By Salman SH and Sneha Johari

Rakesh Rana, former head of hotel stays at Cleartrip, has launched a budget accommodation company called Comfy Stays which will also offer guest houses and aggregate service apartments, reports TechCircle. Rana told TechCircle that the company, which was founded in November last year, has partnered with offline travel agency Namaaskar India to evaluate the 2,000 properties on the latter’s network.

The partnership will allow Comfy Stays to make advanced bookings of 35-40% and charge a 10% commission for the property bookings and an additional 5% as service charge fee. It it also looking to offer professional standardised services in the entry level hotel segment. Rana claims that his company will aggregate hotel rooms under Rs 1,000 per day and partner with 3,000 hotels by March, and 20,000 more by the next financial year.

The company expects students, traders traveling to metros, as well as travelers in the leisure segment to use the platform, which, according to Rana, counts for 60-70% of domestic travelers. It also aims for a turnover of Rs 220 crore over the next 12-16 months. Comfy Stay will compete with companies like Treebo, WudStay and Vista Rooms.

Also read: OTA marketplace fragmented but travel experiences are converging – Skift

Recent developments in the online travel and hotel booking industry:

– Earlier this month, US-based TripAdvisor launched its dedicated platform for hotel-reservations in India along with Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore and South Africa.

– In September, Goibibo launched GoStays, which aggregated unbranded budget accommodations across India on its website and mobile app. The platform was live in 72 cities, across 862 properties, translating to about 10,000 rooms per day for customers to choose from.

– In October, online travel websites MakeMyTrip (MMT), Goibibo and Yatra delisted budget hotel chains Oyo Rooms and Zo Rooms from their platforms. At that time, Oyo Rooms said that it had seen growth in the number of users through its app, website and helpline and that OTAs accounted only for 10-15% of its customers.

– MakeMyTrip then went on to launch Value+, a brand of budget hotel rooms, to offer rooms starting at Rs 1,000 per night, after MakeMyTrip’s customers complained about the quality of services provided by budget hotel aggregators like Oyo and Zo Rooms. The company is also looking to offer non-hotel budget alternatives such as dharamshalas, homestays, bed-and-breakfast establishments, and tents, to combat competition from top aggregators in the country. Last month, the company raised $180 million in convertible bonds from China’s Ctrip for a 26.6% stake.

– By November, Oyo introduced a pilot project named OYO Café, to aggregate hotel food and on-demand housekeeping services, before which it launched launched a women-exclusive brand called Oyo WE with all women staff and facilities curtailed to suit women-specific needs.

Also read: #Outlook16: What Indian online travel companies plan to do in 2016