Did you know there are over seven thousand hotels in Nigeria? This is according to Hotels.ng, the online travel agency specializing in hotel bookings within Nigeria.
Very few understood what they could make out of the internet in terms of business. Before hotels.ng, Jumia had the retail, Wakanow had the airways, and BellaNaija had info. In 2012, Mark Essien upon return from studying in Germany founded Hotels.ng, combing the streets of Calabar with a friend for as many hotels listing as he could find. Remarkable is the fact that Hotels.ng began getting reservations the day it was launched. In furtherance of the platform, Mr. Essien put out press articles about his website. This further got the attention of clients and investors, one of who was Jason Njoku, the IrokoTV boss, who let him know of how Spark.ng was interested in start-ups like that.
The result would either be serendipitous or an expansion that comes with believing in dreams. In 2013, Mark Essien’s Hotels.ng received an initial investment of $75,000 and another of $150,000, bringing it to a total of $225,000 from Spark.ng. In May 2015, in support of Hotels.ng’s expansion, additional $1.2 million was invested by Omidyar Network, the investment vehicle of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund, a seed-stage technology fund.
Leveraging on this and a skyrocketing business success, the company has been able to reach out to millions of customers within and outside Nigeria, providing them with information, recommendation and reviews on almost any hotel within the country. Hotels.ng aims at expanding exclusively into other African markets, starting with Ghana.
Hotels.ng offers options on paying on arrival or paying via making reservations. Bookings are easy: you search for and select your hotel, make a booking by filling in required information, then proceed to select a payment option of “Pay on Arrival” or “Pay Now”. All by the click of a few buttons.
In a bid to give back to the society on the vast benefits of e-commerce, Mark Essien would be one of the speakers at the 2016 E-Business Fair hosted by Connect Nigeria. Click here to register for free. Sponsorships and exhibitions are also available.