IN a cyber world flooded with global travel and holiday websites, an entrepreneur in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, managed to find a niche with a system that satisfies both travellers and hosts.
Cutely named www.sweethut.holiday, Koh Soon Leong’s dream business is riding high with over 1,000 holiday stays in 11 countries and counting.
The 42-year-old founded the online marketplace in 2016 with a few friends after his wife tried planning a holiday online and found the experience “cold”.
“We were not happy because as customers, we felt we deserved better service. So my friends and I created one ourselves,” he said recently.
To sweeten the deal, home -sharing hosts and hotels do not pay anything for listing their offerings.
For home-sharing hosts, the deal is even better because sweethut.holiday does not charge the hosts and instead charges travellers a 9.99% service fee.
“In large home-sharing portals, they charge the hosts 3% and the travellers 12%. So we are cheaper,” said Koh, who is the founder of ChatKey Technology Sdn Bhd.
Hosts and hotels are also encouraged to be competitive by using the portal’s system to offer super deals for travellers staying two nights, booking two rooms or doing advanced bookings.
And there are even last-minute deals for travellers.
Hosts can choose to give travellers a more stress-free holiday planning experience by offering a zero-booking fee privilege.
“If hosts give this option, travellers won’t have to pay anything until two or three days before the booking is due.
“And there is no cancellation fee either.
“That’s what I want it as a customer and that’s what we put into sweethut.holiday,” Koh said.
There is even the option to pay on arrival for selected bookings.
“We want to serve great value to travellers, not only for those on a business trip but also for families looking to spend precious time together,” Koh added.
He said local tourists as well as those from Singapore and Thailand make up the highest traffic through the website and so far, 29,000 people have used it.
“We recently included Rome, Italy, and expect to see coverage to 19 countries by the end of the year,” he added.
Sweethut.holiday is offering a discount for The Star readers.
New users automatically get a RM10 travel credit and readers who use The Star voucher code when signing up gets an extra RM20 off on a minimum of RM400 booking.
The offer is valid until the end of July.
Visit www.sweethut.holiday or call 04-538 4198.
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