Room Roaming, an Ethiopian Budget Hotel Aggregator Startup
Ethiopia is endowed with many natural and historical tourism destinations. However, there is an observable gap in providing adequate infrastructure for travelers including affordable and quality hotel service. In addition, despite a growing number of international franchise hotels, there is a lack of a local budget-Hotel franchise brand.
Being aware of this gap, a team of entrepreneurs got together to address it. Room Roaming is a tech-based Ethiopian budget hotel aggregator established in 2018.
The startup aggregates hotels under one uniform brand, ensure consistent & quality service and provides an online booking platform.
Room Roaming works to elevate all of member hotels’ services to the standard it provides. This standard is developed by industry experts. The specific standard and guidelines are implemented in the hotels through consulting and training support given by Room Roaming.
Part of the engagement with Hotels includes consulting, rebranding, monitoring, and evaluation.
These activities are then followed by intensive marketing done through Room Roaming’s legacy & digital marketing channels to ensure high occupancy rates for member hotels.
” We want to forge a brand that initiates from Ethiopia’s hospitality culture and becomes an African Tycoon,” said Emanuel, a Business & Information Development Executive of the company.
For guests, Room Roaming provides an online booking platform and ensures member hotels provide quality service and a consistent experience.
Room Roaming member budget accommodations can be found through a website, a soon-to-be-launched mobile application, and a call center. The digital platforms are also integrated with online payment channels to allow guests to pay easily.
“Our business help hotels & Ethiopia as a country to curb the amount of foreign currency spent on online travel agencies, ” is what Emmanuel Tenn told Shega when asked about the impact Room Roaming will have.
Room Roaming is a bootstrapped startup that is financed by its founders. Room Roaming generates revenue mainly from a commission that is taken from booking. The company also collects a one-time fee before Hotels get onboarded to Room Roaming to make sure they are committed to the process. Room Roaming’s commissions from member hotels are limited to occupancies acquired through its portals.
Emmanuel stated the major challenge the team faced in their start-up journey is validating the value of their service to hotels in Ethiopia. “It is often difficult to communicate the value of our service, but persistence will get you anywhere,”.
Room Roaming has three product categories, namely; Room Roaming Budget, Room Roaming Classics, & Room Roaming Family.
The company was initially established to serve the two-starred and three-starred budget hotels in Ethiopia. Those hotels are now under the Room Roaming Budget category. As the demand for rebranding and consulting services of the company increases, they added four-starred hotels to the list and created the Room Roaming Classic product category.
Room Roaming is also introducing a new category called “Room Roaming Antiques” targeting historical hotels in the country.
Room Roaming has 5 member hotels under its brand. These hotels are Room Roaming Kersay Hotel, Room Roaming Newday hotel, Room Roaming Weygoss hotel under Room Roaming Budget category, and Room Roaming Bellevue hotel and Room Roaming Ronaliy Hotel under the Room Roaming Classic category.
Emanuel speaking about competition and new startups joining the online hotel aggregation industry said, “Lately, we are delighted to see our Innovative new idea and approach has encouraged other local players to enter this domain and would like to say welcome. We eagerly anticipate growing this industry in a combined effort and look forward to delivering a superior product to hotel owners and guests alike and make Africa a comfortable travel experience.”