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Tap Tap Tap for a Room Tonight on Jetsetter's Updated App

October 10, 2012 at 4:31 PM | by | ()

As if this hasn't already been an early autumn packed with mobile app announcements, another big update hit the web today. Gilt Groupe's hotel booking site Jetsetter released an update to their iPhone/iPod Touch app. With it comes the introduction of a new, huge feature: Jetsetter Now.

The trend continues! Jetsetter Now joins HotelTonight with last-minute deals so last minute that they're only for—you guessed it—that night. Even Booking.com and Kayak have tried to get in on the "tonight only" fever, but with limited success.

Jetsetter Now's advances other these other sites include photo-capture of your credit card details for even faster bookings (no typing in numbers--just snap it) and Passbook integration (score!). Download the Jetsetter app for free in the iTunes store. It's free to browse, but you've got to join through a link to buy. If you've been able to resist signing up these last few years, here is that necessary link.

So will Jetsetter Now take a bite out of HotelTonight's bark? After playing with the app and comparing the two, we've come to the conclusion that they shouldn't be seen as competitors, but as a compliment to each other.

As it stands right now, each is different enough. While HotelTonight continues to focus on really discounted rooms at trendy and solid properties in 59 destinations including some international cities (omg they've grown up right before our eyes!), Jetsetter Now is only about the trendy ones in a core 7 cities (New York, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles). What's more, Jetsetter Now is so not afraid to venture into the $400+ range for a last-minute, discounted room while HotelTonight typically plays it cool in the $100-$200s.

Play with the Jetsetter Now feature for even a moment and the biggest change will jump right out: Jetsetter Now does blind-booking. This means that laying down $400 for that ultra last-minute Manhattan room also means being willing to not know what hotel you're getting until that purchase is confirmed. HotelTonight always tells you the hotel before booking.

So who will use the Jetsetter Now feature? Our first thought goes to a couple out for a nice night on the town that includes a fancy dinner with enough wine to loosen their hotel booking inhibitions. Over dessert, one suggests that the night shouldn't have to end and they whip out their iPhone and tap-tap-tap into a surprise hotel in the neighborhood. Score one for spontaneity. On the other hand, that same person will use the HotelTonight app while traveling further from home, when unforseen delays or business dealings or whatever else throws a wrench into plans. You see? Both apps have their proper places...for now.

A few of the Jetsetter Now offers today

[Screenshots: HotelChatter]

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