of shared economy or ‘right now’ economy. “The fundamentals of shared economy is how we unlock the ideal assets and create a value out of it,” observes Sekhar. Vinod says, “The majority of businesses are all moving towards right now economy. That 24-hours booking is a cliché. Customers say, ‘I want a room for six hours or eight hours and move on.” Sekhar adds, “We are trying to break the check in - checkout restriction so that at any point of time, one should be able to book a hotel room.”

Kishore predicts the hospitality scene will witness a transformation like the way cabs changed the commuting experience. “Earlier we used to book a cab for 8 hours until Uber and Ola came. It took some time for people to adapt. We are in the same phase in the hotel industry now. Not many know that one can book a room for 6 or 12 hours. Once the mindset changes, the options are many and easy.”

The trio affirm the hotels can make also additional revenue. “Hotel check outs and check-ins happen in the morning and night and during the time, they have the opportunity to sell the room twice in a day,” says Vinod.

One special feature of the app is the hoteliers can decide to participate or stay away. Speaking about the ‘enquiry’ mode available for the hoteliers, Kishore states, “One might want to sell the room but might want to check the guest’s profile first. When the customer presses enquiry, the hotelier has 30 minutes to check.” Adds Sekhar, “We have given tools for the hotelier to control his own inventory. He might want to take the call based on the profile. The Linked-in profile of the customer along with title and designation will also show in the app. One need not have to commit upfront, and check the availability.”

This is the start-up season with apps being launched almost every day but fizzle out after a few months. Sekhar says their drive is the motivating factor. Sekhar and Vinod had also managed a business venture a few years back. ‘We are passionate about creating something on our own. Also, all three of us have the risk appetite to come out of the 9 to 5 comfort zone to stretch ourselves and create something on our own. All three of us are first generation entrepreneurs; that worked out and proved a point that we have the ability to create something from the ground and make it profitable,” smiles Vinod.

The hotels covered under the app are Lemon Tree, Siesta, Peerless Inn, Best Western, Plaza in airport. The app gives the price, photographs of the property and its location. Currently the app is available only in Hyderabad and available in Android version. Plans are to start the web version next month. As a parting shot, Sekhar says, “We are trying to raise funds in the next few months, strengthen our technology and build a team to make the model a pan-India one.”

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 10:21:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/For-a-convenient-stay/article14425923.ece

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