BOUTIQUE ON A BUDGET

Upgradus is a new online service designed to tackle the problem of under-booked premium rooms and suites. Guy Ratcliffe, the British entrepreneur behind the brand, built and launched the business himself after being frustrated whilst on holiday by an empty suite next door to his hotel room. “Whilst I had not been willing to pay the list price for the suite, I would have considered paying for an upgrade at a suitable discount,” he told Hotel Magazine. “I knew that this would have made the hotel more money, for no extra cost or effort from their perspective, and it would have improved my stay. The issue was, there was no easy way of making this happen”

Guy Ratcliffe

Ratcliffe’s experience as an ‘intrepreneur’, building new services and businesses within established financial institutions like Morgan Stanley, Barclays, and Santander, meant he was well-equipped with the necessary skillset to design Upgradus’ system. “The harder part was then coding this into a working platform. Upgradus had to work globally from day one with customers and accommodation providers in every country in the world, using a variety of currencies.” Despite these challenges, Ratcliffe was driven by his vision of a more streamlined and customised booking service. “Upgradus is designed for travellers who, whilst happy with the level of accommodation they have booked, might have booked a higher-grade room or suite, but felt the price increase was too much,” he said. “They would, however, be very keen to upgrade if a more reasonable price was available.”

The system is not just designed to help guests grab a good deal, though – hoteliers stand to benefit as well. “For many hotels, the premium rooms or suites have higher vacancy rates than average. This results in income that could have been earned being foregone,” Ratcliffe pointed out. “The platform also resolves the staffing and guest processing issues that hotels face as, in most cases, staff are not trained, incentivised, or authorised to offer paid upgrades.”

Upgradus recently celebrated its launch worldwide, and Ratcliffe is hopeful that others will cotton on to his vision of streamlined luxury service. “Tech should be about improving people’s lives and their experiences. That’s exactly what Upgradus is designed to do.”