This month, we’re celebrating the successes of savvy expatriates and Singaporeans, as well as the setbacks they overcame, to make life better in Singapore in our Expatpreneur Awards 2017.
While conventional travel advice warns that early planning saves you money, these days, you’re more than likely to be able to score last-minute travel and hotel deals at massive, “all-must-go” discounts.
Meet Tomas Laboutka, Co-founder and CEO of HotelQuickly, a handy last-minute booking app.
Launched in March 2013, HotelQuickly offers last-minute hotel rooms in more than 200 destinations in Asia Pacific. On average, its rates are 28 percent cheaper than other hotel sites.
Read more about Tomas below (and find out how we picked the awardees here)!
“I had no team, almost no resources and no product,” remembers Tomas of the app’s early days. “Within six months, we built the first version, signed 100 contracts, were in six countries and closed seed-funding.”
Today, HotelQuickly is leading the pack, with more than 2 million users. Plus, Tomas says, “We’ve received amazingly warm feedback from our hotel partners.”
The business-smart Tomas, who has a master’s double-degree in international management, started his first of four companies, with a friend during his first month at university in the Czech Republic, his home country.
“It was a profitable venture, but the real profit came from the learning.”
Tomas offers this advice for others starting or running a business: “Choosing the right business partners based on core values is one of the early lessons I picked up. Don’t do business just to do business, but do it with people you can trust,” he says.
He adds that encouraging diversity in your team is important, too. “At HotelQuickly, we have some over 25 nationalities in an 80-person team.”
Fun fact: As the co-founder of an app that helps people to travel and discover cultures on a budget, Tomas is quite a culture junkie himself. He shares, “I appreciate local dialects. The Singaporean accent is very cool, and I try to adapt. I was asked by a taxi driver whether I’m born Singaporean.”
By Sara Lyle Bow, The Finder (Issue 280), March 2017
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