Company Name: Off & Away
What do they do? Off & Away uses a new type of auction called a bid-to-win auction, where you compete for an amazing suite at an unheard of price – up to 99% off.
Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C
Founder(s): Doug Aley has over 10 years of product, marketing, and business development experience across online retail, mobile, and web applications. Prior to Off & Away, Doug was VP of Marketing and Business Development at Jott Networks (sold to NUAN ’09). Prior to Jott, Doug led product management efforts in retail and digital categories at Amazon.com. Michael Walton spent his career focused on building amazing customer experiences at companies like Orbitz Worldwide, where he lead the CRM & personalization efforts for Orbitz.com and Cheaptickets.com, and Amazon.com in their Digital Media division.
Off and Away offers one of the freshest ideas in travel that I’ve seen in a while. Instead of bidding in a traditional auction, users bid, but never really lose. How it works: users buy bids for $1 each. Each bid on a hotel suite adds up to 20 seconds of time to the clock and increases the bid amount by 10 cents. If you win, you pay the final price. If you lose, the money that you spent to bid on the auction can be put towards a future stay that you book using the sites “book now” feature (however, it must be used within 30 days or you lose it). So if you spent $25 to bid 25 times, but lost, you can put that $25 towards a new hotel booking. According to the site’s founders, customers save an average of 80% off retail value of suites.
Why should/shouldn’t travelers care?
Users of the site stand to score significant savings on high-end suites that they otherwise might not be able to afford. Plus, using the site just looks fun.