Hotel Tonight claims to be fastest hotel booking service

Hotel Tonight may or may not be for lovers considering one-night stands, but the startup, which only offers rooms through an iPhone app, itself aims for quickies.

Quickie reservations, that is.

Sam Shank, the CEO of DealBase, says the company’s Hotel Tonight venture “is the fastest way to book a hotel on the entire planet.”

And, that’s not all, when it comes to boasts.

Shank argues that Hotel Tonight is “the first mobile-only travel booking business” as it doesn’t have a website or off-line booking business operating in the background.

Hotel Tonight offers rooms for one night only on the same day of the booking for some 50 independent properties, currently in midtown Manhattan, Hollywood, Calif., and Union Square in San Francisco.

Hotel Tonight sells the rooms on a wholesale basis and consumers know the identity of the properties and the discounted rates up-front. That’s a differentiator from Priceline and Hotwire, which use varying opaque models.

Sample rates on Hotel Tonight include $120 for the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco.

Shank says Hotel Tonight is a travel agency, which handles the transaction with hotels instead of linking off to suppliers, and has its own merchant credit card account. It has its own small sales force and customer support team, and built an extranet to enable hoteliers to upload inventory and rates.

Shank, who founded and headed TravelPost when it was sold to SideStep in 2006, says Hotel Tonight developers studied mobile apps from existing online travel agencies and set out to craft a simpler and faster experience.

He claims a repeat booking on OTA iPhone hotel apps takes about two-and-a-half minutes and about 120 taps on average — compared with “11 seconds” and four taps using the Hotel Tonight iPhone app.

The four steps to book a room on Hotel Tonight are reviewing the available rooms, booking the room, confirming the order and again confirming or cancelling the nonrefundable reservation, Shank says.

Hotel Tonight speeds the process in part by making assumptions about the traveler and booking, he says.

For example, Hotel Tonight customers don’t have to enter their names when making a booking because the app assumes that the person seeking the stay is the device owner, Shanks says.

Customers also don’t have to input the dates of their stay because Hotel Tonight only takes same-day reservations.

“The whole idea of mobile is in and out,” Shank says.

Hotel Tonight currently offers rooms in about 50 properties and obviously is looking to expand its base.

An Android app is on the drawing board as Hotel Tonight’s plan is to focus entirely on mobile, eschewing a website for now, Shank says.

“We don’t want to do too many things at once,” Shank says. “We want to do things right and expand from there.”

Shank says he didn’t have to seek outside funding for Hotel Tonight, adding that DealBase is profitable and has “a fair amount of capital.”

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.



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    […] HotelTonight burst on the scene nearly seven years ago as a unique and exquisite mobile- and tonight-only hotel booking app that spawned a host of competitors — startups and major players among them — all over the world. […]

  2. The video -- Fastest hotel booking mobile app in the world? | Tnooz

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  3. Hugh Crean

    Great stuff Sam…congrats!

  4. Jonathan Alford

    Nice work, Sam! Simplify, simplify…


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