Photo courtesy StaySmarter
Fleetowner 5623 Staysmarter Truckers

Changing the way truck drivers find hotels

Sept. 9, 2015
StaySmarter designs platform for trucking community

John Hart knows hotels. A former Marriot executive, Hart left the hotel business in 2012 to develop an online hotel booking platform called StaySmarter. And over the past year, he has taken his expertise in hotels to the trucking community.

StaySmarter for Truckers allows truck drivers to find hotels that are pet friendly and have parking for their trucks, to search all hotel brands, and take advantage of special rates, such as AAA and AARP.

When Hart created StaySmarter, his initial focus was predominantly on frequent travelers, not necessarily truckers, he told Fleet Owner. But over time, he said he began to recognize truckers as frequent travelers and realized they needed a designated hotel-booking tool.

“We thought, ‘Wow, this is a big market,’” Hart explained. “And when we looked at existing services out there for truckers, we thought, ‘This is embarrassing.’ We felt truckers were ignored. Clearly they’re not getting the attention they need for the role they play in the economy.”

According to StaySmarter’s data, about 10,000 hotels in the U.S. and Canada have trucker-friendly parking. Hart mentioned that his platform for truckers shows all hotel chains that accommodate drivers and their trucks. He also explained that rates, available discounts, and any other information truck drivers would need to know about booking a room are all on the one interface.

The key benefits for truckers, according to Hart, are:

  • Cost. Hart says the StaySmarter platform is free and ad free, offers the same prices as the hotels, allows truckers to pay after their stay, and earn points every hotel rewards program – something he says no one else offers.

  • Efficiency. Hart points out the app works on every device (PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone) on every operating system (Windows, Android, Apple). Booking is done directly through the site, and allows user to comparison shop, he added.

  • It’s ‘smarter.’ Hart noted that users can get a hotel confirmation number, cancel with one click (no phone call or email required), and call the hotel or StaySmarter directly if needed.

“We’re hotel experts, not truck experts,” Hart told Fleet Owner. “We were surprised by how bad the experience was for truckers to book hotels. We looked at all of the websites and tools. Many don’t provide access to hotel data, and if they do, it’s simply location data. When booking services exist, they are slow, cost money, offer questionable deals, and lack features, data, and even clear user interfaces. It is a mess. Yet truckers are an important segment of travelers. They need to book hotel rooms fast.”

For Hart, the overall impetus behind StaySmarter is that he believes companies like Priceline and Expedia are hurting hotels and the consumer. And, as a hotel expert, he thought he could do better.

In the future, Hart said, the folks at StaySmarter expect to add data sets for truck stops and rest stops to the trucking platform. As developments to the platform pick up, Hart encourages feedback from the industry.  The company, he added, is also in the process of setting up incentives for fleet owners and independent owner-operators.

Sponsored Recommendations

Heavy-Duty Maintenance Checklist

A maintenance checklist can help ensure you hit everything necessary during an inspection. Check out our free downloadable checklist to help streamline your repairs.

Five Ways a Little Data Can Save Your Company Millions

While most trucking and logistics companies rely on cellular to keep their work fleet connected, satellite has the ability to connect anywhere and through small data transmission...

Fleet Case Study: 15% YOY Growth for ITDS

Learn how this small trucking company scaled significantly and maintained outstanding customer service without adding additional people. Sylectus TMS can automate operations and...

Unlocking Fleet Safety & Efficiency: The Managed Service Advantage

Want to boost your fleet's safety and efficiency? Tune in now to discover the power of Managed Services in optimizing your safety program, streamlining operations, and making ...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!