Canadian Startup BackBid Gets You Amazing Hotel Deals. But Will it Destroy the Hotel Industry?

BackBid is a Canadian web startup designed to fetch you the best hotel deal—not just the cheapest, like most competitors, but the best suited for you overall. Described as a “hotel booking website that revolutionizes how travelers book hotel rooms,” BackBid has users post their current hotel reservation and then has nearby hotels compete for your business.

The company explains how their system works:

1. Travelers book their hotel stay as they normally would through their channel of choice.

2. The traveler posts their confirmed reservation and travel preferences on the site as a BackBid Traveler.

3. BackBid provides hotels with instant access to the database of all BackBid Travelers traveling to their destination. Hotels can then submit bids to encourage travelers to abandon their current reservation and book with their property instead.

4. BackBid Travelers are notified of all hotel bids via email and can access the details by logging into their BackBid account.

5. Once the BackBid Traveler accepts a bid, the reservation and the payment are processed by the hotel.

“It’s empowering the consumer to say, ‘This is what I’m looking for,’ and the hotel to say, ‘This is what we can offer,’ ” Chris Patridge, BackBid’s executive vice president of marketing and the company’s co-founder, told the Washington Post. “It turns the tables on the traditional way of booking a hotel room.” 

But while consumers love BackBid—Arthur Frommer called it a “remarkable, nothing-to-lose proposition” on his blog—hotels are concerned that if this Canadian startup succeeds, it will ratchet competition up to unsustainable levels. “It’s not good for the hotel industry because everyone loses revenue,” affirms Jason Freed, the news editor for the industry Web site “[BackBid is] scandalous.”