Last-minute hotel booking service HotelTonight has put in quite a great deal of work over the past three years to become the go-to mobile service for same-day hotel bookings. Up to this point, travelers who are using the mobile app have been able to reserve same-day hotel rooms from 9:00 am (the day of) for up to 70% below the standard price. Now the travel startup wants to expand its availability window.
The San Francisco-based company confirmed to The Next Web that it plans to open bookings up to 7 days in advance, a move that is designed to make the app more favorable towards the consumer. While the same-day facet of the booking service was a notable differentiator, it also became a stifling factor for the company.
A Long Way in a Short Amount of Time
HotelTonight has come a long way since its creation in 2010. The mobile travel app launched in the US for iPhones in 2011, and became available on Android devices (2011), iPads (2012), and Windows phones earlier this year. Since the launch of the application, HotelTonight has been downloaded by more than 9.5 million users.
The company is now releasing refreshed versions of its Android, Windows Phone, and iOS apps, which include a fresh design and a handful of notable new features:
- A curated, themed “Playlist” of hotels with recommendations on where and when to book, based on aspects such as weather and availability
- In-App weather forecasts will be introduced, designed to suggest where to stay, and what you should pack in your bags
- Increased timeframe from which travelers can make bookings (up to seven days in advance)
It remains unclear what effect this will have on the overall pricing of rooms listed in the HotelTonight app, but the company is certainly attempting to attract a greater number of travelers with an increased booking window. I can understand where properties would be excited about the opportunity to sell more open rooms, but are they going to be willing to do so at such a heavily discounted rate for up to a week prior to the booking? HotelTonight will ultimately still be hand-picking which hotels are included in these changes, so negotiations will likely be favorable to the consumer.