Travel Agent Side Hustle? This Independent Hotel Company Wants You

The parent company of the Standard Hotel chain wants to make you a travel agent — and cut out the big boys that dominate the hotel booking market like Expedia, Priceline, and more.

What’s The Standard? 

The Standard Hotels are a set of trendy, independent properties in locales like New York City, Miami Beach, and Los Angeles. Their parent company, Standard International, also owns an app called One Night That app allows users to book last-minute premium and luxury independent hotels in over 17 cities around the world and growing.

Think of it as a more upmarket, independent-only version of the HotelTonight app (which is now owned by Airbnb).

If you’ve never used HotelTonight, feel free to use my code CDONG8 and you’ll get $25 off your booking (and I’ll get $25 too). 

Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District of NYC

How The Standard Plans To Reduce The Role Of OTAs

Now, Standard International is branching out to start another app called Benny (as in friends with benefits).

The idea with Benny is a recommendations-based platform for individuals to become travel agents of sorts. These people, folks like you and me, will refer friends within their network to book directly at a Standard property.

Amar Lalvani, Standard International’s CEO, said the app is “the first social travel agency. We are launching a model that will be at the intersection of social media, the gig economy and travel. The way Airbnb made everybody a host and Uber made everyone a driver, we are going to develop a system that makes everybody a travel agent.”

The Standard’s “One Night” booking app

To me, this sounds like is a referral program — with an app.

Those huge online travel agencies like Expedia and Priceline take a large commission from each booking, yet it’s difficult to convert users to book directly with a hotel. The Standard wants to cut out the middleman and replace them — with you. It remains to be seen how successful they will be in doing that.