HotelTonight, the smartphone app that lets you book same-day hotel rooms, is moving into international markets for the first time. It now supports bookings in Toronto and Vancouver, and it plans to add other Canadian and international cities this year.
The app is built for those moments when you suddenly realize that it would be nice to have a hotel — say if you’re visiting San Francisco from somewhere else in the Bay Area, and you decide to stay in the city for the night rather than head home. Instead of popping into a random hotel and possibly getting ripped off or finding it full, you can open the HotelTonight app, which will offer three curated hotel deals in the area — one that’s “Hip”, one that’s “Luxe”, and one that’s “Solid”. (The deals first become available at noon local time, and can be purchased until 2am.)
Co-founder and COO Jared Simon says the company has already started to build an audience of devoted fans, who are attracted not just by the deals (hotel rooms can be discounted by up to 70 percent), but the app’s high-quality experience and glossy look (the company hires a professional photographer to take pictures of every hotel in the system).
“Our goal is that HotelTonight becomes a verb — wherever you are, if you want a room, you’re going to ‘HotelTonight it’,” Simon says. “In order to do that, we need to be ubiquitous.”
HotelTonight already offers rooms in a number of major US cities, but obviously, international expansion is a big part of achieving that goal. For this expansion, the app also supports payment with Canadian dollars, Euros, and British pounds. However, this doesn’t mean that the company is opening offices internationally or hiring salespeople in Canada — Simon says that in order to build a unique company culture, everyone is still located in the San Francisco office, and all the hotel deals are negotiated from there.
The company’s investors include Battery Ventures, Accel Partners, and First Round Capital.