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  • We are not a traditional Online Travel Agency like the rest

    Published on February 27, 2013

    Mr. Sid Narang, CEO and Founder, RatedApartments.com had relinquished his lucrative job with a leading MNC at a young age of 29 to become an entrepreneur. Surprising everyone his portal has achieved an enviable growth in just four years. Today his Rated is positioned to become the Amazon of Peer to Peer industry.  In an exclusive interaction with APN News Mr. Narang narrates about his passionate venture and its potential.

    Relinquishing cozy and lucrative career why did you preferred to enter the business world which is considered highly risk ridden?

    I started my career in investment banking at Morgan Stanley in New York, and went on to work as Vice President at Citigroup. At 29, I decided to become an entrepreneur and entered the Leisure & Lodging industry by launching a premium brand of corporate housing solutions based in London, named House of Modern Living Ltd. The company went on to achieve a run rate of 5 mn USD in less than 4 years. After handing over the business to a team of hospitality industry veterans, I set out to focus on distribution and technology challenges for serviced apartments and the accommodation industry.

    Why you opted for a tourism related business?

    As India emerges as one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world, the vacation rentals industry provides a wide berth for tourism building. With a majority of travelers making their travel arrangements online, the credibility of the e commerce platform is becoming pivotal. RatedApartments was born of this need for a reliable yet convenient web based reservation enabler using cutting edge technology that is simple, secure and straightforward. RatedApartments.com marks its presence in India as the first peer to peer (super) brand that brings travelers and accommodation providers together.

    How are you different from other similar portals?

    We are a Peer to Peer marketplace, which means we are not a traditional Online Travel Agency like the rest of the crowd.  We provide a comprehensive technology suite that allows SME hospitality businesses to use the same tools available to large hotels, and distribute their product in a unique marketplace that is designed specifically for their type of product.
    We also think that Rated is very well positioned to become the Amazon of Peer to Peer industry, and can help create a Peer to Peer industry in India including innovations in Peer to Peer Lending.

    How big is your business and what is your market share?

    The Serviced Apartment industry in India has seen a tremendous growth momentum. Despite the past 4 years of a global slowdown, India has witnessed a large global Serviced Apartment operators enter India, including Oakwood (now in Pune, Bangalore), Bridgestreet (in Bangalore, New Delhi, and Mumbai), House of Modern Living (in Gurgaon), Ascott (New Delhi). We have also seen large growth phases in domestic brands expanding at a rapid phase: (Both Indian brands that operate in the mid segment have raised venture capital – Hummingbird Suites raised some 2 million dollars; Siesta Hospitality raised 10m USD.  Further there are encouraging signs from the development of this industry in New York where 12-15% of hotel stock is Serviced Apartments, whereas currently not even 1% of Serviced apartments constitute the hotel stock in India.

    What are your business plans for the coming years, in terms of expansion and innovation?

    We want to bring innovation and design back into the forefront of online Travel. We are currently fixated on being market leaders in our industry. We plan to achieve this by setting industry benchmarks in user experience, leveraging the social curve, and building scale in our single product business model. Further, we want to scale up and stay focused as a single product business. This helps us create IP that helps us strengthen and differentiate ourselves from the crowd. This IP will help us further build value by improving our conversion rates, and making us very competitive.