Guest post by Ryan McDonald, BlackBerry Developer Relations.
It’s not every day you get to meet a German speaking Swiss-national living in Bangkok, Thailand, but I guess that is the nature of the global BlackBerry development community.
We had a chat with Christian Mischler, Co-Founder & COO of HotelQuickly, to talk about his experience bringing the HotelQuickly app to the BlackBerry 10 platform. Christian is a passionate entrepreneur who started a number of companies across Europe, most notably foodpanda, the world’s largest online food delivery platform, and MindPrep, the leading study aid company in Switzerland.
HotelQuickly is a lifestyle brand, and a Built for BlackBerry application was developed in response to the spontaneous nature of travelers in Asia. Travelers can book three-star, four-star and five-star boutique and premium hotels last-minute with up to a 70 percent discount from regular prices. HotelQuickly hand picks up to six hotels per city every day and presents the best deals for hotels in Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
HotelQuickly apps and services are free to users, with revenue coming from hotels looking to maximize their occupancy with last minute bookings. While the business was initially developed for the weekend traveler, Christian shared with us that demand from the BlackBerry user community helped to shape the evolution of the business: “We started to get demand from the BlackBerry community to develop an app for their use. BlackBerry holds a strong foothold in the world of business travelers, and as this segment is one of our prime targets, the decision to develop a native application for the new BlackBerry 10 came naturally. The relatively big market share of BlackBerry in Indonesia further underpinned our decision. Once our BlackBerry app was launched, we noticed that our weekday usage was growing. As a business, we responded to this trend, and have expanded the hotels we work with.”
The following video explores more about why HotelQuickly developed an app for BlackBerry 10.
Having initially developed apps for other platforms, HotelQuickly responded to demands and built an app for the BlackBerry 10 platform. “We wanted to get it right, so we started from scratch. Our developers were experienced, but not with BlackBerry. The support we received from BlackBerry was amazing, literally from the first hour.” HotelQuickly received local technical support in Thailand, and regional support from Singapore through the approvals process.
“We were blown away by the support; our contact points were highly dedicated and did a very good job in providing the resources needed, from technical advice to devices for testing. The combination of the development environment and the support we received helped us actually deliver the finished application ahead of schedule. It was a very good experience for us from beginning to end and we are happy to have entered the partnership with BlackBerry.”
Learn more about HotelQuickly’s experience developing for BlackBerry 10:
As a Built for BlackBerry app, HotelQuickly has been able to capitalize on low-cost promotion, and has seen significant organic growth from day one. “Using BlackBerry’s native elements, we built a sharing function within the app, allowing users to recommend us to their friends using BBM, SMS, email or Facebook. We created an incentive program, with both parties receiving financial benefits from a successful recommendation. We have also been featured in BlackBerry World on several occasions, and see an upsurge in downloads every time.”
While HotelQuickly has benefitted from the profile that Built for BlackBerry apps get on BlackBerry World, Christian was quick to point out “The Built for BlackBerry designation was important because it is a quality symbol. It is a badge for us – showing that we know what we are doing and the application runs on BlackBerry the way it should. When users see that designation, they know what to expect, and that all the native elements and menus are used the way they are supposed to be. More than just an app that also runs on BlackBerry, we wanted to show BlackBerry users that the app was built for their device.”
When asked if he had any advice for developers considering building apps for BlackBerry, Christian stated, “My advice to developers, when you are thinking of developing something new and exciting, follow your passion and your skills. With BlackBerry there is a big market out there, and BlackBerry gives you the right tools and environment to get that product to market. It is the right combination that lets you apply your skills, create something new, and live out your passion. From a business perspective, I look at how the partnership between BlackBerry and us worked, which made for a much better experience than with any other OS platform. The experience was incomparable.”
The BlackBerry Developer Relations team is happy to help you bring your app to BlackBerry 10 and get it Built for BlackBerry certified. Leave a note in the comments below if you’re interested!