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In 2005, co-workers Yury Shar, Brendon McQueen and Michael Doubinski quit their jobs at HotelClub in order to create a new online hotel comparison business. Recognizing a central problem in the online accommodation market – that consumers had to visit several websites to compare prices before making a reservation – the three friends aimed to create an all-encompassing site where users could access the best rates from a variety of top travel sites all in the same place.
Moreover, they endeavoured to design a site that could be swiftly adjusted and revised in conjunction with the shifting trends of the online world. With all three having studied computer science, the trio’s strength resided not only in their extensive travel industry background but also in their technical understanding of how websites worked and attracted traffic – assets that ultimately proved invaluable.
Initially working out of their homes and without having raised any financial capital, the HotelsCombined founders launched the site following nine months of development. The website started off slowly but steadily earned an organic consumer base; within a year, the co-founders were able to hire their first employee. Today, HotelsCombined boasts nearly 200 employees across the globe, has garnered a slew of accolades and awards and attracts over 17 million users monthly. The site is now available in more than 220 countries and in 28 different languages.
But HotelsCombined is unique not only because of its rapid growth, but also thanks to its open and approachable work environment – staff wear jeans and sweatshirts instead of suits and ties, directors and managers sit side-by-side with their employees (there are no private offices) and most importantly, any amendments to the site are quickly and effectively managed with as few administrative hindrances as possible. HotelsCombined still remains technologically-minded, with more than half of its Sydney staff boasting an engineering or developer background.
Going forward, the sky’s the limit for this ever-expanding enterprise: In the last six months alone, HotelsCombined has announced major partnerships with Ryanair, Venere.com, Hotels.nl, Splendia and InItalia. The ultimate goal: To provide the best hotel comparison service to all the leading travel websites in the world.
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Over 220 countries, 24 languages and 120 currencies.