Chic Retreats is an online marketplace that matches discerning travellers to amazing small independent boutique hotels from around the world, helping them uncover the hidden gems.
For the small, independent boutique hotel operator, Chic Retreats offers a comprehensive digital marketing and technology platform, which assists in the optimisation of rooms, rates and availability management, providing a digital marketing toolset to maximise their visibility and bookings.
Online travel is fast becoming a trillion dollar market annually, with the mass market online travel agents together accounting for only 13.5%. The fastest growing segment of the hotel market is ‘boutique hotels’ and Chic Retreats see an opportunity to become the niche small independent boutique hotels player.
Chic Retreats is seeking growth investment (full details of the investment opportunity are available here) to capitalise on its unique position in the market and allow it to rapidly scale the number of its partner hotels while continuing to enhance its technology and service offering.
Who are Chic Retreats and what do they do?
For the traveller, Chic Retreats matches the most relevant small independent boutique hotels to their needs, whilst ensuring a best price guarantee and special benefits for Chic Retreat guests. Moreover, Chic Retreats have something for every budget.
For the operator, Chic Retreats offers a comprehensive digital solution and technology platform, which will assist in the management of bookings, room rates and marketing for small independent boutique hotels, maximising the hotel’s inventory.
What problem do they solve?
Bigger hotels have technology and agreements that the smaller hotels do not have access to. Chic Retreats not only champion the cause of the small independent boutique hotels, but provide them access to this technology on an affordable, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis. The largest hotel chains and online travel agencies have deals on paid search marketing practices that will effectively trim their ad spend on the likes of Google - but smaller players remain unprotected from marketing tactics.
Online travel is a fragmented market with thousands of providers vying for a piece of the pie. This market is full of generic travel websites and impersonal booking engines. Finding a suitable holiday at the perfect price, whilst ensuring a unique and bespoke experience, is a laborious job that involves hours of trawling the internet or speaking to reps in generic travel agents. Discerning travellers want a ‘go-to’ place they can book unique, small independent boutique hotels, where the owners provide an exemplary service with superior local knowledge and with a price guarantee.
Independent boutique hotels are typically owner managed and under-resourced, with limited IT and e-commerce knowledge. Many resort to managing their inventory manually across multiple platforms, which results in overbookings and inefficiencies. Furthermore, small hoteliers find it challenging and expensive to be discovered online by the relevant customer base. They cannot afford, nor do they have the expertise, to access marketing channels used by the big hotels.
They resort to using mass-market online travel agencies ('OTAs'), which underserve them by diluting their brand online, with a focus purely on price, then compete with the hotels for online traffic by outbidding them on their own hotel name. Hotels are being penalised for non-compliance with OTAs' rules with punitive terms.
How do Chic Retreats differ from their competitors?
Chic Retreats do something that is a little different from the others - they're true specialists, resulting in real partnerships.
For the discerning traveler, each property in the Chic Retreats collection is a real ‘labour of love’ offering a personal window into local life, culture and destination, which is shared with those travellers searching for incredible, like-minded local experiences.
Matching guest preferences with boutique hotels that best meet their criteria, Chic Retreats is the first of its kind to provide a full digital service offering to boutique hotels. An antidote to generic travel websites and impersonal booking engines, they provide a meticulously curated portfolio of unique boutique properties for discerning travellers of all ages and budgets. They seek out knowledgeable, inspiring hosts who truly care about personal service and attention to detail, passionate people whose priority is to deliver a unique experience to each and every guest, making sure their stay is as distinctive and different as the individual themselves.
Management believe the independent boutique hotels segment is best served by a solution based on hoteliers’ specific needs, skills and budgets. Chic Retreats has therefore developed a sophisticated technology and digital marketing platform for small independent boutique hotels that allows them to compete online, cost effectively, for relevant targeted customers across the globe.
The aim is to position Chic Retreats as ‘the small hotelier partner’, aligning the company’s services, policies and pricing with their niche needs. The Chic Retreats digital solution demystifies the options for the hotelier and through a single interface, based on one signed agreement (SaaS monthly fees and commission on bookings) the hotel is able to distribute its inventory to Chic Retreats and a multitude of other channels and access specialist partnerships and promotional programmes.
Chic Retreats sets itself apart in the market by the way they have aggregated boutique hotels online, connecting the discerning traveller with thousands of hidden gems. The company is an antidote to generic travel websites and impersonal booking engines, presenting a meticulously curated portfolio of unique boutique properties for discerning travellers of all ages and budgets.
Chic Retreats differentiate themselves from their competitors through their full digital solution and true partnership model with the hotelier. These truly set them apart. Chic Retreats don’t strive to replicate the service their competitors offer - they aim to capitalise on their niche as the ‘true hotelier partner’ and go-to market place for uncovering hidden gems of the world.
About the EIS investment investment opportunity
Chic Retreats is looking to raise £1.5m in exchange for 15.8% equity. To date they have secured investment from institutions Maven Venture Capital Trusts and Oak Trust, both of which are follow-on investments from previous rounds.
Being EIS-eligible, there are a range of tax reliefs available - including 30% income tax - and an investment into Chic Retreats will support their fantastic growth and expansion plans.
Full details of the EIS-eligible investment opportunity are available on the dedicated pitch page, where you can also invest into the opportunity from as little as £100, which is able to be accessed by clicking here.