As Paul Carr and I have written endlessly, we’re big fans of anything disrupting the hotel industry in a simple way that with a clear user value that doesn’t try to be all things to all people.
HotelTonight– a mobile service that allows you to book a last minute hotel in seconds– does exactly that. We test drove it in San Francisco the weekend before MacWorld to see if it really worked. Spoiler alert: it did.
I also recently used HotelTonight on a trip to Washington DC when I just forgot to book a hotel, realizing it about the time I boarded the plane. It was a little nerve-wracking waiting until noon the day I needed a room to know for sure I’d get one. But the service worked like a dream, I got a centrally located room for 40% less than others I was looking at, and check in took moments.
So far HotelTonight’s iPhone app has been downloaded 600,000 times. And today, Android users who travel a lot and hate to plan can enjoy the service too.
Aside from a new platform, HotelTonight has had other news since we last covered them. The company raised $3.25 million from Battery Ventures, Accel Partners and First Round Capital, has deals with 350 hotels and has expanded its service to eighteen cities. The list includes New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Las Vegas, Phoenix, New Orleans, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Denver and Anaheim
Next up: Waikiki, Houston and San Antonio. CEO Sam Shank says some obvious large cities have been put off because HotelTonight hasn’t been able to get the ideal hotel partnerships. Since it only offers three hotels per city, that inventory matters.
The big surprise to him is that there’s a market for Waikiki. Shank would have assumed a trip to Hawaii would be one of the few places in the US people would obsessively plan. “Turns out there are a fair amount of people who book a cheap hotel for a few days and then like to hop around,” he says.