Nightly is the brainchild of Santiago Navarro an entrepreneurial and frugal traveller who was enjoying the benefits of combining hotels for his trips, long before he met his former co-founder Jon Hannah at a hackathon and they decided to create this business together. Here’s a little more about them and the background that resulted in the start-up that’s online today.
The Co-Founding Team
Santiago the entrepreneur
Santiago has been a start-up entrepreneur since 2010 when he established an online wine retailer. It was a combination of factors about being an entrepreneur that had him hotel switching manually for many years. Firstly, being a start-up entrepreneur taught him clearly how to budget and be frugal. Secondly, Santiago was always forced to hold off until the last minute to book his travels and on many occasions he was travelling to busy destinations. Thirdly, there’s something in the psyche of an entrepreneur that leads them to question things and want to find a work-around. Santiago soon realised that hotel prices fluctuated considerably by night and that it was possible to get best value by moving hotels. When booking hotels, he was searching individual nights to build itineraries which were value optimised.
Jon the tech consultant
Before joining Santiago to start Nightly, Jon was working as a technical consultant for one of the world’s leading global management consulting firms. In 2015, he was posted on assignment to Bogota, Colombia to develop a new tool suite for a client. It was during this time when it first came to Jon’s attention that hotel prices varied considerably by night, more specifically that hotels in the business district of the capital city dropped considerably in price over the weekend. He realised he could easily stay in a higher quality hotel over the weekend at no extra cost, if he took the minimal effort to move hotels. Being away from home and enjoying the comforts of a higher quality hotel, Jon moved hotels on the weekends and enjoyed greater luxury without spending anything extra. He was hooked on hotel switching.
Santiago had a burning desire to find a way to create these value optimised hotel combinations automatically and instantaneously. He knew from experience it took too long manually. Having the commercial skills but not the computer skills, he needed a technical partner to join him on this challenge. In June 2015, Santiago took his concept of a website that would empower all travellers to consider combining hotels for their trips, at the simple press of a button, to a traveltech hackathon*. Santiago pitched his idea and Jon was the first person to join him. Together with another couple of team members, they developed the first version of HotelSplitter; a website that would encourage travellers to consider hotel switching during their trip to get best value.
*Traveltech is the term presently given to businesses that are engaged with travel and technology. A hackathon is a competitive event where a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.
HotelSplitter was developed in a 24-hour sprint of design and coding. The resulting rudimentary computer application just managed to run searches for a two night stay in Amsterdam. However, it was sufficient to impress the judges, when being reviewed alongside another 38 traveltech applications that were developed during the hackathon. HotelSplitter was awarded a prize and the idea received strong endorsement for its commercial potential. The team knew they were on to something interesting, potentially game-changing. Santiago and Jon already knew from their personal experiences how beneficial combining hotels could be. They left the hackathon thinking what next to turn this award-winning idea into a commercial reality.
Entering the Travel sector
Just half a year after starting to build the business from scratch, Jon and Santiago were proud to have the first version of the Nightly website ready to share with their families, friends and contacts. The fruits of many late nights and many working weekends had resulted in a strong product the co-founders were truly proud of. However, this was still just the first version of a multi-stage development programme, which would see the website improve continually over the coming year. This would include advances in the coverage of hotels and destinations and many other user features and services to make the experience of switching hotels even easier and more rewarding.
Santiago and Jon got together in autumn 2015 and started planning how they would take their concept of HotelSplitter and turn it into a real business and website. They agreed to leave their existing projects and start to build the business from the beginning of January. Jon took the bold move of quitting his full-time job and Santiago agreed to focus exclusively on this business. January 2016 came and they started to build the business which they eventually chose to name Nightly. HotelSplitter was a fine project name but it was decided that Nightly was a stronger brand name and better suited for the big plans they had for their business.
Update: Jon amicably left the company in July 2017 to focus on being a Dad.
Expanding the Team
Elliott the Marketing Intern
A Sports Journalism Graduate with a love of travelling, Elliott saw Nightly as a great chance to combine his passion of marketing with his passion for travelling. Having conducted searches on the Nightly site, Elliott was soon struck by the hotel switching bug and soon developed a passion for spreading the switching word all over.
We hope you enjoy viewing our creation and that you consider us for your future hotel bookings.