Booking.com Tonight with initially be available only for Apple devices via the iTunes appstore (Android version likely to follow) and will use last-minute inventory from its portfolio of 200,000 properties in 165 countries.
The app works by giving the user a list of all available hotels in the immediate area of the device which have same-day availability, with a two-step process if the user wishes to book from the handset.
The booking confirmation is saved on the device (for check-in) and then a map with directions is displayed.
The difference between the Booking.com app and the existing Priceline Tonight-Only app is in the spread of hotel content – with the latter purely focused on the US, having launched with hotels in 30-odd cities in September last year.
Booking.com says it secured $1 billion in transactions via mobile devices in 2011, with 40% of mobile bookings being made for the same day.
Booking.com says same-day reservations may secure up to 50% off the regular rate for a property, not far off the 70% discount which HotelTonight promises users can achieve with some of the hotels it works with.
Validation of the marketplace for same-day bookings via mobile devices was illustrated again last November when HotelTonight secured Series B funding to the tune of $9 million in a round led by Battery Ventures.