Priceline takes on HotelTonight threat at global scale with last-minute service for Booking.com
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.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.