FlexMyRoom turns insurance against canceled trips into a business

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In 2019, a group of hoteliers from Benidorm were looking for a response to the frequent cancellation of reservations. The facilities for tourists to cancel their rooms a few days before their trip became a problem to balance numbers and they needed to promote the rates that most interest the sector, the non-refundable ones, in which the guest pays part or all of the agreed cost. even if it doesn't appear. The search for a solution to this dilemma was the seed of FlexMyRoom in 2020, a technological start-up that has found its opportunity by connecting the world of travel and insurance. Last year it ensured 200,000 journeys with a turnover of 1.6 million euros, ten times more than in 2021, and has a staff of 21 people. The company was born by Miguel Signes, Pepe Such and Rubén Antón. The first comes from the hotel sector, the second from insurance and the third is an engineer who worked for Flywire, the third Spanish unicorn after Glovo and Cabify. They met through a business incubator in Benidorm with Demium and at the beginning of 2020 they formed the start-up – the first of this accelerator, now defunct – but a month later they encountered the pandemic. And with it a huge parenthesis for global tourism that threatened its survival. While they were considering what to do, in May 2020 the Poseidon hotels rescued them by betting on their product. So it was a rate with insurance that covered cancellation if it was made for a justified cause, in such a way that the hotel collected its rate and the client also recovered their money. That month, the company invoiced its first 17 euros. The coronavirus crisis became an opportunity. Covid changed the mentality of the average tourist, who now preferred to take out insurance when they had not even thought about it before. FlexMyRoom closed its first fiscal year with modest numbers, but the potential was there. The business model evolved little by little until it reached its greatest transformation: the development of its own technology that allows insurance—cancellation and travel assistance—to be included in the reservation platforms that the hotels themselves have on their websites. “We embed them in their search engines, it gives them a differential advantage and thus we promote the direct sale of rooms,” explains Jaime Guillot, who first served as a consultant for the project in his former position at Demium and who since last spring has been president of the board of directors, an executive position that allows you to support management tasks. For the traveler, nothing changes at an operational level. He makes the reservation through the hotel's website, where FlexMyRoom has already added the policies to the rates, although some establishments prefer to offer it as an optional extra during the process. Hotels thus seek to attract customers directly to their websites to avoid the commissions they must pay for reservations through Booking-style platforms and, in the process, they manage to differentiate themselves from the competition. And what is the business model? “It is a percentage of the reservation, so it depends on the success of the hotel: the more it sells, the more we earn,” adds Guillot, who highlights that the policy adapts automatically if the client changes their dates or the number of people in the hotel. the reserve. “And the technology also detects when the tourist does not show up and has a flexible rate, so as not to charge the hotel anything,” he emphasizes, explaining that the company already works with numerous insurers and hotels. With presence in countries such as Portugal, Italy or Mexico, FlexMyRoom seeks to gain market share. “Latin America is our great objective,” acknowledges the president. Follow all the information from Economy and Business on Facebook and xor in our weekly newsletter