Fancy staying in a luxury hotel but don’t want to pay sky-high rates? A new website reveals where you can find incredible deals for brand-new accommodation, but you’ll have to be prepared to pack your bags and travel quickly.
BeTheFirst.com let their site users know about hotels that have just opened, but haven’t yet publicised that. The site is straightforward. You enter your available dates and then you’ll be served with details of new hotels all over the world that are in ‘soft opening’ mode.
Founder Suzzanah White says 3,500 luxury hotels are opening globally this year. “There are sixteen five-star hotels opening in the Maldives alone,” she says adding, “You have to get there under your own steam, but the savings could be significant.”
Some of the opening offers could be up to 60% off the regular rate, but the site is designed for people who can drop everything and head to that dream destination. “For our deals you need to move quickly. You won’t be planning next summer’s holiday with BeTheFirst.”
Suzannah had the idea five years ago when she was looking for a holiday in Europe. “I went to the online travel agencies and couldn’t find anything,” she says. “I had seen an offer for cheap flights into Europe with a low cost airline so I decided to try and get a week away in Spain. I did some Googling and found a lovely hotel but it was five-star deluxe. Nevertheless I gave it a go,” she told me. Suzannah couldn’t believe what she discovered next. “The price was just £420 for the week. I thought it was a mistake and that they had given me the price per night.”
If, like me, you remember the 1970s and all of those horror stories of people arriving to find unfinished developments on the Costa Blanca, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was too good to be true. Suzannah was also suspicious, so she made a phone call to the hotel. The receptionist confirmed that the weekly rate was correct. The hotel worker told her they were ‘soft opening.’ That wasn’t a term Suzannah understood but the receptionist explained that the hotel was new and the reduced rate recognised that they would be testing their systems and operations before a later grand opening.
Suzannah asked whether that meant that that there’d be no water in the swimming pool, but that wasn’t the case. Everything was fine. She had a fantastic time and went on to stay at another seven newly opened four or five-star properties. The experience inspired her to start the online business.
Suzannah’s keen to point out that site users will be informed if any intended services or facilities won’t be offered at their time of booking. So if the kids club isn’t operating when you stay, you’ll have been warned and you won’t be disappointed when you arrive.
I asked her whether there’s a very short window in which you can stay at a new hotel.
“Yes,” she replied. “It varies depending on the brand. If the owners haven’t opened a hotel before there may be a two or three month soft opening. In other cases they might not have found the person who will run the kids club, or the spa, so the soft opening may continue. Most hotels have a soft opening for two to four weeks though.
Suzzanah says she chooses the properties which she features on the website. Not every new hotel is on their system. She tries to select places of interest from tried and tested favourites, like New York, through to more unusual destinations like Ottawa and Bogotá. It’s not just about cheap stays. “It’s also for trendsetters and trailblazers who want to be the first to stay in a new hotel in Nepal,” she says.
Three to five new hotels are added to the website each week. BeTheFirst.com also operate a weekly newsletter that you can sign up to.
You can hear my chat with Suzzanah, for the Great Destinations Radio Show, here: