Concept

When you’re stuck in an unfamiliar city with time to spare, it can make you wish for the comforts of home. But the Recharge app now allows people to book into a luxury hotel during the day to rest, shower, breastfeed in private or use the facilities. There’s no need to book in advance – users simply download the app, find their nearest recharge point, book and go. They only pay for the time used – be it a few minutes or a few hours – and the clock starts ticking upon arrival. On average guests stay two hours, after which the room is fully cleaned. Prices vary based on city and tier of service, with prices in New York ranging from $0.83 to $2 per minute (plus a 14.75 percent lodging tax). One user said: “I’ve waited years to be able to take a quick shower on the go. This is a godsend.”

How they’re disrupting

Hotels often lie vacant in the day-time between overnight guests checking in and out. This is valuable money-making time. Recharge allows hotels to fill empty rooms on demand, while collecting incremental revenue. Importantly, there is no set check-in or check-out time. With Recharge, users can book a room whenever they want subject to availability on the app. Whilst there are a few other competitors taking advantage of empty day-time rooms, Recharge is the only one that focuses on luxury and comfort.

Disruption potential

The global hotel market is worth $550 billion. However, Recharge is creating a new customer use for the current hotel market, which should lead to greater hotel revenues.  With around 35% of hotel rooms vacant during the day, even in hotels that are 100% sold-out overnight, there is lots of potential for profit.

Investments and future

Recharge began with $2.3 million in seed capital from a number of investors, including digital business backers Floodgate and high-tech start-up investors Eniac. Although currently only available in San Francisco and New York, the plan is to roll it out across other major cities in the US and worldwide.