Exclusive Conversation: Amit Solanki, CTO, RoomnHouse

rakesh-and-amit-540x360Founded in November of 2012 and based in Mumbai, Room n House is a trusted and most reliable local community marketplace for people to search, discover, list and make use of the ultimate locations in any area of their choice. It’s a common man’s destination place. Whether you need to rent out your private space to earn a quick penny, or you are in desperate needs of a place to match your requirements, be it a small get-together, a family or a business function, or just need an accommodation for your next visit; Room n House is the place to be. Lets know more about it from Amit.

What was the idea behind starting roomnhouse.com?

The idea came up from our own travel experiences. Rakesh and I were in Goa for a music fest. In December 2012. We didn’t have any accommodation, so we tried finding through various sources but with no success. Our quest for room ends when a shack owner provides his room to be shared with us at a decent budget. This got us started with the idea of shared economy, where individuals showcase their rooms to the world and welcome travellers. The core problem we are targeting is to organize the alternative accommodation space in India which is very fragmented.

Please brief us about your business model and revenue model?

We are assuming 3 revenue models to evolve however at this junction we are only live with 1 revenue model. This being service charge being charged for every transaction. This service charge with the desired volume will be the biggest driver of our revenue. Am sure a bootstrap company takes its own time to achieve break even and at this junction with our initial funding we are making market traction.

How has been response so far for the concept?

We have 1000+ listings across 50+ cities in India. We are more looking towards increasing the consumption of the spaces than just adding more. Satisfaction of both host and guest is our main target, than having a lot of unbooked rooms. We have algorithms to promote the lesser used spaces so that everyone is happy.

Tell us about your major challenges and how did you overcome them?

The initial challenge was generating confidence in host/guest for us. Getting the word out and generating was traffic was also a huge issue. But word of mouth did its magic, we were able to pull up traffic and trust. From there on we have a consistent traffic on the site. Biggest learning could be the fact that our platform is being used by 60-70% women.

Tell us the most distinct features of your website.

I think our USP is to build the market place keeping in mind the travel community in Asian countries. Our initial success shows that our real time Host engagement will make a huge difference in connecting User & Host.

How do you see your website in a landscape where you have presence of such big players in market?
In the Indian and south east Asian market we don’t find much of a competition.

What are your future plans?
As per our roll-out strategy, we have successfully launched the first 5 cities out of which 3 cities are performing much better, we are yet to see success in the other 2 cities. As phase 2, we are launching in 10 more cities in the coming in March 2014 out of which 3 cities are international.

What would your message be to those who have stumbled onto this story and want to try out your service?
Beware if you try us out you’ll be addicted to the service.

Amisha Singh (113 Posts)

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