Need a conference room, quickly? This startup has a fix.


BIZLY, the smartphone app

Source: Bizly

Now there’s an app to book private hotel rooms by the hour and help you close the deal – but no, it’s not what you think.

Professionals in New York, San Francisco and Chicago have faster and easier access to luxury business meeting locations for their next offsite, thanks to Bizly, a startup launched in those cities on Thursday.

The mobile app allows professionals to book hotel meeting spaces up to a month in advance when their offices don’t have enough space or they just need a change of scenery. Bizly takes the sharing economy, in-market booking ideas behind WeWork and Hotel Tonight and extends them for short-term event planning at venues like W Hotels, Mandarin Oriental and Omni Berkshire.

Founder and CEO Ron Shah said many companies are shrinking their workspaces as more employees work outside of the office. Hotels have become the perfect spaces to provide these businesses with a “mobile workspace” because they have the amenities, service and quality that large corporations are looking for, Shah said.

“Bizly is the only platform in the world that does hotel reservations and meetings,” Shah said. “There are other platforms where you can book someone else’s spare conference room in their office or someone else’s spare office, but what we found was that companies couldn’t rely on quality and they didn’t know what they were going to get.”

To reserve a meeting room at a hotel, a person must call, negotiate a rate for the space, and sign a contract. This process can take three to four days, but Bizly’s goal is to make the process much easier. With just a few taps in the Bizly mobile app, you can book your meeting room and have it ready for use.

Bizly focuses on meetings at hotels for up to 40 people with rates starting at $50 per hour. The company has partnerships with 25 hotels in New York, 10 hotels in Chicago and 11 hotels in San Francisco.

The company has also engaged partners to provide video conferencing and other technology in the meeting room, Shah said.

Shah said the company is working on rewards programs that users and hotels can benefit from.

“In the fall, we plan to have two types of rewards plans. One is a Bizly rewards program that would give guests freebies, whether it’s using the spa, other amenities from the hotel or free meeting space,” Shah said. “We’re also going to set up a program with some of the big hotel groups around their existing loyalty programs, so there will be loyalty integration in a few months.”

Bizly is also working on making programs for private dining rooms and restaurants as hangouts. The company has already signed up with some catering companies in New York to provide similar services for private dinner parties, Shah said.

Shah said he came up with the idea for Bizly while he was in his investment office in New York – the building had been under construction for six months.

“I thought I could use the hotels near my office. There were about 10 big hotels and I tried to use them for meetings,” Shah said. “It was a very painful process, and I realized then that the technology had to be there to solve this problem.”

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