Hotel Tonight bets on mobile technology
San Francisco – 7 September 2017 –
Startup company Hotel Tonight, betting that superior mobile technology will give it an edge, is expanding its hotel-booking offerings and going toe-to-toe with the big online travel companies, Reuters reported.
Hotel Tonight early next month will allow users to reserve a hotel up to 100 days in advance – a striking expansion of its original business of offering same-day hotel reservations at a big discount.
“This marks the start of how we are going to compete in the market from now on,” said Sam Shank, Hotel Tonight’s chief executive officer and co-founder.
Reuters says the change puts Hotel Tonight more squarely in competition with online travel behemoths Expedia and Priceline, which together account for about half of all travel bookings made on mobile devices, according to travel research firm Phocuswright.
Hotels themselves comprise about 16 percent.
San Francisco-based Hotel Tonight, which has raised $115 million in venture capital, spent much of last year cutting losses through layoffs and eliminating costly promotions. It went from burning $2 million to $3 million each month to earning a profit, Shank said. But the company is under pressure to grow.
More than 25,000 hotels in about 1,700 cities globally are currently listed on Hotel Tonight. By comparison, Priceline’s Booking.com has 1.2 million hotels.
About 20 percent of all online travel bookings now occur on mobile devices, according to Phocuswright. Mobile bookings are projected to reach $36 billion this year, triple the $12 billion spent in 2013.
Shank says Hotel Tonight can win over customers from other companies with better mobile services. Its app lets users book a room in 10 seconds and each search turns up just 15 hotel suggestions that are tailored to the user’s specific needs and tastes.
“We are like Lyft and Uber, born from the mobile-first era, and we can innovate much more quickly,” Shank said.