Yesterday I made a post about 5 leading e-travel startups in Africa. I will continue today by introducing hotels.ng, a Nigerian startup that offers hotel reservation to 14,000 hotels through its platform of the same name www.hotels.ng
Hotels.ng was founded just in 2012 and it is a tremendous achievement to have reached such scale within a short three years. It is true that the sheer size of the Nigerian market, combined with the growing demand for travel related services, meant that this website came at the right time. The founder is Mark Essien, who had launched the site first as a directory of hotels in Nigeria while he was studying in Germany, and later on, with the growing traffic of the site, understood the opportunity to launch a full scale reservation site and online travel agency.
The fact that venture capital have voted with their money and invested in this site is a testimony of the potential of the startup. Hotels.ng has received investments from spark.ng (owned by Jason Njoku, the founder of Iroko TV) , and in a following round, of ebay co-founder Pierre Omidyar.
Hotels.ng is planning to expand into other African countries starting from Ghana. I guess they will have to use a local domain/extension or set up a new panafrican website with a .com domain, as using hotels.ng would make it look targeting the Nigerian market only and impede on their growth in Africa.
Last but not least, hotels.ng was profitable from day one so this is not your typical e-startup that will burn first few rounds investors money for growth and user base. Kudos to Mark to whatever he is doing at hotels.ng, and hopefully we will hear about this startup soon in new markets across the continent. I, for one, will certainly prefer to use a homegrown reservation platform for planning my trips in Africa than agoda.com, hotels.com, expedia.com or booking.com as I do right now.