Lessons I learned from my hotel startup

Starting a new company can often be quite a difficult burden, this article is about what I have learned from starting my own company.

So to give some background around my idea, a few years ago I started up a website that used many different algorithms to search for hotels across the United States without requiring you to enter a city, or state, and it allowed you to filter based on

  1. Their distance from the ocean
  2. The quality of their pool
  3. The quality of their landscape
  4. The quality of their building
  5. Value and cost

At the time I was really excited for my product it was well-built and certainly outperformed the major players in the industry, but here’s where it gets interesting:

I choose to use a major hotel search company that owns majority of the market, and dozens of web sites, to provide me with the data/api that I utilized and it worked great at first, but then they quickly began to throttle my data and I had no decent contract to protect me since the one that provide by default only protects them from being liable for harming you.

I had spent over a year perfecting this site and they suddenly pulled the plug because they didn’t want competition, is this illegal? I would say yes most likely it seems like intentional manipulation to try to rig their market and shut down any competition that foolishly makes the mistake of using them for data, however; they get away with it, that’s why I belive you should book directly through hotel websites rather than the greedy middle men who provide no value and seemingly rig the market.

My lesson is:

  1. Try to never rely on another company to make your profit, and get a good contract if you do.
  2. Attempt to reduce start-up time and costs so that a late stage surprise doesn’t impact your company
  3. If you try to compete with big companies remember to first get the customers and serve their needs, then build the product

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