Skift Take

Crowdsourcing the booking process, if you will, is a smart strategy to make guests feel involved in the business.

In a move to break free from the growing power online travel agencies have over the hotel booking process, Standard International subsidiary One Night, Inc. is launching a recommendations-based app for customers.

The new “Benny” platform, set to launch as early as October on desktop for consumers and 2020 on mobile, gives guests the ability to earn commissions by recommending stays for friends at Standard International properties and any of One Night’s additional independent hotels in its marketplace—located primarily in the U.S.

The initiative has already received an undisclosed investment from SWaN & Venture Legend Partners, which invests in tech-enabled consumer brands, One Night President and co-founder Jimmy Suh said in an email to Skift. Some of the venture firm’s more notable investments include Airbnb, software payment company Square, and Pinterest.

Earlier this year, Standard International spun off One Night, but remains a major shareholder in the company where CEO Amar Lalvani also sits on the board. The platform is said to make guests feel like a travel agent, the same way Airbnb made people hosts and Uber made regular pedestrians drivers, he told the Financial Times this week.

Standard International did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

One Night, incubated and launched by Standard International in 2016, recently announced Series A funding of $5 million in March led by aforementioned SWaN & Venture Legend Partners. The startup serves as a same-day booking app for independently owned hotels.

At launch, One Night had more than one dozen founding hotel partners. The company now has more than 250 hotels available on its platform in 19 U.S. cities and international markets, such as London and Bangkok. One Night expects to grow its offerings to 300 properties in 30 U.S. markets by the end of the year.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated the forthcoming Benny app would be launched by The Standard Hotels’ parent company Standard International. The hotelier is set to only be a user of the new platform.

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Tags: airbnb, boutique hotels, mobile apps, online booking tools, online travel agencies, standard international

Photo credit: Shown here is The Standard, High Line hotel in New York City. The chain's parent company is set to launch a new tech initiative in October. 300644

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